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Anna Silk (Bo) - Lost Girl
Anna Silk was born in Canada on 31 January 1974. She graduated from St. Thomas University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1997. Silk is noted throughout Canada for playing Deb, a bitterly angry and overstressed flight attendant attempting to quit smoking in a NicoDerm nicotine patch TV commercial. She has guest starred on numerous TV series including three episodes of Being Erica. She currently plays the lead character of Bo on the Canadian show Lost Girl. Darren Rea spoke with her as the first season of Lost Girl was due to be broadcast in the UK on SyFy...
Darren Rea: For those who haven't seen Lost Girl how would you best describe it?
Anna Silk: I play Bo and she grew up thinking that she was a human and that she was like everyone else and learns, when she becomes a teenager, that she's got these sexual urges that go beyond normal teenage urges. At the beginning of our series she learns that she's actually not human, that she's a succubus and she's part of this whole fae underworld that lives and feeds amongst humans. So, that's the beginning of her journey.
What I love is that she's so strong and tough but at the core of it Bo is so vulnerable and scared a lot of the time. What drew me to her, as well, was this power that she learns she has at the beginning of the series, which was her greatest source of shame for so long, is now becoming her power. It becomes, over time, something that makes her extremely powerful.
DR: So far what's been the most enjoyable aspect of the show for you?
AS: We're in our second season now here in Canada, and I have really no complaints [laughs] about being on the show. It's a great cast, we all get along extremely well. Everybody really cares about their own character; everyone loves their own character and really make an effort to bring more to it every day. I get to do fun stuff. I get to get into fights with gigantic creatures, but I think the thing that I love the most are the relationships that I've developed off camera with the cast and crew. And I think that translates on camera into our show.
I love Bo's costumes. I love that she dresses in a very sexy way but it's also like a uniform that she puts on because everyday for her has been a bit of a different. The wardrobe does make a big difference on how you feel about playing this character and how the character evolves.
DR: Are you still recognised in Canada for your famous NicoDerm adverts and how do you feel about that.
AS: [Laughs] Yes, although less and less because it doesn't air any more, but when it was airing a lot it was hard for me to get on to an airplane without getting recognised - that's where I would get recognised the most; at airports, especially by flight attendants who loved that commercial. It was their voice [laughs] I guess for their frustration. It was a really popular commercial.
You know, I'd done several commercials at that point, and when I went to audition for that one I got there and I read the script and I was like: "This is good. This commercial is going to be really funny and whoever gets this is really lucky." I had no idea it would be mean, so it was really fun.
DR: You character feeds by kissing other people and draining their energy. What's that like having to kiss so many strangers all the time?
AS: [Laughs] 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 and there was a lot of discussion and practise, so that guest star had a lot of extra takes. Whether he liked that or not I'm not sure [laughs] you'd have to ask him, but it took a lot more time.
But now I'm so used to it, the guest star comes on the show and I'm like: "Okay, here's the deal. This is how it's done." So we sort of jump right in and go for it, which is the best and only way to handle it, I think.
DR: Of all the roles in your career to date which has been the most challenging and which have you enjoyed the most.
AS: I'd have to say this one. I've done some work on another show here called Being Erica which was a great show and a really great role that they had written. But I have to say that being on Lost Girl and playing Bo has been the best role and job I've done - and most challenging.
It's a lot of work to make a series and it's really a gift to tell a story over a longer period of time. We've been picked up for a second season and we're doing 22 episodes this season, so people want to see more of these characters, which I love, so we feel really honoured that we get to tell this story and we try to tell it to the best of our ability.
DR: I understand that the writers and creators are keen to ground the show on established mythology.
AS: Everything on the show is based in mythology that exists out there. 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.
I knew what a succubus was long before the show every 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, I did really have this nightmare... a lot. And my mum was on a flight and she found this article about the incubus/succubus phenomenon. So she ripped it out and brought it home and I thought: "That's what I have. [laughs] That's what's coming to me."
So I knew what that was and I had this amazing book, as a child, that was given to me by a family friend, about fairies. And it was this dark, sinister world of little faire creatures that lived under mushrooms and didn't look so pretty. I was really drawn into that world from a young age. And I remember reading about the English Cottingley Fairies. I was really fascinated by that. Both of my parents grew up in England so I know some of the history there as well, but I remember being really drawn to that story as a child.
