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Interview: 5 Questions with Anthony Lemke of DARK MATTER

What is the best way to kick off Canada Day celebrations? In space, of course! The television show Dark Matter is launching season 2 on July 1st, on Space Network at 10PM and we had the wonderful opportunity recently to speak with its star Anthony Lemke (who plays Three / Marcus Boone). Lemke is familiar to audiences from The Listener, Lost Girl, The Forbidden Room, American Psycho and now has amassed a huge following with the internationally popular Dark Matter. Lemke sat with us on the patio of an establishment in downtown Toronto to give us the scoop on the upcoming season.

Scene Creek: Did you first research the role by going to the source material?

Anthony Lemke: To the comic books? Yes, I did. That was the first thing that I read. They were edgier in feel and tone. We’re sort of like a cleaner version, I’m definitely a cleaner version of Three. In the comics, he’s totally scarred up. I had so much training, I actually did put a scar on my face, and they were like, “no, no, don’t”, I was like, “Have you seen the frickin’ comic?” It was actually staining my skin, to the point that I would have a scar on my face. The character was actually built up very slowly, in front of the audience’s eyes, because we didnt have backstories, and we didn’t really know anything about our characters, and about how we related to the other characters as actors, we didn’t know anything other than what was literally on the page. Nothing beyond that. So what was on the page was pretty goal-oriented stuff, especially in the first few episodes. There wasn’t a really strong engine of backstory or subtext because we really didn’t know any of that stuff. It feels like a throwback to a simpler sci-fi show, I think that the audience responded to that. I think that it is all about character. I think that they’re drawn to Roger Cross’s paternalistic character, and I’m like the asshole uncle.

SC: Did you know the actors prior to filming the show?

AL: Some of them I knew. Some of them I didn’t. The chemistry between the actors was great, right from the very beginning. Melissa O’Neill, I didn’t know who she was. Then I heard that she won Canadian Idol and I was like: (singing), then you listen to interviews and you watch her, so you form all of this information about the different actors that our characters didn’t form about each other. So we formed our backstories and subtext in front of our audience’s eyes. So what you saw after Episode 3 and 4 and 5 was a more complete set of characters than Episode 1 and 2.

SC: Did you know that you would have a second season?

AL: (long pause) No, is the short answer. I thought that we had a pretty special show. I would love it if Killjoys and Dark Matter crossed over. There should be a cross over. They being bounty hunters and us being criminals, it writes itself!

SC: What can we expect on Season 2?

AL: You see the first alien species, but it’s not quite defined. You see the building of the sci-fi world, of the effects of the technology and what it has on us, how people interact with each other and how criminal investigations take place, how criminals are hunted down. The fun stuff, the fun sci-fi stuff. They push a lot harder on the cloning concept- “If you could clone…”

SC: What has the fan response been like?

AL: The fan response has been, I would say, amazing. It has been so rewarding, I’m in awe. I mean, you don’t know how people will respond to your show, to your character, to your family. I think that we knew something special was going on the week of San Diego Comic Con and I think our fourth episode aired while we were there, and we had a panel that held, I dunno, eight hundred people, something like that, and it was three quarters full, maybe more, I mean, there were 700 people there, it was packed. We were expecting maybe 100, 200 people that were like fans of Stargate and that wasn’t the case. Then we thought maybe there were 700 fans of Stargate, it ran for a couple of years, had a ton of spin-offs. Nope, they were all asking Dark Matter questions. Those people there knew our world. They were interested in our world and that was the first hint for us that, boom, we might have something special on our hands. We’re in 160 countries. In the U.K., each episode is watched by 1.8 million people, which is an astounding number. Fundamentally, the show is about second chances, it’s like one big giant do-over. I think it’s incredibly interactive.