"Lost Girl" is a Canadian series having recently started in the UK on Syfy Channel, and also soon to be aired on the American Syfy Channel.
The series brings a more adult spin to the fantasy genre, and dares to go where no show has gone before in having a succubus as the principal character.
"Lost Girl" centres on Bo (Anna Silk), who starts off not knowing what she is and moving from town to town because her sexual appetites are leaving a trail of dead lovers.
When she stops into one town though, and saves the life of a young woman, Bo gets pulled into the world of Fae.
Bo is forced to choose between the light and the dark side, but being that she is a very strong willed and independent sort of character, she chooses the side of humans, which places her uniquely between the two worlds.
Over the course of the first season, which has already aired in Canada, Bo is helped by her werewolf lover Dyson, who is played by Kris Holden-Ried and the mysterious bartender Trick, who is played by Richard Howland.
I recently caught up with Rick Howland for Monsters and Critics, and quizzed him about some of the mystery that lies behind his character on the hot new series.
Monsters and Critics: How did you become involved in Lost Girl and what was it that attracted you to the role of Trick.
Rick Howland: Like most actors. You get a break down from your agent and you hear about the auditioning process for the project from your agent and the usual channels.
So I got a call and it was a couple of years ago now because we did the pilot originally the year before last. I guess in 2009 and then we started this in 2010 and now we’re into it now.
So I received the breakdown and the agent was pretty excited about it because the breakdown itself when I read it I felt this could be me. This could be my part because it really did sound like something that I could do.
Then I got the sides. The lines you get for the audition, which turned out not to be in the actual script because of re-writes and what not, but it gave me a real good sense of the power of the character, without giving me to much information, but it gave me a real good sense and a feeling for how powerful Trick is I mean he clearly has some skeletons in his closet and that kind of was the introduction that I got for it.
Then I auditioned for it. I got called back and got called back again. And that group of people that come back each time gets smaller and smaller and by the end of it they decided that I was the right guy for the part. And I felt that way since the beginning, and you kind of have to as an actor. You kind of have to connect to the idea that the part is yours, but as soon as you’ve done the audition you kind of have to throw it away and let it go and hope it does come back, but not let yourself focus on it too much.
But yeah! I went in. I wowed them and Wanda [Chaffey] the other producer on the show and Jay [Firestone] cast me. Then they told me later that they felt I was the best actor for the job and they were just blown away by the depth that I brought to the character, which was exactly what they were looking for. So I was incredibly ecstatic to get the the part and its been a fantastic adventure so far.
M&C: The one thing have observed about Trick is the the role seems to demand that you are speaking volumes even when you’re silent.
Rick Howland: Yeah, Yeah. Playing Trick for me is actually the most fun when he’s not speaking because there’s a lot going on with the gears in his head and a lot of thoughts.
M&C: I’ve pretty much gained a bit of insight into the series and one of the things that struck me right away is that in so many ways Trick kind of admires Bo for making her stand, but your first scene with Dyson in the pilot episode insinuates that Trick was expecting Bo to turn up.
Rick Howland: Without giving to much away about the first season what I can say is that Trick is aware of much that’s happening in the Fae world and Trick has been expecting some bad things to be coming all along. Like from the very beginning. I think that he’s always on guard for something because the world of Fae is changing.
When we start in episode one. When we start the show. Like you’re saying there’s that kind of vibe that somethings up. And with Bo I think that she represents that secret life of all Fae. That secret desire of the Fae. That they want to be free. They don’t want to have to be aligned to the light and dark necessarily. They do it because it keeps it all balanced and because the Fae have to remain hidden from the humans. So there is a very strict order of function, but she kind of represents this new ideal of not excepting the standard rules.
And also I think that it’s the writers and the shows kind of convention of connecting it to the audience with that thing, which anyone of us in our own lives can identify with. You know there are some parameters or rules that we don’t necessarily agree with, but we go along with and we’d love to break out of those.
