Date of publishing: 26th
Karen Cliche has had leading roles on several television
series, including Mutant X, Young Blades, Adventure
Inc., Galidor, Vampire High, The Business and MTV's
Undressed. She has made guest appearances on the SCI
FI Original series The Dresden Files, 'Til Death Do
Us Part, Big Wolf on Campus and Aaron Spelling's All
Souls. Cliche has starred in the feature films Summer
and Riders, and in the Lifetime telefilms Flirting
With Danger and I Do (But I Don't).
In the new Flash Gordon TV show, she plays Baylin,
a bounty hunter. As dangerous as she is beautiful,
Baylin joins Flash and Dale on Earth as they battle
the evil forces of Mongo.
Flash Gordon, how many episodes
have you already shot?
Karen Cliche: We are starting episode 13 tomorrow,
so half-way through.
Nuytens: After a
few episodes of Flash Gordon, did the storylines of
the show meet your expectations?
Karen Cliche: I think they got a
lot better and I think the whole cast is really happy
about the scripts that are coming out, for several
reasons: the stories are getting better, the writers
are getting to know our characters and as actors what
we can do best, and what our forte’s are, so
we’re really happy with the scripts and the
development of the characters and where things are
going and we just… we’re filming an episode
right now where there’s a big twist that happens
and we’re like “NO THIS IS TOO SOON
I can’t believe this person finds out about
Mongo!” and they do so that’s interesting,
half way through the series there’s a big change,
a big twist in the show. We’re really happy
about that, they’re taking it into a really
exciting direction, and I like where my character
is going so that’s good.
Gilles Nuytens: Do
you already have an idea on how the show will evolve
in the future?
Karen Cliche: Oh we have no idea, we have no idea.
You know, at first everyone was saying this love triangle
and all this stuff circling around Flash with the
girls, and now there isn’t much emphasis on
that anymore. There are some episodes that do, but
who knows, it really depends on how many seasons we
go, if we only go one then obviously I think the show
will take a certain direction. We have absolutely
no idea, and I don’t want to know. I don’t
know how the other casts feel about it, but I really
don’t want to know, because as an actor you
want it to be as real as possible. In your real life,
you don’t know what’s going to happen
tomorrow, so I really like that to happen with my
character, I want to be surprised, and I want to live
the real life through my character, and experience
the same things and the newness of it.
Gilles Nuytens: What
are your expectations for the future of Baylin?
Karen Cliche: I think I’d really like to see
her incorporate herself more and more into Earth,
because right now she’s pretty sheltered, she
stays with Flash all the time, you don’t really
see her interact on a wide range on Earth with a lot
of strangers, in real life situations that could be
very funny and very awkward. And actually this next
episode we’re filming, Baylin and Nick, Flash’s
best friend, have a long time together alone and it’s
just so funny, I can’t wait to shoot those scenes,
it’s really funny. You know we’d seen
her do the bounty hunter thing, we’d seen that
she can fight, that she can protect, but I want to
see her in funnier, more awkward situations on Earth,
so that’s where I hope that’s going. And
who knows what will happen with her love life, but
that could be very interesting, her being with someone
from Earth. So I don’t know, I want to see her
more on Earth, and how she gets along there.
Nuytens: Have you
already heard some feedback of Baylin from the fans?
Karen Cliche: So far I’m so
lucky, the fans are really responding well to her,
they think she’s cool. I mean a lot of my fans
throughout the years have been young girls who really
appreciate and look up to these characters that I
play, the strong female characters, and I think Baylin
is no exception to that, I think that more people
will come on board and be fans of hers, because she’s
quite charming in very strange ways. I think the reaction
has been good so far, and I’m really happy about
that. The show has its mixed reviews but I think that
if people keep giving it a chance, every character
is going to be more and more loved and appreciated
by the fans, I hope so anyway.
Gilles Nuytens: I
have read a lot of criticism about the show. Are you
aware of that and what do you think?
