Appearing at the winter edition of London Film and Comic Con this year was Lexa Doig and her husband Michael Shanks, sat beside each other as you’d expect. During our interview with Lexa there were plenty of smiles and rolling of the eyes aimed at her husband Michael Shanks when talking about his Skyrim experiences. The vision of Daniel Jackson playing an XBox game with Andromeda yelling warnings and instructions at him just seems hilarious.
First time I saw Lexa in a role was the title role of Andromeda, a relatively short Sci-Fi series with Kevin Sorbo playing Dylan Hunt. Thankfully after that, Lexa landed further roles in Stargate and Continuum, and hopefully she’ll continue to get more roles that she likes and wants. It’s important to note that Lexa can say more with one smile or one raised eyebrow then some people are able to communicate with a 5 minute long diatribe. She’s easy to warm to, a shared sarcasm, the ability to not become self indulgent, in short, it was very nice to chat with her.
I heard a while ago you were something of an RPG, D & D fan.
Yes, that was many many many many years ago, and since I ever played any. Actually the closest I’ve come to playing that sort of thing again has been watching him (looks at Michael) spend way too many hours of his life playing Skyrim. Yeah, that was fun (the look on her face is priceless).
Ah, you’re a Skyrim Widow.
Yeah, exactly that, well, actually, I can’t manage the controls so I just watch him play it, then I scream “WATCH YOUR WABBAJACK”, so yes, he lost his Wabbajack. I was very upset about that. Wabbajack. You ever play the game?
Oblivion yes, Skyrim no.
Ah yes, there’s this awesome weapon called a Wabbajack, and whenever you use it, it just does something random. So you never know what is going to happen with it.
And you say you don’t join in.
No, I can’t get to grips with the Xbox controls.
You’ve had quite a variety of roles in the likes of Andromeda, Stargate and Continuum, but which role for you has been the most enjoyable or challenging?
One of the more challenging roles is the one I’m currently playing on Continuum, Sonya Valentine. That’s probably the most challenging that I’ve found because her choices are not the sort of choices I would make. So that one is probably the most challenging, but also the most fun.
Because of the different choices that that character makes do you feel that it’s a character you can’t take to or put yourself into? A conflict between you and your character perhaps?
Well, I don’t think anyone starts off being like that (Sonya), you know, it’s usually extreme circumstances that push them to make choices where they feel that this is the best, or most logical route, the one they have to take. So as an actor the difficult thing is to imagine yourself in circumstances that are so extreme, where the stakes are so high that you would make those choices, for right or wrong.
We’ve got Fantasy shows like Game of Thrones, but there seems to be a lull in Sci-Fi at the moment.
I think there’s some more coming up, I mean back home in Canada we’ve got Continuum, but there are a whole slew of new ones that are coming out. Being Human which I think is being redone. There’s quite a few that are on the slate at the moment, and they’re being shot in Canada. So expect more to come out. And that’s good because it’s about time.
We spoke to Kevin Sorbo a while ago and he raised the point that there’s a bias to indigenous actors, so projects being shot in Canada will tend to be predisposed to Canadians and so on. Is that right or is it actually a pretty open market for actors?
It would be nice to see the right person to get the job, the best person, regardless of their nationality. However that can sometimes be taken too far, in that I know, living and working in Canada, there are often times where they bring the Americans in for roles that Canadians could very easily play just because there’s a mentality that Canadians are “not as good as” when the producers are American. So it would be nice to see that evening out but a lot of that too is financially where it’s all based because wherever you are filming tends to offer tax breaks when you hire locally.
And what sort of roles do you really want to do, what do you look for?
Whatever, I’m not looking for anything specific, just well written, well rounded characters, as opposed to boring old stereotypes and tropes that are kind of tired. I’m a little tired of being a bad-ass female. It’s as dismissive to me as the girlfriend or wife roles. It’s two dimensional, so it’s nice to see ones that have been well thought out. And I find that the older I get the more interesting the characters get.
We were speaking to Garrett Wang about an incident where the actors were asked to tone down their acting, did that ever happen to you on say the likes of Andromeda?
Oh, really!? Oh. Thankfully not. No, on Andromeda the aliens, well, the prosthetics do most of the work right, it’s all pretty much right out there already. It’s already difficult. All your aliens are bipeds, they all speak English, all your aliens look suspiciously like humans in some ways
Yes with the Mars Bar ripple on their foreheads.
Yeah. The bumpy bits. So you just kind of have to be willing to let that go!
Fund raising for Multiple Sclerosis for Canada, how did you become involved with that?
My father and my first cousin have Multiple Sclerosis so it’s obviously a cause that’s very near and dear to me. Michael’s cousin also has Multiple Sclerosis, so it’s something that’s very near and dear to both our hearts. It’s a difficult disease, there’s a lot of research being done, there’s massive strides being made in terms of treating the symptoms, they’re very close to finding out what the causes are, but I don’t think there is any one cause. It’s a multiple confluence of different and unfortunate genetic circumstances, so the more fundraising the better as far as I’m concerned.
Our quick interview draws to a close and we’d like to thank Lexa for agreeing to talk with us, Showmasters for making it happen, and some awesome fans of Lexa who were incredibly patient and understanding.