Exclusive interview with Jesse Rath

June, 2013 | The Canadian actor Jesse Rath plays the role of young Castithan Alak Tarr on the science fiction show "Defiance". He and Nicole Muñoz portrait two teenagers from rivaling families, who are in love against all odds. In our interview Jesse talks about how he got into acting and gives some insight into working on the show and his character.


Note: © myFanbase 2013 - The interview is exclusive to myFanbase and may not be published on other websites or the like. You may share the first two questions if you link back to this site. Translations other than English and German may be posted with full credit including the writer's name and link to this site.

How did you get into acting? Have you always wanted to be an actor?

As far back as I can remember, my sister and I were always putting on plays for our family and friends every chance we got. My parents are big supporters of the Arts and so I was always encouraged creatively as a child. When I was around 15, I landed myself an agent while trying out for a local play and Iíve been auditioning for Film/TV projects ever since.

What was the auditioning process like for the role of Alak Tarr?

I auditioned for Alak three times in the span of four months. My first audition was in Los Angeles where I sent in a tape of myself reading a scene from a very early draft of the Pilot. After 2 months of not hearing anything back, I got a call from my agent telling me I needed to fly to Toronto (Canada) to audition again in person for the Director, Scott Stewart. I then returned to LA to audition for a third time and before I knew it, I was on a plane back to Toronto to shoot the pilot.

What was it about the character that appealed to you?

Well aside from the fact that heís a bleach white-skinned, blue haired, pink-eyed alien with a chip on his shoulder, Alak is a very unique character. We get to see an alien who acts just the same as any angsty teen whoís in love with his girlfriend, annoyed with his parents, infatuated with music and has a mouth thatís always getting him into trouble.

How much time do the make-up artists need with you before you begin shooting? And what do you like best about Alak's look?

It takes about 2 hours in hair and make-up to get me from looking like a brown human kid to a white alien kid. Iíd have to say that my favorite part about Alakís look is his alien eyes. Theyíre usually the final step in the transformation and I donít feel complete until I pop them in.

How do you work with the Castithan language? Is it a complete language and maybe even based on a real language?

When we get the scripts, all the alien language is given to us in English to begin with. We are then individually sent translation documents, where the sentence is written in English then followed by the alien translation, a deconstruction of the translated words, the alien sentence spelled out phonetically, and then finally an MP3 file of David Peterson (our language guru) pronouncing everything down to the last syllable. Each language on our show is very unique and they all have their own origins. In terms of the Castithan language, there are some Japanese and Latin influences.

You probably work with green screen a lot, right? Is that a new experience for you?

The crazy thing about our show is that most of everything you see on screen, in terms of the sets, are all real. They built two city blocks of the town complete with real buildings and real interiors. That being said, Iím no stranger to working in front of a green screen too. I was in a mini-series a couple of years ago called "Assassinís Creed: Lineage" which was entirely shot in front of green.

How you would describe the relationship between Alak and his parents? Sometimes his scenes with Stahma seem a little ambiguousÖ

Alak has a very Oedipus-like relationship with his parents, Stahma and Datak. In a perfect world he would probably kill his father and marry his mother. Heís against his fatherís sinister actions and is probably a little frightened by them, but at the same time he wants nothing more than his fatherís approval and acceptance of who he is.

What do you hope for Alak in terms of character development?

Without spoiling anything, Alak will find himself at somewhat of a crossroads towards the end of the season. I have no idea where the show will take him in the second season but I can barely contain my excitement every time I think about where it may go.

On DVDs, sometimes blooper reels can be found. What moments would you put in a "Defiance" gag reel?

If a "Defiance" blooper reel ever finds the light of day, I would expect the funniest part to be a pre CGI clip of DocYewll during the Volge attack in front of a green screen pressing a bunch of imaginary buttons.

You were on your sister Meaghan's show, "Being Human", and you played her brother. What is it like working with your sister and seeing her on this crazy funny show as ghost/zombie?

Getting to play brother and sister on a Syfy show was nothing short of a dream come true for us. My sister is one of my favorite actors to work with. However "Being Human" wasnít the first time one of us guest starred on the otherís show. We actually tend to do it quite often. Itís always fun and rewarding because sheís such a great actor, and itís also very easy considering we literally have been acting together since we were kids.

Since myFanbase is an online magazine about U.S. television shows, do you have one or more favorite show(s)? If so, what are they?

"Game of Thrones", "Breaking Bad" and "The Walking Dead" are some of my favorite ongoing showsÖ However "Lost" will always be my personal favorite.

Charleen Winter & Nicole Oebel - myFanbase

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