Canadian actress and former model Tricia Helfer is one of Hollywood's rising acting talents, best known for her portrayal of the humanoid Cylon Number Six on Syfy's critically acclaimed Battlestar Galactica. More recently, Helfer has starred in e.g. Andrew Paquin’s Open House and appeared as Alex Clark on NBC's The Firm. Helfer is also an active benefactor of animal rights and environmental causes.
Dallas News has a great review of Susannah Charleson’s new book The Possibility Dogs which mentions, among other things, a segment in the book about how Tricia Helfer, her husband Jonathan Marshall, actor Mark Derwin and stuntwoman Shauna Galligan helped Charleson save a dog from being put down.
In the most heartwarming of many such chapters, the author tells how actress Tricia Helfer, who played Charleson in a pilot for a TV series based on Scent of the Missing, helped her save a dog with ears like a rabbit that was one day away from euthanasia. With stuntwoman Shauna Galligan, actor Mark Derwin and hubby Jonathan Marshall, Helfer staged a high-speed, cross-country, last-minute race from Toronto to Orange County, Calif., to give Ollie a second chance.
“Ollie is 16, blind and deaf,” Charleson says by phone, “but he works as a therapy dog primarily with seniors and children. Ollie looks like a dog in a bunny suit and has an almost mystical calming effect on children having meltdowns.”
Charleson, as you will remember, was the consulting producer of last year’s TNT pilot Scent of the Missing, a K9 search-and-rescue procedural based on her book by the same name. Tricia appeared in the pilot in the lead (with Galligan as her stunt double) opposite Summer Glau and Eric Winter, but sadly the pilot did not go to series.
Moving on to videos, check out this great quality video of the full TRON: Uprising panel hosted by Variety‘s Josh Dickey from InsideTheMagic.net. Tricia, who voices The Grid in the animated Disney series, was joined on stage by co-stars Elijah Wood and Bruce Boxleitner as well as director and executive producer Charlie Bean, consulting producers and series’ writers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, art director Alberto Mielgo and lead character designer Robert Valley.
Bad news. Deadline.com reports TNT has passed on the canine SAR pilot Scent of the Missing starring Tricia Helfer, Summer Glau and Eric Winter. The full story from Deadline.com:
EXCLUSIVE: Drama pilot Scent of the Missing is not going forward at TNT. In May, the cable network picked up one of its four pilots, David E. Kelley’s Monday Mornings, to series and passed on another, Western Tin Star. At the time, TNT kept search-and-rescue drama Scent of the Missing in contention, saying that it planned to shoot a few more procedural pilots and would make a decision after seeing all of them.
Executive produced by co-writers Carol Mendelsohn, Melissa R. Byer & Treena Hancock and Barry Josephson, Scent of the Missing centers on Susannah* (Tricia Helfer), a tenacious, strong-willed K-9 Search and Rescue volunteer who works with an equally determined partner — her mischievous golden retriever. Eric Winter and Summer Glau co-star.
[*) The name was later changed to Ally; our note.]
This is of course a huge disappointment to us, both as fans of Tricia and as huge animal lovers. Not only would the show have marked Tricia’s first ever starring role, it had a fantastic concept with a terrific cast which would’ve brought some well-deserved attention for animals and the people working with them, and frankly, we had expected TNT to be more open to fresh alternatives. :(
As of yet, there has been no word on whether or not Scent of the Missing could move forward with another network.
Terrific interview with Tricia Helfer from Collider, in which Tricia talks about voicing The Grid in Disney’s TRON: Uprising series, doing voice work in general and her role in the Scent of the Missing canine SAR pilot, which is still awaiting pick-up from TNT:
What’s it like to voice something like The Grid?
HELFER: I rely heavily on the writers and the producers and the voice director in the room. TRON is a little bit different because, when I record, they always have a little bit of video. Lately, I’ve been doing the, “Previously on…” for the episodes, to catch people up, in case they miss the previous episode. They’ll have the images for me to look at, and I can see what’s going on. But, most of the time, with voice-overs, you’re recording before they’ve got the graphics, and you also don’t get a whole script. I don’t get the whole TRON episode. I get my lines, as I show up that day. You don’t know what the rest of the story is, so you really rely on the people in the room that you’re working with, so they can fill you in on what’s going on, right around your particular lines. I wish sometimes that I could know more. Sometimes the first time I read the line, I’m saying it out loud and it’s being recorded. [...] For characters like Tron and Beck and Paige, who are physically doing things and having emotional connections, that takes longer to do because you have to try it different ways and try different levels. But, with The Grid, it was the first session where we tried it a little bit more sultry, a little bit more straight and even, and a little bit more pleasant and OnStar-ish. It was really in the first recording session that we narrowed down what they wanted for the voice of The Grid. Now, when I go in to record, I just listen to what I recorded the last time. There’s really not too many ways I can do it differently, especially when they want to keep it as a very pleasant voice, regardless of what’s happening. The Grid takes on a personality by how even she is.
