Portions of this page come from the Queen of Swords presskit. Please do not copy or download.
Maria Teresa "Tessa" Alvarado
Tessie Marie Santiago.
Newcomer cuts a wide swath across 19th century California this fall as Tessa Alvarado, a Spanish beauty who masquerade as the avenging Queen of Swords, bringing fear to evil and hope to good. While she landed the part of the sword-wielding Spanish heroine in her very first professional acting audition, instantly capturing the essence, strength and beauty of the young Latina woman fighting for all things just, Santiago has been preparing for the role all her life.
The Miami-born Cuban-American grew up in a tight-knit family of artists, including a sculptor grandfather, musician father and painter mother. From first playing the piano at age 7 to performing in musicals to studying Shakespeare in London and earning a double major in Film and Theater at the University of Miami, Santiago has always immersed herself in creative endeavors. At the University of Miami, she also starred in the independent film "Echo" ad became the resident "It Girl," acting in many student films. As part of the nationwide search, Santiago read for Queen of Swords, and her life literally changed fro one day to the next.
Since getting her own TV show, the 5-foot-8-inch beauty has filmed two commercials in Spanish and thrown herself into training for Queen of Swords, learning how to horseback ride, flamenco dance and fence. She's particularly proud to play the part of a strong-willed Latina woman battling oppression, since most of Santiago's family fled from Cuba, leaving their homes, relatives and belongings behind, after Castro and communism took hold of the country. The first-generation American is passionate about keeping her Cuban heritage alive, and passing it onto her own children one day.
An avid reader, who counts Henry Miller, Anais Nin and Milan Kundera among her favorite authors, Santiago aspires to work behind the camera, both writing and directing. She loves living in Miami, where she attends plays and concerts, watches foreign films and spends time with her family and lifelong friends.
Colonel Luis Montoya
On Queen of Swords,Valentine Pelka plays Colonel Luis Montoya, a military governor who rules with an iron fist, abusing his power and taxing his subject to the point of starvation. The Machiavellian tyrant is the masked avenger's primary enemy, a believer in executions without trials, enslaving peasants and blackmailing even his best men.
Pelka is an alumnus of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, where in addition to his stage training, he received stage combat training under the direction of John Waller. While at the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company, the Dewsbury, West Yorkshire native played leading roles in "Romeo and Juliet" and "A Woman Killed with Kindness," as well as performed a one-man show entitled "Maud." A familiar figure on British stage and screen, he has appeared in "Nanou," "If Tomorrow Comes," "Hold the Dream" and "Good King Wenceslas."
Pelka's film credits have seen him appearing with Albert Finney in "John-Paul II," with Jason Robards and Glenda Jackson in "Sakharov," with Sir Alec Guiness in Grahame Greene's "Monsignor Quixote," opposite Hugh Grant in the award-winning "Rowing with the Wind" and with Richard Gere in "King David." He had a memorable turn as Sir Patrise in "First Knight" with Sean Connery, and appeared with Parker Posey in the indie "What Rats Won't Do." ,"The Last of the Blonde Bombshells," starring alongside Sir Ian Holm and Dame Judi Densch. (ed.note: this has already aired on HBO), "Sabotage" and most recently "The Pianist."
His notable British television appearances include "Peak Practice," "Mortimer's Law," "Brother Cadfael," "Campion," and "Robin of Sherwood." He played Maurice de Bracy in A&E's "Ivanhoe" as well as had recurring roles as the wildly popular Kronos on "Highlander: The Series," as Korda on "Highlander: The Raven" and on "Life Force."
A creative force, Pelka also draws and paints, hoping to show his work publicly in the near future. A lover of 19th century literature, the actor has a degree in Humanities and speaks French, Italian and some Spanish. Husband and father to a son, Pelka is a student of Aikido since 1993, a proficient horseman and an enthusiastic and life-long supporter of the Leeds United Soccer Team.
(ed. note: If the above sounds familiar, it seems to be an edited version of what you can find here.)
Dr. Robert Helm
Peter Wingfield is Robert Helm, an English doctor who trades his musket for a scalpel, vowing to save lives, not take them, on Queen of Swords. Helm has little patience for Tessa, believing her to be a spoiled member of the nobility, and less for the Queen of Swords, despising the blades with which she deals justice, yet he keeps finding himself strangely attracted to the beautiful avenger in black.
