Tahmoh Penikett on Riftworld Chronicles, Battlestar Galactica and that Supernatural Parody Video [Exclusive]
As Heather states in her recent feature on Erin Karpluk, Tahmoh Penikett is a TV Goodness favorite. Over the years, we’ve seen him bring the drama as Helo on Battlestar Galactica, Paul Ballard on Dollhouse and, more recently, as the angel Gadreel on Supernatural.
Well, get ready to see a whole new side to the actor. In Riftworld: Chronicles, Penikett shows he can also bring the comedy. In it, he plays Alar, a time-traveling Wizard from another dimension who finds himself trapped in Toronto after one of his spells goes wrong. His mission is to find a way home. However, his latest quest forces him to depend on a journalist (Karpluk) who’s a bit reluctant to provide the aid he needs.
This eight episode web series originally started as a short film called The Portal. After receiving a great fan response as well as a healthy showing from the subsequent Kickstarter campaign, Riftworld: Chronicles materializes before our very eyes today.
We talked to Penikett about taking on a comedy and working with Karpluk, one of his longtime friends. He also opens up about the freedom that comes with doing a web series and talks about being part of The Hillywood Show’s recent Supernatural parody as well as the Battlestar Galactica fandom.
First thing you need to know about Riftworld: Chronicles: Penikett is really funny in it. The chance to exercise his comedic skills is one of the biggest reasons why this project appealed to him.
Tahmoh Penikett: I’ve rarely been given the opportunity professionally to do comedy. I mean I haven’t even really auditioned for it much. I think that because how blessed I was early in my career and all the work that I did, I think maybe that the industry very much pigeonholed me in a certain area and never saw any examples of it and hence has never really seen or given me the opportunity for it. So when I had this opportunity come up, I jumped on it.
Another reason he jumped at the chance? The opportunity to work with Karpluk.
Tahmoh: We’re really good friends. We’ve actually even been roommates before in Los Angeles. We went to acting school for a couple years together when we were both kids. So I’ve known Erin for a very long time. I’m a huge fan of her work.
Surprisingly, the Canadian actors have never starred opposite each other before.
Tahmoh: We’ve worked on the same shows, numerous shows. We both worked on a show called, Glory Days, with the leads Eddie Cahill and Poppy Montgomery and that was like 13-14 years ago. But we never shared a scene. She had a recurring on it, I was only a guest star. And then she had a brief appearance on Battlestar Galactica but, again, we were in the same scene together but we didn’t actually really communicate. So for us it was long overdo.
After the success of The Portal, Penikett had no qualms about signing on for more, especially after reading the scripts for Riftworld.
Tahmoh: They were so well done. I think Erin and I both agreed. We were like this is the perfect time to shoot it. We shot it over December in Toronto. We got it done in three weeks. It was a blast.
The character he playsÂ finds himself in a classic fish out of water situation.
Tahmoh: [Alar]’s used to a certain status. He comes from a place where, according to Alar, he’s a well-respected Wizard. He has martial prowess and capabilities. He’s a warrior, he has magic. He’s someone who’s held in high regard and someone who has a lot of status in his world. And so he kind of conducts himself that way in our world — the Riftworld — and there’s a real comedy to that. And on top of that he’s walking around downtown Toronto in minusÂ 30 with basically no shirt on and just the looks and the stares that he gets — it’s hilarious. Playing Alar, playing this character who’s so out of his element and trying to figure things out and basically needing to get back to his world, it was a challenge but it was fun.
It was also a liberating experience.
Tahmoh: Erin and I were having a blast. We were having so much fun. And we were working hard. We had a very limited budget on this. It doesn’t look like it has it. I thought they did an excellent job shooting it. But we had a limited budget so we had to work at a specific pace. And that works a different muscle, too. It brings out a certain creativity and a confidence because you just gotta commit and go for it. We don’t have a lot of takes. You just have to go for it and make it happen and that was very liberating and exciting to do. And I really, really enjoyed it.
