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Interview with Grant Bowler and
Stephanie Leonidas of "Defiance" on SyFy 4/11/13
Syfy has really put a lot of money into promoting this
new show of theirs, and one of the things they've done is
provide many interviews with the cast and creators of the
show. I was happy to speak with these two, especially Grant
Bowler who is so gorgeous and has a wonderful accent as
well. The call was a lot of fun! They clearly have a good
Moderator: Maureen Granados
April 11, 2013
1:00 pm CT
Operator: Ladies and gentlemen thank you for standing by.
Welcome to the Defiance conference call.
Maureen Granados: Thank you. Hi, everyone; thanks so much
for joining us on our call today with Grant Bowler and
Stephanie Leonidas, two of the stars of Defiance.
Hi guys. Thanks so much for doing this today. We're all
really excited because, if you don't know by now, Defiance
premieres Monday, April 15 at 9 on Syfy and the game is
already out in stores.
So I think without further ado we'll start the call and
we'll kick it over to everyone's questions.
Operator: Our first question will come from the line of
Jamie Ruby with SciFi Vision. Please proceed with your
Jamie Ruby: Youíre both obviously are in the game, can you
kind of talk about that whole process and how it's obviously
different from acting for television?
Stephanie Leonidas: Do you want to start?
Grant Bowler: Steph, you want to take that?
Stephanie Leonidas: Okay. All right well I'll say a couple
of words but Grant's so much better at talking about the
game and stuff; he's done a lot more than me.
But sorry, so the differences between...?
Jamie Ruby: Between filming - well acting - for both. I
guess you don't actually film the game, but you know what I
Stephanie Leonidas: Yes, sure. Yes I guess for me it was
just there were some shots after a scene from the green
screen where they would take body images of the character
and the way I'd move and stuff to use that in the game and
also some voice ADR. I mean Irisa doesn't talk too much so
it was just kind of mumbles in the game.
But Grant did a lot more so I'll let Grant continue.
Grant Bowler: Yes sure, I did a bunch of - I did end up
being recorded in terms of general moves, you know, how I
pick things up, how I put things down, how I walk, how I
talk, that sort of thing in the game which is completely
different than acting in front of a camera in the sense that
what they're doing is they're building a library of your
physicality so that they can then go away and they do your
performance. That side of it was a bit fascinating to me.
But the one that I really enjoyed was the actual motion
capture sessions doing cut scene stuff for the game which I
did a few of. I did a number of scenes where we actually -
they hired a couple of actors and we did the scenes for the
And what's different there between motion capture and
filming is that they have in a motion capture studio you
were the funny scuba suit with glowy balls all over it which
is the world's most unattractive wardrobe you could ever put
Stephanie Leonidas: I was sad I didnít get to do that.
Grant Bowler: You will; don't worry, I'll take the photo.
And the studio itself has something like 400, 500 cameras
surrounding the space that you're working in so when you do
a scene I'd say to them what's your frame and they'd say oh
we don't know what the frame is, you act the scene and then
we'll create frames around what you're doing.
And that was completely new to me. The idea of being able to
have a complete and utter sandbox where you just do whatever
performance comes into your mind and then they'll punch in
for a close up here, they'll cut there, they'll go into a
two shot there and they'll decide all of that after seeing
what you do, is completely counter to the filmmaking
process. So it's exactly the opposite. And again a bit
nerve-wracking and new because you actually don't know how
they're going to cut it. You have no idea as an actor how
it's going to cut which is quite intimidating at times
unless you trust them of course and then it's incredibly
Jamie Ruby: At least you don't have to do take after take if
that got that many cameras, right?
Grant Bowler: That's right, no it's only a few takes. And
when you're happy they're happy and they go away and they
make up the scene.
Jamie Ruby: Okay great. And have you two played it or are
you going to play it?
Stephanie Leonidas: I had a little go. I crashed into a wall
and couldn't reverse so I wasn't very good. But I'm actually
really excited to start playing. I got one of the games
today so I'm definitely as soon as I get back to London go
Grant Bowler: I'm less productive as a human being than
Steph. I have the game on PC, PlayStation and X Box...
Jamie Ruby: Whoa.
Grant Bowler: And yes I've been playing it. I played it the
first time oh well before the beta at E3 last year and I've
played it at every stage of development all the way through.
I was on the alpha when it was testing and I was on the beta
and I was on it in the prerelease a few hours before it
actually launched. So I've been there since the thing was up
Jamie Ruby: That's great. Well thank you both of you.
Stephanie Leonidas: Thank you.
Grant Bowler: Thank you.
Operator: Our next question will come from the line of Tony
Tellado with Sci-Fi Talk. Please proceed with your question.
Tony Tellado: I wanted to ask you about one thing we didn't
cover was special effects and what's it like for you both to
kind of act to things that aren't there.
Grant Bowler: Well you know sometimes you have that
experience anyway with people that are there.
Stephanie Leonidas: Thanks, Grant. Am I that bad?
Grant Bowler: You know, acting's a process of - as a
professional actor you don't say to the other actor okay now
you have to create a performance that I believe so that then
I can just stand there and react to you. As an actor what
you do is you believe the other person no matter what they
say. If Stephanie's there with a rubber forehead and a bunch
of paint and a clown wig -- sorry Steph...
Stephanie Leonidas: That's a bit harsh.
Grant Bowler: It's a bit harsh. But hey listen it's nothing
nowhere near as ugly as what's on the other side.
Stephanie Leonidas: Very true, very true.
Grant Bowler: It's my job to believe it, just go okay she's
an alien and vice versa with her, you know?
So the green screen stuff which I think is what you're
getting at, the key to green screen and this is where Gary
Hutzel and his team have been phenomenal, is that it's one
thing to believe what's in front of you it's another thing
when there's nothing there to have something to believe in.
