When it came time to cast Dark Matter’s resident bad boy, this is the breakdown that went out for the role:
“AKA Sunshine, AKA Marcus Boone. A TRUE BADASS, he is the flipside to One’s principled coin- which is why the two are often at odds, developing a (grudging) like-hate relationship over the course of their journey. HE IS A MERCENARY THROUGH AND THROUGH, ALWAYS LOOKING OUT FOR HIMSELF. But he must come to accept the fact that, if he’s going to survive long enough to reach the outer colonies, he’s going to have to learn to get along. THINK SAWYER FROM LOST. ALL ETHNICITIES.”
Some roles are harder to cast than others. In the case of Dark Matter‘s THREE, however, it was surprisingly easy because, at the end of the day, one actor clearly stood out amongst the rest. Now don’t misunderstood. There were plenty of great auditions for the role but Anthony Lemke’s first read for the part of THREE delivered absolutely everything I was looking for in the character – and more! He was brash, confident, cool, charming, and very very funny. I can’t understate the importance of the latter. I needed someone who could convey the humor on the page – and Anthony did. And then some. I can’t remember anyone so thoroughly nailing an audition before. “That’s him,”I said the first time I watched him. “That’s our Three.” And absolutely everyone agreed.
THREE is Han Solo, Jack O’Neil, and Captain Jack Sparrow rolled into one – mercenary, opportunistic, with swagger to spare. Anthony so thoroughly embraced his character, imbued him with so much delightful nuance, that rarely a scene went by that didn’t have me smiling or shaking my head in amazement. It was the little things he added – a line, a look, a choice. Every time I see a certain scene in #104 (let’s discuss once the episode airs), I can’t help but laugh at two back to back expressions that, on the surface, don’t seem like such a big deal and yet do such a brilliant job of bringing the character to life and making him real. With an entire season under our belts, I know that he is destined to be a fan favorite.
Working with Anthony has been fun. More than any other cast member, he is always offering up ideas: a line here, some business there. On the move in one scene; twirling his gun in the next. The guy does so much on-camera eating that I honestly fear for his health! It’s the type of thing that probably drives most showrunners nuts but, to Anthony’s credit, he is always respectful and professional in his approach, pitching me beforehand and offering up his reasoning when necessary (ie. I say no). More often than not, I’ll let him run with it because, more often than not, his little additions are terrific. Occasionally, I’ll simply ask him to give me two versions so I can decide at the edit stage. On rare occasions, I’ll say no and he’ll be fine with that. And just try twice as hard the next time.
Anthony and THREE share certain character traits: cheekiness, daring, and a singular sense of humor. On the other hand, Anthony differs from THREE in his warmth and willingness to engage. Whenever a guest visits set for the first time, Anthony is always the first one to walk over and introduce himself, happily chatting away until someone drags him back to set.
A couple of months ago, I hosted a young woman who had just completed her studies and was considering a career in television. She was thrilled to be visiting a television production and even more thrilled when one of the cast members, Anthony, strolled up and introduced himself. I stood by and watched as Anthony thoroughly charmed her, inquiring about her future plans, her interests, engaging her in conversation like an old friend. And the look on her face made one thing abundantly clear: he had just made a fan for life.
I have a feeling that’s going to happen A LOT when the show premieres in June.