EXCLUSIVE interview with Defiance's 'Doc Yewll'

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One of my favourite shows on Syfy at the moment is the futuristic Defiance, a show that is now in its third season and has upped the ante all the way. Set in the future dilapidated St. Louis and on an Earth that has been terraformed beyond recognition by various alien races, Defiance has a host of awesome characters and a story that ties them together for a thrilling ride. You can have a look at why I’ve already said why you should be watching the show here.

One of my favourite characters is the ever sarcastic Doc Yewell – a doctor with the bedside manner of a hand-grenade. Doc is one of the Votan’s, a technologically advanced Indogen to be more precise, played by the lovely and super friendly Trenna Keating. I was fortunate enough to catch up with her as she relaxes after shooting season three. This is what she had to say:photo 4

You appeared in the American comedy Just Friends alongside Ryan Reynolds. How different is it working on a film set to that of a series?

Working on Just Friends was one of the greatest experiences I have ever had.  I was actually hired as the director’s (Roger Kumble’s) assistant.  Roger knew my passion was acting so he gave me the role of Ryan’s assistant in the film. I got to be on set every day watching great actors work. It was heaven for an aspiring actor like me.  I don’t think I have ever laughed so much as I did when I was doing that job. As far as being different, well, you do a lot more scenes in a day in television. It’s a bit more of a machine

You have a background where you have spent a great deal of time behind the camera and have stated that is where you have learnt a lot about acting. How has that helped in your acting in a show with so much CGI?

Yes, I have spent far more time in the casting room than I have in front of the camera. I think it has made me a bit more relaxed when I act. I think so many actors worry and fret about what went on in the audition room and they try to “figure out” what the casting directors and producers are thinking. It has helped me to take the audition room a bit less seriously and to let things go when I leave that room. They do not think about us as much as we think about them. As far as CGI, well acting is acting CGI or not. But CGI can get very technical at times, but you just learn as you go.

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As already mention CGI is a huge part of Defiance but so is makeup. Tell us about an average makeup session before you are ready to go on set and do your thing. Is it exhausting?!

The make-up process takes about two hours. They pull the mask over my head, glue it down and then we paint my eyes and lips .Wearing the prosthetic can be exhausting and makes for some long days

Doc is one of my (any many others) favourite characters in Defiance. When preparing her character creation before season 1, did any influence come from your time on Combat Hospital?

Combat Hospital taught me to be able to ramble off military jargon in a very fast way. It is the same with medical jargon so it helped in finding the pace of the Doc audition scenes. Also, I would say there is a no nonsense almost military feel to Doc. She’s not squeamish.

Doc Yewll has gone through quite a transformation since the early episodes of Defiance. Indeed in the first few episodes of season three we see her as quite the victim. Do you think she brings this on herself by being self-centered or is she just a survivor that ends up in the wrong situation? (mild spoiler from season 3 ahead!)

I don’t think she brought it on herself. Amanda and Nolan know she is a survivor. I really don’t think they would have allowed the skinning if they really thought she couldn’t handle it.

One of the great things about the cast and crew of Defiance is their interaction via twitter etc with fans. This is a relatively recent phenomenon. How does it change things being an actress? Does it add more pressure to the project you are involved with?

I think it is wonderful that we have ways now of engaging with fans. I don’t think it adds pressure, it adds more excitement and it keeps our cast together during the off season.

Who would you say you get on with more on set and why?

I can’t pick one! I truly love all our cast. Most of my scenes usually end up being with Tony, Julie and Grant and they are all gems. And pros that teach me something new every day.

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Can you tell us anything about what we can expect with season 3, it’s already a lot darker than the first two! I’m already calling the first two episodes ‘The Shtako Wedding’ (eat that Game of Thrones!)

Yes, Season three is dark and gruesome and shocking. And that’s all in episode one!…it doesn’t let up.

Speaking of shtako, how difficult is it getting to grips with Votan? Do you or the cast often fudge lines and end up laughing or having to cut? 

Speaking the Votan languages is hard as hell to learn! And I speak way less of it than some characters. They amaze me! But fudging it really doesn’t work because if you end up having to do an ADR session, it’s impossible to match if you just make things up… Making things up… BIG NO NO.

What can we expect from Trenna Keating in the next year or so outside of Defiance?

I’m still in comedown mode from Defiance, but my hope is a year of exciting work, travel and relaxation.

If you could helm any project as producer, director what would it be? Anything you have planned/dreamed of?

My dream is to write sitcoms with my wonderful pal Lisa Berry. Act in them, get them produced and hire all of our friends!

Thankfully Trenna wasn’t in character or the only reply I would have received would be a suggestion as to where I can go stick sharp things into myself! So a huge thanks to her for sitting down to reply to my questions (maybe from a pub), greatly appreciated! You can follow Trenna on twitter  and make sure you watch the new season three of Defiance.

 

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Last Updated: July 2, 2015

Nick Reay

I have been an avid fan of movies ever since I discovered Santa Clause wasn't real, a day marked in my memory by my first viewing of It's a Wonderful Life, which wasn't so wonderful that day. Since then I've watched thousands of movies and even fooled my parents into putting me through uni to get a degree in the subject. I first started writing as a journalist for The South African Newspaper before moving onto communications for an NGO trying to save the planet. Unfortunately my recommendations to the CEO that we should all don rings imbued with the powers of earth, fire, wind, water and HEART went unheard. Now I pretend the end isn't nigh by hiding in movies.

5 Comments

  1. Nick Reay

    July 2, 2015 at 10:52 am

    Test

  2. RinceThis

    July 2, 2015 at 11:33 am

    Test.

  3. Alien Emperor Trevor

    July 2, 2015 at 11:38 am

    Cool interview, Nick!

    I love Defiance. Overall story lines aren’t always the greatest, but the characters are fantastic. Still need to start with season 3, but Friday’s are looking like my new favourite TV night with Defiance, Killjoys & Dark Matter.

    • RinceThis

      July 2, 2015 at 11:39 am

      Season 3 is a hella lot darker than the others. First two will have you crying 🙁

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        July 2, 2015 at 11:43 am

        Impossibru! I’m a masculine, alpha, manly man, man, man. I laugh at tears. Scornfully. My blanky keeps me safe.

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