[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]
In the closing moments of the first season of Dark Matter, the crew learned of their betrayal by Six, played by sci-fi staple Roger Cross (First Wave if you want to go way back, and more recently, Continuum and The Strain). During our press visit in February, Cross came through to chat and talked about that big reveal, keeping secrets, and what’s next.
Cross shared that he didn’t get a heads up on his stealthy character. “Officially, I found out on the day of. [Joseph Mallozzi] did this whole reveal. When we first read the script, obviously, I thought, ‘itâ€™s me,’ because of all the things he was doing. Heâ€™s very deceptive,” he says. “Maybe he had twisted it and I went along with it, but then I thought, ‘forget it.'”
“Everyone was coming up with theories as to who and why and all that fun stuff. Then on the last day, when I watched the scene they shot with Anthony [Lemke],Â Jodelle [Ferland], and Marc [Bendavid], and then I thought, ‘itâ€™s me.’ I knew at that moment, it was me.”
Cross has relished getting to play a character with no memory of his past self who’s trying to create a current self. “That was one of the great things about the show. The whole thing about, ‘can you reinvent yourself? Are you a victim of your past? Can you go beyond that? Can you recreate yourself?’ But then there [are] things you just canâ€™t undo and what made you who you are,” he points out.
“When it did get revealed, we had spent the whole season building this great camaraderie and we were all so different and diverse. Then we came together, though the world was against us, relied on each other and became this great unit. Now I threw that away and I wonâ€™t be part of that thing we created. But thatâ€™s when cool possibilities come up and it gives the character a place to go. Whether you can fix those broken bonds and wounds or will they ever trust you again?”
In discussing the finale and his character’s motivation, Cross was careful. “I canâ€™t give away too much, but a part ofÂ [his] motivation is to do the right thing. And he has decided he has to do it despite what happened in his past. He wants to do the right thing even if it doesnâ€™t work out the right way. Heâ€™s doing his best and sometimes itâ€™s wrong and sometimes itâ€™s right. When you guys get the fleshed out version of whatâ€™s happened, I think you will be very happy,” he teases.
Cross has made a career in sci-fi, but he says it doesn’t weigh into his portrayal of genuine, complete, characters. “The core of acting is not acting. You develop a character that takes its own life. On stage, you have to be bigger, but on film, you can be more subtle and thatâ€™s still picked up for a camera. But the core of it remains the same,” he says.
“For me, whether Iâ€™m doing drama or science fiction, it doesnâ€™t affect the truth of a character. Even if I have makeup on and all the crazy stuff. Itâ€™s just something I have always enjoyed and give the same respect. Itâ€™s the same thing, you give respect, flesh it, out and play the truth of the character as much as you can regardless of the genre.”
Going into season two with his character definitely on the other side of things from the crew, Cross says it will take some work to get them aligned again. “Iâ€™m still trying to figure that out. Whatâ€™s great is it wonâ€™t be nonsense such as they hunt me. Nor is it a situation where we hug and itâ€™s all better,” he promises. “It evolves in an organic way and I think itâ€™s very clever how itâ€™s done. [It’s] about establishing a trust and can you still trust this guy? Does he have ulterior motives to what he doing? We explore it and will have some fun with it.”
At the outset of the series, when the crew has no frame of reference for whether they are good or bad, Cross says that was a joy to play. “I think thatâ€™s what was fun. We wake and think we are good people. We are here to save people and give them some weapons, they are going to fight. Then it turns out we are going to kill them,” he recalls.
“No matter how hard you try, you are who you are. But then again maybe you can change some things, then you find out you killed thousands of people so maybe itâ€™s more than a little thing. So itâ€™s going to affect you. As much as you want to move on, you have to start from here and now, be the ultimate ‘me.’ You now know the things you have done in your life and know you are not a great person, and thatâ€™s the crisis of faith. [Do] you stay true to the ideology in your head or let yourself be a victim of your past and succumb to it?”
“[I] donâ€™t feel like that bad of a person, but obviously we had to do bad things to get where we are. Itâ€™s like kids in certain neighborhoods, if you donâ€™t join gangs, you get bullied. You need a support system whether people understand it or not.”
“Itâ€™s better to belong to a gang doing horrible things then not and be a victim of everyone. It doesnâ€™t change you fundamentallyâ€¦ but it does. Everyone has a bit of good and bad in them, but itâ€™s what you allow to take over. Especially in a stressful circumstance when the truth comes out of the character of the person.”
“Itâ€™s interesting, because as the characters show, if we hadnâ€™t lost our memory, the place we might come from where we allow the dark side to take over, we will do whatever we have to do to get there, and itâ€™s like being given this life to start over. In some cases thatâ€™s what people do in therapy, start from a fresh place and move forward but how many of us really can?”
After that initial reveal of their backstory, Cross said it enriched his portrayal of Six. “It gives you other levels to play. Heâ€™s always known he was a dangerous guy but how dangerous was the thing. Then you find out he did these other things,” he says. “You lose a bit of the, ‘Okay, Iâ€™m going to change who we are.’ The character takes on more of a somber note. As we discover more this season, it changes him more and it has been fun for me to play a character with all these layers and a journey.”
As for where they go from here with his betrayal, Cross says each will deal with it in their own way. “He got to know these people, and their nature, he knew what would happen [when he betrayed them]. When you make a choice to do something like that, he expects it.” he says.
“I deserve it and I understand why you feel betrayed, but he did what he did and thought it was the right thing to do. It hurts in some places as he knows what heâ€™s done and the responses are like you expect. But he also expected some understanding from some people. It was a tough decision. He didnâ€™t just do it, but now he has to deal with the repercussions of that.”
“There are some great scenes [with Five (Ferland)] that are almost heart-wrenching.Â [She] was his kryptonite, his weakness, his soft point.. She motivates a lot of what he does. She was the only true innocent on the ship and he wanted to protect that. Maybe part of trying to protect that has caused him to do what he has done and you will see this season.”
Dark Matter returns for season 2 this Friday at 10/9c on Syfy. Here’s an extended sneak peek.
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