Continuing our Dark Matter primer in the lead-up to the show’s June 12th premiere (10 p.m. on SyFy, part of their new SyFy Friday lineup), I’d like to turn our attention to the character of SIX played by veteran Roger Cross.
This was the initial casting breakdown that went out for the role:
“AKA Tiny, AKA Griffin Jones. ON THE SURFACE, HE’S A LOW-KEY BRUISER, AN IMPOSING FIGURE among a group of intimidating individuals. HE’S A MAN OF FEW WORDS, A TOUGH AS HELL GOON WITH LITTLE PATIENCE FOR BULLSHIT. Cross him at your own risk. Beneath the rough and tumble exterior, however, is a heart of gold- 14k, the softest! A SURPRISINGLY SIMPLE GUY, HIS QUIET CONFIDENCE BELIES A FIERCE INTELLIGENCE AND PHILOSOPHICAL NATURE.”
Going out, we made a few adjustments as the physical aspect of the character become of considerable less importance and the role was opened up to both genders. In my mind, SIX would be defined through his/her relationship with “the kid”, the character of FIVE. I wanted someone dangerous and intimidating but protective and empathetic toward the youngest member of our crew.
One of the great things about the casting process for Dark Matter was the wealth of material we were able to draw from for the auditions. Many productions barely have a single script to work off. At the time we started, we had nine – and this allowed us to pick the perfect scenes for each character.
There are many things one looks for during the audition phase. Talent, obviously. Chemistry with the other actors. A sense of humor. You take a look at the performance as a whole. And I did. But, inevitably, whenever someone came in to read or sent in a self-tape, I always fixated on the delivery of one line – a single line that perfectly encapsulated the character for me. That line: “…I’m going to miss you, kid. I’m going to miss you a lot.” It was a deceptively simple, straightforward line, but it was possessed of so much subtext, said so much about SIX that it “getting it” was absolutely crucial.
Surprisingly few “got it”, made me believe. At the top of the list was actor Roger Cross who I was indirectly familiar with. He’d been my top choice for the role of a series regular back when I was on Stargate, but just – barely! – missed out. I knew his future wife, Josephine through our dogs. Her pug Tinkerbelle and my pug Jelly used to be best of friends when they’d hang at the dog park. I was, of course, familiar with his extensive credits (24, Continuum, First Wave). Roger “got it”.
Unfortunately, getting Roger was another matter. He was committed to a couple of other productions and, despite our best efforts, it didn’t look like we were going to be able to make it work. And so, resigned to the fact that we weren’t going to land him, we redirected focus to other candidates.
However, through the magic of our line producer, Norman Denver, working in conjunction with the line producers of the other shows, schedules were readjusted and – voila! – we finally had our SIX. And he WAS Roger Cross.
So, what is Roger Cross like to work with? In a word: fantastic. You’d be hard pressed to find a happier, warmer, more gregarious guy. He’s known for his upbeat attitude, infectious smile, and cartilage-cracking hugs.