Best known for her groundbreaking role as Jaime Sommers in "The Bionic Woman," actress Lindsay Wagner has not completely disappeared from the limelight. Most recently she’s been tapped for a possibly recurring role on SyFy’s “Warehouse 13,” but her long career has earned her the distinction of being called “Queen of the TV Movies” as well. Today, though, her life includes much more than acting; she spends a good deal of her time directing workshops on meditation and holistic healing. She also works with the Inter-Agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect. For those of us who count ourselves as her fans, we’ve put together a collection of quotes from a recent SyFy press conference call interview that Wagner did, describing some of her work both on TV and elsewhere.
On her connection with Jaime Sommers, the bionic woman, today: “She has been part of my journey of my learning. That experience of playing her and having an outlet through story to express a lot of the views that I have about life or human condition and points of view.”
On whether it is frustrating, despite all her accomplishments, to still be known for that one iconic character: “Not at all. I know some actors feel that way, but for me, we put so much of our heart and soul into that, and trying to make it something meaningful, that to me it just says it worked. It doesn’t say to me that I’m stuck in that image, because I went on to do 40 television movies, and series, and features, and mini-series--all kinds of things, playing all kinds of characters. So the show is never a hindrance to me. That series, that experience, that character was so much learning for me about the industry, about how to work with story and put things in it, which then gave me the experience to be able to do it with the television movies that I did, which so many of them were [ones] that I chose or developed to talk about human issues that I wanted to talk about it through story. I was well prepared to do it, so I consider that whole thing to have been a gift to my life. And I love it when people share with me that it was for them as well. That makes me very happy.”
On how her role on “Warehouse 13” changed before she even got on set: “What tickled me most right off the bat when I got to Canada and got my rewrites for the next day, was that they’d rewritten a little bit of the script. The writer had gone to my website for my workshops at lindsaywagnerinternational.com and looked at the kind of work that I was doing, and he pulled from one of the techniques that I teach. He pulled that and put that into Dr. Calder’s treatment on her first appearance, and then allowed me to elaborate on it to get more specific and correct as far as how to do it….It was really impressive to me that they took the time and effort to want to put something new into it, and something that was directly related to the work that I’m doing.”
On “Warehouse 13”’s tampering with history: “I don’t find rewriting history appealing…but the show, [the writers have] done a lot of research, and some of the things that sound like they’re rewriting history are actually facts that they dug up about history. And I find that exciting. Just as in ‘The Bionic Woman,’ when you have a scifi genre, you know you can say things that are not common knowledge, or that may be very true to you, and you may even be able to prove it, but it’s still not publicly accepted. But you can talk about them because if people can’t deal with that, they just write it off that it’s scifi. Not real. It’s fantasy.”
On what she finds to be the most challenging thing about acting: “I think that the working conditions for me are what I find difficult a lot of the times, which has to do with the inhumane hours--the schedule that the movie business, television business, all of it, tends to work int. It makes it difficult to give your best when you’re exhausted, you know.”
On how her Quiet the Mind and Open the Heart workshops are designed to help people: “I teach techniques that were really helpful in my life…we talk about and look at the concept which all of my programs are based on, which is that our experience of any life circumstance is a function of our perspective of that circumstance, not the thing that’s happening itself.”
On her work with the Inter-Agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect: “I did a film called ‘Child’s Cry,” which was about child abuse, and child sexual abuse in particular. The technical advisor that the company had found for me was the founder of ICAN, the Inter-Agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect. And she came to the set and we worked on the script together, and this woman is amazing. Her name is Deanne Tilton, and she’s grown that organization to be an international organization. It’s all over the world now. And, just her view--her ideas for helping as opposed to punishing--see, to me, that’s part of the problem. In all of our human issues, we tend to want to punish instead of help and look at what’s the core of this problem and what we can do to grow out of that. I really appreciated her way of seeing things as well as her help in making this a really accurate story. And as a result of that collaboration, we just ended up developing a great friendship and I came on board to help her grow her organization through my visibility and just have been there for--gosh, how many years now? It’s been maybe 20 years.”