And those guys have been great. They're exhaustive in they
provide a storyboard. They generally do rough renders of the
scene for us with 3D animation so that we have some idea
what these things are going to look like, what the vista is
going to be.
And then it's a process of all of us getting together and
going okay well there's a tall tower, where's that and
someone sticks a tennis ball where the tall tower is, and
where's the nuclear, I don't know, main nuclear power plant
and where's the park and where's the horrid alien and how
tall is the horrid alien and how fast it coming towards us.
And then once we map all of that out then it's kind of like
being a kid again, you're just playing make believe.
I find it kind of gorgeous as long as we're all looking in
the same direction. When you're not looking in the same
direction it gets very awkward very fast. Steph?
Stephanie Leonidas: Yes I agree. I mean the green screen
were always the longest days to shoot. They were kind of the
days you had to really kind of be with it before. But like
Grant said we had the storyboard were incredible so it
wasn't like we didn't have any idea what they were going to
do with it afterwards.
And I guess I was kind of lucky I've done some green screen
before Defiance which really helped so I didn't feel like
I'd been thrown completely into the deep end with it. But
yes I feel yes we're really lucky with all the storyboards
and kind of everyone around that. It's just yes given us a
great idea of what it's all going to look like in the end. I
mean I guess they could do anything. They could put the
Muppets in there for all we know but yes it was - they were
long days but I think they'll be worth it in the end
Tony Tellado: And lastly guys I have to ask a car question
because I'm a guy but you have that Dodge car you drive and
what's that like?
Grant Bowler: Mate it's a joy because I don't really care
whether I break it or not. It's a rare thing that the more
you bang up the car the better and that's certainly not the
case with mine.
No the Charger's just been fantastic. And Dodge have been
amazing from the beginning. I mean the moment they gave us
the car our guys were like okay this is far too nice, how do
we destroy this vehicle? And they started on the outside and
worked their way in and they're pretty messed up now.
They're certainly going back to the dealership that's for
Tony Tellado: Well thank you very much guys. I'm looking
forward to the premier.
Operator: Our next question will come from the line of Erin
Willard, SciFi Mafia. Please proceed with your question.
Erin Willard: What attracted each of you most to the project
in the first place and did that change as production
Stephanie Leonidas: I think the thing that first attracted
me to the script was the fact that it wasn't kind of just
this apocalypse story with aliens kind of fighting each
other. It was kind of a real human drama to the piece and it
felt like there was real heart to it and the characters had
stuff that people could relate to I guess even though they
were these aliens with prosthetics on their head.
So I think that's what really attracted me to it that there
was real drama to it and those are always kind of my
favorite scenes to play like those scenes with Grant in the
car and stuff with Tommy and the other Irathients. There was
some really nice stuff there so that's what yes initially
got me really into the script.
And yes so I think that's what's continued to kind of
throughout the series maintain that and so of course Irisa
loves getting her knives out and kind of - and all of that
stuff but equally there's a lot of layers to it which I
Grant Bowler: For me it was all the way from its inception.
The first thing that attracted me was it's funny because
like I'm kind of very well known let's just say amongst my
representatives to not be terribly interested in receiving
sci-fi scripts and the first time that the script went
across my agent's desk she didn't send it to me because she
thought I'd get angry at her.
But the casting agents asked me about a month later. They
said why didn't you respond to that script? We sent it to
you deliberately because we thought you'd love it and I kind
of double checked on it. Defiance is different than anything
I've ever read and I guess that's the key.
Ultimately as an actor and as a storyteller you're looking
for a story that hasn't been told and 99 out of 100 pilots
that you receive you've seen it before, 99 novels, 99 movies
out of 100 you're read or you've seen before and Defiance
was a world that I hadn't seen before. It was a genre that I
hadn't exactly seen before.
And the dynamics in terms of the characters, this kind of
grizzled kind of scavenger and an alien adopted
stepdaughter, all of these - the setup of the Capulets and
the Montagues with the Tarrs and the McCawleys, with a Lady
Macbeth-ness of Datak's missus, you know, the Romeo and
Juliet story. They're fantastic dynamics that were set up
right at the beginning and that was what kind of grabbed me
was a world I hadnít seen before, a story I hadn't seen
before and these incredibly kind of strong, epic
Erin Willard: And it's interesting you say Shakespearean
because I agree with you on that but I've heard a lot of -
I've seen a lot that says it's very much like a western. How
do you two feel about that characterization?
Grant Bowler: I think that's a really easy thing to grab a
hold of. I actually think it's got a lot to do with the fact
that I wear brown.
Stephanie Leonidas: The way you're pulling it off.
Grant Bowler: It's funny because I rolled with it for a
little while and then I kind of went Iím bored of this. But
it's interesting, I think there are - people look for quick
labels and sci-fi western is a really, really quick one line
sound bite. It's not really.
You could probably almost describe the social structure as
western, the world is sci-fi and get away with that. But the
themes of the show are Shakespearean the nature of the show
is an immigrant drama. So that's what I mean when I say I
haven't seen the story before. This genre hasn't existed
before. So you know, people are going to want to throw a
name on it so they can communicate the idea of it but yes
probably in two to five years time they'll be going it's a
cross between Defiance and Flashdance and stuff like that.
Erin Willard: Great well I'm really looking forward to the
rest of it. Thanks so much.
Operator: Our next question will come from the like of Steve
Eramo with SciFi TV Talk. Please proceed with your question.
Steve Eramo: I wanted to find out maybe if you could tell us
a little bit about the initial acting challenges you both
found stepping into your respective roles and maybe a little
bit about what sticks out most in your mind about shooting
your first episode if you don't mind.
Stephanie Leonidas: Well, well challenges I guess I have a
lot of plastic on my face. Yes I am half in prosthetics to
that was kind of the first challenge for me I guess. I've
never had a prosthetic like that at all so yes that was the
first hurdle I guess.