Wingfield was on the verge of completing his medical training when he realized that he did not want to be a doctor and dropped out to pursue an acting career. As a child in Cardiff, Wales, he studied drama at the National Youth Theatre, and resumed his dramatic training years later at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Landing his first acting role because he knew how to drive, Wingfield debuted in Beeban Kidron's "Antonia and Jane."
He has gone on to become a British television staple, having starred in countless productions over the past ten years, including the series "Medics," "Soldier, Soldier," Antonia Birds's "The Men's Room," "Lifeboat," "Nice Day at the Office" and "Noah's Ark," the mini-series "Into the Fire," "Martin Chuzzlewit" and "Crocodile Shoes," and the telefilms "Six Characters in Search of an Author," "Trust Me," and "Alun Lewis: Death and Beauty" in the title role, "Degas and Pissaro Fall Out," "Murder in Mind" and "Over Here." American audiences know and love Peter Wingfield as Methos, the oldest living Immortal on the cult hit "Highlander: The Series." Other U.S. television credits include guest spots on "The Sentinel," "Viper," "Strange World", "Cold Feet.", "The Outer Limits." and "Stargate SG1.
In addition to "Antonia and Jane," Wingfield has appeared in the feature film "Uncovered," directed by Jim McBride. He will reprise the role of Methos for the feature film "Highlander: Endgame." Mr. Wingfield as been cast in the X-Men movie sequel.
While starring in numerous television and film productions, Wingfield found time to remember his stage roots, appearing in "Point of Valaine" at the Chicester Festival Theater, "The Rules of the Game" at the Almelda Theatre and "The Game of Love and Chance" for the Gloria/Cambridge Theater Company. And if television, film and stage were not enough, for two years in the mid-1990's, Wingfield played Simon Pemberton on the long running BBC radio drama "The Archers."
The Welsh actor excelled at athletics as a young man, becoming a national trampoline champion and representing Wales in the national club finals for pole-vaulting and continues to involve himself in sports, particularly marathon running. He also plays the saxophone and flute.
Captain Marcus Grisham
Anthony Lemke stars as Captain Marcus Grisham, Colonel Montoya's most skilled mercenary whose job it is to destroy the Queen of Swords. The American, who fate saved from a well-earned execution, has been humiliated by the fury in black on more than one occasion, and has vowed to take revenge.
Before landing a lead role on Queen of Swords, Lemke logged numerous recurring and guest-starring roles on TV series such as "Psi Factor," "Relic Hunter," The Wb's "D.C.," PAX-TV's "Twice in a Lifetime" and The Disney Channel's "The Famous Jett Jackson." The Canadian actor also co-starred in the television movies "Ricky Nelson: Original Teen Idol" and "Shake,Rattle and Roll," and in four installments of the upcoming mini-series "RoboCop: Prime Detectives." On the big screen, he appeared in Mary Harmon's controversial feature film "American Psycho."
With a degree in Drama and Theatre Arts from the University of Waterloo, Lemke tread the boards on the Canadian stage, having appeared in "Grace and After" and "Lament of Ste. Catherine" at Summerworks, Mark McGrinder's "MacHamlet" and "Power Play," "Nurse Jane Goes to Hawaii" at The Stage Company, "The House of Blue Leaves" for both Theatre Aquarius and King Rudolph Players, "Cymbeline" and "The Berlin Show" at Waterloo Theatre Company.
Lemke, who is well-versed in military foot and rifle drills after being part of the Fort Henry Guard, is a guitar player who also likes to sail and ride motorcycles.
On Queen of Swords, Paulina Gálvez stars as Marta, a gypsy with the wisdom born of the Tarot who is Tessa's long-time servant and confidante. The only person who knows of the young woman's secret identity, Marta doles out equal parts of love, sage advice and Tarot card prophecies, in an effort to protect her beautiful charge in the fight against injustice.
Gálvez, an accomplished Spanish actress, made her debut as the star of Amalio Cuevas' feature film "Bazar Vienna." Soon, she was juggling film, television and stage projects, creating a name for herself in Spain's artistic community.
Since her debut ten years ago, Gálvez has starred in numerous theatrical films including "Esperanzas & sardinas"( Hopes and sardines), "Rincones dle paraíso"(Corners of paradise), "El pianista" (The pianist) and the Tadjik-Swiss film "Kosh ba Kosh," which won the Silver Lion Award at the 1993 Venice Film Festival. For her performance in Manane Rodriguez's "Retrato de mujer con hombre al fondo" (Portrait of a woman with a man behind), she was nominated for Best New Actress at the Goya Awards, Spain's equivalent of the Oscars.
