Concluding our Dark Matter Season 3 Awards with recognition of our amazing main cast and their performances big and small…
MELISSA O’NEIL (TWO)
BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE
It’s hard to believe Dark Matter was Melissa O’Neil’s first t.v. role, even more surprising if you’d actually seen her amazing audition for TWO. From the moment I watched her self-tape, I vowed I’d go to war to see her cast. Fortunately, there was no need for bloodshed as I was not the only one to take note of her immense talent. With regard to choosing her best supporting role in season 3, this was probably the toughest call I had to make. I could have gone with her double turn in Episode 306, “One Last Card To Play”, in which we she portrays both TWO and alt. Portia with subtle distinction, or her heartfelt performance of Episode 309, “Isn’t That A Paradox”, in which she grasps at a potential refuge for her and her crew. Instead, I have to give it to…
Episode 304, “All The Time In The World”. The comedy stylings of Anthony Lemke and Zoie Palmer are front and center, but the backbone of this episode is Melissa’s dubious and joyously bewildered performance.
BEST LEAD PERFORMANCE
She again pulls double duty in the revelatory Episode 310 (“Built, Not Born”) and my first instinct was to go with that one but, upon further review, I have to go with…
Episode 301, “Being Better Is So Much Harder”. A great actor’s true talents shine, not so much in scenes of strength but in those instances in which their characters are at their lowest and most vulnerable. Melissa is at her best here as TWO wrestles with self-doubt, guilt, and the true weight of command.
ANTHONY LEMKE (THREE)
BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE
THREE went from being one of the show’s most hated characters to, over the course of three seasons, one of its most beloved thanks in large part to Anthony Lemke’s portrayal of the incorrigible scoundrel. THREE is generally mercenary, boorish, and comical, making those instances in which we’re offered a glimpse behind that devil-may-care facade all the more delightful. THREE is terrific when he’s driving the action, but he’s equally great when he’s lending genuine support as was the case in…
Episode 310, “Built, Not Born”. Anthony and Natalie Brown play off each other beautifully in their shared scenes, and it’s his later, poignant scene with Zoie Palmer’s Android in the mess that really reminds us what this show is really about: these characters and their bonds of friendship.
BEST LEAD PERFORMANCE
Like the decision to cast Anthony, this one didn’t require all that much thought…
Episode 304, “All The Time In The World” in which Anthony displays THREE at his funniest (riding the seemingly endless time loop) and most serious (coming to terms with the digital resurrection of the woman he once loved).
ALEX MALLARI JR. (FOUR/RYO ISHIDA)
BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE
Season 3 saw FOUR complete his transition to Emperor Ryo Ishida, going from steadfast ally to sworn enemy, and the episode that gets my vote for Alex Mallari Jr.’s Best Supporting Performance is…
Episode 308, “Hot Chocolate”, an episode in which he truly gets to play the role of the season’s Big Bad, delivering as a fearsome threat yet, simultaneously, a conflicted former friend who has not forgotten his former ties.
BEST LEAD PERFORMANCE
Throughout the show’s third season, Alex did a brilliant job of conveying the war his character fought, both without and within, measuring fear against love, leadership against loyalty, and there was no better example of this complex duality than…
Episode 312, “My Final Gift To You” which sees Ryo attempt to have it all, give it all, only to see it all come crashing down. Alex makes us despise Ryo’s actions and yet, at the same time, find compassion and sympathy for that former friend so far gone.
JODELLE FERLAND (FIVE)
BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE
One of my favorite guest stars back on Stargate: Atlantis was a young (13 year old) Jodelle Ferland who played the role of precocious princess Harmony in the episode to the same name. Fast forward some nine years later and she is impressing in an altogether different role as the ship’s tech monkey and defacto spirited mascot. FIVE plays pivotal roles in episodes like “One Last Card To Play” and “Hot Chocolate”, but my pick for her best supporting performance is…
Episode 309, “Isn’t That A Paradox?”, which reminds us that, even though the crew may no longer refer to her as a “kid”, she is still very much a kid at heart, making friends, playing video games in pajamas, but still finding time to help save the day.