Karen Cliche: Yeah we are, and you
know what, it’s funny because I had done some
sci-fi and a lot of genre stuff before this, so I
knew what to expect. I think the other cast members
maybe were a little bit optimistic and maybe even
naïve about it, but I was holding my breath,
not because I didn’t believe in the show, but
because I knew that when you take something that people
have known about and loved for so long, and you re-do
it, it’s like your mother’s favorite recipe
and someone does it but changes all these things in
it, people get angry, I know I do, and so at first
there’s a resistance to it and all you want
to do is criticize it, and sure it may have its fault,
but I think as the episodes get better, I think that
if people stop criticizing it for what they think
it should have been and just look at it for what it
is, I think they may learn to enjoy it more than they
are. And some people are, of course the negative is
always what’s heard the loudest. You know I’m
used to this, I’m used of shows being trashed
and spoken of negatively, but I think people will
get used to it and will learn to love it more.
Gilles Nuytens: It’s
like the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica. At first
the new show was heavily criticized by the fans but
now it’s acclaimed by everyone.
Karen Cliche: You know that’s
funny because I know a lot of great shows that started
of, their pilot was just terrible, people hated it.
And I know first hand, when I came on Mutant X, and
I joined on season three, and I replaced a really
loved character and came in as this new shall we say
bitchy character at first, and I got trashed by the
fans, like really mean terrible things were said about
me, because they were so upset that Emma was gone,
“who’s this person she’s not
nice”, so I lived with that for a few months
until people stopped and forgave the fact that Emma
was gone and looked at my character and started to
understand her, and then all of a sudden she became
one of the favorite characters. That’s when
I say I’m kind of used to this, I know people
are really like “grrraaaaa” at
first, and then they’ll soften up and then they
can have a sense of humor about it. A lot of the time
it’s negative at first and then people change
their mind, so I hope that will happen here.
hope so. What aspects of your personality do you share
with your character and what aspects of her are completely
Karen Cliche: First what we share
which is a lot of the same things that I’ve
shared with the characters that I play, they’re
all very strong, kind of fearless characters, and
unapologetic for their confidence and all that, but
once you start to discover that it’s not that
it’s fake what they’re trying to do but
they have a protection, they have this shield that
they wear which is this brash, strong, confident appearance,
and inside once you find out what made them that way,
then you understand that it maybe isn’t as tough
as you think, so that’s what I can relate to
with the characters that I play. But people just always
assume that I am so this and that and strong and independent,
which I am in ways, but I think in different ways
that I portray out to the world, on my downtime I
love to sit at home quiet with my cats and candles
and soft music and people who meet me would think
that I’m loud all the time, that I love to party,
and it’s just this outward appearance that I
understand people can misjudge at first, so I really
connect to the characters in that way. And I like
to bring some vulnerability and some understanding
to them after the initial meeting. And then what I’m
not like with Baylin is that Baylin is very serious,
she takes everything she does very serious, everything
is a mission, not to say that she doesn’t have
any sense of humor about it either, but I’m
so the opposite, I don’t really take anything
I do… I don’t take myself too seriously,
I love to joke around, I have very self-depricating
humor, I think it’s hilarious to laugh at yourself,
I put myself in situations where I think it’s
funny, and if it’s at my expense, oh who cares,
I think it’s so funny. So I’m not like
Baylin in that way at all, I’m a goof, and Baylin
is not. I think those are the two things I would say,
the opposite and the same.
Gilles Nuytens: She’s
so serious that sometimes it’s funny.
Karen Cliche: And then when you see
that sometimes I make certain place, certain moments
when if you’re looking closely she does a certain
eyebrows lift when she knows she’s being coy
and she’s playing with you but she’s not
the type who is like “HAHAHA” and extravagant
with her humor or her actions at all. So she’s
very serious and a little bit uptight but I think
it’s so funny but if you pay she knows that
she’s a little bit uptight sometimes too.
Nuytens: I see a
bit of similarities with Baylin and another sci-fi
character: Teal’c from Stargate SG-1. Both are
warriors, aliens, characters having a human form that
have betrayed their former masters and live on Earth,
and both have some difficulties integrating into the
human society which results in funny moments.
Karen Cliche: I don’t watch
Stargate, but that is true, that’s exactly what
Baylin is and what happened to her, she left Mongo,
she doesn’t belong on Mongo anymore, even when
she was working for Ming, she didn’t want to
work for Ming she was just trying to survive. So she
had absolutely no loyalty to him. Now that she is
on Earth, it’s funny enough to have two people
or someone from a different culture, coming to a completely
different culture, and watch them, there are so many
committed moments and embarrassing moments and awkward
moments that they experience, but imagine coming from
another planet and coming onto a whole other planet
where everything is different. You know there’s
a lot of funny moments and opportunities for that
that we like to play on the show, because it’s
true she can’t just show up on Earth and be
“well no problem, I know Earth”,
so we make sure we play certain moments when she is
“what is going on?” right.