In shooting the first episode I think it was we were thrown
completely into the deep end. I mean it was the - the first
scene of the day was this scene where Nolan and I are
arguing and it's quite an emotional scene and the weather
was against it. It was freezing cold, it started to snow, it
felt like a big mess actually. So yes it was kind of - I
remember just looking at Kevin Murphy going oh my God, oh my
So yes it was - yes we're really thrown into the deep end.
But I'm kind of thankful of that really because yes it made
everything feel a little easier as we went along. So yes we
were in the middle of quarry, it was kind of out in Oxbridge
in Toronto so yes it was yes quite an epic first day. But
yes a good challenge.
Grant Bowler: I second that. The fact that they were so
exacting on our wardrobe and the wardrobe design is just
stunning on Defiance, but the results of all of these
arguments and conversations in creating this wardrobe meant
that our gear and my jacket and I'm certain Stephanie's
stuff were like finished being made in Toronto at about 5
o'clock a.m. the morning we were shooting. We were on a 5
a.m. call so we were through makeup, dress and rehearsing
before the wardrobe arrived. And as a result of that nobody
thought about the sudden shift in the weather overnight.
So there's a whole sequence of stuff where Steph and I are
meant to be cold and miserable in the Badlands, especially
the stuff where we're running from the spirit riders and
have a little confrontation with the crazy alien timber
wolves and there was no acting in any of those scenes. We
didn't actually - it was we were soaking wet and it was
snowing so we were freezing to death.
And that was kind of good. Steph talks about the madness of
it and that's absolutely right. But it's going to be mad.
You're jumping into a new world all of a sudden and its'
going to be nuts.
In terms of acting challenges for me it's really - you're
playing a role that is an archetype. The antihero is an
archetype now and there's been so many great ones. So for me
the whole challenge is if you look updating and rebooting an
archetype and trying to figure out, A, what new can be done,
how can I tell this story of this archetype in a different
way that I haven't seen before that I'd love to watch.
And also the other aspect of updating is what's changed, you
know, like you look at say an archetype of Dirty Harry. Now
that character then everything Harry does is incredibly
shocking and there were whole articles and theses written
about Harry Callahan in psychology. But if you look at Harry
Callahan today and measure him against Denzel Washington's
character in Man on Fire, Callahan's tame because society's
changed, social mores have changed.
So every time we reinvent a story, every time we reinvent an
archetype, it's interesting to look at okay what's
different, how do I update this archetype, this character to
move into 2013 and hopefully hold for as long as possible so
that it stays relevant and doesn't date. That would be mine.
Steve Eramo: And I also wanted to get both of your takes on
your relationship between your two characters and maybe sort
of how you saw those develop as the episodes and the story
Stephanie Leonidas: Wow.
Grant Bowler: I'll grab it first if you'd like, kid.
Stephanie Leonidas: Oh yes.
Grant Bowler: You've done some mighty work. Steph's the
quiet one between us so when I make her go first she suffers
The relationship, well you know, like Stephanie said our
very first scene that we shot when we started to shoot the
pilot was a falling out. It's a scene in front a roller in
the Badlands where she sang I want to get out of here. It's
been in every teaser of the show. And I say this is
different, this time we've really got to stay.
And that scene has 15 years of shared history and choosing
each other over everything and a father/daughter
relationship to it. And of course we'd met 12 days earlier
and had some light conversations over tea about what we're
going to do.
So as the season goes along our relationship gets better.
Our trust in each other is as actors develops and we start
to see more clearly what works in the dynamics between the
two characters and that feeds back through the directors and
the producers to the writer's coach. And they start filling
in the blanks for us and start to write to the dynamics of
what is going on.
So the beauty of that Nolan and Irisa relationship for me is
it's the heart of both characters. You take each of those
characters and deprive them of that relationship and they
lose a dimension. It really is the beating heart and soul of
each of them and it's also the coolest father/daughter
dynamic I think is around that's I've seen.
They're kind of two people that if they were quasi related
they probably she'd stab him, he'd shoot her, they'd both be
dead in the street and you'd wonder why.
Stephanie Leonidas: Yes that's so true.
Grant Bowler: So I kind of love that that there's always
that element of like there's a bit of danger between them.
Neither of them are shy about pulling a gun, a knife or
putting their hands up.
Stephanie Leonidas: It's just their way.
Grant Bowler: Yes so that would be my take. Steph?
Stephanie Leonidas: Yes no that was well said. I completely
agree with Grant. I mean they like their line is they live
or die together and that kind of sums them up. I mean they
really would. And also they couldn't live with each other.
Like Grant said I don't think they know what to do with
themselves. It's literally like they they're sort of part of
one. I mean they're just fiercely, fiercely loyal towards
each other and would do anything and yes I mean, but yes.
Also it's kind of this typical father/daughter relationship
as well. It's kind of like you would see with any human
daughter. They have their kind of ups and downs and Nolan
has to kind of watch this young girl from sort of ten years
old grow up and start developing into a woman and kind of
that's scary for any father. And also for Irisa kind of
being this alien as well she's got all that other stuff
going on and it's kind of - yes it's double whammy for
So yes it's a beautiful relationship but it has its complete
rocky moments. And these two carry weapons so it's never
going to be that easy. But yes like Grant was saying, I
don't know anything else out there that that's kind of
father/daughter relationship at the moment either and I
think yes it's such sort of an amazing thing that Kevin's
Steve Eramo: Listen, thank you again both for your time and
I wish you all the success with the show. I'm looking
forward to going along on the ride.
Operator: Our next question will come from the line of Jamie
Steinberg with Starry Constellation Magazine. Please proceed
with your question.
Jamie Steinberg: Hi such a pleasure to speak with you both.
Grant Bowler: Hello.
Jamie Steinberg: I was wondering was there instant chemistry
when the two of you began working together? Did you have to
go take a little time to bond first?