DR: The show has been renewed for a second season, and you're currently in production on that. How does your character develop in the second season and are there things you'd like to see her do?
AS: I know audiences in the UK haven't seen the first season yet, but at the beginning of the first season Bo gets this question answered about what she is, but she wants to find out who she is and her roots, so that's kind of her journey through season one. And that certainly continues through season two, but Bo learned a lot in season one and so in season two she's a lot smarter, a lot stronger and knows that she has to be a lot more accountable for her actions. She knows that her actions have consequences and that the political world that exists on the show between the dark and the light fae is something she has to be a little bit smarter about and a little more calculated and know how to play that system a little bit. And that's something she starts to do in season two because she loves the friends in this makeshift family she has so much and she wants to do whatever she can to protect them and to figure out more about her roots and her history.
And what else would I like to see her do? I don't know. She is starting to approach things with less fear and I think that's what I'd like to see more of. I'd like to see her be a little more no nonsense about things and that's starting to happen in the second season.
DR: The first season starts with fairly light episodes, but as the season progresses it seems to get darker. Is this something that was always planned, or an aspect that evolved naturally as the actors and writers started to gel?
AS: The real story behind that is that our original pilot was actually our eighth episode. So I don't know if you remember episode eight specifically, but it had a different look and it was much darker. It was a very dark episode, and we were very serious. Kenzi was always meant to be more of the comic relief of the show, so she has her comedy in that episode, but the rest of us were extremely serious. It's a great episode.
It was directed by John Fawcett who did Ginger Snaps. The look of that pilot was really dark and we loved it but the writers and the creator wanted to inject more humour into the show so that we wouldn't take ourselves so seriously and that's something that we found. The show did kind of change from episode to episode and it finds a nice balance towards the end of the season. It's nice to have lighter episodes and darker episodes, it's good to have that fun with it.
DR: Do you find it ironic that you originally moved from Canada to America to find work, and yet you eventually got this job back in Canada? And what are your thoughts on the future of Canadian TV, the quality of which seem to have improved greatly in recent years. Do you see this trend continuing?
AS: I do and I'm really proud to be on a show that is part of that wave of Canadian TV. When it first started airing people would come up to me and constantly say: "Your show doesn't look Canadian." I knew what they meant, because Canadian television has been up and down over the years and there's certainly been a real divide amongst what exists out there on Canadian TV and that's definitely changing.
I'm friends with a lot of actors in Canada. I watch their shows and they are good shows, they're interesting. We are airing more in the US, which never happened before. It's interesting to go to LA, to pursue a career there, only to come back to where I started from, only to air in the US [laughs]. It's not something I could have planned. I'm really happy to come back to Toronto because I do love working in Canada. I still go to LA, and I'm still living in LA and I'm just in Toronto to film the show, but it's nice to be part of a wave of television shows that are redefining what Canadian television is and I'm proud to be a part of that.
DR: Supernatural creatures like werewolves and vampire aren't being marketed more sexy creatures. Do you find anything sexy about these them?
AS: [Laughs] Definitely, yeah absolutely. One of the main characters on our show is a wolf and he certainly has no shortage of female fans.
There's just something animalistic, I guess, and confident about those kind of characters and I think that's what's sexy about them.
I know that's what I like to see. There's something dangerous, as well.
DR: If you woke up tomorrow and decided you'd had enough of acting what would you like to do.
AS: I love acting, so I can't imagine not doing it, but if I wasn't doing it I think I'd want to work in the area of nutrition. I know that sounds totally boring [laughs] but I'm really passionate about healthy eating and good food and I'm really passionate about how children are educated to eat and I think that's something I'd want to do. It's something I already kinda do in my spare time. So that's probably were I'd be drawn to, which I know sounds totally boring and isn't like helicopter pilot or whatever, but that's the truth.
DR: There's a few revelations about Bo throughout the first series. Do you know if these were already mapped out by the creator and writers, or did they emerge as the show progressed?
AS: We kind of learned them as we went along, to a degree.
