Friday, November 2, 2012

SET VISIT: the bleak future world of Defiance

Bowler pointing out the car of tomorrow
Had a chance to visit the future Wednesday in Toronto. Defiance won't begin airing until sometime in 2013 (likely in the spring), but it is set even further down the road--the late 2040s or so.
It's a grim, industrial, post-apocalyptic landscape, so naturally the series is being shot in Scarborough, Ontario. Housed in an old industrial park, the massive back lot looks like its own little theme park. I tagged along for a tour conducted by one of the stars of the series, Australian actor Grant Bowler (cast opposite Lindsay Lohan in that upcoming Liz and Dick biopic for Lifetime).
Bowler has a very dry wit and gave a fun tour of the set, full of commentary. He plays Jeb Nolan, the no-nonsense sheriff of a refuge camp where people live in massive containers, abandoned subway cars and anything that basically provides shelter. Again, Scarborough.
The story: seven alien races from the Votan star system have come to Earth seeking to assimilate. Actors were walking around in various Votan gear Wednesday; most looked pasty and yellow-eyed.
Again, Scarborough.
Julie Benz (Buffy, Angel) also stars as the mayor of the city. The actress and her new hubby have been living in Toronto for nearly six months and just love the city. She named more downtown restaurants than I even knew existed.
Another low-mileage model. No money down
Scottish actor Tony Curran plays a Votan assistant to the mayor, kind of an alien enforcer. Takes him an hour-and-a-half to get "Votan-ed" every morning, he says. British actress Stephanie Leonidas plays a kick-ass alien warrior who acts as Nolan's deputy.
Production is coming to a close on the first 12 episodes. Hats off to the design team, who have concocted a realistic future world that looks like a cross between an old western back lot and street scenes from Blade Runner.
The series is being launched simultaneously as a Defiance video game so fans can get interactive with this bleak future world. Leonidas said she was blown away by the fan response earlier this year at Comic-Con.
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