Stephanie Leonidas: We hate each other. We're in separate
rooms right now.
Grant Bowler: Chemistry would be very awkward. Chemistry I
think is illegal between us to in 49 states of the United
States of America. I don't want to mention the other two
states where it's not.
It's funny, look I donít know whether Steph - I'm not quite
sure whether we had that dynamic when we met or it's just
come about. It's very, very good casting. I mean I'm a dad
and I've got a daughter and Steph for whatever reason I feel
very protective about and I'm not sure whether it's acting
like her father for a long time. But when she does the
relationship stuff with Dewshane I actually do want to
inflict bodily harm on Dewshane. It's not a character thing.
I want to hurt him.
And it's just been something that's come about. And it's
lovely because like she's rottenly hopeless, she won't look
after herself and she doesn't take care of herself and she
doesn't eat right and she doesn't do anything to take care
of herself as well as I'd like so I'm always ragging her up
and making her sit down and telling her what to do and I
boss her. And she's gorgeous, she listens to everything
Stephanie Leonidas: That's me eating the orange crisps that
I'm munching on all day.
Grant Bowler: And stop all eating all the Doritos and turn
orange for real. I've never seen - by the way I've never
seen an actor in my life eat as much junk from craft
services and stay as skinny as whip. It's ridiculous.
Stephanie Leonidas: It's the worms, it's the worms.
Grant Bowler: So yes we've just fallen into this and it's
impossible to get out of now. Like I actually will boss her
Stephanie Leonidas: He does.
Grant Bowler: And she'll e-mail me whenever we're doing
something new and go oh my God, we're going to do this, is
it all right or what's going happen, are we going to be
okay. It's just the way we roll now. I think I'm stuck with
Jamie Steinberg: I hope she doesn't mind then.
Stephanie Leonidas: No.
Grant Bowler: What do you reckon, kid?
Stephanie Leonidas: Yes I mean Grant summed it up perfectly.
It's yes I think right from the start we were just so lucky.
I mean yes I remember the very first day and we were kind of
thrown into the- it wasn't a Dodge Charger at first - it was
that small buggy.
Grant Bowler: It was the roller.
Stephanie Leonidas: The roller. Grant had to drive us right
to the end of a cliff basically and from that moment he
literally had to stop about a meter before the edge and I
just remember thinking okay well I've got to trust this guy.
And yes it was - from there we just had a laugh, we really
did. And I think that shows in scenes like the Johnny Cash
scene so yes.
Grant Bowler: Well we've always been scared and challenged
together too. You know, we shot the first day together of
the show. We had to bloody sing on camera together which was
Steph's right, I've driven over the cliff a number of times.
And we've had to. We've just had to kind of put our faith in
one another and march forward and hope.
Stephanie Leonidas: Yes definitely.
Jamie Steinberg: And was there anything about your
characters that wasn't originally scripted for you that each
of you added to the role?
Grant Bowler: What do you reckon, Steph?
Stephanie Leonidas: I think with the Irathients I know who
plays - (Sucar) was very good with this, just kind of
creating some of their kind of more tribal elements and kind
of that kind of history for them. And yes he I mean he was
brilliant at taking that and kind of running with it. And
the rest of us Irathients just kind of fell into it and it
felt so right.
And so I think that along kind - also some of the more
animal instincts of Irisa. She's very kind of wolf-like and
those kind of moments have come out sometimes as well as -
she's been brought up by Nolan who's a human so she's got -
that's what she knows but then deep down there's this kind
of Irathient beast under there, this feral creature so that
was kind of interesting discovering those parts of Irisa
through the series.
Grant Bowler: For me the only thing I brought to Nolan was
my emotional immaturity which I'm determined to capitalize
on as long as I can. I guess I don't know, that's a hard
I kind of came on board Defiance before Kevin had written
the script so I donít know what's me and what's Kevin. I
don't think either of us know what's me and what's Kevin
writing for me or Kevin writing or what Kevin had in mind
before. We kind of - it's actually funny.
It's the most beautiful relationship I've ever had with a
show runner and I think it's because we have never sat down
and dissected where the creation lies and I think we're
going to get long beautifully as long as we never do.
Jamie Steinberg: Well I'm hoping Stephanie joins Twitter so
that she can share some comments.
Stephanie Leonidas: Oh no don't get Grant started on me
Grant Bowler: Did you hear that Stephanie, did you hear
Stephanie Leonidas: Wow.
Grant Bowler: Yes that's right. It's on your first
conference call you got asked to join Twitter.
Stephanie Leonidas: Did Grant make you say that? Did he pay
Grant Bowler: It's been a bone of contention for a while.
Stephanie Leonidas: I'm really apprehensive but I think I'm
going to be bullied on.
Jamie Steinberg: Sooner rather than later hopefully.
Stephanie Leonidas: Cool okay, wow.
Grant Bowler: Thank you so much for your questions
especially the one about Twitter.
Stephanie Leonidas: Thank you.
Jamie Steinberg: The check is in the mail, eh Grant?
Grant Bowler: Yes job well done, love.
Stephanie Leonidas: I knew it.
Operator: Our next question will come from the line of Marx
Pyle with SciFi Pulse. Please proceed with your question.
Marx Pyle: I was wondering if you had to explain your
characters in one word what word would it be and why?
Grant Bowler: Stephanie?
Stephanie Leonidas: Well, my one word would be thorough. I
think that sums the rest of it. Yes, and why? I guess of the
Irathients, some of the Irathients also and theyíre -- you
never know how theyíre going to react and theyíre creatures
of the land. Theyíre kind of yes, fierce kind of creatures
but at the same time sheíd bought up by Nolan. So heís -
heís grounded her in a very kind of different way and so I
donít know if grounded is actually a good word for Irisa but
thorough, thereís my word.
