A lot has changed in Defiance, the community built in the ruins of St. Louis more than three decades in the future — since the series of the same name ended its inaugural season last year.
Fans are eager to find out what happens to Joshua Nolan (Grant Bowler) and his Irathient daughter Irisa (Stephanie Leonidas), Amanda Rosewater (Julie Benz), Stahma Tarr (Jaime Murray) the Castithan and mine owner Rafe McCawley (Graham Greene).
Ahead of the Season 2 premiere of Defiance (Thursday, June 19 at 10pm on Showcase) Global News sat down with Bowler, Leonidas, Benz, Murray and Greene.
What can you share about the second season?
Greene: Season One was a set-up for everything and we were still feeling out what we were doing, and the writers were still feeling out what we were doing, and this season adds a little more substance.
Benz: Amanda has lost her job, her ex-husband has died, her sister’s disappeared. She’s starting in a very dark place. She’s unemployed and she’s lost everything. Scotch has become her friend. (laughs) One of her big struggles is where does she fit in? There’s a great line. She says: “I know what it’s like to have power and I know what it’s like to not have power. Having it’s better.” It’s kind of her motto in many ways. She’s lost everything and she doesn’t know where she fits in in this town of Defiance. And who knows what keeps her there? She doesn’t really have a good support team around her so she’s sort of on her own.
Leonidas: She’s left in a really dark place and she doesn’t know who she is. All she knows is she would do anything for [Nolan] and that’s why she jumped and suddenly they’ve both been separated. I wish I could say more.
Bowler: She’s also going through something that nobody on the planet is going through. From [Nolan's] perspective, he doesn’t know how much of that is her just being an Irathient or being a girl. She’s got a big journey and so the relationship is very difficult. Neither of them are naturals in relationships. They both find intimacy probably the most alien thing in the world.
Leonidas: I don’t think they’re ever going to be the same again. They’ve both grown and she’s growing as a woman. She’s lost a lot of her innocence in many ways that were out of her control.
Has it felt different working on the second season?
Benz: It’s a double-edged sword because with Season One there’s a lot of nerves about like, are people going to be watching this? Is this something that fans are going to like? You just don’t know. But with Season Two we actually have a standard to keep up and make it even more exciting and more dynamic.
Murray: When I watched the first season I became big fans of my colleagues and that’s a really lovely thing when you’re on a show — to actually become a true fan of the people that you’re working with, even when you’re not in scenes with them. So it’s really nice to come back and be inspired by the people that I work with.
Greene: It’s starting to get to the point now that we can just walk on set and go “Yeah.” There’s really no discussion about what’s going on. It’s “let’s do this.”
Murray: The writers have got a huge cast to deal with and the director’s got decisions about visuals and how things are going to look so what happens is it’s so big that you actually have more opportunity to create because all those people sometimes, on other jobs, they’d be able to control everything but when something’s this big you can’t control everything and we can go to the director or producers or writers and suggest an idea and they’ll use that. So I really feel as though this genre and particularly this show really fosters a high level of creativity, almost like in theatre. Everybody’s really good at their job and they’re bringing a lot, so it’s great.
Defiance is an American show filmed in Toronto with an international cast (Benz is American; Bowler is Australian; Leonidas and Murray are British; and Greene is Canadian).
Bowler: It wasn’t intended. Nobody designed it that we’d have such a multicultural cast. But when you’re dealing with a show that’s about different races and species getting along together it’s kind of perfect. Everyone has a slightly different culture. We all kind of fit. There’s an ethos at the centre of it all that tends to work.
Benz: I’m the only American. It’s great to be on a show where the cast is so multicultural as well because it adds weight to it.
Julie, you have spent a lot of time in Toronto working on movies (2008?s Saw V and 2009?s The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day) and now Defiance.
Benz: Toronto is one of my favourite cities. There’s always so many great things to do here. I went to a Toronto FC game, I went to a Marlies game. I was supposed to go to a Raptors game but it was the night of our wrap party. I went to Caribana, I went to the Ex, the CN Tower. I was like the biggest tourist in Toronto. I ate my way through all the great restaurants. It’s so much fun. I love it. My husband and I always say we should just move up here and live here permanently — but you guys have snow. I haven’t been here in snow.