BEST LEAD PERFORMANCE
My choice for this category is an episode that was intended to open the door to a bigger arc involving the introduction of FIVE’s long lost sister, Karina, a surprising connection to the villainous Alicia Reynaud, and the shocking ascendance of a new Big Bad…
Episode 302, “It Doesn’t Have To Be Like This”, finally allows us insight into FIVE’s backstory, revealing the relationships and critical decisions that impacted her life, putting her on the fateful course that landed her on The Raza. Jodelle is wonderful throughout, but especially in those final, heartbreaking moments of FIVE’s trip down memory lane.
ROGER CROSS (SIX)
BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE
Back when we were first casting the role of SIX, I felt heart of the character was distilled down to a single line of dialogue, an exchange with FIVE in which he admits that when, inevitably, she chooses to leave their ragtag crew…”I’m going to miss you, kid. I’m going to miss you a lot.” When delivered correctly, this line would encapsulate the very heart of the Big Brother/Little Sister relationship I sought to capture. Almost every actor who auditioned for the part missed the spirit of the line, and then along came Roger Cross…
Some great moments for SIX in season 3, both in a spotlight and supporting role. In terms of supporting performance, I really liked him in Episode 301 (“Being Better Is So Much Harder”) as he attempts to pick up a fallen TWO and of course in Episode 308 (“Hot Chocolate”) as he attempts to juggle his roles as Raza bad-ass and rebel mediator, but my favorite was…
Episode 310, “Built, Not Born” mostly on the strength of a single scene opposite Zoie Palmer in The Marauder that sees SIX attempt to buoy our Android’s fallen spirits. Roger has a natural warmth and nowhere is it more evident on screen that in this wonderful exchange.
BEST LEAD PERFORMANCE
Sure, the obvious choice would be Episode 303 (“Welcome To The Revolution”) that sees SIX finally walk the walk he’s been talking since season 2, but I would actually give the nod to…
Episode 307, “I Wish I Could Believe You”, which offers a peek at SIX’s backstory, his friendship with John Anders, and the family he left behind. Roger delivers a compelling performance and never have we felt more sympathy for SIX.
ZOIE PALMER (ANDROID)
BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE
To think I originally envisioned The Android character as male. Three seasons into the show, I can’t imagine anyone BUT Zoie Palmer in the role. And, while the initial plan was to make the character a more supporting role, Zoie’s early portrayal ensured the Android became as important a crew member as everyone else on board The Raza. I was really torn in trying to select an episode for this category. On the one hand, there was Episode 309, “Isn’t That A Paradox?” which sees her drive the action in her inimitable fashion; but on the other hand, there’s…
Episode 304, “All The Time In The World”. She’s at her funniest dealing with an increasingly harried THREE and at her most dramatic jumping through her various flash-forwards. Hell, she even sings and dances!
BEST LEAD PERFORMANCE
Was there ever any doubt it would be…
Episode 310, “Built, Not Born”, that sees Zoie give a tour-de-force performance as both doomed creator, Dr. Shaw, and conflicted creation. The Android-SIX scene in The Marauder in which he reminds her how special she is, Android’s conversation with FIVE on the merits of smiling, Android’s heart to heart with THREE over whiskey and hot chocolate – some of my favorites of the entire series.
So, those are my votes. What do you all think? What were your favorite Supporting and Lead Performances for each cast member?
When we were first casting the part of FOUR in Dark Matter, we cast a wide net – opening the role up to all genders and auditioning actors across North America. One candidate stood out for me in that early round: Alex Mallari Jr. Unlike most of the other candidates who delivered colorfully threatening, often over-the-top takes on the “interrogation scene” from Episode 102, his performance was understated, controlled, and chillingly effective.
As we headed into the second round auditions, I had occasion to speak to Alex over the phone and prep him for his scenes (something I did for all the candidates, putting the scene in context and offering a character backstory to draw from). I found him to be incredibly down to earth, well-spoken, and thoughtful individual clearly dedicated to his craft – and, after that call, I was secretly rooting for him. Ultimately, however, it came down to the second round audition…
And he nailed it.
One year later, with a season as The Raza’s resident sword-wielding badass under his belt, Alex has been all kinds of busy…but not busy enough to stop by for The Greatest Alex Mallari Jr. Fan Q&A ever!
Night-Cat writes: “I’m curious about how heavy those swords are. They don’t look very light, but you swing them around like a cat with a mouse. Also, do you think Four would ever want to retake his place in the family Empire again, or is that a too late now kinda thing?”
