Syfy aims to roll out a ton of new spaceship shows — but first, a lot depends on the performance of the science-fiction Western Defiance. Last night, we talked to the show's cast and showrunner, and they told us all about their new extraterrestrial frontier series.
Stephanie Leonidas - Irisa
Your character is an alien woman who was raised by a human "father." What's ahead for you two? And what's the relationship like between Irisa and Nolan? Is there love as well as animosity there?
Stephanie Leonidas: Between me and Nolan? Yeah, they would do anything for each other. Their line is they live or die together. They are so fiercely loyal towards each other. They couldn't be without each other. Nolan's raised Irisa since she was a young child. She's also been a rock for him… they really adore each other. But yeah, she can be quite difficult.
Let's talk about your fighting style. What did you have to learn? How did you train? You are quite acrobatic and you kick a lot of butt in this.
Stephanie Leonidas: I had a martial arts trainer while I was in Toronto, which was great fun. He exhausted me everyday, he was brilliant. And the stunt team was amazing. I was practicing throwing knives in-between takes, jumping off stuff, climbing up stuff. I just threw myself into it.
Tony Curran - Datak Tarr
Your character is sort of the disreputable gangster of Defiance. Why does everybody give him so much slack? Because he's such a jerk. Why does [Datak] get away with so much?
Tony Curran: Do you think he gets away with so much? I think he gets away quite a lot, being a jerk obviously, thank you for that. The use of that word. He's in the underbelly of Defiance and if you don't do that he says… you might not be around town much longer. I think that's why a lot of people think that he's a jerk.
There's a lot of play with using different alien cultures. How does your characters use his own alien culture to his benefit, and is that something he's very wedded to?
Tony Curran: Datak uses his culture to his own end, for his own benefit. Many times people think he's just trying to control the situation. But he has a spiritual and religious background that he's very, very… Nothing is going to take that way from him. From his own jihad, if you will. He sticks to his culture in a very tough manner. But in many ways, he's a nasty piece of work. But that nasty piece of work comes from his background. He wasn't born bad, I don't think. Or maybe he was. I think his past has a lot to do with the way he's is now.
Kevin Murphy - Showrunner
Which alien race [on Defiance] is your favorite?
Kevin Murphy: The Gulanee, because they could be anything — we haven't seen them on the show yet, and they're comprised of radioactive mist. But actually, I like the Castithans the best to write. Because they are the most like human beings. They have some of the rather nastier habits of human beings. I tend to stick it to the culture of the Castithans. And it's a good way to kind of hold up a mirror to what we do by looking at the obnoxious things the Castithans do culturally.