Actress Erin Way joins the cast of Syfy’s Alphas for its second season as Kat, a mysterious, free-spirited young loner with a sly, cutting sense of humor whose special “Alpha” abilities allow her to pick up any skill at a glance.
For those not in the Syfy know, Alphas follows a clandestine group of ordinary people with superhuman mental and physical abilities. Led by preeminent neurologist and psychiatrist Dr. Lee Rosen (David Strathairn), the unlikely team takes on cases the CIA, FBI and Pentagon are unwilling or unable to solve going head-to-head with many of the criminal Alphas hiding among the normal population.
In the third episode of the second season called, “Alpha Dogs”, Erin Way’s Kat is introduced after a mysterious murder prompts Harken (Malik Yoba) and Hicks (Warren Christie) to explore an underground Alphas-style fight club.
Ahead of the August 6 episode of Alphas, The Deadbolt spent a few minutes with Erin Way to learn more about Kat, her special ability, and what it was like to get to know a character with memory issues.
THE DEADBOLT: How do you feel Kat’s abilities compliment the needs of the existing Alphas?
ERIN WAY: It sounds kind of simple but the Alphas as a whole, Rosen’s team, tend to be a little on the serious side. And Kat just comes in as [the opposite]. The downside of her ability, the way she’s chosen to survive with it, is to live in the moment and not get too heady about stuff.
She’s not burdened by anything in the past because she forgets everything. Essentially she just comes in and mixes it up. She doesn’t really care about the rules, the protocol, how you’re supposed to behave, and kind of makes fun of them for being so serious.
In a sense, because of that, she kind of ruffles everyone’s feathers a little bit. I think it makes for not only comic relief but also maybe help some of the characters find a different perspective on their situation.
In that sense, she compliments each of the team members in a different way, but it’s with that same type of irreverance that she approaches life.
THE DEADBOLT: How hard was it to really get to know a character who has memory issues and lives in the moment? Where did you begin to understand her as a person?
WAY: It’s tricky. I remember when I first met all of the writers, I was like, “Okay, how about we talk about this girl’s history, where she comes from, so I can get to know her?” And they were like, “Yeah, we don’t have that. Sorry! She’s basically a blank slate.” And so I was like, “Awesome! Thanks, guys.”
It’s really hard. In a way I’m glad they didn’t give me that because Kat doesn’t have that. So it’s not really fair for me to have that information.
THE DEADBOLT: In what ways did that give you a new challenge as an actress?
WAY: Basically, I had to build it on instinct. I had a very instant impression of who this girl was from the tone of the writing.
It just forced me to be like, “Okay, well, based on the tone of the writing, the voice of the writing, and the fact that she’s just taken things as they come, not worrying about the past or the future, how would that make a person behave?” From then on it’s really just about instinct and reacting to what’s going on in the moment.
With Kat, you’ve got to keep things simple because none of that other stuff comes into play. So that’s where I had to start. From then on, it was more about trusting myself in that I knew who this girl was. It was an interesting challenge because I’ve never had to do that before.
Alphas airs Monday nights at 10/9c on Syfy.