Alex: We used a bamboo replica sword for all fight scenes so it was as light as a feather! As far as the family feud, I think his main concern is finding justice.
livingforcreativity writes: “What acting gigs do you have on your horizon? Is it a consideration to take an acting gig where you have to spend months away from home? Thank you for your time!”
Alex: I’m finishing up a series called INSOMNIA that I have been filming out in Moscow, Russia. When and where that will be put out – who knows. But follow me at @alexmallarijr and I’ll be sure to keep everyone updated.
Mike A. writes: “Questions for Alex: Do you like that FOUR seems to talk a lot less than most of the others? Do you like the subsequent mystery of his character?
Alex: I’ve always been a fan of silent but deadly type of characters. It would be cool to hear more from him but not too much because I do feel that would take away from his character. I do love the mystery. Thankfully we have amazing writers that are flawlessly able to have Four speak just enough at all times without giving away too much.
“Did Joe make you read any specific Anime to better understand where FOUR is coming from, or to get into character?”
Alex: Joe gave me a great reference of COWBOY BEBOP. But growing up loving Anime, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I pretty much let my “inner child” play the role.
“Now that your weapons training has really taken off, is there any specific new weapon you’d like to see FOUR master and use in combat?”
Alex: I’m in love with the Katana so right now I’d like to master and perfect those skills. What I would love to try are more aerials and some crazy hand-to-hand stuff (think Wing Chun).
“Keep up the great work Alex. As someone who studied Shotokan karate for many years and learned many of the same weapons you’re using on DM, I’m more transfixed by your athletic abilities and technical skills at times, but you are definitely pulling off your character beautifully. Strong, silent, unwavering, technical, brutal. I love it!”
Alex: Thank you kindly!
Randomness writes: “Some questions for this Q&A –
1) How comfortable would you say Four is around the crew after everything that has happened thus far? Would you say he has a trust in them and could see himself staying with this group over the long term?”
Alex: I think by now he’s found his place and has come to a conclusion as to who plays what role on the ship and in the team. Does he trust them? Would you trust anyone after your own family betrayed you and had you banished from your own kingdom? He had a great moment with Two at the end of episode nine, I’m sure he was sincere in that moment. Four is a man of honour, honesty, and loyalty so I’ll leave it at that.
“2) What would you say was going through Fours mind when he stabbed Akita-san with his sword? Do you think he has any regrets over his actions?”
Alex: What was going through his mind? Who knows with that guy. Four has his own agenda and I’m sure he’ll make sure all is accomplished one way or another. Does he have any regrets over his actions? None. Four is much too calculated. He has a reason for all of his actions. So stay tuned, keep bothering Joe for more Four, and let’s see where his journey takes him!
“3) Out of everyone in the Raza crew, who would you say Four trusts, and gets along with the most?”
“4) Do you see Four ever reclaiming his throne? And could he do it without killing a whole bunch of people in the process? Also, do you believe his grief over the loss of his father motives him to pursue justice?”
Alex: I see Four being able to reclaim his throne whilst swinging his bloody sword, lol. There is so much that motivates Four and I’m sure we haven’t even seen half of his story. All we’ve seen are the introductions… I bet we’ll have our answers in season 2. As you and all of us know, our writers don’t leave anyone hanging!
“5) After playing Four for 13 episodes now, what do you think of your character, and where can you see him heading in future seasons? I think you’ve done great so far, your weaponry skills are excellent too, is there a weapon you want to use but haven’t thus far on the show?”
Alex: Thanks for the kind words! I love Four. I’ve loved Four since the day I received the audition pieces. I see Four remaining the Raza’s go-to-guy in the future seasons. Every battalion has a sniper and I think Four is that guy for the Raza… except he uses a sword… and the occasional gun… plus the occasional kicks… and, well, you know where I’m going with this.
Tam Dixon writes: “For Alex: I studied Kung Fu for a year and Karate for several years. You make the moves look flawless. All your hard work shows! How long did you practice to make your techniques so smooth? Which parts of martial arts did you pick up the easiest and which were the most difficult? Since I’m getting older, jumps are a struggle now. However, I can still do head high kicks, so all is not lost.”
Alex: Muscle memory, baby! Keep those kicks handy. I studied Tae Kwon Do at a highly competitive level from a very young age so the martial arts comes to me. Bruce Lee is a hero of mine and I believe his theory of being formless.
