Well, this is perfect timing. In the most recent episode of Dark Matter, “We Should Have Seen This Coming”, we find out all about the mysterious Nyx Harper. And, in today’s blog entry, we find out all about the actress who plays her – Melanie Liburd.
I’d just like to preface this fan/viewer Q&A by saying – Yes, Melanie is gorgeous. Yes, she positively pops on screen. Yes, she’s incredibly talented, poised and professional, and very dedicated to her craft whether it’s delivering reams of dialogue or bo staff choreography. But, above all else, I have to say Melanie is a pleasure to work with because she is LOVELY. I mean, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone kinder or sweeter. Don’t believe me? Invite her to your next con and find out!
On to Melanie’s Q&A…
Tam Dixon: “You move like a dancer in those fight scenes. Very graceful! Do you have a history in martial arts or dance?”
What a lovely compliment! I worked closely with my stunt double Brianna. We make a good team. I also danced quite a bit as a child and so found it easier to learn the stunt choreography if I made it into counts and sections in my head, just like in dancing. I must have driven our stunt coordinator (John Stead) crazy. I would say ‘let’s do section 1’ and he wouldn’t have a clue what I was talking about!
Randomness 1: “First of all, thanks for taking the time to answer peoples questions, I think you’re a talented actress who brings a lot to Dark Matter. How did it feel to be cast in the role of Nyx, knowing that the show was created by two awesome exec producer guys from the Stargate era?”
Thank you for being so supportive! I felt OVER THE MOON! Joe and Paul are incredibly smart and talented as well as being extremely kind and generous people. I felt privileged to have been chosen by them to be part of their idea and journey and to work alongside a super strong cast. I’m very grateful for that.
“2. Huge congrats on the Game of Thrones role, you did great. How did it feel to be a part of what is arguably the biggest fantasy drama television series ever made?”
It was a fascinating journey and a big challenge learning one of Game Of Throne’s made up languages. I had around a month’s training in High Valarian. It was fantastic. The creativity and detail that goes into making the show is incredible to witness and the cast are so down to earth and fun to work with.
“3. Assuming Nyx ever has her own ship, who would you want in your crew and why? (Doesn’t have to be limited to the Dark Matter universe..) ”
Bruce Lee, Kevin Hart, Prince, Dr Spock, James Bond, Michelle Obama. Because they are all Incredible and fabulous.
“4. What would be your dream television or movie role?”
A baddie in James Bond or Vulcan in Star Trek. It would make my Mum very happy. She’s the biggest fan of both!
“5. Do you see yourself as a gamer? or even more randomly, how do you feel about anime!?”
It’s a world I’m still leaning about.
“6. Who among the Dark Matter crew would you say Nyx dislikes the most? And who would you say she trusts the most? ”
Nyx is still trying to work that one out!
“7. What would be your ideal alternate universe life for Nyx?”
A spy British version of her who we meet in 1940’s London. That would be cool.
2cats: “ Without giving too much away this early in, what does Nyx bring to the Raza crew besides kick-ass fighting ability? Specifically, does she have helpful connections or knowledge that the Raza crew can use either to break out of the prison, and (assuming that’s successful) to further their agenda? Much thanks and welcome aboard! ”
It was intriguing developing the individual relationships with each of the other characters of the Raza crew; they’re all so complex in their own ways. We all come with different forms of baggage, hardships and loss so I think we can identify with each other in that way. Nyx a chameleon and her charm and sass most definitely add to the dynamic of the ship. She has a completely different set of abilities than anyone else in the Raza crew.
TheOtherOne: “What was your audition like?”
I sent an audition tape and didn’t actually meet the producers until I arrived in Toronto to start filming. Joe and Vanessa did call me for a quick chat beforehand to make sure I wasn’t completely crazy.
“Where were you when you heard you’d got the part?”
I was at home jumping up and down and dancing around my kitchen!
“Who did you share the news with first? Friends or family?”
