Doctor Who star defends sci-fi

Last updated 05:00 28/10/2011

Armageddon is on again, bringing some of the biggest sci-fi stars to our shores so we had a chat with Firefly and Battlestar Galactica star Mark Sheppard.

Mark Sheppard
SAY WHAT?: Mark Sheppard says while Armageddon might seem intense from the outside, sci-fi isn't that far from everyone's lives.

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Mark Sheppard might be known for playing the bad guy, but he doesn't actually believe in the fight between Good vs. Evil on screen.

Even an early morning cold shower because of the Maui gas pipeline leak couldn't put him in too much of a bad mood.

"There's no such thing as a villain. I've played people with contrasting or different positions on the moral compass, shall we say. Or people who are willing to do things that other people are not willing to do," he says.

Sheppard may not be a well-known name, but his face will be familiar to many TV fans. 

And this weekend he will play nicely with them at the Armageddon Expo - a pop culture extravaganza featuring gaming, voice artists, live wrestling and eating competitions - in Auckland.

The English actor has appeared in TV shows including The X-Files, The Practice, JAG and CSI: New York, but he is better known for his often re-occurring roles on sci-fi favourites.

Sheppard played a demon on Charmed, was Badger in the short-lived, but now cult-classic, Firefly and featured in two seasons of Battlestar Galactica. 

He is also the fan favourite Crowley on TV2 series Supernatural.

And recently, Sheppard has appeared in the sixth series of Doctor Who - with his dad, fellow actor W. Morgan Sheppard.

The pair play the younger and older versions of the same character, and Sheppard says it was "so much fun" to be able to work alongside his old man in roles that secured their place among the few actors to appear on both Doctor Who and Star Trek - Sheppard junior was on Voyager, while his father appeared in several different episodes.

Being a character actor might not have the stability of a long-term role, but Sheppard says he loves the variety of playing various roles, especially those with a sinister twist.

"It tends to be the guests and the re-occurring guests have a lot more fun to do, because we come in and upset the apple cart a little and make it more interesting.

"It's a lot more fun to have an agenda than it is to play the same thing week in, week out and have to deal with someone else's agenda, let's put it that way."

He says while things like Armageddon and Comic-Con in the States might seem intense from the outside, sci-fi isn't that far from everyone's lives.

"People make some huge mistakes about fandom and sci-fi in general. 

"It's fascinating to listen to people talk about sci-fi, like it's outside their purview and there isn't anybody who isn't impacted by sci-fi...

"But fantasy and sci-fi and the idea of stories and imagination has always been people's thing. It's just how willing you are to admit it and how willing you are to dress-up as a result of it.

"And I think the people who dress up and show their allegiance and their fandom and passion are incredibly brave... And truly exceptional as a group. 

"You never see 'Gang of sci-fi fans rob 7-11' [in the news] do you?"

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The Armageddon Expo runs from October 28-31 at the ASB Showgrounds. 

Tickets through iTicket.

- © Fairfax NZ News


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