June 26, 2017: Ayisha Issa (solara Shockley) Q&a!  Episode 304 Bts Tidbits!

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.

June 26, 2017: Ayisha Issa (solara Shockley) Q&a!  Episode 304 Bts Tidbits!

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?

June 26, 2017: Ayisha Issa (solara Shockley) Q&a!  Episode 304 Bts Tidbits!

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.

June 26, 2017: Ayisha Issa (solara Shockley) Q&a!  Episode 304 Bts Tidbits!

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.

June 26, 2017: Ayisha Issa (solara Shockley) Q&a!  Episode 304 Bts Tidbits!

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.

June 26, 2017: Ayisha Issa (solara Shockley) Q&a!  Episode 304 Bts Tidbits!

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.

June 26, 2017: Ayisha Issa (solara Shockley) Q&a!  Episode 304 Bts Tidbits!

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.

June 26, 2017: Ayisha Issa (solara Shockley) Q&a!  Episode 304 Bts Tidbits!

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.

June 26, 2017: Ayisha Issa (solara Shockley) Q&a!  Episode 304 Bts Tidbits!

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.


16 thoughts on “June 26, 2017: Ayisha Issa (Solara Shockley) Q&A! Episode 304 BTS tidbits!

  1. Oh! I’ll have to think up a good question for Ayisha. It’s too late tonight for me to put many thoughts together!

    I had to chuckle at the idea for making up the words coming from Akemi. She’s such a sweetie. And, that space ukelele is so cool! I didn’t really notice it in the show, but what a great detail. The song was one of my favourite parts of the episode, but I only wish we had’ve seen more of it. They did such a great job!

  2. Congrats on selling the house! You must be relieved the process is over.

    Just watched the episode. Wow. That was a wild, funny, back and forth episode. Definitely on par with Window of Opportunity on SG1. Anthony was so great in this episode. Couldn’t stop laughing for that stretch where he couldn’t explain the technobabble, Shit, went to get punched and reset, still couldn’t explain the technobabble, Shit, and so on. Just a great episode from everyone. And that singing scene, and Melissa’s turn and walk out were just awesome.

  3. First congratulations on the offer for the house! It’s all song & dance then it’s “holy shit I got two months to pack and find a place to live”. Luckily when my mom passed away I was financially secure enough to have 2 houses at one time while renting another. It was crazy! I got an offer on my house while on vacation at the beach and had to go to the front office of the little island we were staying on to fax papers back & forth. Closed the week we got back. At my mom’s visitation I actually had people walk up and ask if I was gonna sell her house, when and for how much. Pretty much sold it within a week of her death. Then had to rent it until I could figure out what to do with all her stuff. Hope all goes well without a hitch! Those home inspections…well…

    I haven’t had the time to comment on earlier posts how much I loved this episode! San Frantastic!! Out of the ball park, grand slam home run! From the first moments to the last…riveting especially when everything took a much darker tone after Ash appeared, Three was shot and ultimately the Android had her own temporal time jump. My question would be, was her jump linear? Starting with Three “shooting” her to her experience with emotions to being victim of a sadist…was it all in the furture? Could the beginning have been in the past jumping to near future to way in the future? Loved the musical beats of a very different Android on the bridge of the Raza meeting a much “older” Five. Brilliant. All of it!! Not a weak moment throughout the entire episode! So many teasers!

    Not to detract from Sean & Melanie but I absolutely love Mishka & Ayisha! Adrian is a hoot! Sensible pumps, skimmed resumes, and his total ineptitude with weapons of any kind have me smiling, laughing and eagerly waiting for his next appearance. Solara is a slow build. Her stoicism, no nonsense approach begs to be broken down. She has a depth to her character that I for one am looking forward to revealing. I really hope these characters are around for a long time!

    Questions for Ayisha:
    Did you get to keep any of your wardrobe? Love the “half” jacket as seen in this most recent episode, Ep 304.

    You’ve been in 12 Monkeys, Warm Bodies and now Dark Matter to name a few. Do you prefer to work on a movie set vs TV series set? How did you get into acting?

    Favorite movie?

    Who did you first tell when you knew you had been cast for Solara? Favorite character interaction on the show?

    Thank you for taking time to answer our questions.

  4. Wow, okay I am feeling loss pangs for your house and I don’t live there! Both wonderful that you got an offer you felt was good, and hard to leave your home, get your stuff packed up and find a new place! Since we’re in the midst of the sorting and packing, I truly understand that part.

  5. Congrats on accepting an offer. Now what? Toronto or Vancouver? We need a renewal fast!!!

  6. My questions for Ayisha: Did it happen before to you that a role was written especially for you? How does that feel? (I can imagine that this is a special challenge, because one wants to meet the ideas of the writer.) What do you like most about your role? What did you find most difficult?

  7. Congratulations on selling your house. If you’re like me, the memories will begin to haunt you about now and likely will continue until you shut that door for the final time.

  8. @We need a renewal fast!!!

    Unfortunately renewals don’t work that way with cable(Or broadcast). Renewal announcements come when the majority of episodes of any series have aired. You could look at it another way, after each episode has aired, it’s another step closer to that renewal announcement.

  9. Wow, on selling the house so soon! I’d say try Toronto first. I mean, you’ll be moving back there in a couple of months anyway. Hey, if you move to Toronto, will this make it harder to work with the other writers? Thank God for technology!
    There’s nothing like moving to help you purge possessions. Is there a service to help you get rid of some of the more valuable collectables? It’s not like you have time for eBay or anything.

    Questions for Ayisha: How hard/easy was it to learn the fight scenes on the show? Have you incurred any injuries performing these stunts? What drew you to BJJ? Are you part of the Bourbon club? Thank you, AND Welcome to the DM family!

  10. Questions for Ayisha:
    Who do you think would win in a fight, Two or Solara?
    Who is your favourite character on Dark Matter?
    Which cast member do you hang out with most often?
    What do you do in your spare time?
    Favourite hobby?
    Favourite food?
    Favourite Dark Matter Episode?

    Thank you for answering my questions!

  11. That is a killer ukulele. I think my friend needs one.

    Congrats on the house sale. Ah, decluttering. I can see the yardsale now (ha, huh?).

  12. Hi Ayisha, congrats on an awesome job as Solara, how did you get those cool comic book zap-pow effects in the “Knocking Out Three” montage? And where can we get those cool Tank Girl boots?

    Also is Solara genuinely of Adrian or is she just collecting a paycheck? Solara goes out of her way to give Adrian sparring lessons and puts his safety first on missions, displaying quite a bit more honor than the job requires.

    What show or movie would you love to work on next; Wonder Woman 2, Glow, Game of Thrones, Killjoys, Stranger Things (btw I’m just naming stuff I like); what is your dream project to get cast on next?

  13. Congratulations on the sale of your house! I’m sorry to leave but look forward to a new place to hang out. That should be fun. Just not the moving part.

    I know what you mean about Ayisha Issa . I took an instant liking to her and her character Solara. I couple of questions for Ayisha:

    What has been your favorite role so far?
    Who is your favorite Dark Matter director? Why?
    Currently, what is a typical day like for you?
    Why did you learn jiu-jitsu?
    How did you get started in acting?
    What TV shows did you watch as a child?

    Thank you very much Ayisha for answering our questions! You are brave!!

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