My family and lots of my friends are in the UK. I live in LA which has an 8 hour time difference… I’m not sure how many people I woke up that night but it was quite a few!
“Do you have a favourite place – it could be a park, restaurant? ”
The Island of St Kitts and Nevis is my special place. There is magic there.
“And do you have a place or object (if that makes sense) that when you come across it you know you’re home?”
Yes. In cities where the Mountains are close to the water. Cape Town, St Kitt’s, Los Angeles. I like to be close to water.
“Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions, Melanie. I must just say, you made a brilliant and memorable début in Ep14. It feels like you’ve always been in Dark Matter somehow. Congratulations on a job well done!”
Thank you- great questions!
Drea: “For Melanie: Congratulations on opening the season with such a wonderful impactful performance. You’ve become an instant favorite with with many of us! I’ve been ice dancing all my life since I was 4 years old (am middle aged now) and just as Tam Dixon did, I immediately noticed your gracefulness in movement. Not just in the fight scenes but simply walking as well. You are quite the lovely young woman and we are so lucky to have you join the Raza Crew. […] Question: Where do you call home these days?? Have you now relocated to Toronto as a home base full time? Or continuing to divide the bulk of your free time between U.K and California U.S between seasons?”
Hey Drea! I live in LA at the moment but when we’re filming I live in Toronto. The winters are brutal but the food is great!
dianajudith: “Question for Nyx/Melanie: What inspiration did you take for playing Nyx? Also, how fun is it to play a kick-ass woman in SciFi?”
Nyx is a fun character to play, I love her charm, sass and confidence to talk her way out of any situation. I’m a very active person so learning new skills with swords, knives, guns and Bo staffs was a dream for me. I also really enjoyed some of the short comedic scenes that Joe and Paul wrote for her. It’s awesome to play a character who can kick ass but doesn’t take herself too seriously.
KathyC: “What’s your favorite part about playing Nyx?”
It has to be her sassy charm and heightened super senses.
Joanne: “Will we have a background story of Nyx?”
Yes. Episode 206 has just aired. It is action packed!
Gordon McGregor: “Melanie Liburd – do wish the show had allowed you to use your natural lovely voice with English accent.”
The great thing about Nyx is that she enjoys playing different characters and using different accents on various missions she goes on with the Raza crew. So this has allowed me to use my natural accent on the show which is great.
“Question – can you see yourself in future writing or directing a science fiction show, be it `Dark Matter’ or something else?”
Yes to all! I’ve always been very interested in making documentaries.
Farflame: “My questions for Melanie: Joe said that you nailed your part perfectly in audition. Could you tell us what did you have to do and how did you feel? Were you confident that you get the role?”
Auditions are a mystery. I try to have as much fun as possible doing them and then try my best to forget about them. Sometimes a part that’s perfect for you comes along and everything just seems to click into place. I got very excited about Nyx’s character from the very start of the process so was over-joyed to get the part.
“Can you briefly tell us how did you meet the Raza crew in real life for the first time? I assume it wasnt terribly exciting but anyway…”
I met the cast onset. They’re a lovely, cracking bunch!
“I assume you watched all episodes of DM so… which episode of DM Season 1 do you like the most (if you remember) and which crew member(s) is/are your favorite and why?”
One of my favourite scenes is when the Android (Zoie Palmer) does all of her accents. It still cracks me up every time I watch it!
“What you like about Nyx? Is there something you would change about her (if you could]?”
Nyx is awesome. I wouldn’t change anything about her. It would be really interesting to explore more story lines with her brother, played by Mpoh Koaho, and see more of Nyx’s past. It would also be interesting to challenge Two’s leadership more instead of being so easily lead; we’re all such strong individuals.
“Do you think that Nyx would eventually like to take the leadership of Raza from Two? (I dont ask about script, just about her possible intention :)) I think that Nyx character is ideal for some kind of subtle rivalry with Two. For example I imagine Nyx would like to command Android like a boss… even if she is not.”
