Tag Archives: Melissa O’Neil

Dark Matter’s Melissa O’Neil and Anthony Lemke talk Season 3’s explosive return

When we last left the crew of the Raza on Dark Matter, things looked pretty dire. EOS-7 had exploded and we weren’t exactly sure who’d survived. Thankfully, we can confirm everyone made it out alive—you’ve seen this photo gallery, right?—but find themselves in varying states of distress and with a brand-new enemy to face.

Season 3 of Dark Matter returns with two back-to-back episodes this Friday beginning at 8 p.m. ET on Space until moving to its regular timeslot of 9 p.m ET next week, with “Being Better is So Much Harder” and “It Doesn’t Have to End Like This” setting the stage for what promises to be another 13-episode thrill ride from Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie. (We don’t like to give much away prior to broadcast, but The Android flat-out steals two scenes in Episode 1.)

What’s in store for Two (Melissa O’Neil), Three (Anthony Lemke), Five (Jodelle Ferland), Six (Roger Cross) and The Android (Zoie Palmer) now that it appears Four/Ryo (Alex Mallari Jr.) turned against them? We got O’Neil and Lemke to give us the scoop!

Season 2 begins with the aftermath of the explosion at EOS-7 and our heroes are scattered. There is plenty of action and humour, but there are some very serious and emotional moments, including a nice one between Two and Six.
Melissa O’Neil: Two and Six represent both sides of the topic with regards to the enemies they face this season. I didn’t really think about it until now but it’s kind of a continuing Mommy-Daddy relationship that flows throughout the season. I really loved shooting that scene with Roger. In all of my scenes with Roger, we always get to talk about the big questions and what it means to be a good person. I love playing off of him; he’s so earnest and wonderful.

I never thought of the Mommy-Daddy angle before. It certainly makes sense. Then you have the ornery teen…
Anthony Lemke: … and the drunk uncle.

MON: No, you’re the ornery teen!

AL: Actually, Three is the teen and the parent. He’s both and he walks that line.

I love it when the crew is together, having dinner. That’s happened more than once in the past two seasons and we get it again in Episode 1.
AL: It’s funny. The table has been this push-pull. The directors come in and say, ‘OK, how do we shoot this room?’ And we’re like, ‘We sit at the table.’ When I watch the show I really identify with the idea that the family that eats together stays together and I think the audience responds to that. It’s important, those moments. They don’t happen every episode, they happen every once in awhile when it’s important.

MON: In Season 3 especially we have everyone going off on their single journeys and there were spans of time when we forgot that we worked with each other. Alex, we barely saw him, so it does feel important not only in the context of the story but as a cast thing.

Does that mean much of this season sees the team spread apart?
AL: I think it’s been an evolution since Season 1. The first season we were almost cloistered and were, literally, in almost every scene together. We tend to be on more isolated journeys than we were in the previous two seasons.

MON: Two has a big struggle with leadership, making choices and whether or not she should be the one to make choices on the behalf of other people, especially when the costs are so high when she makes the wrong decision.

The Android appears to be on an interesting journey as well. Her wardrobe choices in Episode 1 were outstanding.
MON: It’s massive too. The exploration of that is going to be a big fan favourite, I think.

What can you say about Three’s own journey or story arc?
AL: Three’s through-line story has been about his past and discovering that a bad guy isn’t all bad. We learned in Season 2 the root of that complexity; he is a caring and very soft person, but that bravado is real too. Both of those sides live within this character and that’s what makes it fun to play. When he says, ‘Let’s go steal stuff and kill some people,’ he means it. We continue on that journey in Season 3 and that will spin into Season 4 in a totally awesome way. So please, everyone, tune in a lot so that we can get a Season 4!

Dark Matter airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on Space.

Images courtesy of Space.


Dark Matter’s Melissa O’Neil hopes for answers in Season 2

Melissa O’Neil has the same questions for Dark Matter creators Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie as fans do. Who was the old man Alexander Rook (Wil Wheaton) was talking to? How will the Raza crew react to Six’s betrayal? What is Two’s back story? O’Neil has her fingers crossed she—and we—get some closure on those queries along with the original conundrum: who erased One (Marc Bendavid), Two (O’Neil), Three (Anthony Lemke), Four (Alex Mallari Jr.) and Five’s (Joelle Ferland) minds in the first place?

In our exclusive chat with O’Neil from the show’s set earlier this year, she spoke about Dark Matter‘s fans and Two’s Season 2 journey.

Visiting the set is surreal. The ship’s hallways are spectacular.
Melissa O’Neil: I know. [Production designer] Ian Brock did an amazing job on our sets. Wait until you see the design of the galactic prison. That was stunning and so streamlined. When we walked in we were blown away. It’s glossy and sexy.

The last time we spoke was before Dark Matter debuted for Season 1. Were you surprised by how quickly the fans embraced the show?
I think it’s the habit of the theatre performer to do your research and put in your work … and the rest of it is kind of out of your hands. You can’t really think about how people will receive it because you’ll just drive yourself crazy. What really surprised me with regard to the fans if that I love how interactive they are. I’d love to amp that up a bit this year with some of these new apps.

When we went to San Diego and they told us what conference room we were in I thought, ‘Who are they kidding? Who is even going to come?’ And when we walked out on stage, the room was filled. I don’t think I have much perspective on what I’m a part of yet. I keep drawing parallels to theatre, but when you’re up on stage you can see the audience in the seats. For people to tell us how many viewers we get every week in Canada or around the world, I still can’t really wrap my head around that. I guess the only real, tangible way to understand it is through my phone and the people who reach out.