Tim Hendrix writes: “For Mr. Mallari,
You have obviously captured the hearts of many of our female viewers and the envy and respect of most males in the audience (your mastery of the sword is impressive). Do you see a romantic interest in FOUR’s future in seasons to come? Will it soften that rock hard exterior so we can experience his Nutella center?”
Alex: LOL @ his nutella centre. Only if Nutella was vegan… I wish! Do I see a romantic interest in Four’s future? I don’t know, you know. The best thing we can all do is stay tuned and see where that goes. For now, let’s just keep counting the kills
Ponytail writes: “Yeah! I love FOUR too!! My 5 questions for Alex: 1. What was your first favorite TV show you can remember as a kid?”
Alex: Power Rangers, Dragon Ball Z, and Pokemon.
“2. What do you do on set to pass the time in between shooting your scenes?”
Alex: I sing, I dance, I tweet, I gram (post on instagram), and I joke… oh… and I eat.
“3. If Joe let you write a season 2 episode that was FOUR centered, what would it be about?”
Alex: I wouldn’t change a thing when it comes to the direction of the show. Our creators and writers have done an impeccable job and I promise that they will continue to deliver. But more Four is always good, right?
“4. FOURClan is a pretty cool name. What other names did you consider before going with FOURClan?”
Alex: Honestly, FourClan was the first thing that came to mind and it resonated. I think I was listening to Wu-Tang clan and then it hit me.
“5. What would be your ultimate dream role ever?”
Alex: I would love to play Scorpion or Sub Zero in an epic remake of Mortal Kombat.
Brandon Willford writes: “Question for Mr. Mallari Jr.: Will you be able to talk the execs into letting Four grow his hair out rebel-style? (And I don’t mean Rebel Wilson … though that would be an interesting look …)”
Alex: I had a man-bun and beard just before we started filming! I was hoping we would do that but then we opted to shave. I would love for Four to be bald with a beard… I just want a beard.
ThePansyBastard writes: “We all know well the serious side of Four and his unparalleled skill with swords and martial arts. So, I would like to know, if Four DOES laugh (not sure we’ve had a full laugh yet), what would make him laugh, like falling down, rolling on the floor kind of laughing?”
Alex: In all fairness we got a pretty decent smile out of him when he decided to kill Akita-San, LOL. Does that count? I think hearing Two say that Three is right (for once) out loud while the entire crew is present would make him laugh.
Diana Goodrich writes: “Hello! Was using a sword something new for you to learn?”
Alex: That is was!
“•How much preparation effort and time did dealing with sword(s) require?”
Alex: It took a couple/few weeks. I think my first time with a sword will be on the DVD in the specials section. Not sure but it might!
“Was that preparation facilitated by knowing how to use other auxiliary weapons such as nunchakus?”
Alex: The nunchakus I did on the fly. On the way to set, I watched that famous little kid who does the Bruce Lee impersonations multiple times and I hoped for the best once they called out action. As far as the other weapons, it never took more than a one or two hour training session. I don’t know how it all came to me but it did naturally!
“How many other blades of what kind does Four have tucked about his person?”
Alex: You’ll have to wait and see!
Luis Igarashi writes: “I’ve been paying attention to the weapons rack since day one (the nunchaku wasn’t there!) basically the weapons left are from Chinese origins will we see you training with them before this season ends?”
Alex: I’m sure our co-ordinator John Stead will make me use as many weapons as possible. If you want my honesty, I want to perform some awesome stuff on the wooden dummy (wing chun).
“I like China and Russia, two countries I’d like to visit someday, what can you tell us about the Russians? (are the girls really pretty as they say?)”
Alex: Women are gorgeous all over the world! I’ve never been to China but Russians are cool. They are crazy drivers, I’ll tell you that. You wanna race on the streets? Go to Russia and have yourself a blast… the autobahn has nothing on everyday Russian streets.
“I never practiced any martial arts (but I was a pretty good walking punching bag) I’ve watched tons of documentaries about it, Filipino Cali seems to be a very effective martial art, have you mastered it?”
Alex: No not at all. I’ve never even tried Filipino Cali. I’ll give it a try this season!
“Nowadays who’s your favorite martial artist actor? (mine is Donnie Yen)”
Alex: Donnie Yen & Tony Jaa.