Gilles Nuytens: You
should watch the first episode of Stargate SG-1, I’m
sure you would find some similarities.
Karen Cliche: Ok. It’s been
on a long time! It’s filmed here too.
Gilles Nuytens: It’s
been 10 years. I hope Flash Gordon will stay as long
Karen Cliche: So do we! We’ll see! If the fans
keep watching and support it, that’s pretty
much what determines a series life span.
Gilles Nuytens: Are
there any practical jokes from the set you’d
like to share?
Karen Cliche: (laughs) There are!
But all I’m going to say is that I have a very
dirty sense of humor and it’s pretty vulgar
at times so I can’t share them publicly but
I think anybody on the cast and crew would agree that
I have a bit of a trucker mouth… and Eric, it’s
funny because Eric is so politically correct and so
sweet and so nice with everybody but with me when
us two are together we just go off and to the most
twisted, deranged places in humor, so we do a lot
of jokes like that, but I will say that the one thing
we always do, is that there are many fart machines
on set and I have attached to my make-up bag there’s
a little remote control that has 6 different fart
sounds, so we like to do them when someone is bending
over we go “pbllltt” you know and everyone
laughs, and it’s completely stupid but after
16 hours on set you want to laugh at something whether
it’s stupid or not, so that’s a little
secret to our set.
Gilles Nuytens: How
much creative freedom were you given with this character?
Karen Cliche: You know actually with
my character I was lucky in the sense that I could
start with a blank sleet and the writers could, and
the costume and the make-up and hair, so there were
no expectations for my character from the fans because
she didn’t exist in the comics. There wasn’t
even too much discussion on what exactly Baylin had
to be like, I think we just let her develop and I
kept throwing little things in and throwing little
comedic moments where I thought they were appropriate
and everybody seem to agree and like that so they
keep writing that stuff in so actually I would say
there was of creative freedom but without much discussion
about it, they didn’t say “Ok Karen
you do what you want” they just let me
do it, and with a combination of efforts Baylin was
created and everybody seems to be happy with her.
Nuytens: What do
you enjoy the most about working on Flash Gordon?
Karen Cliche: Oh Gosh… I would
have to say, as with all of my series, I’ve
been very lucky to go to work and to like and love
everybody and have such a great time and be with people
who are professional and dedicated to their work,
if that wasn’t there no matter how much I loved
my character and the show, I think it would change
my feeling of going to work every day. But because
it’s so much fun and everybody is so gracious
and nice and hard-working, that makes everything on
top of this character that I love even better, it’s
just a combination of everything. I really like Baylin,
I’m really happy to be playing her every day,
I think she’s a really cool woman but I really
have to say that the atmosphere on set is what I think
we’re all the most happy about.
Gilles Nuytens: In
previous interviews, you've spoken about how boring
it can be to portray "normal" characters.
So what aspect of the personality of a character do
you think a "normal" character could have
to interest you?
Karen Cliche: Well when I said that
it was because a lot of people interviewing me were
saying “you’ve played a lot of different
genres” and I’m like “yeah I’ve
played two aliens, a mutant, a musketeer, a man, a
vampire” and I was saying that I really liked
this genre stuff now to the point that when I play
a regular girl, if she doesn’t have any huge
issues, I’m kind of going “Wow where
are my superpowers, where’s another world?”.
I don’t know it depends on the character, when
we say normal character, it depends if she’s
this maybe outrageous, like I played a girl who didn’t
have superpowers obviously last year in a show called
“The Business”, which we just got nominated
for a Gemini award - which is the Canadian awards
for TV – for Best Ensemble Cast, so you can
write that down we’re really happy about that,
so when I was playing her I was playing a normal girl
but she was an ex-porn star and she was kind of funny
and a little bit ditsy so that was really fun, I think
what I’m saying is that I really like characters
who have something really outrageous and unique about
them, and when they don’t I’m like “Boring…”.
There’s only so much you can do with a character
if it’s not written in a certain way, I much
prefer these kinds of characters, this genre type
Gilles Nuytens: Having
a French background, how do you see yourself dubbed
with another voice for the French versions?