Grant Bowler: Nice word. Iím going to call you thorough from
now on. And now I have an excuse. For me friendly enough it
would be defiant and itís always been a little ironic to me.
Heís, you know, the characterís meant to be one of the
defiant few who - who the town and every other thing on the
face of the planet apparently is named after.
And, you know, he begins the series by, you know, defying
vast and stealing the gym. And we defy the spirit riders and
handing it over then we wander into Defiance and defy their
And he gets - he defies the earth republic, basically if
youíve got authority, thank you, that gives him something to
defy. And thatís just the character. Heís - he is so miss
trustful of - of authority and social structures that heís
just looking for something to oppose, if you like and
absolutely determined to be self-determining.
Marx Pyle: Okay.
Grant Bowler: It goes against the town. It goes against the
mayor. He has a sense of right and wrong. Itís cut and dried
and black and white and itís one of those things I like
about him the most. And he -- yes, he just went shift from
his own true north.
Marx Pyle: Great. Now I got the tour of the sets -- we did
the press tour. But I havenít seen the pilot yet so
hopefully this is going to be relevant for your characters.
Now Defiance is in a number of languages created by David J.
Peterson who I had a chance to interview a couple months
ago. How much of the alien languages do your characters ever
have to speak and was it a challenge to do so?
Stephanie Leonidas: Yes, I mean quite - quite a lot really.
I -- most of my Irathient staff was obviously with the other
Irathients but Irisa suddenly kind of finds her tongue with
it once she gets into (Jes) with (Sucar) and some other
Irathient through the series.
When sheís with Nolan obviously, you know, she hasnít been
brought up speaking Irathient. Sheís been brought in and
theyíve have left her roots behind really.
But yes once she starts speaking with them I think thatís
when she starts, you know, kind of feeding to who she is
again and kind of figuring out her - her past and who she
But Iím -- yes learning the language is incredible and I
feel like itís become my second world. It will become my
second language. So yes, itís - yes, it was pretty amazing.
Marx Pyle: So you had the double challenge, you didnít just
learn alien language you had to learn it with a bad accent.
Stephanie Leonidas: Yes, exactly.
Grant Bowler: Well, post-Stephanie - Steph as you know sheís
speaking of accent sheís already, you know, working in
dialect when she works as American and then doing the alien
on top is a double whammy.
For me I didnít -- see Stephanie has the problem of having
to speak something like a natural and Davidís amazing by the
way. We have to give an in- a shout out to David.
You know, he had to clear the language with Game of Thrones
and he did it beautifully and then we came along and said
seven. We have seven and they all need to be different. And
so far heís fully created four I think and has two partial
and weíre working on the last.
Thatís an incredible effort for anybody especially for seven
existed in the same world. Because you have to differentiate
them from each other, so David is just one out of the box.
We love him.
For me my character has to speak all of them which sucks,
that was a surprise to me. I didnít think about that when I
took the job on. I just knew I does the prosthetics and the
wigs and makeup. I thought I was really, really clever.
But Nolan and Amanda, you know, those characters seem to
have a rudimentary grasp of all of them. What I did right
away as soon as I got Davidís first MP3 scripts was to say
my character speaks them all badly.
And I kind of built it into character that like he just
threw that kind of natural yes whatever Iím not going to,
you know, cater to you. He doesnít really bother getting too
right like, you know, in terms of, you know, you want to
speak polite French in Paris.
Nolanís the kind of guy who go in and go, you know, you
know, ďUn ne cafe, por favor, pena.Ē You know, thatís just
the guy he is and heíll probably do it deliberately just to
see if theyíre going to bite, you know.
Stephanie Leonidas: So true.
Grant Bowler: So for me itís all of them but badly. Since
Steph fits one but beautifully and she does sometimes entire
scenes where every character in the scene is speaking
Irathient and theyíre beautiful things to watch.
Stephanie Leonidas: They were an advantage, yes. Although I
remember you having chunks of dial- I remember at the very
beginning I didnít have very much Irathient. And I remember
looking at the script and going, ďAh ha, Grant, you got all
Grant Bowler: Yes, you were dancing around.
Stephanie Leonidas: I was like, ďLook at you and all this
Grant Bowler: Yes, you were dancing around earlier.
Stephanie Leonidas: And then suddenly as the episode turned
on I was like, ďI canít go for dinner tonight guys, Iíve got
to learn the voice of Irathient.Ē So yes.
Grant Bowler: Karma baby.
Marx Pyle: All right well thank you for speaking to me today
and good luck with the series. I look forward to seeing how
it all unfolds.
Operator: Our next question will come from the line of
Suzanne Lanoue with the TV Megasite, please proceed with
Suzanne Lanoue: I was wondering -- now I enjoyed it -- but I
was wondering why you both or you each think that people
will like the show - what will they like most about it?
Stephanie Leonidas: Well, my answerís quick, so Iíll be
quick and then go on from there. But for me with Defiance
the thing that kind of drew me to it in the beginning was
that it wasnít just about all these aliens kind of fighting
and it was this, you know, usual apocalypse story.
You know, it was kind of like real human drama to it and
kind of -- it really had a heart and stuff that people could
relate to. You know, they were aliens but they were going
through human stuff as well as their own kind of stuff.
So thatís what drew me to it and made me feel like it was
something relatable to all the characters and something that
I would want to watch. So -- so yes, that was what did it
Grant Bowler: Nice answer.
Stephanie Leonidas: I set that up quite well, considering.
Grant Bowler: Youíre beginning to be a bit of a pro at this.
Iím looking forward to Stephanie Leonidasís weekend workshop
on how to answer any question. Look I think that question is
a two-parter. You know, the first is what do I love about
You know, I think - I think weíve kind of covered it. Itís,
you know, it has - itís a story on an ethic scale which is
wonderful visually but is, you know, essentially at a small
town full of immigrants which is, I think, always that
village mentality is coming to us all.
