Amanda Tapping kissed, and now she's finally telling.
Earlier this week I chatted by phone with the "Sanctuary" star and producer about the upcoming two-part Season 4 finale, but before we talked about "Sanctuary for None," I just had to ask about "Monsoon," the season's fourth episode.
And that controversial kiss between her character, Dr. Helen Magnus, and the very attractive scientist Charlotte Benoit (Sandrine Holt).
"I just thought it was a nice kiss … I don't think we were trying to push any buttons particularly,” Tapping said from Vancouver on Tuesday. “What makes it a big deal is not who she is kissing. It’s that wow, she finally got some.”
In the episode, Magnus traveled to a remote African island to meet financial adviser Richard Feliz (Carlos Rota) only to get stuck in the middle of a hostage situation. Spoiler alert, but she kicked ass as usual, dispatching the criminals and freeing the hostages, including Charlotte. At episode’s end, as you can see in the video clip below, Charlotte gives our Helen a kiss—and Helen reciprocates.
No big deal, thought Tapping when she saw the script and filmed the scene. But viewer reaction ranged from bewilderment to disgust to praise to accusations that it was just a stunt.
“It just made sense to me,” Tapping said. “It’s two people who have gone through this incredibly harrowing experience. Magnus is shocked by the kiss at first. She wasn’t expecting it … And then she is like, ‘Oh yeah, I remember what it’s like to be kissed.’
"Because let's face it, Helen does not get out enough, so regardless of whether it was a man or a woman, I think that she was ready for some comfort and … suddenly this beautiful woman kisses her and she goes, 'Oh yeah, I haven’t been kissed like that in a long time.'"
Tapping said that initially the scene called for only Charlotte to kiss Helen, but Tapping thought Magnus needed to acknowledge the kiss in a bigger way. “Which is why we put the line in, ‘I haven’t been kissed like that in a long time,’ and then I said she needs to initiate the next kiss: ‘I haven’t been kissed like that in a long time and that was really nice.’”
Tapping was shocked that two women kissing would cause controversy. "I don't know, maybe because I just am that dumb and that naïve that I think, 'Really? Two women kissing is a terrible thing?' I don’t, so I’m shocked when people think that it is … I just thought, 'It's just two people kissing.'
"As old as [Helen] is, clearly she has been with women [before]. We've already established that. We've already talked about that, so it’s no big surprise that Helen is not gender specific when she chooses love."
Negative reaction to the gal-on-gal aspect of the kiss didn’t rattle Tapping as much as did claims by some viewers that it was simply a stunt by episode writer Damian Kindler and director Martin Wood to attract viewers and/or to appease gay fans. "I was [saying], 'No, no, no, no!'" Tapping said. "If it was Richard Feliz at the end who kissed her she would have still said, ‘I haven’t been kissed like that in a long time.'"
As is usually the case, the majority of “Sanctuary” fans had positive things to say about the kiss, and the episode. And that, Tapping said, is the wonderfully rewarding thing about her job.
“We also got an incredible number of really positive comments, not only from the gay, lesbian and transgender community, but just from our straight fans, from all the different aspects of the fans, from men and from women all saying, ‘That was lovely. It was great.’”
I’ll have more from my chat with Tapping after “Sanctuary for None: Part 1,” which airs at 9 p.m. Dec. 23 on Syfy. We talked a lot about those episodes, and I would hate to spoil anything. But I will tell you this: Helen isn't done kissing.Copyright © 2015, RedEye