M&C: What is it about ‘Lost Girl’ that you think has resonated so well with the current fan base.
Rick Howland: I think there’s a lot of elements in the show that impact on peoples regular lives. Like I was saying before about following rules and not following rules that archetype is set up in front of you. There is I think just the whole idea of a fantasy world and the idea of some sort of alternate world or other world that exists within our world is something, which is very much on the minds of people in terms of there own kind of escapism.
I think that... You know you read articles about the history of the media like the roaring Twenty’s coming out of World War One and there’s always kind of these fantastical ideas and fantastic things to come out of time periods when there’s a lot of struggle in our own reality. And I feel like we might be in one of those places right now in our world, but I also think the element of Bisexuality and Homosexuality in the show isn’t kind of bash it over your head. You know... It’s not really seen as a problem or a hurdle in anyone’s lives. Especially the Fae. The Fae are kind of very excepting of everybody in everything that they do.
A few of us were at the recent Toronto Expo and this woman came up to the autograph table and she was in tears. She thanked Anna Silk and Zoe Palmer (Lauren) for having their relationship on the show. A Lesbian encounter, Bisexual Lesbian encounter and it allowed her to come out as a Lesbian to her mother. So... You know that’s a pretty important thing. It gives me chills to think that our little show about fantasy and Fae running around with swords and knives and things like that is actually giving people that kind of ability to find strength in their own lives and in themselves.
M&C: I also love the fact, which is something you just hit on. That most American and British shows have done the gay thing to death. It’s by and large accepted, but the issues that are inherent in bisexuality have never really been done before. At least not that I am aware of and Lost Girl has done that and done it fairly well.
Rick Howland: There’s no pretension or judgment on any of it you know... and we can do that I think in our world because there is that Fae universe. That Far world within the human world and it allows for many things. I mean look... We have Fae that eat the dead parts of humans, we have Fae that suck on blood, you have Fae that feed off of energy and you have Fae that feed off emotions in much the same way a succubus feeds off of sexual energy.
There are different characters that feed off of different elements of the human existence.
So I think that allows because that stuff can be so like mind boggling or over the top or kind of gross or whatever. That it can allow for our own human issues to kind of exist in there and be addressed without it having to be judgmental because you’re thinking about the guy that sucks peoples necks or the woman that feeds on sexual energy just because she wants to.
M&C: As an actor you always invest so much of yourself into the characters that you play. How much of you is there in Trick and how much of him comes from the writers mind. As in where’s the dividing line between you Rick Howland and your character of Trick.
Rick Howland: That’s an interesting question. I constantly make jokes while on set and say, ‘At least I don’t have things glued to my face.’ You know you play a character sometimes in these things where you’ve got lots of creature make-up and whatever glued onto you, but not with this character.
That was one of my questions too at the beginning of it I was thinking, ‘Okay, I wonder what kind of thing they’re going to do with me in terms of costuming and wardrobe and is there going to be make - up or creature character make - up or whatever. And they said no. We just want it to be you! Your face, your look, your action.
So you know... there’s a fair amount of me in there! I think that the biggest difference between me and Trick is that I tend to live with my heart on my sleeve and Trick seems to hold things quite close to his chest. Though you can see what’s going on in his head. You can tell when he’s thinking about something, but you don’t know exactly what that is.
If you ask me how am doing. You’ll get a good chapter of my book kind of thing you know... I’ll talk until you tell me to shut up. Tricks a bit more reserved and in terms of playing him. It’s fun to a play a character who is incredibly wise and has been around the block more than a couple of hundred times.
In terms of the acting. As an actor it kind of hit me from the very beginning from the auditions of just playing the element of having a secret. Having something really special that you just can’t tell. It’s like that idea you have as a kid that if you tell everyone your birthday wish it won’t come true.
It’s kind of like that thing. You know holding that secret... Holding those secrets inside and there good secrets and there fun and everyone wants to know about it. So it gives you that kind of twinkle in your eye.