And the themes themselves incredibly human and - and big,
you know, those Shakespearean things weíre talking about.
What do - why do I think an audience will like it? I donít
know that they will.
And this is the reality a show, a play, a movie, a novel, a
radio player or a song is only complete when it meets its
audience. What Iím excited about is what our audience - what
they think the shows about. What they think the show means.
You know, weíve been making this thing and putting it
together for over a year now. For me itís been about 15, 16
months and so desperate to put this thing in front of an
audience and find out what they think itís about and found
out who they think the characters are what they think these
Because then for an actor itís complete. You can finally
start having the conversation that storytelling is all
about. Hopefully, you know, storytelling is a dynamic
process. Itís not finite and you can continue.
And thatís what the beauty of television is, is you can
continue to have that conversation and adjust to the person
on the other side of conversation, thatís what Iíd say.
Suzanne Lanoue: All right, well good answers. Grant, I just
wanted to tell you I thought you were really good in ďUgly
BettyĒ and also ďLiz and DickĒ. I know ďLiz and DickĒ didnít
get a great press but I thought it was really good so...
Grant Bowler: All right, thank you very much. I appreciate
Operator: Our next question will come from the line Lisa
Macklem with Spoiler TV, please proceed with your question.
Lisa Macklem: Hi thanks so much for talking with us this
afternoon. I wonder if you had any special preparation
before you started shooting. Because I know thereís lot of
action and the languages and...
Grant Bowler: Definitely did wait for a year and a half I
know that. What did you do kid?
Stephanie Leonidas: What with my preparation?
Grant Bowler: Yes, yes.
Stephanie Leonidas: Yes, with me I - yes I mean I came on
board quite - quite light compared to Grant. So with me it
was kind of once I found out I had the part of Irisa it was
like its winter then start. So it was kind -- it wasnít a
huge amount of thinking time which was probably good for me.
Grant Bowler: You were going out to the zoo every day I
Stephanie Leonidas: Of course, yes when I got to Toronto I,
yes, I was -- I sat for maybe four or five hours watching
wolves thatís on TV. Yes, I could have probably just looked
them up on (unintelligible).
Grant Bowler: And I taught you how to handle guns.
Stephanie Leonidas: Yes...
Grant Bowler: Remember that? We had to use that for Improv
Stephanie Leonidas: We did. We had some, yes thatís true. We
had some - some great kind of rehearsal time before we - we
actually started shooting which was really good because you
donít often get that. And it also gave Grant and I, you
know, a chance to kind of discover who our characters and
the fact that they, you know, spent pretty much - I mean
Irisa spent pretty much her whole life with this guy. So it
was, yes that was great.
And Scott the director of the pilot was just great at just
kind of giving us that time and questioning stuff about who
they were and where theyíve been up until now.
And so yes, and then there was that and then kind of the
languages which was another thing that was the next kind of
thing to start thinking about. The fact that Irisa spoke
Irathient as well and also, you know, she was kind of good
with knives and stuff. I was spending a lot of time then
with the stunt team.
Grant Bowler: For me, yes there was a lot of rehearsal.
Primarily, with Stephanie because thereís a lot of point
doing relationship building rehearsals with people who
youíre not meant to ever met before when, you know, and the
whole point of the pilot is we end at this time and we donít
But we did a lot of work together and at building that
relationship and just getting a good look at each other and
starting to figure out some dynamics there.
And then for me, you know, it was -- look, you know, the
gift of Nolan is Iíve done all the gun stuff before. I think
Iíve played three Special Forces soldiers and been through
every time they want to train you again. So, you know, Iíve
been trained up and down on weapons and all that kind of
Stephanie Leonidas: You ended up training us mostly.
Grant Bowler: And I ended up training -- I taught Stephanie
how to run a gun which my - my old ranger mates would be
really, really happy with. And then - and then - and then,
you know, a lot of the other stuff in terms of the stunts
and the fights they needed to be rehearsed but I felt pretty
comfy with that.
For me it was, you know, getting my head around the
character which is a very, very kind of quiet individual
process for me. I just run off and I start daydreaming. So I
did a lot of that and - and then hit the gym as hard as I
could in that two weeks where I wasnít - when the kids
Because when my kids are around I canít do a thing. And Iíd
tried to get as fit as I could so Iíd survive the pilot.
Nobody ever talks about that by the way but you do have to
survive the pilot.
Lisa Macklem: Well, weíre all glad that you did.
Grant Bowler: Thank you.
Operator: Our next question will come from the line Tim
Holquinn with TV Over Mind, please proceed with your
Tim Holquinn: I was really blown away by the first three
episodes. The third one moved me to tears literally. I was
wondering if you had any favorite moments from the first
season that you think are quintessentially your character?
And additionally for Grant I was wondering if you could just
talk a little bit about working with Julie Benz whoís very
beloved among American TV genre audiences?
Grant Bowler: Absolutely. Stephanie, why donít you start off
with favorite moments and then Iíll kind of do that and then
do the other question?
Stephanie Leonidas: Okay. Well, the -- I guess the favorite
moment for me through the season are I guess the favorite
moment is also the kind of heart breaking moments as well.
You know, a lot of the stuff is, you know, with Nolan where
these two are -- I mean Irisaís starting to find herself and
kind of, you know, sheís growing as a woman as well as an
And she kind of - she starts discovering a lot of stuff
about her past and - and who she is and questions that. And
Nolan doesnít deal with it in a way that she kind of needs
or wants him to and theyíre both kind of, you know, in deep
water with it.
And in thereís some really heart breaking moments where
Irisa kind of goes back to her roots more and kind of her
and Nolan are more and more separated by that I guess.
And it was kind of heart breaking to film as well because
suddenly I wasnít working with Grant so much in some
episodes. And, yes, it was very weird and I guess Irisa,
yes, has a lot - has quite a lot to deal with in her
journey. So yes there were some great moments within that
for both of us.