Ultimately, he hopes it will open people’s eyes to the fact that he’s as adept at comedy as he is at drama.
Tahmoh: I would hope that if the rest of these eight episodes are received well enough it would open some of those doors, maybe even the industry itself. People have never really seen me in this role or imagined it would allow me to potentially do that kind of work in the future…
Recently, one of Penikett’s other gigs resulted in him showing off his considerable dancing skills. He took part in The Hillywood Show’s Supernatural parody video, which is closing in on almost 5 million views in just two months.
Tahmoh: We were at a convention (Vegas Con) when we shot that. And I remember Richard SpeightÂ came up and he said, ‘Listen…’ And he’d already mentioned it at the convention before — and he said, ‘Would you be willing?’ I said, of course, I’d be willing, I’d love to. I had just arrived and I was supposed to go up and do my panel and it was that quick. Went in there, met those lovely ladies and their lovely team and they said we’re going to put on some music, dance and do your thing. You can do whatever. You can be goofy. You can be serious. You can do whatever you want. Just go for it. So…we shot it in minutes, it took five minutes. Went in there had a good little dance, some good music. And then I was done. It was that simple. I think they did a fantastic job. I mean if you look at the numbers of how many times it’s been aired and viewed, that’s a testament to how rabid and loyal the Supernatural fandom is.
At the end of this month, he’ll reunite with his fellow Battlestar Galactica alums at Galacticon 4 in Seattle.
Tahmoh: I’m really excited because I signed on only recently and a lot of the cast is going to be there. Any opportunity we have. Honestly, we do it outside of any convention anyway. Most of us, a lot of us, get to see each other a lot especially when we’re down in L.A. where many of us are still very, very dear friends. But any opportunity for us to get together especially for something like this. Specifically celebrating Battlestar at a convention and meeting some of the diehard fans and old school fans is just going to be great. The biggest part of it is Grace Park is going to be doing this convention. She’s only done one. Ever. So my wife is gonna be there. Athena will be there doing pictures and she’s going to be there. It’s a big deal.
Riftworld: Chronicles premieres today. It’s a cute, fun, hilarious web series that we highly recommend.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Catching Up with Ted Lasso and Previewing Season 2
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] The not so dirty little secret about how I approach a new series is that I sometimes make a call based on the headspace I’m in at the time. It’s been a minute since I’ve picked up a show after the first season and then binge…
Interview: Henri Esteve on Grown-ish Season 3
An interview with Henri Esteve, who plays Javi on Freeform’s Grown-ish. He talks about his season three experience.
For All Mankind Season 2: Talking with Wrenn Schmidt, Krys Marshall, Jodi Balfour, and Sonya Walger [Exclusive]
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] One of the hooks of For All Mankind is that it’s very much a story about the women of NASA. In Season 2, we explore the journeys of the women in the program, either through their own service or through their family affiliations. Four of those…
Rosy McEwen Talks The Alienist: Angel of Darkness Season Finale [Exclusive]
[Warning: Spoilers for the season finale episodes.] How’s everyone after that finale? I will freely admit I got a little misty in episode eight as John told Sara why he loved her, and later that he wanted her despite what he might forfeit, and then at the end when he…
Rosy McEwen Talks The Alienist: Angel of Darkness [Exclusive]
Hands down, one of the best surprises of The Alienist: Angel of Darkness is that the serial killer this season has been front and center alongside the cast as a fully-formed character. We’ve watched Libby Hatch devolve from a prim, mild-mannered nurse to a woman in a rage hell-bent on…
The Alienist: Angel of Darkness Relationship Recap: John and Sara
[Warning: Spoilers for “Belly of the Beast” and “Memento Mori”] If you’ve read me for a while (thank you!), you know two things — I lean way, way in on the characters I adore and I loathe love geometry arcs. So, I’m torn about where we are and where we…
Louriza Tronco Talks The Order Season 2 [Exclusive]
[Warning: Spoilers ahead for Season 2.] The Order’s second season is dark yet delightful entertainment on many levels, and one of its biggest sources of joy and snark is the sassy Gabrielle Dupres. Last season, she was assertive and deadly and fairly annoyed with the world. This season, she’s been…
Previewing Netflix’s Virgin River
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] Full disclosure: I have a Netflix account for my Mom, but I’m not a regular viewer. If I get a heads up on something, I’ll go look for it, but I don’t have a wander across its offerings, which, as I understand it, is how most…
Final Thoughts From the Killjoys Team [Exclusive]
This is the day of the week I’d normally hit you up with a Killjoys preview, but now that we’ve put the series to bed and released Team Awesome Force into the wild, I have one more treat for you–some final thoughts excerpted from my conversations with the Killjoys folks….
