The concluding part of our coverage of interviews with the cast of Syfy’s Dark Matter.
Over the last few weeks we have not only been reviewing each episode of Dark Matter season two, we have also been covering additional features on the show, starting with our exclusive interview with the showrunner Joseph Mallozzi. And courtesy of courtesy of Syfy UK and NBCUniversal, The Digital Fix was given access to interviews conducted with the cast during the filming of season two earlier in the year.
Last week we covered part 1 of the interviews with the cast as newcomers Shaun Sipos and Melanie Liburd talked about joining Dark Matter, while original cast members Melissa O’Neil and Roger Cross gave us insight to their characters. Now we conclude, with more from Anthony Lemke (Marcus), Alex Mallari (Ryo), Melanie Liburd (Nyx), Roger Cross (Griffin), Shaun Sipos (Devon) and Melissa O’Neil (Portia).
Continuing from last week, Roger Cross talks about his character Griffin / Six and his actions at the end of the last season which changed the dynamic of the show.
Six didn’t have a real crisis of faith that made his betrayal make sense. When you learn something like that about your character, both that he was part of this awful event, without his memory, knowing that it was an awful thing and you don’t want to be a part of that. How does that change your character and how you look at him knowing that’s a fact, as you knew there are bad guys but not exactly why?
Roger: That was one of the great things about the show. The whole thing about can you reinvent yourself? Are you a victim of your past? Can you go beyond that? Can you recreate yourself? But then there is things you just can’t undo and what made you who you are. No matter how hard you try, you are who you are. But then again maybe you can change some things, then you find out you killed thousands of people so maybe it’s more than a little thing. So it’s going to affect you. As much as you want to move on, you have to start from here and now, be the ultimate me. You now know the things you have done in your life and know you are not a great person, and that’s the crisis of faith. You stay true to the ideology in your head or let yourself be a victim of your past and succumb to it.
You have that big reveal, did it give you a moment to pause and think “I have betrayed my crew and maybe I’m not coming back next season?”
Roger: No it didn’t. I thought they had something in mind. When it did get revealed, we had spent the whole season building this great comradery and we were all so different and diverse. Then we came together, thought the world was against us, relied on each other and became this great unit. Now I threw that away and I won’t be part of that thing we created. But that’s when cool possibilities come up and it gives the character a place to go. Whether you can fix those broken bonds and wounds or will they ever trust you again?
When you both started I’m sure you had different amounts of information to play with, is your place on the ethical compass made clear to you? Do you play it as if you are fundamentally good people or do you keep an open mind that the narrative can let you be bad people and still be heroes of the story?
Roger: I think that’s what was fun. We wake and think we are good people. We are here to save people and give them some weapons, they are going to fight. Then it turns out we are going to kill them. So I don’t feel like that bad of a person but obviously we had to do bad things to get where we are. It’s like kids in certain neighbourhoods, if you don’t join gangs you get bullied. You need a support system whether people understand it or not. It’s better to belong to a gang doing horrible things then not and be a victim of everyone. It doesn’t change you fundamentally… but it does. Everyone has a bit of good and bad in them, but it’s what you allow to take over. Especially in a stressful circumstance when the truth comes out of the character of the person.
It’s interesting because as the characters show, if we hadn’t lost our memory, the place we might come from where we allow the dark side to take over, we will do whatever we have to do to get there, and it’s like being given this life to start over. In some cases that’s what people do in therapy, start from a fresh place and move forward but how many of us really can?
Next, Anthony Lemke talks about his character Marcus / Three, his season one friendship with Griffin / Six’s and his reaction to the betrayal (which we’ve only recently started to see that heal in the latest season two episode)
Having begun this with no knowledge, having amassed an amount of knowledge then the season having the dynamics realigned, where do you feel this begins internally, in terms of narrative?
Anthony: Three has always been a kind of guy who doesn’t trust easily. I think that was an underlying theme for the first season. This notion [of] these individuals having to learn to trust each other in a situation where they otherwise might not. For people who that might be difficult, Three is one of those guys.
What was your reaction like to finding out about Six?
Anthony: There are two reactions, the reaction of the actor. The way I reacted at first was kind of like sorrow and joy that it wasn’t me. You never know what that means for season 2. I love this show, and the character, and if I had been the traitor that would have taken my character in a different direction. I felt like Roger and I as characters had developed a cool ‘brother-brother’ thing and had this weird, grudging respect for each other as the two ‘guys’ guys’ on the ship. When I found out it was him I was sad as an actor as I was going to lose a friend. It’s a real feeling inside of you. All of those great scenes. My character wouldn’t trust him anymore. I didn’t know if he would be there, and how much, in the second season, and I really enjoyed my scenes with Roger in the first season. So my first reaction was sorrow and loss in a way.
What was Three’s reaction? [Did] it involve guns?
Anthony: Everything in Three’s life involves guns!