“It’d be really nice if we (me at least) get to see some action like in Kill Bill or the bloodiest ninja movie I’ve ever seen, Ninja Assassin (2009) lots of blood *-*”
Alex: I WOULD LOVE TO SEE THIS TOO.
ivonbartokfans writes: “Questions for Alex: (Hi Alex its webgurl) Congratulations! You’ve done a great job developing your character. FOUR continually surprises me.”
Alex: THANK YOU!
“1. What surprised you most about Season 1 of Dark Matter?”
Alex: The finale… definitely the finale. I’m still crushed by it.
“2. FOUR is the most ruthless of the crew. Do you think he believes he is justified in the deaths he has caused or does he just react to situations in a manner he was raised?”
Alex: I think he reacts accordingly. Like I said in an earlier question, Four has his own agenda and he will do it justice. Although Four is now amongst mercenaries I believe he is a man of righteousness.
“3. How difficult was it doing the walking/talking scene outside in the cold with your hands tied behind your back?”
Alex: It was super difficult. I can’t even remember how cold it was that day but I spend two whole days in those conditions. I’d do it again though, I love what came of it!
“4. What book are you reading at the moment, or the last one you read?”
Alex: I’m now reading The Divine Comedy (currently on Dante’s Inferno).
“5. I’ve been impressed with your sword work. You’ve studied martial arts. Did you have any prior experience with katanas and is this something you’d like to pursue?”
Alex: Thank you I had no previous experience in weapons at all before Dark Matter but, yeah, I would love to learn more about the art of the Samurai.
SmellyCat1304 writeS: “Hello Alex! Would like to know which scene was your favorite to make/shoot, and why?”
Alex: The intro scene to episode nine and the scene where I slice through a line of people in episode 10. Why? Kill, kill, kill, and badassery!
dasndanger writes: “Hello, Alex! a.k.a. Twinkle Toes…Growing up my best friend was from the Philippines. My husband even tried the tinikling dance at her wedding. His ankles did not fair well… So, a question – have you (or can you) perform the tinikling dance? If so, how did your ankles fair? And also if so, is there video?”
Alex: LOL, no I’ve never tried the tinikling dance. I’ll give’er a go some day I’m sure.
Farflame writes: “Thanks for this great show and your fine portrayal of Four, Mr. Mallari. My questions:
– DM is sci-fi with big potential regarding the universe, technology or mystery. Is there some situation, theme or story you would like to see in DM Season 2?”
Alex: I can’t wait to acquire all the answers to our pasts and move forward!
“What do you like about Four’s character and what you dont like?”
Alex: I like everything about him… so much that I would like to see more of him myself! Lol
“In first episodes there were great moments when silent Four suddenly spoke and it had both meaning and an impact. Which of Four’s sentences do you like most?”
Alex: This is a tough one. As wise as Four can be, my favourite line would have to be in episode nine when there was an attacker on the ground pleading for mercy, telling Four that he had a wife and kids and then Four simply says, “They can do better,” and kills him.
“Who was the best talent for fighting scenes amongst your crew mates (except you) and who was your favorite opponent?”
Alex: I think Melissa and Zoie kicked major ass! Who was my favourite opponent? Hard to say, I don’t think Four met any real worthy adversaries.
“Would you prefer smaller roles in big martial arts movie or big Hollywood dramatic movie, or bigger role in interesting TV serie?”
Alex: Bigger role in great series’ (like DARK MATTER, lol).
To living, loving and lying writes: “To Alex: One of my fav scenes this season was when One, Two, Three and Four were on the space station in the restaurant and the guys were guessing the special meal Two ordered. Once you found out that you were eating meal worms the way you dropped the food and the look of disgust was priceless. Its the reaction my stepdad has every time I let him try something new; good example was kale.
I was wondering the two people who grew up with money are the two who were not accepting of the meal worms. Is that scene a look into what the backgrounds of Two and Three are. Do you feel since Two suggested the worms and Three kept eating that means these two did not grow up with silver spoons?”
Alex: Great observation and, to be honest, I’ve driven myself nuts because everything in the show “matters”. Our writers are exceptional at creating moments and there are a lot of moments (way more than you think).
Aurelie writes: “Hello Alex, I have learned that you are vegan, that’s awesome. Why are you vegan?”
