Before tonight’s Season 1 finale of Defiance, we have a new edition of Take 5 featuring Jaime Murray, who has brilliantly played Stahma, the intriguing matriarch of the powerful Castithan Tarr family. Here are some of her thoughts on the series, her role on the series and Stahma’s role in the Castithan family, and learning an alien language.
On what she finds interesting about the world that’s been created for Defiance:
“You’re talking about a world 35 years in the future … with seven species competing for a space on this planet. 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 – because it’s such a different world that you’re showing – but actually all the themes that you’re talking about are so relatable.”
On why she wanted to play Stahma:
“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.
“I’m able to play with issues, whether it be in the marital home or because of how the repressed her gender is in the society that she comes from back from her own planet, or 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.”
On Stahma’s calculating nature and the difference between her and her husband, Datak:
“I think that the real difference between Stahma and Datak is [that] Datak is really at the whim of his ego. So if in a moment he needs validation or he needs to be seen as the big man or whatever it might be, he will just take action in that moment. Stahma however doesn’t really need validation, she just needs what she wants. She needs what she needs. She’ll often go about it silently … and she doesn’t need any validation whatsoever. In fact she’ll give validation out, she’ll give Datak whatever he needs in order to get what she needs. She’s that silent assassin really. But she’s not showy about it.”
On Stahma’s role in the Castithan family and household:
“I feel very much like I’m in a period piece. Good housekeeping, and keeping things running, and running the books, and the Castithan people have their own little rituals. I think that Stahma is like queen of the Castithans so I think that she kind of really has this archaic role that she’s playing. She’s doing her weaving and she’s doing the ceremonies; she’s at home holding court.”
On learning Castithan and whether she’s comfortable with the language yet:
“I’m comfortable with saying lines I’ve phonetically learned. In fact I know lines that I could kind of spill out even now. But I can assure you as soon as I go back in August and like another real half a page of Castithan I’ll come out in hives again, because each time it’s a huge challenge to learn this stuff. It does have a certain symmetry and musicality to it, which actually once you get it down it makes it flow and it makes is quite fun to play with. But you definitely don’t want to be getting the dialogue the night before. You definitely want a couple of days, in fact sometimes a couple of weeks, to really kind of play with it and allow it to kind of sleep on it and ruminate within you. It’s not easy.”
Photo Courtesy of Showcase