When Andy Burns asked me if I would like to interview Jaime Murray from Defiance, I said “Holy Shtako!” which translates into “Hell yeah!” I’ve been a fan of Jaime Murray since Dexter and have been following her on Warehouse 13 and on Showcase’s Defiance, shown on the Syfy Channel, where Jaime plays Castithan Stahma Tarr, wife of Datak Tarr (Tony Curran), and mother of Alak Tarr (Jesse Rath). Join me and Jaime, after the jump.
Marie Gilbert asked, “I’m a big fan of yours, and my first question is what attracted you to star on Defiance?
Jaime Murray: “Oh, well thank you, thanks for being a fan. First of all that’s a very nice compliment. Really what always attracts me to a role is character and relationships and I certainly think that Stahma’s character and relationships are really complex, so I knew that as an actress I would find that challenging and it would kind of keep me busy and kind of keep me rooting around for new things to portray about this woman. And when you take on a new role you kind of, you know this is somebody that you’re going to be with for a while and is this an interesting person to spend your days thinking about.
“And we’re talking in depth about how they feel about stuff. So it’s a funny situation when you’re on a TV show, and you know often you, hopefully, you’re going to be with these people for years and years. So…
“…you have to – you don’t necessarily have to like them and I certainly often play difficult, or troubled, or complex or you could, if you judged them, you might say that they were bad women – so you don’t necessarily have to like them, but they certainly have to be interesting. You have to understand them or be willing to.”
For my next question, I asked, “With the different characters you played, and I know you played H.G. Wells with…Warehouse 13, and you played Lila on Dexter, and now Stahma. Which one is your favorite?
Jaime Murray: “You don’t ask an actress which is their favorite character, that’s like Sophie’s Choice. They’re like… They’re like your little children. I mean I kind of – I love them all for different reasons I mean- and you know you feel kind of quite protective of them. I certainly loved the journey I had on Warehouse 13 with H.G. Wells because first of all I really started out as antagonist and I suppose I was the villain of a piece in that first season, but it wasn’t – you kind of always had an understanding that there was a lot more going on with H.G.. And then I had two more seasons to rectify that and turn that around and kind of you know, I really went through a full spectrum of emotions with that character and her relationships with the Warehouse and with the people in the Warehouse really, really changed. And you know with this season that you’re just seeing now, it’s cathartic playing somebody who does wrong, but you understand maybe why she made those choices.
“And… you understand that maybe she wasn’t in her – the right state of mind. And arguably anyone who does anything truly kind of immoral or bad isn’t in their right state of mind. And then she – I feel as though in this season maybe you’re going to see a chance of her now everything has been taken away from her. Who is she… and sometimes you’re defined by the strongest emotions. And I certainly think that she was driven by sadness and anger for such a long time and I kind of felt a real vulnerability about her when those two very powerful emotions are taken away.”
Jaime Murray: “Well they’re certainly very different roles, but it was my first out and out sci-fi show I’d ever been on. And you know, I certainly from being on Warehouse 13, I understood the scope of sci-fi and I understood that the stakes are just so high on these shows – it’s good versus evil, it’s life and death, it’s courage, and hope, and bravery, and ambition, and all sorts of very powerful driving forces in sci-fi.
“The other thing that I particularly liked about Defiance is it’s you know you’re talking about a world 35 years in the future and you’re talking about a world with seven species competing for a space on this planet and it’s so skewed and it’s so fantastical that as a viewer you can watch it and, it’s not like you’re holding up a mirror and, obviously because it’s such a different world that you’re showing, but actually all the themes that you’re talking about are so relatable.
“But you – it – I feel as though as an artist I’m able to play with issues like for example with Stahma and you know whether it be in the marital home or whether it be because of how the repressed her gender is and her in the society that she comes from – back from her own planet or whether we’re talking about the caste structure from her own planet. They’re all interesting themes to be discussed but in a very new way.
“In fact through investigating and looking at what it is to be alien it forced me, it forced Jaime, to look at again with fresh eyes what it is to be human. And it’s just an interesting way of investigating old and important themes. And themes that hopefully the viewer, you repackage them in a way that the viewer isn’t saturated with and bored with them and kind of look at it – can look at them with fresh eyes and maybe kind of take them on board in a different way.”
Marie Gilbert said, “I have another question. Because you’re the mother of Alak and he’s getting married to Christie, I wanted to know because of your position and that you’re trying to move ahead on the show, evolve more on the show, does your character really like the future bride of her son?”
Jaime Murray: “I mean, I think that, I think it could be a lot worst. I mean I think that she feels a great curiosity and I think she does feel affection for Christie. The thing is about Stahma is that nothing is black and white. Obviously Christie would not be allowed anywhere near Alak if there wasn’t something in it for the Tarr family. And you know the McCawley minds and the power that the McCawley’s wield within the town of Defiance is certainly very attractive to Stahma, and now Datak. If you remember rightly in the pilot, he was completely against it until she gently reminded him how useful this could be to them as a family and their credibility in the town.
“However I think that Christie is a very sweet girl considering she’s a modern girl and I mean even more modern because she’s five years in the future. It’s probably reaffirming to Stahma where she comes from a world where women are very submissive and it would probably be much harder for her if she was dealing with you know your average flaky teenage girl.
“And also it’s something quite comforting, she probably feels as though she can really control Christie. There’s such an innocence and a sweetness to her that Stahma’s going to know which buttons to press and so really she’s – it’s probably a quite comfortable situation to be leading her son into yet another situation that Stahma can have full control over.”
Marie Gilbert said, “Right, and…”
Jaime Murray: “You know it probably it would probably be very worrying if – well I doubt Stahma would allow it, for Alak to be marrying somebody who would be taking him away from Stahma.”
Marie will be back with Part Two of Jaime Murray’s interview on Monday.