The Digital Fix has been granted access to interviews conducted with the cast from Dark Matter. In the first of two features, Anthony Lemke, Alex Mallari, Melanie Liburd , Roger Cross, Shaun Sipos and Melissa O’Neil talk about what led them to the show and give us insight to their characters…
Last week we ran an exclusive interview with Dark Matter showrunner Joseph Mallozzi. Now courtesy of Syfy UK and NBCUniversal, The Digital Fix has been given access to interviews conducted with the cast during the filming of season two earlier in the year. Over the next two weeks, we’ll be continuing our coverage of the sci-fi series alongside our weekly reviews, starting with part 1 of the interviews conducted with the cast…
Featuring: Anthony Lemke (Marcus), Alex Mallari (Ryo), Melanie Liburd (Nyx), Roger Cross (Griffin), Shaun Sipos (Devon) and Melissa O’Neil (Portia)
First up, new season two regulars Melanie Liburd and Shaun Sipos talk joining the show this year…
[Melanie] How is it joining an established cast? All these characters have established relationships but also actors have established relationships, how is it jumping into that?
Melanie: As an actress it was a dream. My character is so much fun to play and everyone is so friendly here.
Anthony: We’re Canadian.
Melanie: They are a bit like the Brits though. Friendly folk. It’s really fun and Nyx is a strong, badass character that is very charming and charms her way out of a lot of situations and has fun with it.
[Shaun] How was it joining an ensemble cast with a lot of back history?
Shaun: Probably one of the most pleasurable experiences I have had so far. Everyone is extremely professional and really kind. There’s no egos and everyone’s really supportive of doing good work. It’s been a really nice transitional experience for me.
Melissa O’Neil also talks about her character and what led to her role in Dark Matter…
It was interesting seeing how Two took control right away. What was it like playing that where you wake up and think what needs to be done?
Melissa: I think that plays into who she naturally is. With regards to the themes of nature versus nurture in the show, it’s interesting to see. Even though she had all her memories wiped, not only did she wake up and feel like this makes sense to me, but it’s the right thing to do. Everyone around her listened and resistance didn’t last long. Three piped up for a bit but most of it, her ideas made sense and it was logical to follow along with the ideas she was saying. I think that made Two a no brainer for leader with what was going on in the show.
What do you grasp onto from that, what about that informs the rest of the character for you?
Melissa: For the most part she follows her gut instinct. If there is a reason she is doing something, you backtrack and figure out logically why she’s making the decision. Her instincts are usually spot on and that why she is an excellent fighter and a leader met with little resistance whether its people on the ship or people she encounters as opponents.
You had a musical career, what made you go into acting and sci-fi?
Melissa: That would be my agent. I was right in the middle of making no money in New York, I was working really hard in a show called Les Miserable. My agent saw the posting for this character and thought of me. I’m not sure what to think about that but he thought I would be the right fit and I hadn’t auditioned for television before that. It snowballed very quickly, it was crazy. Meeting that kind of a character having never done television. I remember the first day there were all these t-marks on the ground and I had no idea what they meant. I leaned on everyone very much that day. It’s been a wonderful transition because the crew and team behind Dark Matter are incredible and it feels like a big family on screen and off.
You had never done action before either, can you talk about how your pushing yourself even more this season and is there a scene that has even impressed you?
Melissa: Yeah our first scene back. The first fight we shot this season. So Two and Nyx a new character played by the beautiful Melanie Liburd, we had our first fight together. Over the summer, I had been training a lot to work with explosive weight training to get those fast twitch muscles going. I felt a huge difference, I felt like I was fighting really fast and it’s nice to get that feedback. Mel’s a great fighter and her stunt doubles fantastic. I think that’s going to be an interesting way to kick off that episode and introduce that new character and get some action going. There was only one other fight last season where Two is fighting a woman and that was Shaun’s sister. That was a great fight.
What about the other mystery that Two is not human? Will we find more out about that?
Melissa: I hope so. I’m not lying when I say I have no idea. We have received up to [episode] 2.07 [She’s One of Them Now] but I imagine we will explore that a bit more. We know she isn’t exactly human but if you open her up she has flesh, guts, blood, and a heart. But she’s got these nanites going through her, she’s been bioengineered and there’s something a bit different about her but that doesn’t make her any more organic than everyone else.
Roger Cross has appeared in a number of cult shows, from Arrow to Continuum. Here he and Shaun Sipos discuss the motivations behind their characters…
Roger, you have done a lot of science fiction and supernatural stuff, when you decided to go into acting was that something you thought you would get into?
Roger: No I didn’t. One of the things when I went to acting school, the instructor said to me was forget all that nonsense. The core of acting, is not acting, you develop a character that takes its own life. On stage you have to be bigger but on film you can be more subtle and that’s still picked up for a camera. But the core of it remains the same. For me, whether I’m doing drama or science fiction, it doesn’t affect the truth of a character. Even if I have makeup on and all the crazy stuff. It’s just something I have always enjoyed and give the same respect. It’s the same thing, you give respect, flesh it out and play the truth of the character as much as you can regardless of the genre.
Shaun, when you are coming into an established show with established cast, when your developing your character, how much comes off the script and direction rather than your actual interplay with the other characters in the same way those characters play off yours?
Shaun: The scripts are the writers bible for the character but of course it’s a 60 minute ensemble show. It’s not like you have a complete encyclopaedia for your character. You have to go inward and create stories that matter to you as an actual human being. Not someone that’s 2D but an actual 3D person. Then you’re on set and have actors that are very talented and that are in the moment. They bring you things you didn’t see when you were prepping. They come at you a certain way and you have to hope your preparation, in terms of who this character is, is solid enough to react in a truthful way to what is being presented in front of him. It’s an interesting journey to create a character and it’s not a monologue you’re not fully in control of, you do your work then you let go and hope it’s there.
Join us next week as we conclude the interviews with the cast, courtesy of Syfy UK and NBCUniversal. In the meantime, check out our review of the latest season two episode here.
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