You think of her Kenzi, or Lil’ Mama. But prepare to know here as Peggy. And Shay. And Director.
Cinefilles got a chance to speak with Lost Girl star Ksenia Solo recently and it sounds like she’s got a lot on her plate as she prepares to leave Bo and Co. behind for good. Starting this Monday, she’ll become a series regular on Turn: Washington’s Spies. And starting this season, she’ll be a recurring character on Orphan Black. To get a little insight on each of these roles, plus what else (!!!) she’s got going next, check out our exclusive Q&A with Solo below!
On Turn, you’re playing Peggy Shippen, the wife of Benedict Arnold. How did you prepare differently for this role than you have other before, considering it is historically-based?
KSENIA SOLO: The preparation for this role was different in that I’m playing a real person. Playing someone that actually existed comes along with a certain responsibility versus when you create a character from the ground up. I had never done that before, so it was a new experience for me, but a very cool one because of all the research I had to do to make sure I was on point and familiar with that time period.
Was there anything that surprised you about Peggy in your research, either in terms of her life or her contribution to the Revolutionary War?
KS: Absolutely. I think she’s much more complicated than people think she is. What is interesting about her is that she was perceived one way when in actual fact, it was just a façade and she was actually very cunning, and educated, and politically savvy. No one really expected that from her; they just thought she was a very skilled, charming socialite. But she made a huge contribution to history and played a very pivotal role in turning Benedict Arnold, America’s famous traitor, over to the British side.
In a way, she is, like a lot of characters you’ve played, this strong-willed, outspoken woman, but just in a different time period.
KS: I guess you could say that! Yeah! [Laughs]
In the pictures I’ve seen of you playing Peggy, you’re wearing very extravagant period costumes. How essential do you think costuming is in getting into character? Even playing Kenzi on Lost Girl you had very specific costumes.
KS: I think a costume in your image of the character is really everything. I put on the dress, I put on my wig, I put on my accent, so to speak, and right away it helps me feel like I’m in that era. It just would not be possible without the complete look.
I imagine you’re wearing a wig on this show, yes?
KS: I am. Yes!
How heavy is it? It looks massive!
KS: Not as heavy as people think it is. That was one of my concerns, but it’s definitely not as bad as it looks.
How has being on Turn has affected you as an actress? Does it make you want to experiment with different dramatic genres?
KS: I’ve always wanted to experiment with different genres. I’m very passionate about playing different roles that scare me and challenge me, so I look forward to, hopefully, doing more in the future.
In terms of what it’s done to my career, at this point I can’t answer that. I mean, the show hasn’t premiered yet! But I’m excited for the fans to see it and I’m excited for my fans to see it because they only know me thus far as Kenzi from Lost Girl. I look forward to hopefully surprising them with this very different character.
How different is your character on Orphan Black this year? How do you feel fans will react to that departure for you?
KS: I don’t know how they will react, but I’m playing a character that I’ve never played before. I play a girl named Shay. She’s a holistic healer, she’s very Zen, and she befriends Cosima. Unfortunately, there’s not much more I can say, but I think the fans are so dedicated to the show and love it so much that I hope they take a liking to Shay!
Right now I’m getting some negative comments online because people are very worried that Shay is going to break up Cosima and Delphine. I know people are a little nervous about Shay stepping into the picture, but all I have to say is tune in and don’t assume anything. As with all the other characters and storylines on Orphan Black, you’re always left on the edge of your seat and you never really know who is who and what’s really going on.
How was working with Tatiana Maslany again? You worked together 10 years or so ago on Renegadepress.com, but now you’re in a completely different situation where she’s playing insane amounts of characters with so many layers.
KS: She’s an incredibly talented actor and a beautiful human being and I have nothing but love and adoration for her. So getting to play with her in her world, in clone club, was very fun. I’m very grateful that we’ve been able to reunite and she’s just an amazing acting partner.
Was this your first time interacting since Renegadepress.com, or had you kept up over the years?
KS: This is definitely our first time working together, but we’ve kept up on each other’s lives all these years and I’ve been a big fan of hers since I met her in Regina 10 years ago. I’ve been so happy for her and her career and everything that’s happening for her.
Let’s talk Lost Girl. I know everything is very secretive and we’ve still got an unknown amount of time to wait until we see the new episodes, but [showrunner] Michael Grassi has told me that Kenzi will be back for the second half. What do you want to say about Season 5B and what we can expect?
KS: I don’t think I can say much! [Laughs]
But I want the fans to get the second part of the season. I know they’re anxiously awaiting and I hope that they enjoy it, even though everyone is very sad that it has come to an end. I hope that it’s an ending that people are happy with and I’m very happy to say that Kenzi does in fact make an appearance in Part 2 of Season 5.
Now in a more general sense, what are you going to take away from Kenzi going forward? What do you think she’s taught you personally and professionally?
KS: It’s funny, right after we wrapped Lost Girl I talked to a few of the actors and we sort of realized that it’s hard to shake off these characters that we’ve played for six years now. I feel like Kenzi, whether I want her to or not, follows me wherever I go and I have always tried to learn from her. I think she’s incredibly brave and courageous and when all the other Faes relied on their powers to get them through a multitude of situations, all Kenzi could rely on was her bravery. It’s a very admirable quality and I think I will forever remember and try to adapt that into my own life.
I love that. Now is there anything else on the go for you aside from Turn, Orphan Black and, of course, Lost Girl, in the next year or so?
KS: I just recently had my directorial debut. I directed a music video for a very talented Canadian artist called Craig Stickland. He just finished his first U.S. tour with Kat Dahlia and I was really thrilled and honoured to work with him. So that’s something I’m really excited to share with everybody.
And right now I’m just trying to make the next right move. And hopefully make time for a vacation! [Laughs]
When is that music video coming out?
KS: It’s in post [production] right now. There’s no specific release date at the moment, but I will keep everybody posted.
Does this encourage you to try directing on a larger scale, either with a short film or an episode of a TV series?
KS: I would love to do that. That’s been something that’s been on my mind for quite a while actually. Hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to experience life behind the camera little more!
TURN: WASHINGTON’S SPIES returns Monday, April 13 at 9 p.m. ET on AMC. ORPHAN BLACK returns Saturday, April 18 at 9 p.m. ET on Space (in Canada) and BBC America. LOST GIRL does not have a return date yet.