It was back in 2015 that an actress by the name of Ayisha Issa auditioned for the show. I thought she was terrific but, alas, not quite right for the role. Still, her audition so impressed me that I filed away Ayisha’s name in my “To Cast!” memory file. A year later, as we were spinning ideas for the show’s third season, I started to consider potential new characters. And Ayisha came to mind. This was one of those rare instances where, instead of creating a character and then looking to cast, I actually created the character FOR an actor. And hoped she’d nail the audition. Which, of course, she did. Which is how Ayisha Issa came to land the role of Solara Shockley, Adrian Maro’s no-nonsense bodyguard.
I’m pleased to announce that, in this blog’s grand tradition of shining a blistering spotlight on talent both in front and behind the camera, we’ll be hosting a fan Q&A with Ayisha who has kindly offered to field your questions.
SO – If you have questions for this Brazilian jiu-jitsu purple belt, post them in the comments section. And don’t be snarky. Did I mentioned she has a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu?
The All The Time In the World Breakdown – Part 1
As I mentioned in a previous blog entry, before sitting down to write this episode, I screened a crazy amount of time loop-themed t.v. episodes and movies. My goal was to acknowledge what was done before in humorous fashion, but also craft a story unique to Dark Matter and its characters.
One of my first steps was to toss out the traditional set-up and start mid-loop. Our episode opens with a weary THREE correctly predicting a series of events before ending up in the mess where he incites the wrath of Solara. She knocks him out. He gets up and – he’s suddenly back in bed. WTF?? Well, you can make a fairly educated guess when, after the show’s opening, we see a repeat, but slightly different version, of that opening scene.
THREE claims he’s caught in a time loop. The others, of course, don’t believe him – and he ends up in the infirmary where the Android runs a scan on him. The ensuing scene is one of my favorites. Anthony Lemke and Zoie Palmer are hilarious in this episode, but I have to give it up for Melissa O’Neil who is equally great as the dubious TWO. Note: Do NOT order the soup on Balda-4!
We establish a couple of the touchstone looping scenes – moping FIVE, sparring Adrian and Solara – then find the Android who is still working on that presumed faulty relay switch. THREE concocts a plan to convince the others what he is saying is true. All he has to do is convey some technobabble, and he’s golden. Of course, easier said than done.
When that doesn’t work, he pays Adrian a night-time visit in an attempt to stay up and break the loop. Here, we introduce the space ukulele that will be featured a little later.
Production Designer Ian Brock tracked down this futuristic instrument online. It was designed by Juan Carlos Noguera Cardoza who kindly permitted us to use it on the show. Check it out his amazing work here.
Unfortunately for THREE, science aint his strong suit so he decides to try another tack. The Android suggest she teach him French. Perfect because actor Anthony Lemke is fluent in French (as if I didn’t know). The Android begins…
Android: Ou est le chat de Monsieur Michaud.
THREE: Meshee meshaw meshew sho sho.
Android: No, you can’t make up your own words.
Some have suggested this exchange was inspired by an episode of Friends but, in reality, it was inspired by my girlfriend, Akemi, who ALWAYS does this.
The French lessons culminate with the two of them singing Dominique in the mess. Love THREE’s belting out the tune. Love the Android’s hip-swinging strumming. And LOVE TWO’s stone-faced acknowledgement, 180 degree turn and walk-out.
Director Ron Murphy did 3 or 4 takes of this sequence. After the first take, Anthony decided to improvise by working the spoons accompaniment into the duet. And then, for Take 3, helped himself to A camera operator Joe Turner’s hat and gave it some real Quebecois flair. When it came time for the edit I, of course, elected to go with the most over-the-top rendition.
Zoie and Anthony actually recorded the duet in a sound studio under the direction of composer Ben Pinkerton who played the ukulele.
Success! THREE finally convinces TWO and the Android. NOT because he speaks French, but because he succeeds in diagnosing the ship’s technical issues…in French. A much-relieved THREE celebrates by kissing TWO – a little exchange that wasn’t scripted but that Melissa and Anthony improvised on the day. What a great little moment.
Alright. That’s it for today. I’m off to declutter. I accepted an offer on the house last night and will close the deal pending Wednesday’s inspection. I have two months to clear out after which I will be…
Well, I don’t know where I’ll be.