Karen Cliche: *(in
French) J’ai fait une série et on a tourné
à Marseilles pendant trois mois* [Translation:
I was on a show and we shot in Marseilles during 3
months], it was called Adventure Inc., it was
about 5 years ago, and they dubbed my voice which
would be much better, my French is not perfect enough
just from not speaking it very much anymore in my
life so *(in French) ma cousine
reste à Chartres en France* [Translation:
My cousin stays in Chartres in France] and she
called me and said “I just heard your voice
in French!” and it was this very deep,
sexy, French voice, and I said “Oh cool
that’s hilarious!” because it’s
so not my voice, but I would much prefer someone else
do my voiceovers than me in French, that’s for
sure, they could do a much better job.
Nuytens: So far
which role that you have portrayed was the most challenging
Karen Cliche: Well I have to say
probably… About 3 years ago I was on a show
called “Young Blades” where I played a
girl who had to disguise as a man to get into the
Musketeers, it was the best time of my life, but as
usual with the best things in your life, they are
usually the most challenging. I hardly wore any make-up,
I had bigger eyebrows, painted-in big brow eyebrows
and my hair pulled back, no make-up; we were shooting
in hi-definition which is very unforgiving, and I
had to be an expert sword fighter, and we learnt how
to ride horses and sword fight at the same time, and
I had to keep my voice very low. So there were all
these things that every day I couldn’t be lazy
about, I really had to commit to walking like a man,
talking like a man, sword fighting, all of these things,
but I tell you it was the best time of my life, I
absolutely loved it but it was the most challenging,
it was the toughest for me to pull that off, and not
make it too much of a joke even if it was a little
bit of a comedy, you want the dramatic moments to
be justified with you taking it seriously. So yeah
I would say that, I don’t know if you guys see
it over there, I don’t think it plays over there,
does it? I think it plays in Eastern Europe, like
Bulgaria, Romania, I’ve had a lot of fans from
over there who know about the show.
Gilles Nuytens: Not
in Belgium, I don’t think so. What are you the
most proud of in your career?
Karen Cliche: I’m proud of
the fact that I’ve done pretty well for myself
I think, I’ve never wanted to be super-famous
and super-rich, I’ve never moved to LA to do
that, I’ve always been lucky enough to work
in Canada and a little bit abroad, I’m really
happily married, I have great friends and a great
family, I have great cats and those are the things
I’m proud of, I think I’ve managed my
life pretty well, to date, I would say. I’m
very grounded, I work for a living, my career is not
my life, my career is my career, my friends and my
family certainly do take priority sometimes over that,
and vice-versa. I think I would say I’m proud
of where I am and how well my life is functioning
at this point. You know because sometimes people say
“Oh I’m super famous, I’m super
rich, I have this great career” and maybe
they don’t have anything else, and the opposite.
I’m really happy, I feel that I have everything
that I need in my life right now. Except for kids,
those will come soon, *(In French)
je veux des enfants!* [Translation:
I want kids!]
Gilles Nuytens: Can
you speak about your experience on “The Dresden
Karen Cliche: Oh that was a great
experience. I did that in December last year, a lot
of the same crew was from Mutant X, which was great,
so it was so fun for me to go to work and see my old
crew from a few years back. And Paul was just a great,
great person to work with. Again, it was that genre
sci-fi type show, and I really like that, I thought
the storyline was really interesting, I got to play
a really interesting character, very double-sided,
it was a lot of fun, it was about 6 days of shooting
and I had a great time. I heard it’s cancelled,
which is too bad.
Nuytens: I haven’t
watched all the show yet, but I like what I’ve
Karen Cliche: Yeah, I did too. I
really liked that storyline. I liked the concept.
Gilles Nuytens: If
you were given the opportunity to play a character
of your choice in a movie of your choice, what would
Karen Cliche: I would love to, and I’ve only
had a few opportunities in my career to do this, I
love very well written witty romantic comedies, and
I love them especially if they have a little bit of
a dark edge to them. There’s a film that I did
called “Summer”, and I just loved it,
I mean it was very low-budget, it was a long time
ago, you know a few people from Montreal who put this
film together, but to this day it was the best written
movie I’ve ever done, it was about three of
us, two guys and a girl, me, about our summer, coming
out of school and not wanting to grow up and get on
with our lives but it was so well-written and so funny
that I just loved playing that, and I’m not
known for romantic comedies at all, I’ve played
these really tough, kind of mean, bitchy characters,
but I have this whole other side to me that I love
to explore and when I get a chance to do that, I’m
so happy. So I think that if I did a film, I would
really, really, really want it to be a romantic comedy,
a very well written dark romantic comedy.
