Dark Matter is back for a third season, and answers to audience members’ questions are coming a mile a minute. New episodes, airing Fridays at 9 p.m. on Syfy, fill in the blanks on what happened after the explosion of space station EO-7 at the hands of Ryo (formerly Four).
Let’s back up for newcomers. The show began in season one with a cast of characters who wake up from stasis not knowing their identities or why they’re all on the same spaceship, known as the Raza. Because they don’t know their names, they label one another by numbers, One through Six. There’s also an android helping them put the puzzle pieces together.
Many adventures ensue, many difficult truths are unearthed, many loyalties are tested.
At the heart of the show is audience favorite Anthony Lemke, who plays tough guy Three. His real character name is Marcus Boone (nicknamed Titch), and he seemingly cares only about himself. However, after some flashbacks and new revelations, Three’s true nature begins to emerge.
Recently, Hollywood Soapbox spoke with Lemke about his role, the future of the show and his 12-hour days on the set. Here’s what he had to say:
On what audiences can expect on season three …
“Well, you can expect an entirely new cast. We all die in a big explosion, and that’s that. You know, it’s a different kind of thing. [laughs] I think you can reasonably expect, given the fact that we are on the phone together, that a good number of us end up in precarious situations and indeed do find ourselves back to each other and to the Raza.
“This season, you know, I think where we left off in season two with Four assuming his role as emperor and also assuming his role essentially as our enemy. That’s going to play out for sure in season three. He’s a big bad, and it’s been a lot of fun.
“I think you’re also going to see the seed planted for what I think is a pretty exciting set of storylines that come through toward the end of the season where a lot of the fundamental questions that we’re asking in this series — about the nature of humanity, about whether or not computers and robots and humans, whether or not they can co-exist peacefully, whether or not we can treat each other as equals — that will all play out in, I think, very interesting and varied kind of ways throughout season three culminating in what is going to, for sure, be a season-four storyline, if we get that far.”
On working with the cast over the last three years …
“I would say a family is about the perfect way of describing it. We respect each other immensely. We’re very happy to be with each other, and work with each other and respectful of each other. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of divisions or egos. It seems that we all want what’s best for the show. That said, we all have our own lives, and it’s not like we’re out every night partying together. That’s not the kind of show it is. We’re not best buddies. I would say we’re a lot like a family.”
On how he sees Three …
“I see him as a composite of his two major influences during his childhood, one of which for the first say 10 years was a very healthy, happy childhood with parents who loved him in an environment that was about as far from a space cowboy as it could ever be. Then, of course, his parents were killed, and he was raised by the roughnecks who ended up killing his parents. And he became something very, very different, so much so that he forgot entirely about his origins. Or, at least when you catch up with him, he forgets entirely about everything, including his origins.
“And it’s interesting as an actor to understand that both of those impulses and both of those influences and people are inside me. Those are real emotions. He’s not covering one with the other. There isn’t one that is more him than the other. I think of all the characters, he has this almost duality that most other characters don’t seem to have in that he really does come from one incredibly messed up situation and one incredibly healthy situation, and all of that is within one childhood.”
On whether his character’s backstory was revealed to him …
“It was not revealed to us on day one at all. It was revealed to us in a highly analogous manner to the way it’s revealed to the audience. We do get the scripts a little bit ahead. Sometimes we’ll have five or six scripts for the season, but the way it has worked out for my character at least is that those key moments — no, I don’t end up knowing those all that much in advance.
“So it explains a lot for me as an actor when you see the character being written in a certain way, and then there’s this other side to him that comes out. Usually you don’t know where it comes from, but it’s there. So you play it, and you play it honestly, entrusting that the writer knows where it comes from.
“Then when you find out a little bit later where it comes from, it gives you even more respect for the writer because he knew where it came from all along. [Co-creators] Joe [Mallozzi] and Paul [Mullie] have had this plan for this character and this show. They got a five-season arc in their head, so they knew all of this. But they didn’t tell us, and they wanted to see us discover it. And they wanted to watch us discover it and allow the audience to watch us discover it because that’s very much the journey of the characters, and I don’t think they wanted to spoil the journey of the characters by having the actors know too much and a lot more than their characters actually know.”
On the shooting schedule for the series …
“I’ve worked on shows that have more grueling schedules. We are fortunate that we work with a really amazing production team that manages to get pretty great production value out of what are basically about 12-hour days if you include lunch, which in the regular world seems like a pretty long day. But in the film world, as I’m sure you’re aware, 12-hour days is kind of like summer camp, so the days are not very long.
“The days are efficient. The team is efficient. The production team itself has largely been together now for, well, the three years we shot this, and they were together, a lot of them, for five years prior to that on a show called Lost Girl. So there’s a shorthand. New players come in and out kind of like a sports team, but the core of that team has been around for quite some time. It means that you end up being able to be quite efficient with each other in terms of filming, so you get more done in less time and for less money.”
By John Soltes / Publisher / John@HollywoodSoapbox.com