At this point in your career, what’s a dream project for you?
HELFER: Oh, lots of things. I’ve only been acting for 10 years, so I feel like I’ve got a lot that I want to do yet. One of my favorite books is The First Stone, and I would have loved to have played Lisa in that, but the character ends up at the age I’m at now, so it would be a little rough to try to play her as a teenager. But, if age wasn’t involved, that would be one of my dream roles.
Would you go back to series TV?
HELFER: Oh, absolutely, yeah! I’m still waiting to hear about a pilot I did, called Scent of the Missing, about K-9 search and rescue, for TNT. We’re hoping to hear soon. It’s a character I haven’t played before. She’s the head of a K-9 search and rescue unit, who’s a little bit of an adrenaline junkie. There’s a lot of animal lovers out there, and there are a lot of great stories that we could tell. They fly all over the country, and it’s pretty much all volunteer run. They put up their own money.
Those of you who (like us) were hoping for a word from TNT on the Scent of the Missing pilot before the end of the ongoing 2012 Upfronts are unfortunately in for a letdown. According to Tricia via her official Twitter account @trutriciahelfer, the network has opted to delay its decision on whether or not to pick up the canine search-and-rescue procedural.
@chrisdvanne @now7grandkids Unfortunately we’re going to have to wait longer to find out now. Possibly end of June. (May 15)
The word online is that TNT is currently looking to have more procedural-type pilots filmed before making a decision.
What a bummer, but good things come to those who wait, right?
Hello Susannah, for those who don’t know you yet, can you tell us a bit more about your life and work?
A: I’m a pilot, flight instructor, and canine handler on a search-and-rescue team. Search-and-rescue work is a volunteer commitment, so I write and fly and teach to make a living. Since my writing background is primarily broadcasting, Scent of the Missing was originally intended as a series of radio pieces for our public radio network. Fate, as they say, had other plans.
TNT is going to adapt your book into a TV show, was it a nice surprise?
A: It was a very nice surprise. You write something like this hoping it’ll interest people and have some greater contribution to make (support your local SAR teams!), and when a network comes along and finds value in the reality these volunteers work, it’s a big encouragement.
Did you get involve in the creative part of the project?
A: Yes. I think my official title is Consulting Producer, if I remember right. Work on the pilot really started back in May, when the basic premise was drafted with the Executive Producer here in my home town, and then the serious outline went into draft in June, where I met with the writers in L.A. As they wrote through drafts, we emailed or called back-and-forth frequently. These writers are established professionals and really understand how they need to build a story for the screen, but they were equally interested in getting as much of the dialogue and action appropriate to actual search procedure as possible and building characters whose lives are shaped by that very specific mission. They asked a lot of good questions and built from there.
They’ve chosen some really talented actors for the series, what do you think of them? Are they doing real SAR handlers justice?
A: I think the choices were spot on. Having watched these actors work – hard – across multiple takes with tricky environmental things happening, I could see these folks certainly demonstrate the kind of stamina you need for SAR. And the ability to step up again and again without complaint. They in no way had it easy.
We know Tricial Helfer’s character is mostly based on you, what was your reaction when you found out she’d been cast?
A: My reaction? YAY! She’s strong and smart and outdoorsy. And believable in the search field. And gorgeous in the middle of all that. I think I clapped when I first read it, which probably startled a few people in Starbuck’s at dawn.
Couple of new things on Scent of the Missing today. To begin with we have two new behind-the-scenes images from the pilot, for which filming wrapped in Hammond, Louisiana some two weeks ago. Now all that remains is for us to hope TNT has the good sense to pick the show up. Fingers crossed!
Meanwhile, Summer Glau Wiki has landed an exclusive interview with the author of the Scent of the Missing book and the show’s consulting producer, Susannah Charleson. An excerpt from the interview:
3) Are the characters and her dog already a working pair on the pilot or do we see the training to become an SAR dog as in your book?
Susannah Charleson: All the characters in the pilot are already certified, working teams.
