A fun new supernatural series premieres in the UK on Syfy on Thursday. SFX chats to its star, who plays a succubus, about how much hard work it must be to kiss all the time
Premiering in the UK on Syfy on Thursday, Lost Girl is a new supernatural series from Canada that, while it features a werewolf, can actually boast a refreshingly different supernatural being as its star – a succubus called Bo.
With elements of Buffy , True Blood and even Charmed in its televisual DNA, Lost Girl has not only been a hit in Canada but in the US as well, rapidly generating an active fanbase and a second series. It can be dark, it can be silly, it can be sexy… and it features goth chicks and men who rip their shirts off with little excuse.
Anna Silk plays Bo, and SFX grabbed a chance to have a chat with her about the role.
For UK viewers new to the show, can you tell us something about Bo?
“I play Bo, who grew up thinking she was human and like everyone else, but learned when she became a teenager that she’s got these sexual urges that go beyond normal teenage urges. At the beginning of the series she learns that she’s actually not human, she’s a succubus, and that she’s part of this whole Fae underworld that lives and feeds amongst humans.”
She’s certainly a very strong character
“She is, she is. That’s what drew me to her. What I love is that she’s strong and tough and all these things, but at the same time she’s also very vulnerable, and scared a lot of the time. This power that she has, which was her greatest source of shame for so long, is now becoming her power, and becomes, over time, something that makes her extremely powerful.”
Does the leather costume help you get into character?
“I love it. It’s very… she’s just kind of ready for action. Many different kinds of action, I suppose. I love that she dresses in a very sexy way, but it’s also a sort of a uniform that she puts on. Because every day for her is a bit of a battle. I love that. The wardrobe does make a big difference to how you feel about playing a character and how the character evolves.”
Being a succubus means you have to spend a lot of time snogging on screen
“Yeah. Lucky for me the people I snog the most are my co-stars, so I know them really well, I like them, which makes it more comfortable. It was definitely interesting filming the series premiere, because we had to figure out the ‘succubus kiss’ and what that means. So there was a lot of discussion and practice. So that guest star had a lot of extra takes. Whether he liked that or not you’ll have to ask him! But now I’m used to it. A guest star comes on our show, I’m like. ‘Here’s the deal. This is how it’s done.’ So, we just jump right in and go for it, which is the best way with those kind of scenes, I think.”
There are lots of characters and legends in the show that riff off of Celtic mythology. Was that an area you already knew something about, or has it been a learning experience?
“Yeah. Mostly what I learn on the show comes to me weekly when I get the scripts. But everything in the show exists in real mythology that is out there, and if it doesn’t exist they don’t want it on the show. They want to be able to find a basis for it somewhere, which I really love.
“And I knew what a succubus was long before the show ever came my way, because I used to have this recurring nightmare when I was at High School – it always sounds like I’m making this story up, but I’m really not. My mum was on this flight, and she found this article in a magazine about the incubus/succubus phenomenon. So she ripped it out, and brought it home, and I thought, ‘That’s my dream. That’s what’s coming to me!’ So I knew what that was.
“And I had this amazing book given to me as a child by family friends, about fairies. And it was this dark, sinister world of little fairies creatures that lived under mushrooms and didn’t look so pretty. And I was really drawn into that world.”
The tone of the show in the early episodes seems to change subtly week by week. Were the writers experimenting to see how dark or silly they could take it before settling on a style?
“Well, the real story behind that is that our original pilot was actually our eighth episode. It had a different look and it was much darker. It was a very dark episode. We were very serious. Kenzi [Bo’s teeny goth sidekick] still has her comedy moments in that episode but the rest of us were so serious. And it’s a great episode. It was directed by John Fawcett who directed the werewolf movie Ginger Snaps . And we loved it, but the writers and the producers wanted to inject a little humour into the show so that we wouldn’t take ourselves too seriously.
“But, yeah, the show’s tone did change episode by episode, but we found a nice balance by the end of the season, which is continuing on into season two.”
Some people may be wary hearing the phrase “Canadian show” but Canadian TV is actually going through a bit of a revolution, isn’t it?
“I’m really proud to be on a show that is part of that new wave of Canadian TV, that’s redefining what Canadian TV is. When the show first started airing, people were constantly coming up to me and saying, ‘Your show doesn’t look Canadian!’ And I knew what they meant, because Canadian television has been up and down over the years. But that’s changing. The shows are getting better. More of them are getting shown in the States.”
Do you find werewolves and vampires sexy?
“Definitely. Dyson, one of the main characters on our show is a wolf, and he certainly has no shortage of female fans. There’s something confident and animalistic about those characters, and I think that’s what’s sexy about them. I know that’s what I like see. And there’s something dangerous.”
There are a lot of mysteries about Bo’s past that are uncovered during the course of season one. But since you filmed episode eight first, did you know all the answers right from the word go?
“Kind of learnt them as we went along to a degree. For the first season we shot 13 episodes and we shot them out of order. We started with our pilot, which was… well we didn’t know what episode that was going to be at the time we shot it. They call it a sample episode rather than a pilot, and it ended up as episode eight. Which meant that the story had to lead up to that episode and then follow on from there. Which means that because we didn’t shoot in order; we just had a description form writers about what had happened. Kris [Holden-Ried], who plays Dyson, and I would look at each other sometimes and be like, ‘Okay, this episode takes place after that one, but we don’t know this one yet, so… do we like each other right now?’ It was hard to figure out. This second season we’re shooting in order, so we get to learn things in the same way as the audience does. ”
Do you enjoy the fight scenes?
“I’m really active in wanting to do my own stunts. I have a great stunt double, and she also trains me and helps keep me fit. But I do 85% to 95% of a fight. She’ll come in and do the really cool kick, the stuff that needs a bit of speciality. But I learned in the first season not to overstretch, because I really hurt my leg. Not badly but… I was practicing a kick over and over and over and over, because I wanted it to be so good for the fight the next day, and of course, next day, I couldn’t even walk.
“I wasn’t able to do that kick, needless to say, and I spent two episodes kinda limping, which they actually had to write into one of the episodes. Because I’m a succubus, I’m supposed to be able to heal, so they had to cheat that a little bit. And I was holding onto people for certain scenes. So now I’m happy to sit back.”
Who in the regular cast are most and least like their characters?
“There are parts of all us that are very much like our characters. Dyson is so intense and brooding, and there are definitely bits of Kris that are like that, but in real life he’s actually pretty goofy and makes lots of jokes. You never see that on the show. Ksenia [Solo] who’s hilarious as Kenzi is funny in real life too, but she a little more reserved, I guess… not reserved, a little more serious and professional. Zoie [Palmer] is hilarious as Lauren. If I’m doing scenes with Zoie, there are often times when they have to cut because I can’t stop laughing. She can go straight back into serious doctor but I can’t stop laughing. I think I’m a lot like Bo in a lot of ways, but not entirely. You’d have to ask them.”