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Defiance - Conference Call with Julie Benz (Full Transcript)

Update: 15th April Here is the full transcript




Julie Benz will play Amanda Rosewater on the new SYFY series which debuts on Monday, April 15 at 9pm.
Here’s the synopsis of her character from SYFY:

Julie Benz plays Amanda Rosewater in Defiance. Amanda Rosewater is the Mayor of Defiance. Every day, she uses her political wits to give this struggling town a chance for survival. Born in New York in 2011, Amanda shouldered a great responsibility at an early age, serving as a stand-in parent for her sister when their mother and father died during the Pale Wars.

Adrift in a post-war world, Amanda eventually heard of a town where humans and Votans were attempting to coexist. She traveled to Defiance and accepted a job cleaning the mayor’s office. Despite these humble beginnings, she so impressed then-Mayor Nicolette Riordon that, upon her retirement, Nicky appointed Amanda to finish out her term. Now, Amanda is determined to maintain peace in the community, an ambitious task in this deadly new world.

This is a quick synopsis of some of the questions that were asked this afternoon. These are approximations of what was said and not direct quotations. A complete transcript will be available in a day or so.

Q: There are several post-apocalyptic series now, what makes Defiance different?

JB: We’re dealing with what happens after the Apocalypse. It’s more of an immigrations story.

Q: Is there a must-see moment that stands out for you?

JB: The show is on an epic scope and the special effects are truly cinematic. Jamie Murray’s performance is amazing, and you’ll want to look particularly for her “bathing” scene.

Q: How did you first get the role?

JB: It was pretty normal. I was doing pilot season and was sent the script. I really loved the script and met with Kevin Murphy who I was already friends with. Then I had a chemistry reading with Grant. I really loved the script because so few that I had read had such dynamic, complex women characters. Every woman on the show has a rich character with a rich backstory. There are no mother/wife/victim roles.

Q: You had no scenes with Jamie Murray in the first three episodes. Will there be more going forward or in the future?

JB: I can’t give away spoilers. We didn’t get to work together and we hope to do more in season two. We are like two bad kids on set when we get together though.

Q: Can you talk about Amanda and Nolan’s relationship?

JB: They don’t know what it’s about! (laughs) He’s a newcomer and their relationship gets complicated. She comes to rely on him to help run the town when he becomes the lawkeeper. It’s a very complicated relationship and neither of them knows how to define it.

Q: What sticks out most about your first day on the Defiance set?

JB: The first day at the production office getting to see all the detailed work that had already been done – it was very inspiring. The show was close to five years in development, so it was very rich. They gave us a “Bible” so we could step into that world. The weather had been lovely but the first day of shooting it snowed. It started to hail during my first scene. That’s spring in Toronto, so they just used that as part of the weather in this post-apocalyptic world.

Q: Not all the aliens are CGI...

JB: It’s always better to have a real person to act with and the make-up is amazing. I love that I’m not in prosthetics. I actually forget what Jamie Murray and Tony Curran really look like!

Q: What did you have to do to prepare for the role?

JB: They sent us to automatic weapons school. I love learning stuff like that. One of the most badass things that I’ve gotten to do. Amanda’s power comes from within, however. She doesn’t have to be the loudest in the room. She comes off as more powerful when she’s quiet.

Q: What do you like about Toronto? (which is where the show is filmed)

JB: I love Toronto. My husband and I ate our way through all the great restaurants. There are lots of great dog parks. There’s a festival or fair every weekend. The city welcomed us and make us feel like it was our second home.

Q: She’s appointed mayor and there’s a little reluctance. How does she handle the transition?

JB: She’s trying to stick to her ideals and maintain the independence of Defiance. There is an obvious reason which is revealed later on as to why she is appointed.

Q: How does Defiance compare to Buffy and Dexter?

JB: It’s all within the characters. The strength of the characters sets them apart. This script was just as rich as the Dexter and Buffy scripts when I read them.

Q: How would you compare Amanda to the other characters you’ve portrayed recently, and will you be getting to do some action?

JB: There will be some action, but I’m hoping for more. I try to do my own stunts and it appeals to my competitive side. I’ve been very fortunate not to be typecast, but all my characters are different sides of me. So Rita is the vulnerable side and Darla was the bitchy side and the character on Desperate Housewives was the goofy side. Amanda is more my inner strength. They are all different women.

Q: Do they let you give input to your character?

JB: Yes. The great thing about Kevin Murray is that they are all about the creative process, so they allow us to be a part of that. They allow us to tailor our characters to us. We bring more to the table than just what’s in the script. Some of these things work, but others may not fit with the overall script. They encourage us to create a rich character.

Q: How did you prepare physically, emotionally and spiritually?

JB: I always train hard but I trained even harder because this is a post-apocalyptic world. I also wanted my endurance up for long shooting hours and physical stunts. I find power with the quiet moments. I spent a lot of time talking to the writers and creatives. I can then take those bits of inspiration and let them blossom. I do a lot of quiet reflection on the character. I pick the creative’s minds like they are history books.

Q: With so many alien races diplomacy and politics is a big part of the role. Did you look to world leaders for inspiration?

JB: We filmed during the presidential election, so I watched a lot of the debates and looked at body language and how they spoke. She’s not a typical mayor – she’s not political, so her journey is a little bit different. Her heart is in the right place so even when things don’t go according to plan, they tend to work out. She’s so new to the job.

Q: Will the show be panelling at San Diego Comic Con?

JB: I hope so! We had one last year, but I don’t know. That’s a question for SYFY. I’ll be asking them that!

Q: You’ve done a lot of SciFi. Is there something about it that draws you?

JB: When I first got into the business, I thought I’d do comedy, and then I met Joss Whedon. It offers better female roles. It also challenges your imagination. It forces you to bring your A-game to acting. I get to experience acting on a different level. The older you get as a woman actor, the fewer strong women characters, but SciFi still allows you to be badass at 40.

Q: Do you think your character would shut down the Need/Want to better serve Defiance even though it’s her sister running it?

JB: Kenya and Amanda have a very complicated relationship. A brothel is an integral part of every frontier story. It’s a core element and it’s necessary because of the need for human relationships. Maybe if the Need/Want got violent and turned into a fight club or something. It certainly does complicate their relationship.

Please come back for the full transcript of the call which will be posted here in a day or so.

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