By Kat Harlton
New Syfy hit TV series Dark Matter returns for it’s much anticipated Season 2. Fans can tune into the Space Channel on July 1st.
I had the opportunity to catch up with one of the show’s stars, Canadian actor Anthony Lemke. You may recognize Lemke (who portrays Three) from his work on Lost Girl, The Listener and American Psycho.
Acting wasn’t always in the cards for Lemke, who had been sporadically dallying in the craft before eventually becoming a graduate of McGill University‘s Faculty of Law. It wasn’t until 2006 when holding his 2-month-old daughter that he realized life had other things in store for him.
“I remember looking into her eyes and saying, ‘I can’t be a lawyer. I don’t want her to know me as only a lawyer, I don’t want her to never know that I was an actor. I can always go back to law if I want later on, but I’m not going to go back to acting after 15 years in law’. So I remember that moment very clearly and that’s when I went into the firm and said ‘I’m not going to do this’.”
This personal discovery for Lemke came years after having already worked in the industry and not valuing or having confidence in his own skills and abilities.
“I ended up acting because I didn’t know what else to do. I happened to be decent at it and could make a living at it, and people seemed to want to hire me. But I didn’t really value it for what it was until I went to law school. And law school was great and I had a great experience, but that was when I started to realize the real value that my kind of skills brought. It was a real process for me”
As we discussed this process, Lemke elaborated on discovering one’s own strengths and weaknesses as an actor and shared advice on what he’s learned from all his years in the industry.
“The best piece of advice that I received was from an acting coach. After I moved to Toronto from Theatre School, I looked around until I found a coach that was right for me, and that’s when I was really able to start work. So the first piece of advice I have is to find a coach that speaks your language. Just because you don’t understand someone’s language, and they don’t think you’re any good, doesn’t mean that you’re not. It just means that they don’t understand you, and you don’t understand them. “
“I found that coach and he said an interesting thing to me that had nothing to do with the industry. He was one of the only coaches at the time who was a working actor, and he understood it, he got it. He said to us:
‘One of the most important things you can do as an actor is find something really fulfilling outside of acting. Because in the beginning, you’ll be living most of your life outside of acting. You will not be doing what you’re trying to do. So if you’re just waiting tables you’re going to end up getting bored and impatient and quit. You need to find something you love outside of acting that can guide you through those tough times’
It turns out that’s been really good advice because the conventional wisdom is generally the opposite. You need to go live your life, do something that’s not acting because that’s your tool box.”
It’s this insight and life experience that has given Lemke the ability to bring the depth needed to Dark Matter’s Three.
“I connect a lot with Three, he and I are a lot alike. Not in that our actions are similar, they aren’t. I’m a dad of three kids and a pretty stable kind of dude, but his impulses are ones that I recognize and have – that we share. I just have them in a different balance, because my life has led me in one direction and his life has led him in a different direction. And I think you’ll discover that the Three you think you know in Season One, and who he thinks he knows in Season One isn’t what you thought. And you’ll understand why Three is the way he is, in all ways. That’s what makes this character so fun to play, walking that line between being a total prick and also being an empathetic, caring person.”
Like most creative people I know, Lemke has many passionate outlets outside of acting, and he along with his brother and his oldest friend bought a bunch of properties in the town where he lives, in Prince Edward County.
“I love the little village that I live in. I have a wonderfully cooperative village with a lot of character and people with deep roots who care about the community. And we are trying to enhance the village by bringing more businesses to the heart of it.
It’s fundamentally an act of creation in the sense that it’s a different kind of creation. We ended up taking a space that wasn’t used and transformed it in a way that I think is fairly respectful, into a space that’s communally used. People will come and sit and enjoy their ice cream or rent a bike and just hang out because they can.
These people are living their lives in a way that they couldn’t prior to us developing that area, which isn’t unique to us, but now, all of a sudden, people can use this space in a way that they couldn’t before. It’s a part of the world that I’m very very drawn too. I like that idea, there’s a certain longevity to it. After I move on, whether we leave that town or not, that feeling, that notion will likely remain. Not forever, but for a good long time.”
And if Lemke has his way, Dark Matter will be around for a good long time, too.
Catch the Season Two premiere of Dark Matter this Friday, July 1st at 10/9c on the Space Channel.