Grant Bowler: Itís a little tough to - one to answer about
specific scenes just because, you know, we will be flayed
and our little finger is cut off on future episodes. You
know, working for a television networkís a bit like being in
the (Yakisa) they will punish you physically and never talk
Stephanie Leonidas: Yes, I know.
Tim Holquinn: I understand.
Grant Bowler: A lot of it - a lot of it -- I donít know why
I always go to the Japanese finger cutting thing but I do.
Itís very visual. A lot of Nolan and Irisa scenes to me. You
know, thereís -- thatís, you know, some -- two from the
pilot. The Jackson scene I will always love because I think
that Kevin did something, you know, extraordinary in
choosing to use a Johnny Destiny Carter song to establish,
you know, two of its, you know, two of the storyís main
characters in the first sequence on the screen in a
television drama. You know, thatís just wonderful. So always
And as Stephanie says, you know, a lot of the father, the
daughter stuff, for me on the other end of the spectrum, you
know, thereís some moments when they come back together. You
know, they do a lot of fighting but thereís too, thereís
some really lovely quite short and still scenes.
My favorite scenes between the two of them are completely
still and itís just where they connect and theyíre in
moments, so I love those scenes too. And then, you know, the
only other one for me would be I love -- my character a
number of times during the series -- he kind of steps off
the edge of the diving board and makes calls that I find
quite surprising and challenging.
And thereís a few moments like that along the way that I
absolutely love. Thereís -- yes he has a couple of Sophieís
choice moments if you like during this series.
And the way he - he solves the problem of the (Gordian)
night in one episode in particular I was just like youíre
seriously going to let my character do that? It was - it was
amazing. So, yes, those kinds of things for me.
On the working with the Benzonater, as I call her and I
would like her forever to be known. Look, Julie is a dream,
you know. She - sheís a constant professional. Sheís been
doing this -- weíre talking today and she says, ďOh,
(unintelligible) has been with me since I was 13.Ē And went,
ďOh my god.Ē
Like Julie Benz has been working, you know, as a pro forever
and - and itís such a treat to have Julie there with me.
Sheís, you know, she knows the business, she knows her job
inside/out. Julie Benz is never late. She has her - her
lines down every day. Sheís prepared for every single scene.
And sheís - she is - she always deliver a wonderful
Julie is just - Julieís just fantastic. I mean I honestly
canít, you know, you couldnít ask for anything more than
having Julie in that - in that role, you know. And sheís a
perfect fit for the Mayor, you know, because sheís Julie.
Sheís always on time and sheís always prepared and sheís
always got her stuff together. So not only is she gorgeous
and quirky and, you know, and just a delight, sheís also
And sheís just such an anchor, you know, in terms of the
shooting process for me and for all of us but also you know,
she does such a - such a lovely performance.
Because thatís quite a tricky character and itís - itís, you
know, itís a big ask because Julieís really the conscience
that character Amanda Rosewood is the conscience of
And itís a hard one to play being the conscience because
youíre, you know, youíre always kind of being driven into
the whole monitor kind of dynamic, you know what I mean.
And - and Julie does it in a way where, you know, she - she
just kind of keeps that character really, really grounded
and really warm. Sheís a sweetheart. So American fans of
Julie Benz do not despair, she is absolutely wonderful.
Stephanie Leonidas: Thatís so true.
Tim Holquinn: Thank you for your gracious answers and I will
agree that the scene was instantly endearing.
Stephanie Leonidas: Thank you.
Grant Bowler: Thank you mate, yes it was a big risk that one
but we- weíre so happy we took it.
Operator: Our next question will come from the line of Jamie
Ruby with Scifi Vision, please proceed with your question.
Jamie Ruby: Hi again. And I meant to say at the beginning I
did very much enjoy the first four hours of the show too.
Jamie Ruby: So Stephanie I was wondering if you could kind
of talk about the process of getting the makeup and
prosthetics and everything done?
Stephanie Leonidas: Yes, I mean the very beginning it was
kind of a quite a long process especially when we just kind
of discovering Irisaís look. But now we kind of -- towards
the end we - we were kind of slapping on and getting off, it
was really kind, you know, it was an hour and 45 I think in
the end in the makeup show which sounds quite a long time.
But in comparison to some of the other aliens it really
And, yes, so it was kind of, yes the four-head piece that
goes on first in the mornings which theyíre amazing at kind
of making it seamless around my face. So thatís the thing
that takes the longest, so it completely wipes out my big
old eyebrows and kind of, yes it changes my face and as soon
as I look in the mirror after thatís done, that kind of is
the main kind of feature of - of Irisa, you know, change is
And then - then I go into makeup and they, yes they kind of
give Irisaís eyes a kind of alien look. And her skin is kind
of speckled and stuff, then she has kind of tribal features
through her whole body actually, her arms, her legs and her
face have these tribal markings which we have to apply.
And then the wig and stuff, so itís - itís kind of - itís
quite a long process and backwards and forwards through the
trailers in the mornings. So Iím kind of one of the first
people in and one of the last out kind of ripping - ripping
off that. It has to be a new prosthetic every day so, so
yes, itís quite a big process.
Jamie Ruby: Yes, I was going to say the press when they
showed us the video I at first didnít realize that that was
you. When they started telling us, you know, who everybody
was, you look so completely different. So...
Stephanie Leonidas: Yes, it was funny actually. I went on
set one day and I was watching a scene and I came on to set
just as me just to - to watch things and - and I had to
reintroduce myself to the entire crew and thatís not even a
joke. I really did and they didnít know it was me until I
started talking. And then they were like, ďSteph?Ē I was
like, ďYes.Ē I mean like theyíd never met me.