The first season, we shot 13 episodes and we shot them out of order. We started with our pilot and we didn't know what that was going to mean. They call it a sample episode rather than a pilot, so this episode played as episode eight which meant that the story has to lead up to that episode and then had to continue from there. Because we didn't shoot in order, we just had a description from writers about what had happened.
Kris, who plays Dyson on the show, and I would look at each other sometimes and go: "Okay, this episode takes place after this one, but we don't know this one yet... so, do we like each other right now?" [laughs] It was hard to figure out, but we managed to do it.
What's great about this second season is that we're shooting in order, so we get to unfold this story and learn about it the same way the audience will, which I really like.
DR: What about the physical side of the show? Are you one for wanting to do all your own stunts, or are you happy to let the stunt people come in and handle that side?
AS: I'm really active in wanting to do my own stunts. I have a great stunt double [Jennifer Vey] who trains me and helps keep me fit and knows how to help me out when I'm doing a fight. But I do 85-90% of a fight, although sometimes I'll do the whole thing, and she'll come in to do something that needs a bit more specialty - like a really cool kick or something like that. I learned in the first season, because I really hurt my leg in the first season, but not badly, I was practicing a kick over and over because I wanted it to be so good for the fight the next day and of course I couldn't even walk the next day [laughs]. I wasn't able to do that kick and I spent two episodes limping, which we wrote into one the episodes - because I'm a succubus I'm supposed to heal, I'm not supposed to be limping. So we had to cheat that a little bit and I was holding onto people for certain scenes [laughs].
So, as much as I wanted to do that cool kick, I never got to do it and it impaired me through a few episodes. So, now this season I'm happier to sit back if I know that I'm really tired and I know I've been doing it a lot and I know I'm going to be really sore and not be able to do the next day, I'm happy to sit back now [laughs]. I'll say: "Jen, come on over." And she'll just jump right in and do it. But I still do most of it myself because it's really tied into the character as well and it makes you feel like you're this character so it's important to get the physicality of it as well.
DR: Are the writers and directors open to the cast having an input into how their characters develop. Do you feel free to voice any concerns you have when you think things aren't staying true to your characters?
AS: We do. We have some of the same writers as last year and we have some newer writers and they're all very open to us having an input. Most of it is great and we agree with, but sometimes we'll say: "Bo would never say that, because of this reason..." and they'll say: "Yeah, you know what you're right. Let's change this to make it fit."
We all speak up about it because we all really know our own characters and we really take care of them. They're definitely open to input from the actors and that's why it's such a great show to work on. It's really collaborative and even if you don't win your argument you still get to make it. That's a really great environment to be in.
DR: If Hollywood came to you to tomorrow and said they wanted to make a movie about your life who would you like to play you?
AS: [Laughs] Who would play me? Oh, gosh. Well, [laughs] I'd hope it would be me, but... hmm. Who would play me? I'm trying to think of who would play the young me, and then as I got older. I mean, if Marisa Tomei was available I think that would be cool, maybe if she were ten years younger or something. I think she's really cool.
I'm constantly told I look like Mary-Louise Parker or Kate Beckinsale, so maybe if they were available that would be good. I don't know. I don't know who would play me. I can't see anyone playing me but me. I really can't. [Laughs] So, I think my answer has to be me.
DR: Of all the cast who would you say is most like their character and who is least like their character.
AS: Erm... It's funny because a lot of us there's parts of us that are very much like our characters, but for instance Kris [Kristen Holden-Ried] who plays Dyson who's so intense and brooding, and there's definitely parts of him that's like that, but in real life he's pretty goofy and makes a lot of jokes. Ksenia [Solo] who's hilarious as Kenzi is a little bit more serious and professional, but there's certainly a side of her that's like that. Lauren, who played by Zoie Palmer... Zoie is hilarious. If I'm doing scenes with Zoie, there's often times where we have to cut because I can't stop laughing. She has the ability to make me laugh and then she gets all serious doctor and she can drop right into it, whereas I can't stop laughing.
I think we are all a little bit like our characters but then we have other sides to ourselves. I think I'm a lot like Bo in a lot of ways, but not entirely. I don't know. No one is entirely like their character. There's a little other side to them that would surprise fans I think.
Lost Girl, the new supernatural crime drama begins on Syfy on 01 September 2011.
This interview was conducted on 12 August 2011