Three really comes off, at least to the audience, as the one most comfortable with being a bad guy in the past. Is that the case, is he ok with it? Does he care about seeking redemption?
Anthony: In season 1, he doesn’t [care]. It’s that simple. He has a backstory, as you know, with Sarah, so he has an element of good in him, but in season 1 he’s a survival-of-the-fittest kind of guy. “Whatever I need to do to survive, I will.” It’s a very simple moral code. It’s almost amoral. It’s the idea that if I survive at the end of the day, then I have won. You can probably formulate what kind of person would develop that moral code and in season 2 you might start seeing reasons why he is the way he is. That’s what is joyful about Three in a way, as he’s got this certain world view. It’s not about being bad and torturous, there’s a certain joy. Whenever I posed a question difficult to answer my filter is “What do I gain out of it?” It’s a simplicity and a joy.
Finally Alex Mallari (Ryo / Four) talks about the motivations of his character.
Alex, I was interested in how Four jumped into his old life even though they weren’t his memories he was reacting too, what is it about his character that made him pursue that, even though he doesn’t know it himself?
Alex: I think we all as people have these instinctual feelings where we feel we need to follow this path and don’t know why. Four is very intuitive and I think he feels something that begs for him to take that path to figure out what that balance is and where that story line is going. As an emperor you are not going to leave that alone. There’s money, gold and an entire planet you can possibly rule, so you’re going to figure that out. I think that’s what it is, his intuition to follow that feeling and to figure out what’s going on with his father.
I find it interesting how Five brought the humanity out of the crew, Four was more resistant to that, even more so than Three where you let your feelings show, whereas Four really pushed back on that. What is it about the character that refuses to come out of his shell?
Alex: I don’t think he’s in any position of refusal or denial. I think he’s in a phase of consideration and considering various obstacles and possibilities. Everything he had heard and experienced in there is from crew members. He has so much to consider. He’s not a reactive person, he’s thoughtful and methodical, he’s considering so many things and might be plotting something in his mind. God knows what it is but I’m sure he’s collecting things now, and conjuring up a story or idea to figure out what to do next. He’s calculated.
He’s also an observer; he can tell you the most about everybody else. Does that factor in for Season 2 where he reveals things people didn’t know he saw about their characters?
Alex: Anytime Four says something at all it’s a revelation. He doesn’t talk for the sake of talking. There’s purpose behind that speech. Even when he doesn’t talk there’s purpose behind it. I’m sure he has his moments that help reveal something about someone, as he always has.
What’s the coolest weapon or piece of technology your characters get to use?
Alex: I love the sword. That was easy.
Anthony: The most fun, in a way, is Bubba as Bubba becomes a character. As an actor it’s just us dancing, the rest is on the computer. We don’t hear anything, they don’t even click. Bubba is the object I hold in my hands and pretend is a weapon and is the most fun as it’s a character. It doesn’t just shoot, it bounces people off walls, the battery runs out. It’s this whole other thing that’s fun to interact with as with others, people just die, Bubba’s not that simple. It’s super heavy you can’t hold it up, it’s a fun weapon, you have to manipulate it. You are running with it, it’s a big lug and a difficult thing to work with but definitely my favourite.
Three and Five get to hang out this season, what do you like about that relationship and the way it’s unfolded?
Anthony: Five makes Three a better person and I don’t think that’s unique to Three, I think she’s the one who reminds us that we are a family. I think she’s the one that keeps the odd band of miscreants together. I like the paternal/fraternal aspect. Because of her age it’s somewhere between fatherly or brotherly or older uncle. For me it’s fun to play as an actor, as it’s not how Three is with anybody else. Everyone proves Three he is wrong but that doesn’t mean he has learnt anything and there are very few characters that he has learnt anything from, and she is one of them.
Is there anything that changed as your character figured out who he was and then everyone else, did he get any more empathetic to the others when he realised what he had done himself?
Anthony: I think yes. When he learned he was not all bad and there was someone who believed in him and loved him. I don’t think he ever thought this is a guy that once was noble in one little part of his life. He was noble almost by accident, he wasn’t going to leave. He was like “what do you do now?” I was sort of seeing Three like the farmer that has got two sons and one son says “I will do it” and the father says “that’s great” and the other says “Are you kidding me? I’m not going to do this” and [got] drunk and partied and goes the whole nine yards.
In the end it’s the second son that does it and I feel like that’s Three. He is the guy that says he is always going to let you down and in the end he doesn’t. When the chips are really down he sees himself as the person that the second son declares himself to be. In the end he does the right thing and that’s the ceremony. He thinks they have him all wrong, I’m not the guy who stays, I’m the second son, the one who leaves. Then she collapses in front of him and he can’t leave because he isn’t that person.
This concludes the interviews with the cast of Dark Matter. Once again, a big thank you to Syfy UK and NBCUniversal for providing them. In the meantime, check out our review of the latest season two episode here.
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