Published: Friday, 14 June 2013 16:02 | Written by SciFi Vision
Interview with Lexa Doig for Continuum on May 24, 2013 Interview by Jamie Ruby Written by Jamie Ruby
Recently Continuum returned to Syfy for its second season. The series, created and executive produced by Simon Barry, follows Kiera Cameron (Rachel Nichols), a cop from 2077 who is trapped in present day after traveling back in time without her consent with a group of terrorists called Liber8, bent on changing things. One of the interesting things about the series is that the lines are often blurred as it seems Liber8 is trying to create a better and free future, though going about it in the wrong way.
One of the members of Liber8 is Sonya Valentine, played by Lexa Doig, who was left in charge after the death of their leader, Edouard Kagame (Tony Amendola). Originally a doctor as opposed to a soldier, she might have some new ideas about how to continue on. Regardless, she followed through on shooting Liber8 member and lover Travis Verta (Roger Cross), as one of Kagame's last requests. The shot, however, she came to find out, was not fatal.
Doig recently talked to Jamie Ruby of SciFi Vision in an exclusive interview about this season.
Although fans won't get to see a lot of backstory on Sonya and Travis this season, there is a bit in the second episode, airing tonight on Syfy. "You see one sort of flashback in episode two. There might be more in the future, I don't know, but there wasn't really any more in season two. I would love to explore it; I would love to sort of see the backstory to that, but I think it also allows the writers to stay very flexible, because they're not walking into anything when they established history for certain characters."
The actress would like to learn more about how all of the characters became the way they are. "I'd like to know - and actually this is true of all of the characters that came from the future other than Kiera, just because we know more about Kiera - I'd like to know more about their backstories. How they became the people that they became, because I don't think any of them are particularly doing it for shits and giggles; they're doing it for very specific reasons. There are ideals behind why they do what they do. And in order to get to that place some pretty significant and probably traumatic events had to have happened to these people to get them to a place where they are willing to take these extreme measures for things. As far as where Sonya's going to go in the future, I just want to see her succeed at something."
Sonya may have followed Kagame's plans now that he has left her in charge, but she's also doing it for her own reasons. "I don't think she blindly follows Kagame. I think she's a true believer in his philosophies and his teachings, and at the same time, having partially created Travis, she's well aware of what happens which is an instability, part of what happens with the super soldiers is they become quite unstable. And so you start to see that happening in terms of the ability to control Travis. Travis is basically a weapon, and when you lose control of the weapon, the weapon has to be put down. So I think as much as she loves Travis, the man that she loves versus the weapon he has become and was becoming, it posed a danger to Liber8 and to what they were trying to do. So as much as it hurt, as much as she didn't want to do it, you're going to do what you have to do."
Sonya isn't used to this new type of leadership role, especially because she wasn't trained as a soldier. She may be following Kagame's plan, but it will be in her own way. "She tries to follow Kagame's template without ever having necessarily been in – like it's very funny, because Tony Amendola and I chatted about this this season, and I had sort of said, "Do you think he mentored her? Do you think he brought her in on the planning stuff?" We sort of came to the conclusion that yes, he probably did. Not the planning, you know, of how you're going to accomplish something. Obviously he has to bring someone like Lucas (Omari Newton) in when they're taking over stuff, like with directions and plans. It's like the scene where Kagame and Sonya are playing chess; he's teaching her strategy. So it's the whole thing of he did mentor her through it. But the thing is, when you have a master and [an apprentice], there are many years that go into actually being able to absorb and understand why your leader will make the decisions that they make. Sonya I think tries to follow to some degree Kagame's template. And she doesn't really succeed. She needs to figure out how to do it's her own way. And within that is trying to figure out what the message really was from Kagame."
Doig doesn't believe that Sonya saw Kagame's plan for Travis coming. "I don't think she did at all. It was funny because I had some discussion about that with Simon Barry when we were filming that episode. I don't think she did know. I think Kagame kept his cards very close to his chest, only doling out the information as it was needed because of course - you always find this with time travel shows - the danger in giving out too much information to the people is that you risk actually shooting yourself in the foot from the standpoint of, if Oedipus had known he was supposed to grow up and kill his father and marry his mother, would he have made different choices? So I think Kagame very purposely doesn't give information until the very last minute until it needs to be done. So I do think in the season finale of season one, I think Sonya spends a lot of time in somewhat of a state of shock, about what it is that she actually has to do. Because as brutal as she can be, she's not the trained killer that Travis is or that Garza (Luvia Petersen) is or that Curtis (Terry Chen) was; she's not a soldier. She's a doctor, frankly."
