DARK MATTER MCM Comic Con London Press Event

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We had the chance to sit down with some of the cast of Syfy’s Dark Matter – Roger Cross (Six), Jodelle Ferland (Five), Melissa O’Neil (Two) and Zoie Palmer (The Android) at London MCM Comic Con 2016.

Dark Matter Cast

Check out the Transcription of the Press Event below.

QUESTION How does it feel to be a part of London MCM Comic Con?
Roger It feels fantastic! Happy to be here! (jokingly) No, it’s great. I love it, I’ve been here before. (others are surprised) yes I’ve been to this before.
Melissa I’ve never been here before.
Zoie I’ve never been here before either, not to this con I’ve been to the UK several million times. Yeah I was born here not here, not in this room.
Roger (Interjects) It was next door.
Melissa That’s so surprising to me because I feel like you do a lot of cons.
Zoie I do, but never ones here. I did one in Nottingham for Robin Hood.
Jodelle We’re very happy to be here.
Roger I did the one when we were up in Blackpool. That was a fun trip.
QUESTION What’s different about Dark Matter compared to other Sci-Fi series?
Roger The whole memory loss thing is not new, it is the combination of the characters and how they have put it together. The question of can you escape your past or will you be victims of your former actions and I think asking that broader question makes it rather than just the genre and it enhances everything. And then on top of it you get the great spaceship and all the great effects.
QUESTION Is it a different challenge as an actor having to play a character with memory loss?
Melissa It feels very natural actually, especially because as we were reading the scripts we weren’t told what was about to happen. For most of us we had to read the scripts and discover it as we were going along and so, you know as an actor as well as a person the characters are discovering it as they’re going along in the story, we had a lot of parallels as the actor to our characters.
Roger And it layered the characters and as you learned, more you can add these other dimensions that enhances it and makes for richer characters.
Jodelle It makes it easier really. Usually when you’re playing a new character you have to act like you’ve been that person for your whole life and you’re just on day one like, “Aaah I’ve never done this before” and when you’re playing a character who doesn’t know who they are you get to discover it at the same time.
QUESTION For each of you what is it initially that connected you with your character and what do you think they contribute to the show overall?
Jodelle For me it is that Five is really weird, she’s unique and I just relate to her being that way (asks for the second part of the question then turns to Roger) What do you think Six has brought to the show?
Roger For me I liked his sense of fairness, his trying to do the right thing and he had that great moral centre and compass that yeah you might not like whatever but you should do the right thing, and he tries to do that and lives his life that way. I like that about him and he is the voice of reason in a lot of ways whereas you have One who says, “We’ve always gotta be heroes” and Three who says, “We have to do this” and Six is like well how about we do what is right and find the right thing to do and you don’t always agree with it, but you do it so I like that about him.
Melissa I am just biting to hear what Zoie’s answer to this question is going to be.
Zoie Well it’s actually funny because as you were talking I was just thinking that I played a doctor in the last show (Lost Girl) and she was probably the most socially inept character on the show and now I play an Android who is literally the most socially inept character probably on the planet, but I was thinking about the fact that ironically I think the most emotionally available and by that I mean everybody else is protecting themselves, all of the characters on the show they give as much as they feel comfortable giving whereas the Android gives away whatever she has even though what she has is so limited she gives a bit all the time, so I think that aspect of the character appeals to me for some reason.
QUESTION With you, Roger and Zoie coming from two of the biggest genre shows (Roger from Continuum and Zoie from Lost Girl) in recent memory, do you feel that Dark Matter could rise to those heights?
Roger Most definitely it has the potential to be that. You know we’ll see what happens in another season or two and we’ll see what you guys think at the end of season two, but most definitely I think it has the potential to be up there.
Zoie I completely agree. I think season two is going to blow season one out of the water; it’s a really strong, interesting season and John and Paul are no strangers to a successful series with Stargate of course and so much potential absolutely, lots of it.
QUESTION So what I really like about the character Two is she naturally steps up and becomes the leader of the Raza, and no one questions it based on her gender which I really love. No one questioned it because she’s a female, they accept it because they feel she knows what she is doing and she’s a really great role model. There is a really great foundation called the Geena Davis foundation (http://seejane.org/) and their catchphrase is if she can see it she can be it and little girls can see Two stepping up and being in control and no one questioning her and they can think I can do that too I can take control and I know what I am doing. So I just think that is a really great thing about Two.
Melissa What is your name? (Press member answers Presley) Hi Presley, it is very nice to meet you, well said.
Zoie Very well said. Here here.
Melissa It is a great observation. I am glad you pick up on that and it seems like you are sharing it too.
QUESTION Picking up on that observation in a genre like sci-fi, is that particular dimension of the show something that as actresses you’re mindful of when you’re reading scripts and when you’re approaching a project?

