You might recognize him as SG-1‘s Master Bra’tac, or as Once Upon a Time‘s Geppetto. He’s also leading a rebellion on Continuum as Edouard Kagame. Tony Amendola has graced television and movie screens since the early 80s, and here’s a bit of what he shared during his appearance at Polaris 26 in Toronto last month.
In both Continuum and SG-1, he’s leading a rebellion. How are those characters alike or different?
They are very different roles. Bra’tac is a ‘from the shoulder’ type of character. His heavy armour, which weighed about forty pounds, helped cement a gravitas which he added to with his cadence. Bra’tac was about dignity and honour. While he is a strategist, he tended to focus on direct fights. Edouard Kagame, on the other hand, is an intellectual chess player, an enigma. The image he projects is elegant, but of the people. Someone who would prefer to win the war with words, but is willing to use force. He’s the spiritual/intellectual leader of Liber8. Both believe they are doing what needs to be done. The writing of the two shows is very different. Continuum lets him delve into the darker stuff, even if it meant another winter in Vancouver, he said with a chuckle.
He appears in both Once Upon a Time and Continuum, how did that work out?
He feels very lucky that the two productions were willing to share him, and even coordinated their shooting schedules so that he was able to be on both sets when he was needed. It was highly unusual for two separate production companies to work so closely together to allow this to happen. Of course, the fact that both are shot in and around Vancouver did simplify matters. He’s had the opportunity to read a few of next season’s scripts for OUAT. The Ruby character, played by Meghan Ory, is now a regular as is Belle (Emilie de Ravin). He enjoys that it has so many strong female characters and looks at the before and after period of familiar tales.
Given Bra’tac’s military style, does Tony do martial arts?
He’s trained in Tai Chi and stage combat, but isn’t a black belt. “Fighting in theatre or film is to create an effect, it’s a dance,” he said. It’s the impression of action that counts and sometimes actors forget that. When that happens, “we’ve all given up a certain number of stitches,” he quipped.
Does he prefer to play the villain or the hero?
“I prefer the villain.” He had an acting teacher who told them what type of roles to play based on their aura. He was seen as a villain. In playing villains, or any role, Amendola clarified, you have to be careful not to pass judgement on a character, but be their advocate. With Kagame that includes justifying the scope of the violence.
What are his leisure activities?
The hardest part of being an actor is time management, both when you have too much to do or too little. It’s often been said that actors would act for free, they are paid to stand around waiting. You have to learn to keep busy,” and to do so, he enjoys hiking, yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, studying languages, and cooking.
Given the success of Continuum and Once Upon a Time, it’s unlikely he’ll have much time for any of those things. He might miss it, but I, for one, look forward to seeing so much of him on my television.
Photo Courtesy of Showcase