The risks of time travel were probably only part of the reason Kagame didn't reveal his full plans. "I think to some degree and with some characters it's probably trust, but I also think to a large degree you have to serve the ultimate mission, and the risk is that by giving out information you'll allow people to then think they can change their destiny. You're giving up control; information equals control. The more information you give, the less in control that you are."
With Travis still alive there will obviously be some kind of falling out. Is there still a chance for them? The actress hasn't ruled it out. "It's possible, I'm just going to say that. She does actually love Travis, but it's about the greater good in that way of the things that you're willing to sacrifice to accomplish a goal that is greater than you, greater than your own selfish self-interests. Philosophically speaking love is a selfless thing, but when the love of a person is going to potentially scuttle your plans for a better future for humankind, you have to choose the greater good over your own desires."
Doig has had many scenes with Roger Cross on the series, and they collaborated a bit on changing an upcoming scene. "It's very recent...it was actually an episode that Simon Barry was directing in season two...I really like the writing on the show because it's intelligent writing, so it doesn't necessarily lay everything out for the audience to get, unfortunately that sometimes leaves the actors when they read the script going, "Uh, Simon, can I ask you a question? What exactly are we trying to get at here in this scene, like what's the objective of the scene?" With Roger it's great, and in that particular instance, Simon knew and we knew what the objective of that scene was, we just sort of thought that the dialog, we could maybe tweak it a little bit...We sort of always are looking to tweak here and there to try and clarify the objective and make it clearer for the audience to see as well."
The actress had worked with Cross before Continuum. "Roger's great because he's a constant professional. He's been around a long time... he's such a good guy. It's great, because Roger and I actually worked together many years ago on an episode of Andromeda; he was part of my character's story line.
"What was really fun about it was we spent pretty much an entire day on second unit shooting this amazing fight scene, because we were both playing androids that fought each other, so there were all kinds of really cool stunts and wire work and flips, just really, really fun things.
"The thing about a process like that is you really develop a trust, like a physical trust with someone, because they're throwing punches at you. And in order to sell those punches, you oftentimes have to come fairly close, so Roger and I developed a very trusting relationship in that way, just on that one episode of Andromeda. It's really great to work with Roger, because you're working with someone who really knows what they're doing, technically and professionally, and understands the story and what you're trying to accomplish. He's a great ally in that way, so it's really terrific working with Roger."
The actress also gets some cool fight scenes in Continuum, though not all the time. "I had a really fun fight scene with Luvia Peterson, which was a ton of fun. It's very funny because Kimani Ray Smith, our incredibly talented and very cool stunt coordinator, it's very funny, because I think in season one we were on a location, and there was going to be some fighting, I wasn't involved in it, and he was there and I was just stretching, and I'm fairly flexible because in another lifetime ago I used to be a bit of a gymnast, and he was like, "And you don't want to do fight scenes?" And I was like, "Well, the thing is we've got enough of those characters on the show, and as much as I love doing the fight scenes, because they are so much fun" - it doesn't look like it's fun to get shit kicked, but it actually is, because you're not really getting shit kicked - I sort of felt with Sonya she's not that character, there's enough characters on the show that sort of fulfill that. As a viewer I find that a little tiresome sometimes that seemingly everybody's a superhero. Everybody can get punched multiple times and their face doesn't swell up. The next time you see them they're not limping around with broken ribs going "Owww I can't breathe; this really hurts," because that's what actually happens. It just gets tiresome to me because then the default is to solve a problem with onscreen violence as opposed to solving a problem by thinking your way through it. And with Sonya I think there's a great potential for, you know, as Kiera said in the first season, "Sonya's quite smart, so let her use her brain," which has kind of happened periodically, but she hasn't quite hit her stride yet."
You can catch Lexa Doig as Sonya, who she describes in three words as "complicated, conflicted, and idealistic," Fridays on Syfy.