(the strength of female characters and ensuring that they are not marginalised in a way that sometimes the allegation is the sci-fi genre has a bad habit of doing)

Melissa I know that the team behind Dark Matter is trying to move away from qualifying characters and their strength by their gender and saying that sets them apart, that that’s set their strength apart and makes it extra special because of their gender and in fact it is just another strong character that is stepping up to the plate and is the best option for the role and by role I mean the position in the ship and the context of the story. Like Six, Two is also level headed for the most part unless she is put in a do or die situation and they are kind of the pair parental figures and together they figure out what’s the best move at all times.
Roger What I like about what you are saying there is it’s like what is great or will be great going forward is once again not worrying about the colour or the gender or anything like that. It is like the best person will get to do the job and then you can forget about all the questions, and it’d be nice for us to get to that point in society as well as television and the sci-fi genre where we can get past it. Where the captain doesn’t always have to be a forty year old middle aged Caucasian gentleman and things like that and just be.
Melissa That’s what I do appreciate, that I think on our show we’ve not sexualised the main female characters on our show, not that that’s not a part of everyday life because it is but I do think that the market in that genre especially on the television.

Not that sexuality isn’t a part of human nature, but we’re not heavily featuring it in a way that sensationalises it and makes it something that is the focal point and the main thing that she brings to the table, which circling back I think is important for us to see representations of on television so that young women can see that’s not the only thing we need to bring to the table in order to be seen and heard and matter.

