The cast of Defiance had the audience rolling with laughter with their almost constant sexual innuendo, accent mimicry, and hashtag pushing. The panelists entertained a full house during the panel, “Defiance: Let Us Be Strong,” at 5:30PM Sunday in the Westin Peachtree Ballroom. The cast asked the audience to say “hashtag Defiance” before posing each question to the panelists and it became a meme throughout the hour.
In between bouts of rapid-fire repartee, the panelists answered fans’ questions on a variety of topics, the most intriguing of which included the topics of languages and accents, strong women characters, and especially the importance of busting stereotypes.
Julie Benz (Mayor/Madam/Lawkeeper Amanda Rosewater) remembered meeting Tony Curran (patriarch Datak Tarr) and said she had a hard time understanding Curran’s native Scottish accent, thinking he wasn’t even speaking English. Grant Bowler (Joshua Nolan, chief lawkeeper, “badass with a blaster and object of affection for all ladies and aliens of Defiance” according to moderator Aaron J. Sagers) and Jesse Rath (Alak Tarr, “scion of the Tarr family”) mimicked and mocked Curran telling a story with a thick Scottish brogue. Kevin R. Grazier, science adviser for the show, shared that David Peterson created the alien languages for the show and speaks several languages himself. Curran remembered Peterson asking him what he was speaking in a bar one night, thinking his Scottish-accented English was actually an alien language. Hearing Bowler then say, “It’s just a conundrum wrapped in a paradox,” in a mocking Scottish accent, was just priceless.
Curran responded to a fan who admitted to never having watched the show and asked why she should. He said the show has a lot of characters people can relate to, as well as family drama and, of particular interest in our current culture, immigrant drama. It also features “great alien languages, visual effects, and prosthetics, and you get to see Benz wearing underwear.”
The moderator asked Benz about whether the strong female component in Defiance was apparent from early scripts. She responded that when she first met with writer and producer Kevin Murphy, he told her to throw out the original script and they discussed his plan for developing strong female characters. Benz said, “We’re fortunate. Kevin Murphy loves women and loves writing for women.”
She went on to describe Murphy’s approach that extends to the whole cast of Defiance:
What he does really well and what we’re all trying to do is knock down…gender stereotypes and those sexuality stereotypes. And we can because we’re doing sci-fi and we can knock those boundaries down. … We’re very aware that our fan base wants to see us approach these topics from a different angle. If you wanted to watch a normal drama unfold, you’d tune into a CBS on a Friday night, not to SyFy. So we take the genre we’re working in and stretch the stereotypes. All the women on the show LOVE it; we really love playing the women who are sexual but not sexualized. The women can be just as strong as the men without having to emasculate the men to do it.
Bowler said, “Perhaps in the distant future, men and women are equal and they both have an equal right to engage and disengage from and to adult relationships.” The audience cheered and applauded in response to that statement.
Many other questions were asked and much more fun was had by both panelists and the audience. The best (or at least loudest) moment was at the very end of the panel. Every one of the cast members whipped out their phones and filmed the audience as we shouted in unison, “Renew Defiance!” #defiance