Erin Way Talks About Joining ‘Alphas’

This Monday we see the introduction of a new cast member to SyFy’s Alphas. Erin Way plays Kat, a new character introduced in the episode called Alpha Dogs. ScifiPulse...

This Monday we see the introduction of a new cast member to SyFy’s Alphas. Erin Way plays Kat, a new character introduced in the episode called Alpha Dogs. ScifiPulse got a chance to speak with her during a conference call interview, where she told us more about her character and what it took to prepare for this type of role.

We learn Kat has a very interesting Alpha ability, but it comes with a price.

“[Kat’s] special ability is that she basically learn any skill instantly, so that includes knowledge and muscle memory. She can – it’s essentially kind of like she can just download it almost instantly,” explained Way. “And the only downside is that she has a bit of a memory problem. So after about a month or so she starts loosing memories of the past. So while she retains her memories she can’t remember how she learned them or who she knows or where she came from, which you know, is a little problematic.”

Often, actors on sci-fi shows aren’t actual fans of sci-fi, which is understandable because not everyone loves every genre. But not so with Way. Despite primarily playing characters on non-scifi/fantasy shows, like Private Practice and Detroit 1-8-7, she is actually a big fan of genre shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dollhouse, and Firefly.

“I’m a huge fan of sci-fi. Never been on a sci-fi show or movie before, so it was kind of a surreal experience. But I’m a huge… I mean you kind of name the sci-fi shows and I’m a huge sucker for them. So that was kind of awesome. I had to pinch myself on a couple of occasions that I was going to, you know, be a part of that genre finally. It was really cool,” said Way. “[Alphas is] a little bit like a crime drama like Detroit 1-8-7, but the world of sci-fi is so much bigger, and the possibilities of what can happen and what people are capable of is – because it’s sci-fi, it doesn’t have to be based in “reality.” So that to me is what’s so exciting is that the imagination and the scope of what can occur is huge. And because of that it really is an exciting genre to be in. And so you kind of look forward to getting that script and being like, ‘Okay, what else are they going to stumble upon this week? And you know, what is their ability going to be,’ because you know it’s probably going to be something that you’ve never even thought of.”

Introducing new characters to an ensemble cast is always tricky. Way explained that although the cast welcomed her with open arms, some of their characters needed more convincing.

“The Alphas as a whole can tend to be… a little on the serious side. And Kat just comes in and is – because of her ability or the downside of her ability, the way she’s chosen to survive with it is just to be very live in the moment, not get too heady about stuff because you know, she doesn’t – or she’s not burdened by anything really in the past because she forgets everything,” said Way. “So essentially, she just comes in and really kind of mixes it up… doesn’t really care about the rules, the protocol, how you’re supposed to behave, kind of makes fun of them for being so serious. And in a sense, because of that, kind of just ruffles everybody’s feathers a little bit, which I think just makes for not only some comic relief, but also you know, maybe helps some of the characters find a different perspective on their situation.”

Two of the characters have two very different reactions to Kat: Gary and Bill. Gary doesn’t care for her at first.

“[Gary] doesn’t like me at all. In fact, I think I rub him the wrong way the most out of anybody. And that’s you know, to be expected; Gary is somebody that relies upon routine and protocol and the rules, you know, he duplicates the rules very specifically and doesn’t really – he’s not comfortable and doesn’t enjoy people kind of like breaking those rules and breaking his routine and stable – his stable pieces of information. And so Kat is not somebody that’s going to be like – because somebody tells her, ‘Hey you know, so Gary likes his routine so try not to interrupt him or he doesn’t like it when you touch him or…’ if you tell her that… it’s just going to make her want to do it more. And so she’s constantly touching Gary, trying to hug Gary, just basically doing everything that he will tell her not to do. So it’s very upsetting to him, he doesn’t like it at all,” explained Way.

Although Gary has issues, which Way said she sees smoothing out over time, Kat is a character that Bill sort of takes under his wings.

“[Bill] is getting exhausted, he’s unable to stay amped up for a very long time without totally just wearing himself out. And it’s becoming a bit problematic for him. And so Kat… probably from training that she’s had in martial arts, and also just her experience, she’s able to kind of teach him how to kind of counteract that,” said Way. “So it’s interesting, and I think it’s really the key to what bonds the two of them as characters and why he takes such a shining to her because she spots it right away and is – and really just kind of takes him under her wing a little bit, which is a cool little – you wouldn’t necessarily expect that, seeing the two of them together. So yes, so it’s a cool little friendship that they develop over that.”

Way’s character’s power creates a unique challenge for the actress. With no martial art background she has to learn martial art moves quickly.

“I usually end up having to learn it within a few minutes of filming the scene, unless I know beforehand and then I can kind of do some research online. So it’s cool to just kind of have to be like, ‘And now you’re going to learn this knife trick,’ and then I’m like, ‘Okay.’ And then you just kind of have to learn it and try to do the best you can.” said Way whose background as a ballerina both helped and hindered her with kickboxing scenes. While her training helped her learn new moves quickly and provided her a strong foundation in coordination and flexibility, there was a downside…. “it was pretty much a retraining of my body, of like how to hold myself and not look like a sissy, because dancers don’t look like fighters. So I had to kind of retrain myself not to hold myself like a ballerina.”

Check out Erin Way’s first appearance as Kat this Monday at 10:00 pm Eastern on the Syfy Channel.

Marx is the author of the non-fiction book Television on the Wild Wild Web, co-host of the podcast GenreTainment, co-host of DC Action Hour on YouTube, and creator of web series/films. He has been a panelist at various conventions, including San Diego Comic-Con, Boston Comic Con, Gen Con, and Dragon Con. As a professor, he teaches script analysis & film production. Click over to to learn more about him.
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