QUESTION Do you like television has move on from marginalising and stereotyping according to gender?
Roger There’s always some of that but if you look at television right now it is a great time to be a lead female, there are so many female leads out there kicking butt and doing their thing. So I think it has most definitely grown in that way and moved on, the colour thing… we still got to work on but I don’t want to get into that bigger issue there, but yeah we’ve definitely come a long way.
QUESTION Do you think that there is a worry that female characters will be portrayed as one of the guys and that females can’t showcase their femininity as well as being a kickass character?
Melissa That’s really interesting that you bring that up because I think that comes back to the writers’ room and I think that it is important to illustrate an entire picture of a woman and that’s hard to do, and I think our show we have a good representation especially of all of the different ways that femininity can be expressed. We have a young woman on the show, we have a woman on the show and we also have an android who is like a female and is feminine in her own way. She’s got her own thing going on and we explore… I can’t say a lot about it but we explore that in season two as well. We’ve also got featured characters that come in like Three’s wife and she’s a beautiful representation of a strong woman who’s also if we have to use that stereotype – as feminine. I think that is also challenging that as well. What is the stereotype?
Roger But also we have to have diversity because not everyone is the same and some women are softer, some men are softer.
Zoie I was just about to say as much work as we are doing in trying to show a three dimensional woman, we have work to do in showing a three dimensional man. We have as many stereotypes about what it is to be a man as we do what it is to be a woman, what it is to be a black person, what it is to be an Asian person. We all have what we imagine that looks like and so hopefully as much work as we’re doing on the idea of a female, I hope we’re just blowing down the assumptions of what it is to be any kind of a person.
QUESTION Dark Matter plays around with the idea that people are good and that they naturally do good things, but then certain experiences will turn them bad and make them do bad things and do things that aren’t naturally right. So your characters did bad things but then they got amnesia and forgot the experiences that turned them into bad people. Now they’re back to being good people and trying to do the right thing. Now as they slowly get slowly get back some of their memories some of them start trying to do bad things again. Do you believe the same thing, that people are naturally good and do you take that into consideration for portraying these characters?
Melissa I think that everyone is doing what they feel is right for them in that moment and whether that is good or bad is based on the lens the person doing it sees through. I think that’s the fun, it’s like the greatest exercise in empathy is to get into the shoes of whoever this “bad” person is or whoever this “good” person is and trying to make whatever decision that they’re making in that moment be completely rational – this is the right choice to make in this exact moment and it doesn’t matter if I’m good or bad, that’s none of my business. This is what I need to do right now because ‘What do I want?’
Roger I think that bigger question you’re asking about, do I think that people are inherently good? I think there are a lot of people who try to do the right thing and as you say, as you go along you get jaded by events, society or people betraying you and different things that happen to you along the way, but there are some people, let’s be honest who are born not so good and they do bad things, but generally speaking, yes I think people will try to do the right thing if it’s convenient for some.
QUESTION What moments in your career would you never want to forget?
Roger All of it (laughs).
Jodelle I don’t really want to forget any of it.
Melissa I have a good one, the other day my agent said that he was trying to find out from the casting director, “Are you going to Melissa recur on this next season?” and he was telling me this story and he said the casting director was like, “I’m sorry WHO are you talking about?” and I told my agent please don’t ever keep stories like that away from me, I always want to hear stuff like that because it’s important to have humility and to remember. Sure some people know you in one realm but really the world is so big. You’re an ant and it is important to remember that. So I hope to have many more experiences like that to keep me humble.
Jodelle That happened to me one time when I called the Dark Matter office, they were like, “and what was your name?” (laughs).
QUESTION What are you guys up to now then?
Zoie We’ve just finished filming so people flew home and reconnected with their families and friends.
Jodelle We have more conventions coming up. Auditions, life things like that.
Roger I did something fun that I can’t tell you about (laughs).
Jodelle (To Roger) Thanks for sharing.
Melissa What can we tell you guys about season 2 of Dark Matter? Well first of all we air July 1st in the US and July 4th here in the UK. What can we tell them (the press)? We start off in Galactic prison and it is a very dark season.
Zoie There is a lot more happening. We were establishing so much by the nature of the show, the characters and the fact that they had amnesia and trying to figure out who they were. Now we’re off and running, now we have established the world and now here we are living in it.
Melissa We do a lot more adventures splitting off from each other.
Jodelle We have a lot of adventures this season!
Melissa Last year we were doing a lot of ship based ensemble pieces and this year we’re really branching off and going off on our own adventures. Sometimes it felt like we don’t even work together.
All I know!
Jodelle (To Zoie) I wouldn’t see you for ages.
Melissa Am still looking forward to seeing everything that’s happening because the scripts were great. Fast paced with a lot of action and drama.
QUESTION Where are you guys ultimately hoping the show runs to? It is darker this season, is that a trend you want to see continuing?
Melissa I hope there’s a balance. I like the darkness in this upcoming season.
Jodelle Sometimes shows go so dark so fast that it just gets depressing to watch. I like where we are at right now. I wouldn’t want to get too dark too quickly.
Zoie In the moments that are heart wrenching or just sort of thriller-esque, then you can have the levity.
QUESTION To bring it to a happier side of things, as Zoie do you ever pick up the script and say why are they picking on the Android over and over again?
Zoie I seem to get tazed a lot, I seem to be able to take anyone down with one fell swoop, but if I’m not looking (slaps hands together). I more worry about what I have to say on a weekly basis as opposed to if I get tased. I get to lie on the ground and I don’t have to say anything. My lines are something else.
Roger We don’t envy her.
Zoie So that’s tough. That’s probably the hardest part of my job sometimes. Just figuring out how I’m going to memorise the words when I don’t even know what I’m saying.
Jodelle My lines are not nearly as difficult to memorise as yours are, but I still don’t know what they mean when Five goes off on her little techie rants. I’ve got no clue what I’m saying.
Zoie But you say it with conviction.
Jodelle I probably shouldn’t tell people that I don’t know, I feel like it is convincing enough if I don’t let them know, but it is out there now.