Alex: It started out for personal health reasons but it’s become much more now. It’s become an ethical thing for me now and I’m trying my best to actually live a full-on vegan life style as opposed to just having a vegan diet. I think we, as humans, are to be the stewards of all that’s on this planet and we should take pride in caring for all that surrounds us. I would love to eventually be a strong voice for the animals whilst helping others live a healthier lifestyle.
scifiandtvtalk writes: “For Alex: Can you tell us a bit about your experiences filming Episode Nine, and your thoughts on Four’s backstory involving his father, brother and homeworld and how that’s unfolded so far. Also, the action sequences involving your character are amazing! What do you enjoy most about executing those in front of the camera. Thanks as always for your time, Alex!”
Alex: Episode nine was a blast. It was a freeze-my-ass-off blast and I loved every second of it. There was more dialogue involved so it was a mouthful too. I remember one of the days we must have filmed 15 pages of dialogue between Akita and Four. My thoughts on Four’s backstory? I think it’s epic and we are in for quite the ride. It could easily become a series all on its own. I’m not hinting at anything, I’m just saying there’s a lot there and I look forward to discovering the story with you all. The most exciting thing about the fighting in front of the camera? It’d have to be doing it all in front of a camera knowing I won’t settle for anything less than amazing because I want to keep the audience entertained, happy, and wanting more.
sparrow_hawk writes: “Hi Alex! Four was my favorite character from the comic book and you are doing a great job with him. Thanks for all your hard work! Just one character insight question. Okay, maybe two questions:
1. If Four becomes Emperor, how do you think he will reward his Raza crewmates?”
“2. Do you think that Four’s experiences (those that he remembers, anyway) will make him a better emperor? Why or why not?”
Alex: Hard to say at this point because I don’t think we’ve seen enough of what Four’s gone through. We know that he was framed and that he left his land but we don’t know how he joined the Raza, how long he’s been with the Raza, what he’s gone through with the crew, etc. But to judge Four at his core, I would say he would make an awesome emperor because he’s wise, humble, loyal, and a great listener who will do anything for those he is to protect.
TJ writes: “Hi Alex, first I like to say that I love your dedication for Dark Matter and how hard you are working for it. It´s always a pleasure watching you and the rest of the best crew in outta space in Dark Matter :-). My questions for you are :-): Are you doing all your fighting scenes by yourself or do you have a stunt double?”
Alex: I do have an amazing stunt double but I do all of my own fight scenes (with a few exceptions because of contract reasons and such). I fight to do my own fight scenes because I want to make sure the audience doesn’t get distracted by spotting someone else or whatever. It’s also more fun for the directors I feel because then they’re not as limited with their shots.
“What weapon do you like to use Four next?”
Alex: Maybe ninja stars? Throwing knives? Something very assassin-like.
“What roles/characters do you like to play in the future?”
Alex: Something comedic would be great but I’ll take all the ass kicking roles too, haha.
Templeton writes: “1. In a hypothetical throwdown between TWO and FOUR for the title of the most badass Raza crew member who would win?”
Alex: Four. Two is an awesome fighter and, granted, she regenerates quickly but turn on those dampening fields and level out the playing field and Four cannot be stopped by anyone (don’t tell Two or else she’ll kick my ass, LOL ;))
“2. On the other side of spectrum, can you imagine a scenario where those two end up making the beast with two backs?”
Alex: LOL, hey, you never know. They’d be quite the power couple.
“3. Why did FOUR erase everyone’s memories?”
Alex: I’m clearly late at responding to these questions… oh boy!
Lily writes: “Questions for Alex – Q1) Your skills with the katana swords on Dark Matter are impressive. Was that your first time being exposed to the swords?”
Alex: T’was, t’was!
“Q2) How do you feel about Four’s backstory/journey so far?”
Alex: Loving every moment.
“Q3) What made you decide to go vegan if you don’t mind me asking?”
Alex: Just wanted to live healthier but now I’m being more conscious with the rest of my lifestyle.
Fecrabond writes: “I heard you sometimes get up at 4am to train. How many hours of sleep do you get a night, typically?”
Alex: I wake up at 3AM-3:30AM to train. How much sleep? Maybe 5? Sometimes?
“Does it take a long time to choreograph your scenes?”
Alex: Not at all! The odd time we’ll have a rehearsal a day or two before but our co-ordinator John Stead is amazing and so is the team we work with. To top it off, for some reason, I pick it all up so quickly so we oft find ourselves making something amazing happen on the day.
Alex: Also, I saw you went to a rescue shelter this past month, do you have pets of your own?”