Michelle Lovretta Talks Wrapping Up Killjoys [Exclusive]
[Warning: Spoilers for the series finale.] To quote Miss Jackson, “That’s the end?” Yes, friends, it is. And like I promised you, everything would be, was, and is alright. I went to the Killjoys source, series creator Michelle Lovretta, who wrote the last episode, to break down that delicious finale….
What They Said: Three Revealing Conversations from Survivor’s Remorse “Closure”
WARNING: Spoilers for Survivor’s Remorse “Closure” The latest episode of Starz’s Survivor’s Remorse featured conversations that showed characters really digging deep into their thoughts, emotions and motivations.
Two Takes: The Catch “The Knock-Off”
Who can you trust? If this episode of The Catch was any indication, the answer is just about nobody. Betrayal was running rampant as Felicity (Shivani Ghai) arose from the dead to seduce-con Margot, Gretchen (Maria Thayer, Gotham, The Mindy Project) played gold-hearted Alice 2.0 before swindling Ethan, Tessa jumped…
What They Said: Top 3 Quotable Moments from Preacher “El Valero”
Both Quincannon and Jesse refuse to give up on what they each think is rightfully theirs. While Jesse is struggling to face the consequences of his actions, Quincannon has laid his past demons to rest and is hellbent on moving forward and putting Annville on the map again. Despite a…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Supergirl “Worlds Finest”
Oh, Supergirl. That ending was cold. But I can’t hate on you because the latest episode has quickly become one of my favorites.
What They Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Black Sails “XXIII”
The dialogue in “XXIII” is phenomenal. It’s always a fun ride when Black Sails carries its viewers along without giving them the chance to catch their breath. When an episode moves at this unforgiving pace, there is no chance for a breather nor is there a respite from the information…
What Lucifer Said: Favorite quotes from Supernatural “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
Supernatural episodes are almost always funny but thanks to the dialogue and a certain man speaking said dialogue, I laughed a lot during “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” You know, when I wasn’t busy fearing for Sam’s life or wondering what in the world was going on with Dean and…
What They Said: The Flash, “Legends Of Today” and Arrow, “Legends Of Yesterday”
Two nights of Arrow +Â The Flash = what more could we ask for?! I don’t know what it is about blending these shows, but I canâ€™t help but feel that every time they come together, they somehow become greater than the sum of their parts. And thatâ€™s saying a lot…
What they Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Graceland “Little Bo Bleep”
Shoot outs. Fake outs. And long-awaited revelations. “Little Bo Bleep” was a jam-packed episode that wrapped up some loose ends and totally frayed others. Â It finally gave us one Sarkissian in jail and pulled back the curtain on Briggs’ master plan, but it also set up Jakes for a world…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Poldark “Part 4”
â€œWhat have I told you, I don’t require my wife to crochet and sip tea, but I do require her to remember she’s not a beast of burden.â€ No, Iâ€™m not talking about The Rolling Stones! I have to admit though, just for a second, the lyrics popped into my…
3 Moments of Goodness from Brooklyn Nine-Nine “Johnny and Dora”
The most satisfying part of this season’s finale has to the Jake and Amy kiss. Well, they kiss three times but the last one is the best one — and it means something. The Charles and Rosa dynamic was also great. I love how she’s convinced he doesn’t know anything…