The sexualized element to Two isn’t found in the way she interacts with other people in a sexually explicit way; it’s an undertone of femininity that’s already there

Two had a fantastic journey in Season 1. Cliffhangers every episode, the nanite technology, Will Wheaton as Alexander Rook, the old man…
The old man was creepy, huh?

What can you tell me about Two’s Season 2 adventure?
So far, we’ve found out that Two isn’t exactly human … but if you cut her open she looks like a human on the inside. But she can regenerate and heal a lot faster. Even though we’re up to Episode 205, we really haven’t touched on that. Where we’re going with her is still a mystery to me and I keep trying to corner Joe and Paul and find out. They think it’s better for me, as an actor, to be a little bit in the dark about who she is.

We’re also dealing with Six’s betrayal. I’m really the only one that sees him in that last moment. I wake up and have that knowledge that Six was the spy.

Will Two reveal what she saw?
That remains to be seen, but I think she still has questions about who she is and who the hell Rook was and what is Dwarf Star Technologies. She really didn’t get many answers last year. She felt she needed to escape from that place and apparently kill everyone in her path to do that. I remember something about the old man asking how old the body is…

I suspect the body he was in wasn’t his original body…
Yes … that’s not the first go-round, and this is happening in the same facility as the nanites. Who the hell knows what’s going on?! The other thing that hasn’t really been answered is who these people were before the wipe.

I love how the cast have as many questions as the viewers do.
It’s true. We’re just as much in the dark as everyone.

Talk about Two’s physicality.
In a lot of science fiction shows, a woman in this role would have a very sexualized element to her. And, not that there isn’t one, but the sexualized element to Two isn’t found in the way she interacts with other people in a sexually explicit way; it’s an undertone of femininity that’s already there in her diplomacy, in the way she fights, in her body language. I dig that about her and I know it’s designed by the guys. Being sexy isn’t a defining characteristic in her.

Dark Matter airs Fridays at 10 p.m. ET on Space.


Photo gallery: Dark Matter Season 2 images unveiled

The Raza crew is ready to take flight, and we’re sharing some gorgeous gallery pics of the cast ahead of Dark Matter‘s Season 2 debut Friday, July 1, at 10 p.m. ET on Space.

Here’s what the network says will happen in the premiere episode:

“In ‘Welcome To Your New Home,’ the crew of the Raza have been betrayed by one of their own, with a motivation that questions everyone’s loyalties. The rest of the crew find themselves incarcerated in the notorious Hyperion-8 Detention Facility where they must deal with dangerous fellow inmates a corrupt Warden, and corporate agenda that threatens their lives.”

As previously announced, joining the series this season is Melanie Liburd as Nyx, an ex-con with killer instincts; Shaun Sipos as a world-class surgeon with a dark past; and Franka Potente, who guest-stars as Commander Shaddock, a cool, calculated force of nature who’s hell-bent on making things difficult for the Raza crew.

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Dark Matter returns Friday, July 1, at 10 p.m. ET on Space.


Strong female characters continue their evolution on Dark Matter

I’m near the end of my chat with Dark Matter co-stars Anthony Lemke and Melissa O’Neil when I realize my gaffe and circle back on a question I asked earlier.

My query then: how much was O’Neil enjoying portraying a strong female character like Two/Portia Lin? She politely spoke of enjoying thoughtful scripts from co-creators Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie about a bunch of people—One/Jace Corso (Marc Bendavid), Three/Marcus Boone (Lemke), Four/Ryo Tetsudo (Alex Mallari Jr.), Five/Das (Jodelle Ferland) and Six/Griffin Jones (Roger Cross)—waking up from an unknown slumber, their memories wiped, aboard a spaceship overseen by an android (Zoie Palmer).

But as we continued to chat, I realized my original question was flawed in its intent and followed up with: “Do you feel as though we need to get past making a big deal out of a strong ‘female’ character? It should just be a character, correct?”

“Yes. Yes! Absolutely,” O’Neil says. “It’s not about her being a strong female character. She’s a strong character, full stop. It shouldn’t be because of her gender. I think it’s a bit of a surprise to viewers because she is the one who takes charge and that these men are accepting—or at least tolerant—of it.” O’Neil teases latter moments in Dark Matter‘s first season, where Two is alone, lets her guard down and allows herself to question who she is and what is happening to her.

Two joins a growing list of ladies who command respect on the small screen, including Lost Girl‘s Bo, Killjoys‘ Dutch, Scandal‘s Olivia Pope, House of Cards‘ Claire Underwood, Murdoch Mysteries‘ Julia Ogden and Emily Grace, and several of Orphan Black‘s Leda clones, but according to Lemke, there is more work to be done.

“I don’t think we’ve figured out, as a society, how to write a strong female character,” he says. “We went largely from a position where we wrote men as the strong characters and then their wives. I’ve even heard writers say, ‘If you want to write a strong female character, write a man and change the name.'” Lemke notes Mallozzi and Mullie have created engaging ladies in Two and Five (O’Neil wholeheartedly agrees) and he’s hopeful the TV and film industry—and society in general—continues to evolve to the point assertive ladies on the small screen reflect those around the world.

“We need to go to the place where the strong female characters in cop shows, in sci-fi shows are leading from a place that is truly distinct from where a man might lead. There is somewhere to go in this industry as a whole.”

Dark Matter airs Fridays at 10 p.m. ET on Space.