Interview with Tahmoh Penikett – star of PAINKILLERS

Tahmoh Penikett. image source: IMDB
Tahmoh Penikett. image source: IMDB
Tahmoh Penikett is the star of the upcoming sci-fi action thriller Painkillers. “Painkillers tells the story of a squad of marines sent on a classified mission deep in the war-torn mountains of Afghanistan, but when they find the mysterious item they were sent for… it’s not what they were expecting. The next thing they know, Major Cafferty (Penikett) and the surviving squad members wake-up in a military medical facility with no memory of what happened or even who they are. Using an experimental drug, doctors try to “reboot” the soldiers’ memories, but one by one they fall prey to bizarre hallucinations and homicidal fits of rage. Only through snatches of resurfacing memories does Cafferty begin to question the true motives of the hospital staff and discover the shocking, deadly reality behind the otherworldly artifact they found.”Penikett is also know for his work on the TV series “Battlestar Galactica,” “Supernatural,” and many others. had the opportunity to ask Mr. Penikett a few questions about Painkillers and his life in the movie and television industry. Enjoy!

NOTLP: How were you cast as Major Cafferty in Painkillers?

TP: Got a phone call from my agent that the director and producer, Peter Winther wanted to discuss a project with me. I read the script, liked it, we had a Skype conversation where I shared my thoughts on it and we signed not soon after.

I also suggested some casting ideas, one of which they were actually able to cast, Colm Feore as Doctor Troutman. He’s an amazing actor and i’ve always been a huge fan. I can’t tell you how excited I was to work with the man.

NOTLP: What three adjectives would the cast and crew of Painkillers use to describe you?

TP: Cold blooded! Hangry! Disruptive!

NOTLP: You’ve made a career of playing characters at the center or periphery of vast conspiracies. Has this made you paranoid?

TP: Paranoid? Who said i’m paranoid?! Oh.. I see your game. You work for them, don’t you?! Of course you do.. So, for the record, I Tahmoh Penikett have nothing to be paranoid about. Dec. 15th, 2015. 1:33 PM.

Joking aside, I of course I have some paranoia. Anyone living in the Western world who doesn’t in this day and age is likely living in a bubble. We’ve quickly gone from the suggestion of an App having access to our private photos, text, emails and even our phone conversations being widely considered a huge invasion of privacy and an illegal act, to now blindly accepting that this is a normal part of having a phone and living in the digital age. If the fact that anything you type, any photo you take, any correspondence you have in confidence can in theory be accessed by a god dam flashlight application you’ve downloaded, means that we shouldn’t have some level of paranoia , I don’t know what does.

Have you heard about the Dollhouse?

NOTLP: I’ve heard that you’re into Muay Thai. Have you ever had to use these skills to defend yourself in the real world?

TP: Yes. Yes.

NOTLP: What would you love to find laying around on a movie set?

TP: Ninja weapons to attack the producers and cast with.. but like, child friendly ones, so one really gets hurt. BUT, i’ll have everyone soon looking over their shoulder for surprise Ninja throwing star attacks, or Nunchucks attacks to their cabbage!

NOTLP: What onset disaster has ever happened to you?

TP: I don’t know about disaster, but we did stop shooting Dollhouse one day and quickly cleared the studio because of a strong earthquake tremor. I’ve also unfortunately heard about loved ones passing while working.

NOTLP: What’s the scariest movie of all time?

TP: The Exorcist. Without a doubt.

NOTLP: What are the most important qualities in a role?

TP: For me, I want to challenge myself as an artist. Meaning, i’m trying to take roles that scare me. But, foremost I need to understand the characters story that i’m potentially going to take on. I want to understand what drives this character in the story.

NOTLP: If you could play any role from horror or sci-fi literature, comics or film, what role would you choose and why?

TP: Roy Batty in Blade Runner, of course. Because it’s the most bad ass role ever in all of time. I don’t in anyway think I could ever do better than the amazing Rutger, he was absolutely brilliant, but damn would I love a crack at it!

NOTLP: What’s the funniest advice your acting mentor ever gave you?

TP: Hmm.. I once was in a hot, sweaty, cramped room in the dead of summer with forty other eager drama students, patiently waiting for a very well respected, veteran actor who was going to speak to us about the craft. He was over an hour late., but finally arrived with a cocktail in hand, three sheets to the wind, smoke in his mouth, and every bit the cool ass actor we expected him to be. We all wiped the sweat from our brows and excitedly focused in for the experienced wisdom he was about to gift us all with. To summarize, the most memorable thing he said was, “it’s all bullshit. Just remember, it’s all bullshit. The whole f-ing thing. Bullshit.’ There was about 45 minutes of this and then it was done. Not exactly what we were hoping for, but definitely unforgettable.

NOTLP: What’s your favorite line of dialogue (yours or anyone else’s from any film, TV show, etc)?

TP: “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time… like tears in rain… Time to die. or  It’s too bad she won’t live! But then again, who does?”

NOTLP: We asked our readers/listeners what questions they would like us to ask and these are the two big ones.

NOTLP Listeners: Is the set of the television series “Supernatural” as fun as it looks?

TP: Yup. It is. The cast and crew have a well oiled machine, obviously. Jared, Jensen and Misha really set the vibe though with their funny and light on set attitudes. But, they’re always professional when the camera is rolling and they knock it out like the pros they are.

NOTLP Listeners: Were you satisfied with the conclusion of “Battlestar Galactica?”

TP:  Satisfied. Yes, very. Do I think it could have possibly gone on for a season or two more, potentially yes. But, it was Ron Moore’s creation and his to conclude when he saw fit.



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