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Arguably the most ass-kicking member of the crew of the good ship Raza is its self-designated leader: the level-headed, no-nonsense Portia Lin, aka Two, played by Melissa O'Neil. The way Melissa commands the screen would make you think she's a TV veteran … but, believe it or not, Dark Matter is her first-ever small-screen acting gig.
"I'd never auditioned for television before, but then I began booking television auditions and Dark Matter was only my third one," revealed Melissa in an interview with SciFiAndTvTalk. "I put together an audition tape for two different characters – Two and Four – and sent the tape off to the show's producers. I got a callback for Two and was flown to Toronto [where the series is filmed] to read in-person."
Believe it or not, Two (or the actress who portrays her, anyway) is actually quite the songbird, as Melissa O'Neil is the youngest and first female winner of Canadian Idol, which led to a platinum-selling single, a certified Gold album and a Juno nomination for Best New Artist.
Melissa has quite the impressive stage resume as well. Before Dark Matter, she was appearing on Broadway in Les Miserables and received the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Best Performance From a Female in a Leading Role (Musical) for her portrayal of Eponine. And Melissa believes stage gigs like Jesus Christ Superstar and Dirty Dancing made for the perfect prep for the leap to television.
"Theatre is a terrific environment to hone your storytelling skills as well as fine tune your performance, both of which I'm very grateful for and that I use in my prep process for this medium [of television]," said Melissa. "Also, when you have a live audience, they are the last member of the cast, if you will. You can rehearse a show as much as you want, but you have no idea how that night will turn out until your final company member is in the house, and that's the audience."
Check out the rest of the interview with Melissa O'Neil at SciFiAndTvTalk.