Interview with Grant Bowler and Stephanie Leonidas of "Defiance" on SyFy - Primetime Article From The TV MegaSite

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By Suzanne

Grant Bowler and Stephanie Leonidas

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 rapport.

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 question.

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 mean.

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 game.

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 on.

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 freeing.

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 straight on.

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 and running.

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 definitely.

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 sure.

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 continued?

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 love.

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 Shakespearean dynamics.

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 God.

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 unfold.

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 inside.

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 Nolan.

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 created there.

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 very, very...

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 by e-mail.

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 her.

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 terrifying.

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 question.

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 again.

Grant Bowler: Did you hear that Stephanie, did you hear that?

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 you earlier?

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 laws.

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 is.

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 this stuff.Ē

Grant Bowler: Yes, you were dancing around.

Stephanie Leonidas: I was like, ďLook at you and all this stuff.Ē

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 your question.

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 for me.

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 it?

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 things mean.

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 that.

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.

But yes.

Grant Bowler: You were going out to the zoo every day I remember that.

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 stuff.

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 know them.

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 stuff.

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 werenít around.

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 question.

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 alien woman.

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 about it.

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 love that.

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 performance.

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 that character.

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 Defiance.

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 wasnít.

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 made completely.

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 that again.

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 need that.

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 out front.

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 character building.

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 them.

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 places.

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 all right.Ē

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 fun.

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 Barcomb: with Three If By Space, please proceed with your question.

Rose Barcomb:: 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 to that?

Grant Bowler: Absolutely Rose, good question. Where are you from by the way?

Rose Barcomb:: 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 Barcomb:: 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 Barcomb:: Okay, well thank you for your time. I really appreciate it.

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.

Review of "Defiance"

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