4) Tricia’s Helfer character name as well as her dog’s name has been changed, respectively from Susannah to Ally/Allison and from Puzzle to Rocket. Could you tell us more?
Susannah Charleson: Changes were always likely due to legal reasons. Puzzle and I are still a working team in reality, and it’s wise to make sure viewers know the difference between the fictional situations in the drama and the real team working current events in the field, as well as the real flight instructor! As to names, Rocket is, coincidentally, a fun variation on a nickname I had for Puzzle when she was little. She was my “pocket rocket” when she was first training — she will even come to that, when called, so it doesn’t feel like so huge a change to me when I hear it said on the set. I like the name Allison very much. I always thought Susannah would change from the moment we discussed “Sedona” back in June. Sedona and Susannah are just too similar for audiences! And Ally is a great choice — feminine, but strong and confident at the same time.
5) As a member of a canine search-and-rescue team and Consulting Producer on set, does the pilot fulfill your expectations so far? What’s your opinion about the cast and their work so far?
Susannah Charleson: Having worked real situations from which the pilot draws its center, I can say that the production does get right at the heart of the search, both in urgency and in peril. The pilot definitely doesn’t make the work look any easier or the solutions to real problems too pat. And I think the actors had to push, push, push through some of it. This wasn’t a comfortable shoot for really any of them.
Another two new pictures from Tricia from the set of Scent of the Missing in Hamilton today, one with co-star Eric Winter (The Mentalist, Brothers & Sisters, Days of Our Lives). See them in our gallery here.
It also looks like some of the characters have gotten new names. Most notably, Tricia’s own character Susannah is now “Ally” and her canine companion, previously called Puzzle, is now “Rocket”. Via Twitter:
Check out this first picture of Tricia Helfer with fellow Sci-Fi siren Summer Glau (Firefly, Serenity, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) on the set of the TNT pilot Scent of the Missing yesterday, as tweeted by Tricia herself. Tricia and Summer are currently filming the pilot in Hammond, Louisiana.
Tricia Helfer and Katee Sackhoff's documentary about their October 2010 Acting Outlaws cross-country motorcycle ride from Los Angeles, CA to New Orleans, LA to raise funds and awareness for the BP oil spill cleanup, the "LA La Ride", is now online. Purchase your digital copy now from store.actingoutlaws.org!
Filming in Toronto, Canada. Genre: Comedy, Sitcom Network: CTV Role: TBA (rumored) News | Info | IMDb | Official Site | Photos
TV: The Firm (2012)
Canceled; Season 1 out on R1 DVD. Genre: Drama, Legal, Thriller Network: NBC Role: Alex Clark (S1 recurring guest) News | Info | IMDb | Official Site | Photos
TV: TRON: Uprising (2012)
Season 1 complete; pending renewal. Genre: Animation Network: Disney XD Role: The Grid (voice) News | Info | IMDb | Official Site | Photos
Web Series: BSG: Blood & Chrome (2012)
Complete series online. Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi Website: youtube.com/MachinimaPrime Role: Humanoid Cylon (voice cameo) News | Info | IMDb | Official Site | Photos
Web Series: Husbands (2012)
Complete Season 2 online. Genre: Comedy Website: HusbandsTheSeries.com Role: Pillow Girl #2 (ep. 2.01 guest) News | Info | IMDb | Official Site | Photos
MV: The Black Keys "Howlin' for You" - IMDb
SF: PostHuman - IMDb
VG: Mass Effect 3 - IMDb
VG: StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm - IMDb
WS: The Nerd Machine: Trailer Park Heroes - IMDb
Legend: AS - animated series; MV - music video; SF - short film; VG - video game; WS - web series.
In August 2010, Tricia Helfer and best friend and former Battlestar Galactica co-star Katee Sackhoff founded the charity company The Acting Outlaws. With periodical causes of choice, the purpose of the company is to raise funds and awareness for causes Tricia and Katee find important to them. For details on the company and how to participate in advancing the ladies' causes of choice, please visit www.actingoutlaws.org.
Besides an actress and former model, Tricia is also an avid animal rights supporter and environmentalist. Please visit some of the below websites for more information on Tricia's supported causes and charities.
Tricia Helfer Fan (located at tricia-helfer.org/.net/.com) is an unofficial, non-profit fan-operated website dedicated to actress Tricia Helfer. We are in no way in contact or affiliated with Helfer or her management, nor do we claim such affiliation. This website was created for information and entertainment purposes only. Tricia Helfer Fan is proudly stalkerazzi-free.