I can’t say this enough! I love working for Biff Bam Pop! Not only do I get to review some awesome television shows, but I get to interview the actors who star in them. When I was offered the chance to interview Jeff Teravainen, who plays Lieutenant Anders on Syfy’s space opera, Dark Matter, I jumped at the chance.
Gilbert: Hi Jeff. I did some research on you before the interview and realized that you are very talented. You’re a musician and you were the voice for the 2014 Winter Olympics as well as the 2014 FIFA World Cup for CBC.
Jeff Teravainen: Well thank you. I was a musician. It was my life and what I lived for, but then the acting started. I did a few of the Olympics and the World Cup, commercials, animations and video games. I did do a lot of animation for Bey Blade and Bakugan and things like that. They give you a picture and description for the character and I come up with something that feels right. It’s challenging, but a lot of fun.
Gilbert: I’ve seen that you also race cars.
Jeff Teravainen: Yes, I’ve done that as well.
Gilbert: What got you interested in acting?
Jeff Teravainen: I was doing music full time, but when it finally petered out, I was doing modeling for some extra money and then I did a commercial. I loved doing it and decided to get serious with coaching and courses. The more that I learn, the more I realize that I have miles to go. I’m enjoying this and I think that because I started late that I appreciate the work and love what I do.
I’ve been lucky to get the breaks that I got so far, but it’s so important to do something that you’re passionate about. I know people who make great money but they hate their job. If you you’re going to be working a lot, you might as well enjoy it.
Gilbert: You are in two Syfy shows, Dark Matter and 12 Monkeys. How did you get involved with the Dark Matter series? Tell me a little bit about your character, Lieutenant Anders.
Jeff Teravainen: I auditioned a couple of times for different roles on Dark Matter and it looked so interesting. You want to get on these shows. When the Anders part came up, it looked cool and I noticed that it said “possible recurring role.” I worked with my coaches who are incredible actors themselves and, I was ecstatic when I landed the part. Lisa Parasyn, the casting director; and Joseph Mallozzi, the show’s creator, and everyone involved have opened a lot of doors for me since I got the role in the show.
The first time you see my character, he’s a soldier who is working for a gentleman called the General. This is a rebel group and in the Dark Matter universe there are a lot of things run by corporations that are not always in the best interest of the average person. Then there is the Galactic Authority which oversees the policing of the galaxy. My character was a rebel and that’s where things got really weird in the closing minutes of episode 13 when suddenly, Roger Cross’s character, Six, has betrayed the entire crew. I’m blowing this for you if you haven’t watched the first season, but as this is all going on he walks out of the ship with me after betraying his teammates.
It was exciting for me because my little role sort of blew up and all these people on Twitter were asking, “Who’s that guy?” and “Oh wait, that’s the guy from episode 8 and I thought he was a rebel.” I love what I do and to see people moved by something I’ve done was satisfying. I’m really excited about the new episodes coming out because you will see a lot more about who my character is. What you saw before was the rebel soldier going through the motions of what he was supposed to do and then it’s that hard-assed guy walking in the hallway. You’ll get to see why he does what he does.
Gilbert: I’m happy that you will be a recurring character. Do you like working on sci-fi shows?
Jeff Teravainen: Absolutely! They are some of my favorite shows and one of the best things about doing Dark Matter and 12 Monkeys is that I’m actually a fan of the shows themselves, or the work that the guys have done before. I’m kind of walk into this in awe of everybody and happy to be there. They are all different, too. 12 Monkeys is a very intense show and very dark and Dark Matter has its moments. It can be serious when it needs to be, but it more lighter and action-filled fun. They both do incredible jobs with what they do.
Gilbert: Dark Matter sounds more like a space opera, which I enjoy, and like Defiance and The Expanse, they get a large fan base.
Jeff Teravainen: Yes, and people really get caught up on both these shows and you see this on Twitter. They have avid fans and for the first time in my life, I have people interacting with me because of my character, Anders. Just the fact that I’m on the show I’ve become part of that club and it’s a good thing.
Gilbert: Will we be seeing you on the next season of 12 Monkeys as Agent Stack?
Jeff Teravainen: I hope so. We are in the part of the season where we are all hoping for a renewal. I really hope they get it because the cast and the crew are super people and they have an amazing show.
Gilbert: I hope so too. I did the weekly reviews for season one and was very impressed with the show. Now I’m trying to catch up on season one of Dark Matter which is a very good show. That’s why I wanted to learn more about your character in the show.
Jeff Teravainen: As an actor you will do roles that maybe aren’t your favorite thing, but you always bring your best game, but there are certain shows that you can’t believe that you got to do this and Dark Matter and 12 Monkeys are those kinds of shows.
Gilbert: What other projects are coming up for you?
Jeff Teravainen: There is a show called Air Emergency in the UK and will be coming to the States later this year. It’s about air disasters. I have an upcoming role in a science fiction series called The Expanse that people can see me in next year. I have a couple of movies coming out called, Killing Mommy, where I play a dad. I don’t always get to play the nice dad. I usually play the heavy guys. There is another movie that is already out on Hallmark and stars Brooke Shields. It’s called Flower Shop Mystery: Snipped in the Bud.
Brooke Shields was amazing to work with. She’s a cultural icon in a way and she is the most down to earth person. That’s what I love about the business in general because my experience in music wasn’t always easy going and pleasant, but in film and television, everyone from the biggest stars to the lowest person on the list are all pulling in the same way and usually having a good time doing it. I have yet to have a bad experience.
Gilbert: I am definitely going to promote Dark Matter and you, but before we end this interview, I discovered while checking out your IMDb that you are interested in fossils.
Jeff Teravainen: Absolutely!
Gilbert: I am retired from the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia where we have the fossil of the very first dinosaur discovered in America, hadrosaurus foulkii. How did you get interested in Paleontology?
Jeff Teravainen: I’ve always been fascinated by history in general, but I loved dinosaurs and early life including the mammals of the Ice Age. Where I live, we’re lucky to have not so many dinosaur fossils, but things from the Ordovician period, like trilobites from 450 million years ago. I find it relaxing, but don’t get to do it enough anymore. My daughter is now at the age where we are finding things. I’ve completely indoctrinated her into this stuff.
Gilbert: It’s been a pleasure learning more about Dark Matter and your role in the show, Jeff, and if you ever make your way to Philadelphia, I’ll take you to the Academy and you can see our collection of fossils.
Dark Matter airs this Friday, July 1st at 10:00 PM on SyFy. Check out the series and check out Jeff Teravainen. Anyone who loves fossils is someone to keep an eye on.