Great question. In the future I can absolutely see Nyx challenging Two more but in a good way. It’s good for all characters to be challenged and have struggles. It’s the only way people grow. Do I think they could both exist on the ship long term? Yes, but I think there would have to be more collaboration if we stayed true to Nyx’s personality.
“Tricky question – While filming that first fight scene with Melissa were you very cautious to dont hit her? Or were you more like “dont be shy, lets go into it, it should look realistic, lets impress the crew? And dont be afraid, we wont tell the truth to Melissa.”
Of course I didn’t want to hurt her. She’s beautiful and is a sweetheart! Actually, Melissa and I just went for it and had fun. She’s tough and always seems to have some badass war wound!
“Another tricky question – What do you think Nyx would do in a place of Six? If she would find out that she is a cop… Would she betray others like Six? And what would you, Melanie Liburd, do in place of Six?”
Nyx would have kept quiet. She’s no Grass.
“Do you remember some funny story from filming?”
Loads. We’re all just a bunch of goofballs!
“Do you share some hobby with some of the actors?”
“What was your favorite TV show when you were a kid? Did you like sci-fi movies, space ships, sci-fi comics?”
Star Trek and Star Wars.
“If you could write one episode of Dark Matter, what would it be about?”
The Raza Crew going back in time.
Polaroid: “Melanie: Which actor/actress other than Melissa O’Neil did you bond with the most on/off set? Which character (Other than Two) did you enjoy interacting with on the show?”
The entire cast were very welcoming. We all have fun together.
Maggie L80: “Questions for Melanie: You have been in three of my favorite TV shows, Strike Back, Game of Thrones and now Dark Matter. Three very different genres. Do you have a favorite genre you prefer to work in?”
I’m very fortunate to have been given the chance to play such diverse characters in both drama and comedy. I’ve never pigeon- holed myself and think that’s important. It’s my job to be able to step into the shoes of somebody else and interpret that in the best way I can. I thrive on a challenge and enjoy pushing myself. I enjoy all genres.
“Favorite female role/character? Doesn’t have to be one you have played. ”
Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady; she was outstanding.
“Dialogue vs action, what’s your preference?”
Sally woods: Have Nyx and Two crossed paths before?, the fight she instigated with three seemed to be only to engage Two in that awesome fight, could it have been to try and jog her memory, will we be shipping Twyx soon?”
Nyx had heard lots about the infamous Raza crew and so was intrigued to find out how badass they really were. When she fights Two she quickly sees similarities between them which she is impressed by. Nyx being impressed doesn’t happen to often! TWYX I love it!
“Did you watch DarkMatter before you got the part?”
Once I got the part I binge watched the whole first season and of course, I absolutely loved it!
Thogar: “I have some questions for Melanie! Coming in as one of the noobs, can you describe your very first time on set?”
I missed the read through for ep 201 so I met the rest of the cast my first day on set. We were in underwear all day getting pelted with dry ice. It definitely broke the ice!
“Does everyone on the set of Dark Matter have as much fun as Joe’s making it sound here on the blog?”
The Dark Matter set is a fun, silly, crazy place to be. Everybody works extremely hard but will grab any available chance for a prank of some kind. My favourite part of the ship is The Bridge. I’m always pressing buttons. Its like bubble wrap – you can’t stop!
“Besides appearance, do you and Nyx have any similarities?”
We both have a bit of sass but I’m definitely more sensible that Nyx. She’s ruthless.
“How do you think the real you would fare in a real prison … or a space prison?”
Not so good. Nyx and Arax would have to be my besties.
“When filming the sim yard scenes, just how miserable were you guys in that cold weather?”
My jaw froze at one point which makes it tricky when you’re trying to do an accent but I had such a laugh with Melissa it didn’t matter. In-between each take we’d jump up and down and sip warm tea. Jozie and Liz our location costume assistants gave us little hand and feet warmers; love those girls.
