Q&A: Katee Sackhoff on Naked Gunfights, Chasing Vin Diesel, and Badass Women

If you think Katee Sackhoff stopped kicking ass when Battlestar Galactica ended (on which she played fan-favorite Starbuck), you’re sorely mistaken. She simply traded in the futuristic sci-fi setting for a gun, a badge, and the sweeping vistas of Durant, Wyoming, on A&E’s series Longmire. Sackhoff, who is also set to star alongside Vin Diesel in next month’s Riddick, plays the Philadelphia transport sheriff’s deputy Victoria “Vic” Moretti and brings the show some much-needed female strength.

In anticipation of Longmire’s second-season finale (airing on August 26), we talked to the beautiful and talented Sackhoff about fighting in the nude, selling Riddick writer-director David Twohy on “chaps and a corset,” and which female superhero she’d “sell her first born” to play.

ESQUIRE.COM: Last time we talked, you told me that you were being visited by a ghost. Are you still being haunted?

KATEE SACKHOFF: No, it’s gone, which is really, really interesting. Last night, I was actually thinking about this because one of my closest friends just passed and I was actually lying in bed thinking that now, at this point, I’m like praying that something comes and it’s him and he’s just like, “I’m fine. Purgatory’s awesome!” [Laughs]

ESQ: Let’s get into Longmire. A recent episode was called “Tuscan Red,” and the plot involves fracking. You just can’t get away from the word “frak” can you?

KS: I know, I know. I did an episode of CSI about the exact same thing as well and I was like, “Come on, people!” You can tell when writers are fans of Battlestar Galactica because they think it’s funny when I say it.

ESQ: I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t ask about this infamous naked gunfight scene that you mentioned during San Diego Comic-Con.

KS: Oh gosh.

ESQ: Are they saving that for the season finale? Is that how they’re selling the episode?

KS: No, no. I don’t think it’s the finale. It’s coming. It’s definitely… There’s definitely me naked with a gun. The rest of it was pretty tongue-in-cheek, but it was definitely me and a gun, naked.

ESQ: Where do you keep the gun?

KS: Right? [Laughs] You’re going to have to tune in and find out.

ESQ: Why does Vic get so mad when someone calls her “Vicky”?

KS: You know, it’s a question that will be answered in the last episode and it will all make sense why she doesn’t like being called “Vicky.” Yeah, because it finally made sense to me.

ESQ: Is Vic going to get one of those great flashbacks that we see Walt have every now and then?

KS: There’s no flashback, but something from the past is definitely haunting Vic.

ESQ: Will we also get to see why Vic’s relationship with her husband was so strained when we first met him?

KS: Michael Mosley, who is phenomenal and a good friend of mine, is just great in the role and he has the ability to take a character that has been written one way and make him incredibly sympathetic. I think that’s one of the reasons that they’ve continued to write for him and keep him around. The way he and I have played those scenes, we’ve tried to give it a bit more texture than was on the page because we do like each other and we are friends, and I enjoy having him in Sante Fe. I call it me trying to “Michael Trucco it.” Michael was only meant to be around on Battlestar for two episodes, and I switched some dialogue around and all of a sudden he’s one of the final five. I just say that it’s the Michael Effect in my life these days.

ESQ: We know Vic is from Philadelphia and there’s a mention of the Eagles at one point, but what’s the deal with the hockey puck?

KS: The hockey puck was just me wanting to give her more Philly because we didn’t have a lot of Philly in the beginning. I wanted to embrace the whole fish-out-of-water trying to grasp onto something that she feels comfortable with. I thought, having four brothers back in Philadelphia, of course she’s a sports fan.

ESQ: Her relationship with Walt is very father-daughter. Is your relationship with Robert Taylor similar? Is he like the father figure on set?

KS: To a certain extent, yeah, he is, but at the same time there’s really not that much of an age difference between us. I guess he could have been my father if he had me at, like, fifteen. He has this very calming way and has done a brilliant job of setting the tone on set.

ESQ: Now that the election is over, are we going to get to see that Branch is just a good guy deep down?

KS: Yeah, I do. I think he’s one of those nature-versus-nurture situations. He’s fighting that and I think that his father wants him to be something he doesn’t necessarily want to be and he’s having his own internal struggle about that.

ESQ: The show brings in great ratings for A&E, but it still kind of flies under the radar.

KS: I don’t know. I’m not sure what that is. You know, a lot of shows fly under the radar for the first couple seasons and then become successful. It doesn’t necessarily have any bearing on the success of the show or how much the network is behind it. People tend to talk about what’s shiny and what’s controversial, and I don’t think that our show has that. I think that our show is very steady and very consistent and it fills a void. That’s why we get the ratings we get, but we don’t have massive amounts of blood and guts and sex. We don’t have controversy on our show. We just have a very steadily good show.

ESQ: A really well told story in a gorgeous setting.

KS: Right. Right.

ESQ: Is that one of the things that attracted you to the show?

KS: What attracted me to the show was that it really does kind of suck you in. It’s got a really nice mixture of serialization and procedural. Enough even that my parents can sit down and watch the show and it’s not too crazy for them, but at the same time my nephews love the show because they still love running around pretending they’re cops and robbers. It has that generational spread that it’s covering pretty nicely.

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