Tony Curran Breaks Down the ‘Defiance’ World

by | March 27, 2013 at 11:05 AM | Defiance, Interviews

"Defiance" star Tony Curran (Syfy)

Syfy is placing a big bet with the April 15th premiere of the new multi-platform show “Defiance.” The multi-player online game bows on April 2nd, followed by the TV series. This unique fusion of a gaming aspect tied in with a sci-fi television series has genre fans eager to explore this new world. The series stars Julie Benz (“Dexter“), Grant Bowler (“Lost“), Jaime Murray (“Warehoue 13“) and Tony Curran (“Doctor Who“). We recently caught up with Curran, who plays the cunning and power-hungry alien Datak Tarr, to discuss the scope of the show, the breakdown of the aliens on the series, and how much of a gamer he is.

On the Scope and World of the Show: It does have a huge scope and depth. It begins in 2013, these alien ships arrive who are basically seven Votan races and they’re all here to attack planet Earth. They’re here to integrate, or try to integrate because their own planet and solar system has been destroyed. They start integrating, and there’s a war that happens. It starts between humans and aliens, humans and humans, then aliens and aliens. There was an act of defiance which goes on where these humans and aliens save these children and hence the name/term of Defiance. Formerly it was St. Louis. This frontier town springs up from it. And everybody tries to integrate, they try to re-invent themselves as well.

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My character, Datak Tarr, and Stahma Tarr [Jaime Murray] are a couple of social-climbing individuals. Datak is a bit of a hustler, a bit of an alien gangster/Nucky Thompson ["Boardwalk Empire"] type if you will. He’s almost pulled from the pages of a Dickens novel, this guy. He made a pass at Stahma on the Arc, from their planet to Earth. She’s married at the time, or about to be, and he ends up having a duel with Stahma’s husband. I can’t say too much, but it doesn’t end too well for him. Hence Daytak ends up marrying Stahma.

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And now it’s all about survival in this town. It’s about hope, it’s a very human story in a sense, about the exodus of one species from one part of the world to Earth. It mirrors in a sense coming from another universe to another world. There’s a lot of elements to the show- human elements, the aliens are aliens but some aliens are more human than others. The Volge are like the Darth Vaders, the Dark Side if you will and uncompromising aliens. They just want to destroy everything in their paths.

The other Votan race is the Castithans. Datak and Stahma are very much into climbing in the society. Datak is not very pliable. My wife is trying to make him a little bit more politically correct in the Defiance society, because he is a bit of a blunt instrument. The two of them together, with her wisdom and cunning, and his brute force and understanding of the town, they are quite an amazing couple.

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On How We’re First Introduced to Datak: You first see Datak at a Town Hall Meeting and it ends up with Rafe McCawley (Graham Greene)– he owns the mining company in the town of Defiance. Daytak and Stahma, they’re looking at this and they’re thinking it’d be nice to get a piece of that action. It opens with a lot of applause for Datak – he’s done a few things in the town to help people. In the war for instance, he did a lot of things to help end the war. Rafe McCawley gets a lot of applause too, more in fact than my character does, and I don’t like that. He gets a little upset. Once you see him in the Hollows, which is an area in the Defiance that is the ghetto you might say, he’s off in his own language and he’s raging about how Rafe McCawley has undermined him, how the crowd has undermined him you might say. Rafe and Daytak have a past as well, spoiler alert, I can’t say too much about it, but there’s a definite past there.

Watch – The Cast of “Defiance” Takes You Through the Show:

On His Own Gaming Habits: I played the game at Comic-Con. I played a lot of the games recently have and have been buying a few more. With some downtime over Christmas, I played a lot. The game is set in San Francisco. The town formerly known as St. Louis is now Defiance. The scope of the show and game is going to be massive because you have the people who love the genre of gaming who love sci-fi, they’re in bed together normally. And also, for instance The Walking Dead, it’s not just about zombies. It’s done beautifully, but it’s more about relationships, human spirit, survival. I think that’s what Defiance can do as well, it can bridge that gap between someone who’s not crazy about sci-fi but is intrigued by this world. I think for sci-fi fans, it’s going to have what they’re looking for, but there’s also that’s element of another world, another species coming to Earth. That’s happened in the past, but recently there haven’t been as much as some of the cravings of sci-fi individuals might like. I also think the nature of the drama, and the depth of the characters, which is an important factor in this. You do like them and root for them, you find them interesting. And yes, you are abhorred by them sometimes, especially my character Datak. But you can’t help but like them, and be intrigued by them. I think that’s what is going to give this show a lot of legs. You can’t go back to the planets where my character came from, they’ve been destroyed. But there are other planets that haven’t been destroyed. We can go back in time, go forward in time, there are many elements that can be explored on this show. I think the sky’s the limit.

On the Various Species Living in Defiance:  There’s characters in the Liberata which is like a house. It’s a very amusing little creature. There are no visual effects there, it’s very sort of visual and tangible/physical. There’s the Castithans – they’re a very elegant race – white hair, white skin. They’re quite a sensual and sexual race. The Irathians – which is Irisa’s character (Stephanie Leonidas)– is more feral. More from the forests. You have the wookie character, which is one of the biggest aliens in Defiance. These guys are just walking about with these mechanical faces on and it actually looks insane. The amount of diversity of all the aliens in the town is quite unbelievable.

“Defiance” will launch as a multi-player online game on April 2, while “Defiance” the TV series will premiere Monday, April 15 at 9/8c on Syfy.