On the drama series Lost Girl, airing Mondays on Syfy, actress Ksenia Solo plays Kenzi, a con artist and thief, who is extremely street-smart and resourceful. She is the only true confidante of Bo (Anna Silk), a Succubus that feeds off the sexual energy of humans, and her wide array of contacts makes her very useful. Regardless of the darkness in her past, Kenzi’s focus is now on protecting Bo from a world that will never understand her as well as she does.
During this recent exclusive phone interview with Collider, Ksenia Solo talked about what attracted her to this role and series, that she’s always loved fantasy and sci-fi, the cool wardrobe and looks she has as Kenzi, getting to work little bits of herself into the role (like getting to speak Russian and play the drums), how tight the whole cast has gotten, and promises that you can always expect the unexpected with this show. She also talked about how much she enjoys personally interacting with fans, her thoughts on social media, her shock and disappointment that Locke & Key (in which she played the role of Dodge) never got picked up to series, how proud she is of her involvement with Black Swan, and how amazing the Life Unexpected fans still are (even though the show was canceled awhile ago). Check out what she had to say after the jump.
Ksenia Solo: I think when we all did the pilot, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. What we did know was that this was obviously touching upon a subject that nobody else had touched upon. Everything is about vampires and werewolves, and it’s always the same formula. I think this show is so cool because it has so many different elements. All the best elements of television are put into this one show. To me, it’s very NCIS meets True Blood with a little taste of Secret Diary of a Call Girl. That really attracted me. And for most of my career, I had always played very dramatic roles, so the fact that Kenzi was the comic relief of this show was just really attractive to me because I’d always wanted to do comedy.
Are you typically a fan of sci-fi and genre stories, or was it the other elements of the story that most appealed to you?
Solo: I’ve always loved fantasy. I’ve always loved sci-fi. It’s not like I can list off my favorite sci-fi shows or movies, but I just love being taken into a different world. I’m a huge fan of Steven Spielberg. I’m a huge fan of George Lucas. I’ve always loved it. For an actor, it’s really fun to be able to be on this show, where you’re surrounded by different creatures, and we get to do all these effects and fight scenes. All of that was definitely part of the attraction.
At what point did you get to bring your Russian heritage to the character?
Solo: I was born in Eastern Europe, in Latvia, and I’m fluent in Russian. I think the people that created this show thought it was really cool that I was fluent in this other language. It definitely was incorporated, once I was cast. I get to show my language skills, every now and again. It’s funny because I’m so used to acting in English that any time I have these moments where I have to speak Russian, it definitely takes a different part of my brain to pull it off, but it’s always nice and fun.
Does it feel like you’re playing different characters because you get to go through so many different wigs and looks and changes to your appearance?
Solo: Yeah. Kenzi is such a chameleon and she’s always in disguise. It depends on the case, but she always looks like a completely different person, and sometimes acts like a completely different person. For me, in my life and in my career, I really love to play different roles. I never want to play the same role twice. In a way, that’s definitely incorporated in Kenzi, and how she’s just got so many different sides to her. It’s really an actor’s dream to be able to go to work and play. It’s not often, especially in television, that you get to really play. There aren’t boundaries, like there are with other roles. That’s definitely something I love about her.
Solo: To be honest with you, I’ve gone through so many different looks, on a daily and weekly basis, that it’s all just one big blur. It’s always fun to have pink hair and purple hair, and crazy hairstyles and clothes. I think my favorite is one of my simpler looks, which we used more in Season 2, where I have a lot of green in my hair. I don’t think I’m cool enough to pull it off, in real life, so I’ll just live vicariously through all Kenzi’s different looks.
The relationship between Bo and Kenzi is such an interesting part of this show. What was it like to develop that relationship and dynamic between your characters, and how has it been to work with Anna Silk?
Solo: The Bo-Kenzi relationship is really unique. I think every person – me, definitely – wishes that they could have a friendship like this. These are two girls that are bonded together for life. It even goes beyond a sisterhood bond that they have. They both are willing to die for each other, at a moment’s notice, without ever thinking about it. Kenzi, especially, because the way that Bo and Kenzi meet is under a very strange set of circumstances. Kenzi is forever grateful to Bo for saving her life. The fact that these girls would die for each other is just really, truly special.
