Lost Girl: Interview: Anna Silk, Kris Holden-Ried and Zoie Palmer

Lost Girl is taking off worldwide. The original Canadian audience is about to begin the second half of the second year, British viewers start that second season tonight, and Syfy in the USA kicks the whole show off on Monday January 16. Sci-Fi Bulletin took part in a conference call with stars Anna Silk (Bo), Kris Holden-Ried (Dyson) and Zoie Palmer (Lauren)…

When the show started, where did you look for inspiration? When you were first offered this job, did you think, ‘Fairies, who’d want to do that?’

Anna Silk:    I didn’t think that when I first read about it. The original description of the show was that she was this sexual creature who needs sex to survive. So my initial thought was: “Are you kidding me? What is this?”

But Bo is a pretty intriguing role to play. It’s obviously a very sexual role. She’s a sexual being, but I think that is another element that makes our show stand out. And it’s a pretty fun power to have, I have to say.

Kris Holden-Ried:    I’ve always been a fan of this kind of genre. I grew up reading fantasy novels, so when I got a chance to jump at a role like this, I was all for it, because I grew up running through the woods by my parents’ farm.

Zoie Palmer:    I don’t have anything that even comes close to comparing, and I didn’t watch sort of sci-fi television except, I guess, Battlestar Galactica, which isn’t really comparable to this show at all.

So it was really new for me to be on a show like this. Of course, I play human, so that I didn’t need to do a ton of research in terms of my own character, but it’s been a great experience, way better than I could have ever imagined. It’s such a fun job to play on this kind of a show. It’s fantasy and play.

Can you explain the difference between the Light and the Dark Fae?

Anna Silk:    It is a really intricate political system, and there’s a lot of push and pull between the two sides. That’s the world that Bo finds herself in. Not only is she in the world of the Fae, she’s in a world that’s divided, and there’s a peace that has to be kept between those sides, and that balance is really precarious. Anything could sort of tip that balance and lead to a lot of trouble.

That’s a really big part of the show that I think makes it very interesting. And it’s certainly interesting for us as actors to play in.

Kris Holden-Ried:    All of our characters interact with it in different ways. Dyson is an age-old member of the Light Fae. I mean I guess the differences between the two systems, to be succinct is, the Light Fae try to live in a symbiotic relationship with humanity, and the Dark Fae are more interested in dominating humanity. And that is pretty much the philosophical difference between the two.

Anna Silk:    As a Fae, you’ve got to align yourself with one side or the other. That’s just what you do. And that’s something that Bo has trouble with.

Is there like a clear line between what’s good and bad then? So the Light is good and the Dark is bad?

Anna Silk:     No, I would just say the Dark is particularly bad. But it’s not about good and bad.

Zoie Palmer:    Yeah, I don’t know that we ever reference good and bad. Everyone has their reasons for their behavior sort of thing. I think that they both would commit acts that most of us would consider good and bad.

Kris Holden-Ried:    Within the Fae world, I don’t think there’s a real connotation of good and bad. I was just saying that all Fae need to survive off of some energy system, whether it’s flesh, spirit, or anger… Humans are the food source for all Fae.

Anna Silk:    One of the main rules about being Fae is to keep the world secret from humans.

Did you have much fight training before taking on the role of Bo?

Anna Silk:    No, I did not have a lot of fight training but once I got the role, and was preparing for the pilot,  I worked with a trainer just to try to get really strong and ready to do whatever it was I was going to be doing.

We had to work out what Bo’s fighting style would be; we didn’t really know until we established it over the first season. Between the second and third season I worked with a martial artist in the mornings in Griffith Park in L.A. We would do all of this really cool stick work, just to learn to be a little bit more grounded.

It’s an evolving thing for me, and it’s something that I do work hard at to make her powers grow, and to make her become more and more capable as she embraces her powers.

Which do you prefer working on, the mystery of the week type stories or the ones that go into the Fae mythology?

Anna Silk:    I kind of feel like, in the first season the mystery of the week stuff lent itself to learning about the mythology. I think that’s how Bo and the audience  learn about each different type of Fae and all the different sort of energies that are out there. But I don’t know. I I feel like I can’t answer that question. I really like both.

Kris Holden-Ried:    As Anna said, they get intertwined so much. I enjoy the police procedural stuff, but I think I enjoy looking into the different aspects of the Fae and because most of our Fae creatures we pull from actual human superstitions or religions, I find it fascinating finding out about these strange fairy creatures that live in Chinese or German folklore. I find those little insights to that culture fascinating, and I really enjoy learning about them on our show.

Dyson is a very restrained character. There’s always something about him that is just simmering underneath it all. Do you find this a challenge as an actor, because it has to come through with your body language rather than the line that you’re given to say?

Kris Holden-Ried:    I think it’s become something that’s really inherent in Dyson, and part of it came out of a necessity of the way we shot first season, which was completely out of chronological sequence.  You sometimes have to play this ambiguous sort of line.

But also in my style of acting, I tend to internalize things more than externalize them, and I think people pick up on stuff that. We’re such sensitive creatures that even if you internalize things, people pick up on them. I find if people are using their own imagination to put onto your character what it’s feeling then that’s often more authentic than me trying to demonstrate something.

What do you think triggered the expansion of the second season from 13 to 22 episodes?

Anna Silk:    Well, we had such tremendous success with season one here in Canada, so I think going into season two, even though it was meant to be a 13-episode season, there was always that possibility that we could get a back 9 and make it 22. So I think we knew that that might happen and then once we got into filming, it was decided pretty quickly that that’s what we wanted to do. While I didn’t make that decision, it was decided pretty early on, and the network loves the show. It’s been incredibly successful, and they wanted to do more of it. It’s a pretty rare thing, particularly here in Canada to have that kind of run on a show. So we were pretty lucky.

Kris Holden-Ried:    And I’m not really sure time-wise, but I think it also had to do with SyFy’s interest and our upcoming exposure in the States as well. Our ratings in Canada have been fantastic.

How important was it for you guys to know that there wouldn’t be a remake, but rather that everyone does get to see your version?

Anna Silk:    Yeah, I’m really glad that the concept wasn’t sold. I’m really glad that our version is going to be seen, because I think it’s such a unique show that was so specifically cast, and I can’t really imagine anyone else in these roles. Maybe in one day, there’ll be Lost Girls, A Next Generation. I don’t know. But I can’t imagine it just having the same feel without this cast of characters and actors.

How much are you involved in the story writing process of the show? Do you like to give input regarding your cast part, or do you leave that part completely to the writers?

Anna Silk:    We definitely have input. Michelle Lovretta, who created the show, and the staff of writers we’ve had over the first and second season have developed such rich characters, but what’s really great is that we’ve developed a relationship with them and they write to our strengths as actors.

I think that they’re very open to our input, which is really crucial, because it creates a really nice dialogue, and creates a better show ultimately. So we’re really lucky that it’s a pretty open door between actors and writers on our show.

Zoie Palmer:    They’re really great about hearing our thoughts on it.

Kris Holden-Ried:    Some of the bigger budget shows you have so many different cooks in the kitchen. But we actually can sit in the writers’ room, and every time we bring our scripts in, before the read-throughs, they’re very attentive to our ideas about our characters, and it’s a real collaborative treat. I think we’re all really enjoying it.

Discussion

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