Exclusive Interview: Jesse Rath on ‘Defiance’ Season 2
CraveOnline: Why do they keep writing scenes for Castithans in water?
Jesse Rath: It’s like that sort of thing. I can’t really relate it to something else but something about Castithans, we like to bathe. We don’t like showers. We don’t get it. We don’t understand standing up, bathing alone. We like to bathe with our friends and family. It’s a religious ritualistic process for us. We find it weird if someone bathes alone and that’s kind of taboo and weird and is frowned upon. We explore that in season two actually.
It’s funny when we’re all at a read through together and we’re reading the scenes. We all as a cast break out into laughter at the most evil, sinister lines. That’s what we find funny and we get a kick out of those twisted, eerie moments in the script. So we find it funny. Castithans like bathing. I like to think that it brings out emotions in certain different people.
For instance, when Datak takes a bath, he gets very upset and angry and childlike. He starts splashing the water and talking about all he wants to do. It’s kind of like the way in “House of Cards” where Frank Underwood, the way he plans everything out, he sits by the window and smokes. That’s his lab. That’s where he comes up with all his schemes. For the Tarr family, it’s the bathtub. That’s where the inception of all the manipulations is born.
What did they tell you about Alak when “Defiance” came back from hiatus?
I didn’t really know much. All that I think Kevin [Murphy] told me was that Christie and I were going to become the new face of Defiance. We’re kind of well respected now. We’re growing up and getting older. They told me I was losing the blue hair. That worried me a bit because my character is almost like defined by that hair. Out of a sea of white aliens with white hair, you can pick me out of a crowd.
In this new season, Alak is stepping up. He’s trying to be more of a man, head of the family. If season one was an exploration of Alak being more human, season two is him looking to that Castithan side. So he’s really embraced the Castithan tradition in season two, and that entails not dying your hair anymore. That’s going natural white. That was pretty much all they told me at the beginning of season two.
What did they tell you about Alak when “Defiance” began?
It’s changed a lot from its original inception. I think originally they told me that I was going to have a blue mohawk and I was going to be covered in tattoos. My first idea of the character was that he was this hard as nails rebel without a cause alien kid. For some reason or another, throughout the season, we kind of learned that that’s all for show.
The truth of the matter is that he’s just like a regular kid and he’s not the tough guy. He’s just a normal kid. He just wants to have fun and listen to music. He doesn’t want to get in fights or cause trouble with anyone else. He wants to do his own thing, so in season two, it’s fun to see him push into this new world and his reluctant leadership of this criminal organization.
Is Alak not as good at machiavellian tactics as his parents were?
I don’t think so. I think he may look a lot like his parents but I don’t think he’s cut from the same cloth as them. I think that’s why he’s attracted so much to humans. They’re appealing to him because it’s a life without any other Castithan stress and dogma that goes with being a Castithan.
Then again, that being said, after watching season one as an audience member, going into season two I tried to pick certain moments where I was going to be, “Oh, this is Stahma.” When Alak says this line, he’s doing Datak there. So I tried to do my interpretation of a Datak or Stahma impression at certain moments to show that he is his father and mother’s son.
Have you specifically discussed that with Tony Curran and Jaime Murray?
Not really, no. I jokingly tell Tony, “Oh, in that scene I was just doing an impression of you.” So we get a kick out of that.
Who has a harder time in the makeup chair, you or Stephanie Leonidas?
I don’t know. Maybe Steph. I don’t know. It’s weird, there are certain cast members that are aliens and don’t have any prosthetics, and then there certain aliens with prosthetics. The Irathients, for instance, they have the forehead prosthetics, so they have their whole other prosthetics trailer that us Castithans don’t even get mixed up in. I think it more or less takes us the same amount of time, but I don’t know. I think it’s fairly even, Steph and I.
All I know is this: Doc Yewll has it the worst. Out of everyone, Doc Yewll, the golfball head, she’s got it the worst of everyone. I know that much. It looks uncomfortable. She can’t stretch her face or anything and it looks a little claustrophobic. I wouldn’t want to wear that makeup.
It looks beautiful though.
It looks beautiful. It looks gorgeous but I’m sure it takes a toll on her at the end of the day.
Do you have any scenes with Julie Benz this season?
I actually have a couple scenes with Julie this new season, where season one I didn’t really have any scenes. Season one I only had scenes with my parents. I think that’s kind of the case in season two, but the cool thing about season two is every character’s role in the town has been flipped on its back. We find ourselves in these new positions and therefore a lot of our characters who we wouldn’t normally have scenes with, we get to play with each other in this new season. So in this new season I get some scenes with Julie and of course I get those scenes with Tony and Jaime which are my scenes to shoot, those evil alien Addams Family scenes I get to shoot with the weirdest parents on TV.