Alex: I do! I now have a new French Bulldog named Bo. I have a chihuahua as well named Chico.
Guest writes: “Four isn’t shy of killing needlessly and killing for a money job. I don’t cheer for that. Will there be ramifications for him?”
Alex: I don’t think he kills needlessly. There hasn’t really been a kill that wasn’t out of necessity. You’ll have to find a kill and get back to me to let me know… hmmm…
Dallas L. Marshall writes: “Q for Alex: Dogs, or cats, or both, or other?”
Peggy writes: “Question for Alex: Is it easier or more difficult to act when there is less dialog for you?”
Alex: It’s never “easy” because as an actor you’re creating a life, a new personality out of black ink on a sheet of paper. Then in between all that black ink, you have to discover the secrets that are hidden there. So it’s never “easy” but it’s surely enjoyable.
Misinglinkr writes: “Question for Alex: what is your best source for protein? Is it soy based or something else? I am looking for an alternative to soy based protein product.”
Alex: According to my research, hemp protein is the most recognizable protein to the human digestive system. Remember, your body can’t effectively register and convert more than 20g of protein per sitting.
no1zoiepalmerfan writes: “Questions for Alex: Where were you when you found out you got the role and how surprised or shocked were you when you heard? How many call backs did you have to do? Have you always wanted to be an actor? By the way, you are doing a great job…can’t wait to see the final 2 episodes of the season. Have my fingers crossed for a season 2!”
Alex: I was at my part time job at LA Fitness as a front desk receptionist. I yelled and then I cried and then I went back to work. I had one call back. In the back of my mind I’ve always wanted to be an actor, yeah. Thank you so much… season two is going to be a blast!
gforce writes: “Not really a question for Alex, but a comment: Alex, I just wanted to say thanks for the great job you do on Dark Matter and you really bring the character to life. Also, thanks for your on-line presence (and patience) with fans on Twitter. FOURCLAN FOUREVER! “
As the Dark Matter premiere draws ever closer, allow me to introduce you to our cast – and the characters they’ll be playing. Today, let’s talk about Alex Mallari Jr., Dark Matter’s FOUR.
This was part of the original breakdown that went out for casting:
“Possessed of a quiet strength and dignity that belies an exacting ruthlessness. The part is written as male but could be female. Written as Asian but can be open to all ethnicities.”
This character pays tribute to the many inspirations that helped shape the creation and development of the series: comics, t.v., film, and directly, in this case, anime. The latter was a particularly big influence, specifically, a show called CowBoy Bebop that offered a wonderful mix of humor and scifi in it’s all too brief 26 episode run. The sword-wielding character of FOUR is a tip of the hat to SF-themed anime, from classics like Gundam to more contemporary titles like Code Geass. Fans of the genre will no doubt recognize many familiar elements. FOUR is Lupin III’s Goeman, Berserk’s Griffith, One Piece’s Rorona Zoro.
In creating the character, and his storyline, I consulted with many of my friends in Japan and girlfriend (who also happens to be Japanese) who were absolutely thrilled at the prospect of a North American scifi series with recognizable anime trappings. FOUR was as much a tribute to them as it was a nod to those early inspirations.
As stated above, we opened the role up to all ethnicities and genders. One of the early front runners was a young actor named Alex Mallari Jr. What really made him stand out was his performance in what I dubbed “the interrogation scene”. Unlike a lot of the other actors who came in to audition, his read was incredibly cool and controlled. There was a sense of quiet menace about him I found wholly enthralling.
When it came time for the call-backs, I got on the phone with each and every actor to prepare them, talking them through the context of the scene and what we would be looking for. It was also a great opportunity for me to learn a little about the actors – and after my conversation with Alex, I knew we could have something special in him. He was intelligent, humble, and very enthusiastic. I wanted him to succeed. But it would all come down to that second round audition.
Which he nailed.
You’d be hard pressed to find a more dedicated individual. Here’s a guy who’ll wake up at 3:00 a.m. to get in a workout before his early call. Under the tutelage of our fantastic stunt coordinator, John Stead, Alex has trained and become proficient in almost every weapon in the training room, from swords to sai’s.
This tweet from Alex nicely sums up who he is:
Humble, grounded, and extremely appreciative. A hard guy not to like.
A sneak peek at the Dark Matter season finale. In the final shot, the crew enters the bridge as this season’s mysterious Big Bad swivels around in the command chair to reveal their true identity: Space Cat!
