Category: News & Announcements

Julie Benz Takes Her “Defiance” Character Down a Darker Path in Season 2

Somehow, the future never seems to be pretty in the world of science-fiction TV shows. And Julie Benz says there are good reasons for that.

“I think, with the sci-fi genre, we’re able to explore issues that we’re all faced with today,” the 42-year-old actress points out. “We’re able to explore them in a deeper, darker way.”

Benz is no stranger to the deeper, darker realm of the horror/thriller/sci-fi genre. Perhaps still best known for her role as Rita on Dexter, her TV credits also include such other gems as Roswell, Supernatural, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Buffy’s spinoff/sequel, Angel.

“I love working in ‘genre’ material, I really do,” says Benz. “The given circumstances are so extreme that they really challenge you, as an actor, to bring them to life and make them believable. And that is exciting.”

Benz’s most recent “genre TV” job has been in the sci-fi adventure Defiance, returning for Season 2 on Syfy June 19 at 8pm ET. The series is set in a radically transformed Earth in the not-too-distant future, where the city of St. Louis has been renamed as Defiance, a town where humans and extraterrestrial species manage to live side by side.

Much of the core action in Defiance revolves around Joshua Nolan, played by New Zealand native Grant Bowler. Nolan is a former Marine who became the town’s chief lawkeeper during the show’s first season. At Nolan’s side for much of the show has been his adopted alien daughter, Irisa, played by English actress Stephanie Leonidas. Others in the cast include Canadian actors Graham Greene and Jesse Rath.

The Pittsburgh-born Benz plays Amanda Rosewater, the mayor of Defiance who ended up losing her bid for reelection as the series wrapped up its first season. The show’s season finale also saw the disappearance of Irisa, as well as Amanda’s sister, Kenya (Canadian actress Mia Kirshner).

The series kicks off its second season with the residents of Defiance in turmoil in the aftermath of the town election. Continue reading

“Arson Mom” Trailer

Check out the trailer for Julie’s new movie “Arson Mom” below:

Julie Benz: The ‘Dexter’ Scene That Made Her Cry

You know Julie Benz from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Angel,” “Jawbreaker,” “Saw V,” “Dexter,” “Desperate Housewives,” and “Defiance.” But out of her many credits, there was one role that stood out.

“The role that I really loved was Robin on ‘Desperate Housewives,'” Julie says of the role she took on right after “Dexter.” She was thrilled to work with the women she had “admired for so long” and loved the eccentric role she had a chance to play. “My character was very quirky and fun,” Julie says. “She was a stripper… a lesbian stripper.”

Throughout her four seasons on “Dexter,” Julie played Dexter’s significant other. Over the course of her time on the show, she says one scene —which she didn’t know about in advance — was the most memorable. “My favorite scene on the show is when Dexter proposes to Rita,” Julie says. “As soon as we started to rehearse and Michael started saying his dialogue, it was that magic moment that all actors hope for, and tears started flowing. That was that synergy moment when your character and yourself meld together.”

Julie also revealed how she and her “Dexter” co-stars coped with producing such a heavy show. “There’s a lot of joking around. There’s a lot of laughter and levity,” she says. “It was a very dark show to shoot.”

To hear how Julie describes kissing Michael C. Hall, check out this episode of Daily Shot.

Watch the interview here.

“Taken: The Search for Sophie Parker”

Julie filmed a movie back in April of this year (at the time it was called “Abducted”) and we finally have more information and an air date for it! The movie is called “Taken: The Search for Sophie Parker” and it premieres on Lifetime on Saturday, September 21 at 8 PM (check your local air times!) and repeats on Sunday, September 22nd at 12 AM (again, be sure to check what time it airs according to where you live). You can read the description below:

18 year-old Sophie Parker goes on spring break to Moscow with her friend Janie Hillman, daughter of the American Ambassador to Russia. When a reluctant Sophie is convinced by boy-crazy Janie to sneak out of the U.S. Embassy and go to a nightclub, the two girls are drugged and abducted by a Russian sexual slavery ring operating in the heart of Moscow. Sophie’s widowed mother, Stevie, is a tough NYPD detective. When she gets an alarming and mysterious call from Sophie’s cell-phone, Stevie takes the next plane to Russia, where she moves heaven and earth, and the Moscow police, on her frantic and action-packed quest to save her baby girl.

“Defiance” Season 2 Intel: Everything Has Changed

Be prepared for quite a shakeup in “Defiance’s” second season.

When the show returns in June 2014, many of the characters will be in new places and leading lives markedly different from their old ones. Change was the big topic at the show’s panel at San Diego Comic-Con Friday.

I had the pleasure of moderating the panel, which included executive producer Kevin Murphy and stars Grant Bowler (Joshua Nolan), Julie Benz (Amanda Rosewater), Stephanie Leonidas (Irisa), Tony Curran (Datak Tarr), Jaime Murray (Stahma Tarr), Jesse Rath (Alak Tarr) and Trion Worlds senior game producer Rob Hill.

“The goal at the end the end of Season 1 was to take the chess board and flip it up and knock all the pieces all over the place. Every single character has a reset,” Murphy told the audience (which included at least two Stahma cosplayers and a guy with a Hellbug on his head).

Here’s a list of things to expect from Season 2, and a few of the panel’s many amusing moments:

  • It sounds as though Datak will be away from his family for the first part of the season. “What happened to him” — which was unclear after he murdered the Earth Republic official — will be explored in first part of the season, Murphy said. Curran sounded mournful about being away from home: “I won’t be bathing with my gal at all,” he said.
  • Continue reading

“Defiance” Season 2 Panel [Comic-Con 2013]

On Friday morning of Comic-Con 2013, the cast of the new Syfy series Defiance, including Grant Bowler, Julie Benz, Stephanie Leonidas, Tony Curran, Jaime Murray and Jesse Rath, as well as the show’s executive producer Kevin Murphy and Rob Hill from Trion World (the folks behind ‘Defiance’ the game) took the stage to enthrall the audience with scoop on what to expect from the much-buzzed-about show when it returns next June (yes, next June!) for its second season.

A few of those scoops for the anticipated return included the reveals that Datak Tarr (Curran) is no longer mayor and Amanda Rosewater (Benz) will be in a new line of work [which was made apparent in the season one finale, of course]. In fact, Murphy shared that there will be a “radical reboot” at the beginning of season two mainly because of the situations that transpired in the season finale. He further shared that we are taking “the chess board, flipping it up and knocking it all over”. Fans can also expect to see Irisa (Leonidas) “front and center” in the first two episodes of the new season and Stahma (Murray) will have a career change because of her husband Datak’s actions in the finale and son Alak (Rath) will have to step up to fill in the gap.

As the panel progressed, it became obvious that the cast has a great working relationship, especially with Grant and Tony, who exchanged hilarious barbs back and forth as well as Julie and Jaime being jovial throughout as well. And one particular moment where that was on clear display was when Julie and Jaime talked about what Stahma may or may not have done with Kenya (series regular Mia Kirshner), the sister to Julie’s character. Neither lady would admit what really happened to Kenya but they jokingly argued who loved Kenya more with Jaime sharing that “no one loves Kenya as much as (Stahma) did and then she continued on by saying, “just because you killed someone doesn’t mean that you don’t love them”. Continue reading

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