And, working with Anna [Silk] is a dream. She not only is an extremely talented actress, but she is the sweetest and one of the funniest people I have ever met. We have a great time. We’re gearing up for Season 3 soon, and as the show progresses, our bond progresses as people, and as Bo and Kenzi. We’ve gotten to the point where we just feel like family. Like Anna says, you feel each other’s rhythms, so we already know what the other person is going to say, before they even say it. It’s definitely a dream, especially when you have to spend so many hours with someone. If you guys don’t have that acting chemistry, or that chemistry as people, it makes your job really hard. I definitely feel lucky that it’s her. She always makes it fun. It’s like a marriage. She’s like my husband or wife, in a way.
Kenzi has some great moments with everyone on the show. Did the relationship between you guys, as an ensemble, really click right away?
Solo: Yeah. Our excitement for the show really brought us together, right away, especially me, Anna [Silk] and Kris [Holden-Ried]. We just really bonded, right off the bat. It just felt like instant family. We all meshed like a perfect puzzle piece, if I can say it so poetically. We’ve spent so much time together. When you work together so much, you really develop this bond. Gearing up for Season 3, we all can feel each other. We can feel each other’s styles and rhythms. It gets easier, as you go. We all just come in and get to have a great time with these people that we really, really love.
Solo: Yes, of course. I had an episode this year where I had to play the drums because Kenzi is actually a kick-ass drum player. That was really cool. I really enjoy the physical aspects of it. I come from a dance background. I recently filmed a sword fighting scene with Anna. All those creative things always make me excited to go to work. I’ve had the great pleasure of working with Aaron Ashmore this year, who played Kenzi’s love interest. That was definitely a very cool side of Kenzi to explore. She’s always this bad-ass chick who doesn’t need a man. She’d rather have a sexy pair of boots. She’s so brave, and focused on Bo and their life. It was just really cool to play the vulnerable side of her, that’s the side of somebody when you’re in love. That’s a whole different world to put her in. Between all the accents she has to do and all of the crazy disguises, there’s just so many cool things about her.
Did they have to make sure that you could play the drums, before they wrote that in?
Solo: Yeah. I do have a little bit of a background in playing. I definitely had to sharpen up my drum playing skills, but they were aware that I have some background in it.
What can viewers expect from the series and the evolution of your character, in this first season?
Solo: My favorite thing to say is that you can expect the unexpected. With our show, you just never know where it’s going to go. But, in Season 1, you see all the relationships develop, which I think is so important because, at the core of any sci-fi/fantasy story, where you have all these cool creatures and this world that takes you outside of reality, are these really beautiful, complex human relationships. Season 1 definitely explores that.
Solo: Of course! When we did the pilot, and even filming Season 1, we had no idea how it would be received. Coming up to the air date, we just didn’t know how people were going to react to it. But, the fan response has been so wild. We went to the Canadian Comic-Con and the amount of people who came and wanted to talk to us and tell us how much they love the show and what dedicated fans they are, and who had waited in line for hours and hours, was just so amazing. And, it’s people from all walks of life. It’s targeted to this very wide audience. It’s makes us feel good because we feel like we’re entertaining people and that’s what Lost Girl is all about.
How do you feel about social media and things like Twitter, in relation to communicating more directly with your fans? Do you prefer the personal interaction at conventions?
Solo: I definitely feel like that’s where the future is headed. I feel like we’re already there. All the communication is now done through the internet. To be honest with you, I’m not a big fan of that kind of stuff – of Twitter and Facebook. I just feel like I’m a very private person and I do enjoy personal interaction. It is nice to be able to go to these events and be able to talk with the fans, in person. I don’t know if it’s ‘cause I’m just old-fashioned, but I’d rather a face-to-face conversation. A lot of the cast is on Twitter all the time, and they really do a fantastic job of keeping the fans informed and speak with them on a daily and weekly basis. I understand the power of the internet, but I can’t say that I’m there. I’m old-fashioned and living in a different century. I don’t know. I just don’t really understand the craze of it.
What do you look for, when you’re looking for roles and projects that you want to get involved with?
Solo: I think the most important thing for me is a challenge. I’m not happy, creatively, unless I’m faced with a challenge. So, overcoming those challenges and really discovering characters that aren’t like me helps me grow, as a person and as an artist. I think that’s the main thing. If I read something and go, “Oh, my god, how am I ever going to do this? This scares me,” then I know that I should probably do it.