See, this is the type of behind the scenes photos fans love. Actor Anthony Lemke (Dark Matter’s THREE) eats an egg salad sandwich.
While actor Roger Cross (Dark Matter’s SIX) enjoys his morning coffee. Try to take it away from him and THIS happens –
Meanwhile, back on the ship –
Someone forgot actress Jodelle Ferland (Dark Matter’s FIVE) in the airlock!
Actor Alex Mallari Jr. (Dark Matter’s FOUR) shuttles our special guest star back to her trailer between scenes.
Actor Marc Bendavid (Dark Matter’s ONE) wants your coffee.
Today, we shot two of the most important scenes of this first season (if not the entire series), and every member of our cast – Marc Bendavid, Melissa O’Neil, Anthony Lemke, Alex Mallari Jr., Jodelle Ferland, Roger Cross, and Zoie Palmer – delivered BIGTIME. Sitting at the monitors, watching them in their first scene together, I found myself magically cross over from professional observer to mesmerized viewer as their onscreen characters took on a life of their own. The lines separating fact and fiction, fantasy and reality had blurred and I’d been transported. And the first thought that entered my head was: “I’m going to love watching this show!”
This cast is AWESOME!
A couple of behind-the-scenes snippets:
The gang (Alex Mallari Jr., Anthony Lemke, Roger Cross, and Trevor Finn) show craft server Cathy some love.
The exterior of the ship’s underbelly where secrets reside. Oh, and the cast because that’s where they hang out between set-ups.
Our Dark Matter screen grab of the day (from yesterday’s dailies):
And, of course, on the heels of last blog entry’s Carlton Dance comes a little MJ c/o Alex Mallari Jr. (aka. FOUR). Go say hi to him on twitter: https://twitter.com/AlexMallariJr #FOURCLAN #DARKMATTER
And while you’re in the twitter neighborhood, why not drop in on the entire crew:
ONE (Marc Bendavid): Apparently, not on twitter. Yet.
One of the last things we did before packing it in for the holidays was go on a walk-thru of our standing sets. Of course, not all of them are quite yet standing (ie. the shuttle, parts of the space station) and those that are still have a ways to go, but our Art Department did a phenomenal job making it presentable for the tour. The bridge consoles were in, the corridors lit, and there was even some preliminary playback on the screens. It all looked, in a word, superfantastic. I snapped a bunch of pics – and have been doing so for weeks now, documenting the ship’s progress. I’ll hold off on posting them until we’re officially in production – but there are plenty of other behind-the-scene pics to show you in the meantime…
Those of you familiar with the Dark Matter know that the character known as FOUR (aka Ryo Tetsuda, aka Ryo Ishida, aka Slashy McStabberson) isn’t the gunslinging type. Oh, sure, he packs a sidearm, but his preferred weapon is the katana – sometimes two. Despite having no formal sword training experience prior to landing the role, under the guidance of our incredible Stunt Coordinator John Stead (more on him in the coming weeks!), actor Alex Mallari Jr. has transformed himself into a twin-blade wielding natural. Earlier this week, John showed us a video of Alex in training, running through the choreography for the first “training room discovery” scene – a jaw-dropping sequence that perfectly captured the moment as scripted:
“He stands frozen, eyes fixed straight ahead. Shuts his eyes. Beat. And suddenly launches into action: charging, turning, back-pedalling, leaping, ducking, as the blades whirl and sing around him, slicing through the air. He makes his way across the room in a remarkable display of swordsmanship, lightning quick reflexes controlling the deadly katanas in a blur of movement…”
Over the course of series, Alex will use two different “production katanas”. The first is a super lightweight painted bamboo that, I’ve been told, is all the rage on Hong Kong action movie sets.
The second is the hero sword, forged of equally light aluminum –
Here it is c/o of our Props Master, Victoria Klein.
Our Production Designer, Ian Brock, designed the unique signature symbol that adorns the saya (scabbard) –
And the blade itself.
Paul checks the weight.
Anyway, we’re all done for the time being (except for the Art Department, Construction, the cast, and yours truly who will be doing another pass on all the scripts) and look ahead to our January 5th return. Yesterday, it was one final stroll through the sets and then we locked up for the holidays. Done and done.
Still, I can’t help but feel like I’ve forgotten something…