Gilles Nuytens: What
will you keep in mind from Mutant X?
Karen Cliche: I just have the best
memories from that show, I met my husband on the show,
he was the boom operator, and the cast, Vicky Pratt
I just love her to death, and Forbes and Victor the
cast was just unbelievable, I loved going to work
every day for that reason. I really liked Lexa, I
really liked how they wrote her, I loved her character
arc though the show, and it’s too bad it didn’t
go a fourth season, because there was a lot of really
good stuff that could have happened between her and
Forbes’ character, Jesse, and I was really looking
forward to that, because Forbes and I had great chemistry,
and we really liked working together. So nothing but
fond memories of Mutant X. I’m really sad it
didn’t get another season. I know a lot of fans
are really sad too, I keep getting letters “Are
you sure Mutant X is not going for a fourth season?”
and I’m like “No, sorry!”.
always the case when a show is cancelled. But what
can we do…
Karen Cliche: But buy the DVD and
watch it over and over!
Gilles Nuytens: Or
win the lottery and finance…
Karen Cliche: And make the series
go again! That’s a good idea!
Gilles Nuytens: In
one or two words, how would you describe your co-stars
from Flash Gordon? Gina Holden?
Karen Cliche: Gina? One or two words…
Beautiful, big eyes, and fun.
Gilles Nuytens: Eric
Karen Cliche: Witty and, how to put
this in one word, oh God! I want to say that he is
very enthusiastic. Actually you know what, I would
say that Gina is enthusiastic, and Eric is fun. Can
I switch my answers? So Gina is enthusiastic, and
Eric is fun, Eric and I laugh a lot, we have a lot
of fun together.
Gilles Nuytens: Jody
Karen Cliche: Funny, funny, funny,
and twisted. So definitely hilarious.
Gilles Nuytens: Jonathan
Karen Cliche: Jonathan is very professional,
and a fantastic guy, very nice guy.
Gilles Nuytens: Anna
Karen Cliche: Beautiful, and…oh
God I don’t want to say the same thing about
everybody… Oh God, I’m going to say the
same thing about everybody! Beautiful and very nice.
Gilles Nuytens: John
Karen Cliche: John, I just love.
He wouldn’t say that he is a funny guy because
you have to really pay attention. But when you pay
attention, God he is hilarious, he’s very very
funny, and a great actor.
Gilles Nuytens: Andee
Karen Cliche: Really nice, and very
Gilles Nuytens: T.J.
Karen Cliche: T.J. Scott… I
love T.J. He is so energetic and a great visionary.
You really feel like when you’re shooting his
thing he’s got this vision of it, and you just
want to be in his little movie, you’re just
like “Take me away”, he just
has these great, fun, cool ideas.
Nuytens: Paul Shapiro?
Karen Cliche: Paul Shapiro…
Hilarious, he is really funny and one of our favorite
directors to date, and T.J. we just love.
Gilles Nuytens: Panou?
Karen Cliche: I haven’t worked
too much with Panou, but like I said there’s
next episode, we just actually emailed and we’re
like “Oh my God it’s so funny our
scene is coming up!”, so we’re very
excited. Panou is a very… I would say suave,
he is very cool, like a cool cat and a really nice
Gilles Nuytens: Is
there anything else about Flash Gordon that you would
like to say that we haven’t talked about yet?
Karen Cliche: Only that the show
gets better and everybody’s characters become
very well-written and everybody gells so well together,
I think the show just gets better and better, and
I hope that people keep watching it and give it a
chance, and see it for what it really is, and I think
it’s a really great show, we believe in it,
so we hope that everybody else will too.
Gilles Nuytens: Last
question: what can we expect from you in the future?
Karen Cliche: Well that all depends
how long Flash Gordon goes, but I definitely see myself
having a couple of kids soon, I don’t know how
long I will be acting or how often I’ll be doing
it in my life, I have a lot of other interests that
hopefully I can do all at the same time: have kids,
own a little wine bar, do great movies and great TV,
support my women’s charities… I hope I
can do it all, and be happy.
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