And they were -- everyone acted really strangely around me
because they didnít know me as me and everyone was really
relaxed when I was Irisa. But when I was Stephanie, me just
nobody knew how to talk to me and I didnít know how to talk
to them. So it was all really uncomfortable, so I was much
better off as Irisa and I kind of just, yes, I never did
Jamie Ruby: Thatís great and then for both of you does it
help -- I know when we got to see the set -- does it help
having such like an immersive set? Because you have that
whole town there, I mean I know you have green screen but,
you know, the majority of it is actually there.
Grant Bowler: Absolutely, look the back lot is another
stroke of genius. We shoot pretty much -- and remember we
shot Defiance in a seven-day turnaround, seven main shoot
days with maybe one or two second-unit days.
So as on the scale of this thing is amazing for a
turnaround. We shoot about 1/3 green screen, 1/3 location
and 1/3 back lot is itís like a seesaw. The back lot
completely grounds the green screen. The green screen gives
us our size and our scale and our scope and we absolutely
But the fact that Syfy went ahead and built the town for us
what that allows us is the townís real and itís eminently
real and we shoot, you know, our sets inside out. So you can
start in the cell in the low keeperís office in one shot.
You know, look through the low keeperís office out into the
street then across into the main ones, so we get to ground
the show. Not only for us as actors but for the audience we
get to ground it. Itís real, you see the people walking pass
You see aliens wondering down the street while youíre in Doc
Yewllís office and thatís - that kind of is a beautiful
counterpoint on a production level to what weíre trying to
do with a visual effects.
As an actor yes itís fantastic. I sit on the porch of the
low keeperís office and glare at people all day. I call it
Stephanie Leonidas: And also there are market stores that
theyíve set up and down to the finest details like...
Grant Bowler: Iíve had to stop Stephanie from shopping at
Stephanie Leonidas: I do. I think that was one of the best -
that was one of the best things I said to Grant. I think I
wish, you know, Iíd actually buy some of this stuff, you
know. It was kind of cool stuff. So yes, and very detailed.
Grant Bowler: She also said in the first week weíre in the
back lot where she says, ďDo you think is that a market, is
any of that real? Do you think I could get some of that?Ē
And Iím saying, ďNo love, itís all fake.Ē ďOh, theyíre
fakeĒ. And she goes, ďOh.Ē And then sheíd look at the big
scene store, you know, the giant aliens who have like moving
And every day without fail sheíd say to me Grant he looks
sad.Ē Why donít you ask him if heís all right if he has a
twinkle or something. And I said, ďHoney, itís prosthetics,
itís a mask. Heís not, itís not him.Ē ďBut he looks so
depressed, I mean should I go talk to him and see if heís
Stephanie Leonidas: Itís so true.
Grant Bowler: You did, didnít you?
Stephanie Leonidas: I did, I did.
Grant Bowler: Iím not kidding you. I had to get Kevin who
plays (Asentos) to take his mask off and show her that he
was smiling so we donít have to deal with the... So yes, our
back lot has been incredibly amazing, yes and thatís great
Jamie Ruby: Yes, I think I like the one the best because
that thingís so gorgeous just the lighting and everything.
Grant Bowler: Beautiful, beautiful for (Tom Burstyn) as DP
and, you know, itís gorgeous to photograph.
Jamie Ruby: Yes, well, thank you so much both of you.
Stephanie Leonidas: Thank you.
Operator: And our final question will come from the line of
Rose (Barkum) with Three If By Space, please proceed with
Rose (Barkum): Hello, my question is more story-line based.
How much more will we learn about, you know, when the Arks,
why they were there, if thereís going to be any back story
Grant Bowler: Absolutely Rose, good question. Where are you
from by the way?
Rose (Barkum): Iím from Georgia.
Grant Bowler: I thought so. I was in Savannah about a month
and a half ago, youíve got a beautiful state. What was I
going to say? Yes, what we decided to do was if you like
explode the show. In other words instead of going from -- in
a linear fashion -- from letís start at the very beginning
and finish at the end.
Basically weíre going in a lot of ways from, you know, the
end of all of these events, the aftermath of all of these
events. And we work our way as we go through the series we
work our way through the back story. And it becomes, you
know, all of - all of the information on the back story
becomes common knowledge.
But thatís on a macro scale, you know, what, you know, what
happened with the Arks arrived, how they fell, you know,
what happened in war and after the war.
But also on a character by character basis, you know, how
that - what happened to each person comes out across the Ark
in first series and also, you know, what the effect of all
of this has been on every individual and Defiance as a
whole. Sure, itís kind of inside out, we tell it inside out.
Rose (Barkum): Very cool. Will there be like traveling
outside of Defiance? Like are there other towns or cities
out there that would like relating with the Defiance town?
Grant Bowler: I think the first series we start to - we
start to move out to the first series. Itís generally
through others coming into Defiance or us going out a
certain degree from Defiance.
But itís very key to us in terms of our methodology, in
terms of our world that we - we visually and in a story
sense make it visceral and real for people that, you know,
anything like Defiance is an island - is an island in an
ocean of - of destruction and chaos.
So -- we, you know, it always has to be a very difficult
thing. We canít ever make it too easy like Iím just going to
pop over to, you know, you know, popping over to Boston and
have a night at the theater. You know...
So - so we - we keep very much to Defiance the series and I
think I can tease that I think weíll be getting out of
Defiance to some degree a little bit after.
Rose (Barkum): Okay, well thank you for your time. I really
Maureen Granados: Thank you to Grant and thank you to
Stephanie for your time today and for your very thoughtful
and thorough answers to these questions. And I want to thank
everybody else for participating in the call.
And we look forward to your coverage and once again Defiance
premieres Monday night at 9:00 pm on Syfy. Thank you.
Stephanie Leonidas: Thank you.
Grant Bowler: Thank you.
Operator: Ladies and gentlemen that does conclude the
conference call for today. We thank you for your
participation and ask that you please disconnect your lines.
Have a great day everyone.
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