Solo: You know, I was pretty heartbroken. I am a huge fan of the comic books. I think they are absolutely amazing. They’re so complex and so beautiful, and so unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Working with these amazing people, like Steven Spielberg and Josh Friedman and Mark Romanek, and the cast and whole team, it was a really spectacular experience. I don’t know exactly why it didn’t get picked up. I can make my speculations, just from what I know. But, I think it would have been an amazing series, and I think it could have been an amazing feature film. I was sad it wasn’t made as a film.
It just holds a very, very special place in my heart. With that role and the whole experience, I’m pretty upset about it. But, it’s amazing that a pilot got shown at the San Diego Comic-Con and the New York Comic-Con. I’ve never heard of that happening. All of us in the cast always have this glimmer of hope that maybe something will happen, one day. It was a really special project, and I’m just glad that everyone involved made the Comic-Con screenings happen. For the fans, it was just such a great thing to do, and I’m so glad that so many people saw it and got to enjoy it, and it wasn’t just locked away in whatever closet all the pilots that don’t get picked up are locked away in.
We were all really shocked. We thought it had a really great chance. Just from what I heard in the industry, it was truly one of the best pilots that people had ever seen, and that’s a big thanks to the writers and our amazing director. It’s very upsetting. I’ve seen the pilot about 80 times now because I enjoy watching it. The memories of making it are so great, and I love showing it to my friends. Everyone goes, “Oh, my god, we want do know what happens next! This is the only episode?! Oh, my god!” It really looks like a movie. That was the very cool thing about it.
What character did you play, in the pilot?
Solo: I played Dodge, this girl who’s actually not a girl. She lives in a well because she’s been cursed and can’t get out of there. The Locke family, who moves back to the Key House, has this young boy and Dodge lures him into the well and manipulates him, and he brings her what she needs to get out of the well. And, it turns out that Dodge is responsible for all the sorrow and pain and tragedy and death that the Locke family had to go through. It’s interesting that this rather innocent-looking girl is the master puppeteering everything and manipulating everything to go her way. She’s very ghostly. The comic books are so complex. I wish I could better explain it, but there are so many elements that it would take me 17,000 to tell you. But, in a very brief nutshell, that’s what it is.
Solo: Black Swan was absolutely unbelievable. I had always dreamed of working with Darren Aronofsky, and Natalie Portman, Winona Ryder, Barbara Hershey, Mila Kunis and Vincent Cassel. The entire cast was really a dream cast, and it was amazing to work with these powerhouse women that I’ve just admired for so many years. I’m so thrilled and proud that Natalie won the Oscar. I believe she deserved it, completely. The heart and soul she put into that role, and the amount of work, was just amazing. It was amazing to be able to witness it, from the beginning, and to witness how Darren works. I think he’s very much the American Fellini because he takes such risks and he makes movies that are so different from anyone else and he has a very unique vision.
It was just amazing to be a part of that, and to be able to dance because I have a ballet background. It’s hard for me to summarize it because it was just such a dream to be able to be a part of that project. I feel like it’s a really raw look into that world. Anyone else would have made a cheesy ballet film, which we’ve seen many of. The fact that this one mixes fantasy with reality, and it’s so gritty and really gets under your skin, it’s so masterfully done and it’s one of a kind. I’m not looking forward to being 80, but when I’m 80, I can look back at this and go, “Oh, my god, I was a part of that movie.” That’s just something that I’m always going to be really proud of.
Are you surprised with the dedicated fan following that Life Unexpected got?
Solo: It’s really crazy. Even now, the show has been canceled for awhile, but I have people coming up to me all the time, saying what big fans they were. In a way, I’m not surprised. The writing, the directing and the actors were so fantastic. I always felt like it was a throwback to how The WB channel used to be, back in the day of Dawson’s Creek and all those shows that I loved so much. They really don’t make TV like that, anymore. I think it was filled with a lot of love. For the show that it was, it was amazing. With the cast, we all talk and see each other. We really miss those characters. I’m not surprised that people loved it so much because we don’t have enough love in this world. It was definitely a feel-good show.
Is there a type of role or a particular genre that you’d love to do, but haven’t had the chance to do yet?
Solo: Oh, my god, there’s so many! I really love action. I really love doing my own stunts. I would love to do more of that. I’ve done a lot of TV, but my heart is really in film. I really look forward to the film possibilities. I would love to dance in a movie again. I love all those creative aspects, like playing an instrument or dancing. I look forward to all that stuff, in future roles.
Lost Girl airs Monday nights on Syfy.