“Before the season started, I was sure TWO and Nyx were going to take a lot longer to become friends. Are they like buds now or will there be arguments and maybe more outright fighting between the two? (Psst … If you can’t say, blink once for “buds”, twice for “fights”.)”
It could be one blink…or two… LOL!
“Did anyone on the set prank you or try to make you flub your lines or laugh during a scene?”
Sometimes Melissa would give me this look in the middle of a scene and I’d think, uh oh… We would start laughing and wouldn’t stop. I would literally be crying with laughter. Lol
“What’s your favourite set or location to film on/in?”
The sets in episode 206 are a work of art and so beautifully detailed. Ian Brock our designer is so talented!
“Have you tried the whiskey? What’s your favorite?”
Of course! I have no idea which one it was but it was very nice indeed.
“How did the decision come about to have you use a North American accent instead of your English one? And can we vote to have you use your natural one?”
I auditioned in both accents and the producers chose American. I enjoy working in accents and love that in the Syfy world anything is possible and can change at any time.
“If you watch TV, what’s your favorite show on today? What’s your favorite show from your childhood? If you don’t watch TV, forget I asked those last two.”
I binge watch a lot of shows and love House of Cards, GOT, Peaky Blinders, The Good Wife and Scandal. One of my favourite TV show from childhood has to be Dr Who.
“Favorite weapon: Bo staff or gun? OR … Bo staff with guns in each end?”
wordyblerd: “The BTS and onscreen chemistry with Two/Melissa was palpable, a) were you nervous to join an established ensemble b) can you remember the moment where you got comfortable on set and in your character? Loved your work on the premier!”
Yes, I was slightly nervous joining the cast but probably more excited. The guys did such an outstanding job in season one that I felt very privileged to join them. It was inspiring and impressive seeing the sets for the first time and the producers and cast couldn’t have been more welcoming. Melissa helped me to feel at ease and gave me lots of excellent advice about stunts, guns etc.. She’s such a pro!
blink (@blinktumbl3): “Melanie Liburd, great to see you on the show. So grateful for the heat and subtleties you’re bringing to the role and to interactions. We all felt that chemistry, for which we are thankful. Q: Nyx is obviously a bit of a mystery for us, but unlike the rest of the crew, she knows her past. How much of that past did you know as you were playing out s2? Or how did you approach the character arc as an actor? (I have theories about Nyx being biomech or something, but just wild speculation, and you don’t have to give anything away plotwise.)”
Joe our show runner would enjoy drip feeding me pieces of information. He told me a rough back story about Nyx but I had no idea what was going to happen once I got on to the ship, or the kind of relationships I would develop with the other members of the crew.
Nyx goes from being in her comfort zone and in a place of high status and power in Hyperion 8 to then feeling like an uncomfortable visitor in an unfamiliar and untrusting place on The Raza. Initially, Two doesn’t allow Nyx, Arax or Devon full access to the ship or to have any weapons and this doesn’t go down too well. One of the themes this season is most definitely trust. All of these factors made Nyx very interesting and complex to play.
Cast would only get a new script one week before filming the next episode, so I had no idea of the entire arc of my character. Whilst working out who my character was and what she wanted, I was also working through situations simultaneously. You have to trust that the script will take you where you need to go and keep your characters behaviour consistent.
Cheri P.: “Question for Melanie: 1. How does it feel to join a cast with such strong female characters?”
It’s very cool to be on a Syfy show that reflects women’s personalities in real life. There are strong women everywhere I look.
“2. What’s the biggest challenge about taking on this role?”
I have honestly had way too much fun to call it challenging!
“3. What are your thoughts on your character’s personality?”
Charismatic, charming, diligent, loyal… what’s not to like about Nyx!
“4. What was it like being on Game of Thrones?”
“Thank you for taking the time to answer questions from fans. I look forward to seeing Nyx kick-ass in upcoming episodes.”
I’ve had so much fun answering all of your great questions. Thank you all for the kind, supporting words and for watching the show!