In 1999 alone,Gálvez starred in three films,"Tuve un sueño contigo" (I had a dream with you), "La rosa de piedra"(The rose of stone) and "Tatawo." She has played supporting characters as well, in movies like "Una chica entre un millión"(A girl among a million", "El detective y la muerte" (The detective and the death), "Los baules del retorno" (Return trunk), "Corsario del chip" directed by Rafael Alcazar,"Pajarico"(Little bird) and "Nada en la nevera" (Nothing in the fridge). She will soon be seen in the upcoming release "Honolulu Baby."
On the small screen, Gálvez has appeared on the TV series "Tango," "Curro Jiménez, el regreso," "La banda de Pérez" and "Hospital," and in two installments of the mini-series "El secreto de la porcelana" (The secret of the porcelain". For Catalán television, she starred in "Poble Nou" and "Sitges." Her theatre credits include Paco Suárez's "Bodas de sangre" and Els Juglar's "Yo tengo un tío en América."
Elsa Pataky plays Vera, the young and unfaithful trophy wife of the wealthy Don Hidalgo, on Queen of Swords. A spoiled and callous schemer who agrees to spy for Colonel Montoya, Vera courts Tessa's friendship, fooled by her guise as the pretty Maria Teresa Alvarado and mistaking her as a kindred spirit.
The stunning blonde actress, who has a college degree in Journalism, studied acting with Angel Gutiérrez at The Cámera Theatre for two years. Afterwards, she performed the classical theatre play "El maestro de Danzar" by Lope de Vega. Pataky also studied theatre at the Cultural Center of Las Rozas in Madrid, and for two years, took a movie course with Paco Pino, one of the best Spanish drama teachers. Her professional debut was as Raquel on the television series "Al salir de clase" for the director Antonio Cuadri, who also directed her in the telefilm "Clara." Additional small screen credits include the prime-time series "Tio Willy."
For cinema, Pataky headlines Pascal Jongen's upcoming "Menos es más" (Less is more) and Alvaro Fernández Armero's "El arte de morir" (The art of dying), as well as appeared in "Tataro."
Pataky, who speaks Spanish, Rumanian, French and English, was born in Madrid to a Spanish father and a Rumanian mother. Her interest in sports includes roller-skating, skiing, horseback-riding, sky-diving and parachuting. She also likes to read and dance.
Don Gaspar Hidalgo
On Queen of Swords, Tacho González is Don Hidalgo, a wealthy Spanish landowner residing in the New World. Intimidated by Colonel Montoya, Hidalgo and the other Dons turn a deaf ear to the cries of the oppressed, fearing that any protest will turn the dangerous tyrant into an enemy.
González has had a long and varied career in Spanish film and television, having worked as a cinema and stage actor, a TV presenter, a scriptwriter and a dubbing actor, adapter and director.
He is probably most famous for his many works as a presenter on the television programs "Latrica, latrica," "La Repanocha," "Vai por ti," Xacobeo 99 "Sináis Xacobeos," Xacobeo 99 "Viaxeiros no camiño" and Xacobeo 99 "Veo Veo." He is also a television scriptwriter, having penned a "Candid Camera"-type sketch for the program "Taxi."
As an actor, González appeared in the feature film "Divinas palabras" (Divine words), directed by José Luis Garcia Sánchez. He toured for a year with the theatre group ITACA and appeared in "O tiempo" at Xacobeo 99.
He is legendary in Spanish dubbing circles, having adapted and directed dubbing for Columbia TriStar Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Bros., R.T.V.G., R.T.V.E. and Antena 3 TV. González is also a dubbing actor for many of the same studios, as well as for Sony Entertainment Group, U.I.P., Buena Vista International, Cartel Films, Canal+ and Tele 5.
Born in 1961, González studied at Universidad de Santiago de Compostela. A performance teacher specializing in speaking and presenting, he has mastered Spanish and Galician.
All horses are either pure or cross breed. Queen of Swords uses both. The crosses are:Spanish/British
The show has many "Queen" horses--all male. Most male horses are kept "natural."
Queen of Swords Horse: Chico
Chico has two stunt horse doubles: Escandalo and Champion. Champion is 70% Andalusian
Captain Grisham's Horse: Montero (Russell Crowe rode Montero in "Gladiator".)
Col. Montoya's Horse: Salan.
To the Mission