M&C: Obviously the first season has only started to air here in the UK and the show is a way off in the USA. So we’re having to be a little careful about how much is revealed, but do you have a favorite episode that you think UK and American viewers should watch for and if so what can you tell us about it without maybe spoiling things to much.
Rick Howland: The whole season is really, really strong. I guess ‘Fae Day’ would have been a favorite episode.
I really adore as does Ksenia Solo (Kenzi). Together we really adore our scenes together. You don’t see it in the first four episodes of season one, but a relationship develops with Kenzi and Trick. It’s nice its a really lovely nice thing. The two of us really enjoy playing off of each other.
In fact we all really enjoy playing off each other. It’s like so exciting when you haven’t had a scene with someone in awhile and its like, ‘Oh Yeah.’ The Trick scenes with Dyson (Kris Holden-Ried) are often in Trick’s lair and they’re kind of revealing what’s happened and what’s going to happen and discussing things in an almost war room kind of way. Like a drink after the battle and I love those scenes for that man to man and brothers in arms feeling those scenes have.
Then there’s the scenes with Trick and Bo that are when she’s often learning about things and Trick is telling her information about this particular character and the lore. So I get to be a little professorial and also kind of big brother or parent in a way in terms of guiding her. So I’m being protective of her as well as Kenzi.
M&C: I read somewhere that you are a musician and play both harmonica and guitar. Do you think we’ll ever see this talent incorporated into Trick’s character?
Rick Howland: It’s hard to say. I mean I’ve been kind of gently pushing at that. I did a little bit of a push for it last year with producers Jay Firestone and Wanda Chaffey and Jay wasn’t completely against the idea, but I think that my song writing. There’s a couple of songs I have that would lend themselves to the show, but they’re not Celtic so much and the music that kind of centres around The Dalriata is relatively Celtic in style.
The Dalriata was actually some place in Ireland I think, but I don’t know. I would love to, but I don’t know. I haven’t been able to quite figure it out in my own head of how to actually pitch that. You know give them a whole visual image of the scene of how Trick picks up a guitar and plays a song. I’d love to do it and have certainly made them aware that I’m available.
I have two albums. They’re self recorded one of them in a studio and one of them in a living room that I once lived in. Both are up on iTunes so fans can go and check them out... and buy them.
But I’m hoping that something like that will come about, but it might have to wait until season three. So lets cross our fingers and toes and hope that’s going to happen.
M&C: Throughout the first season Trick has kind of been a fairly important player in things, but has managed to do that with very little screen time when compared to the three main cast members. Are we ever likely to see an episode where it is mostly Trick, and if so as an actor what kind of things would you like to learn about Trick if such an episode were on the cards.
Rick Howland: For me as the actor I would lurve that. I would love to have an entire episode about Trick.
I think there are episodes where Trick is needed more than in other episodes and you will see more as the show progresses through season one and through season two. You’ll see some episodes where there’s a fair bit more Trick.
In terms of if I got to... If they said okay Rick you write the Trick episode I would almost, and they probably wouldn’t do this because it would give away to much, but I would want to write the back story, the history. I’d almost want to do it as a feature film. Kind of like a Trick meets Braveheart kind of thing. In that world you know, but Trick wouldn’t necessarily be swashbuckling at the very front of the battle lines, but he’d in the background kind of making sure and monitoring things from a little bit of away.
But, yeah his history, his life. The journey that Trick has actually gone on is huge and incredibly important. So it would be fun to kind of explore all of that, but I’d also be happy with that coming out in bits and pieces as it goes along as well... It’s fun to keep some of the secrets back because you’ve got something more to go too.
At present work is underway on the second season of Lost Girl in Toronto, but the series has recently premiered on the UK Syfy channel and airs every Thursday night. The show will arrived in the USA sometime in January when Syfy will air it there.