Exclusive Interview with Rick Howland of Lost Girl
Interview by Jamie Ruby
Written by Jamie RubyLost Girl
, which was recently acquired by Syfy, will be airing the season one finale next week, followed shortly by the season two premiere.
The series follows the character of Bo (Anna Silk), who discovers that she is not human, but Fae, a succubus to be exact. She must learn to control her powers while sidestepping the boundaries of the Light and Dark Fae by refusing to choose sides. She is joined by Dyson (Kris Holden-Ried), a detective, who is also Light Fae and happens to be a shifter, and her doctor, Lauren (Zoie Palmer), a human. The three of them form an interesting love triangle of sorts. Bo also gets help from her best friend Kenzie (Ksenia Solo), as well as the bartender Fitzpatrick "Trick" McCorrigan, played by Rick Howland, who is not only a Light Fae, but also quite powerful and mysterious.
Rick Howland recently talked to Jamie Ruby in an exclusive interview for SciFi Vision about his role on Lost Girl
Howland did not expect to become an actor growing up. "To be honest, I needed an art credit in high school to graduate. I'd gone through grades 9, 10, and 11 without taking any art credits. And I always wanted to be able to draw and paint, but I just wasn't very good at it. And when it came to my attention that I needed some art credits to graduate, a friend of mine, who was actually into sports and stuff said, "You should take acting, it's a bird course. You run around pretending to be a cloud and then you get a mark for it." And I thought, "Well, OK, I can do that."
"So I took drama in high school and the very first class I took, the teacher did an exercise of closing your eyes and imagining a street and you throw a ball out the window. And so we all did it, and she then made an example of me. She asked everyone to kind of have me do it again and everyone else watch.
"From that moment on it sort of stuck. I realized "Geez, maybe I'm good at this." And I liked it, I liked the fact that – you know I'm small, short, my body is slightly different due to a disability, and so I've grown up with a lot of points and stares throughout my life. And that moment, not only did it teach me about acting but that moment also made me realize that I could have people look at me in a positive way and with respect rather than curiosity. And that kind of set the stage, as it were."
The actor loves working on the show. He first got the role after auditioning. "I did the usual audition process that most actors go through, especially when you're not kind of super well-known, and I auditioned for the part opposite a bunch of other people, and I was very fortunate to get the part. I mean, at the end of the process they said, "You're the guy; you're the choice, you're Trick."
"...I won the part, and as they say, it's all been history, because it's literally the best set I think I've ever worked on."
Howland related to Trick at the very beginning when he first auditioned. "When I read the breakdown for Trick, it was kind of like, "Ooh, I can do this. I connect to this guy for whatever reason." I really looked forward to playing that kind of, you don't really know if he knows everything, or is he just kind of figuring it out along the way. And there's this whole kind of mysterious - he's got a lot of information, he's holding his cards pretty close, and the idea of playing that stuff, it's so much fun as an actor, because there's so much subtext that you can kind of play with inside yourself, without having to say anything, and the audience doesn't even need to know exactly what you're thinking, but just that you are thinking something and it's either foreboding or good or scary or whatever.
"...When I was reading the breakdown it was kind of like, "OK, I kind of know this guy." You know when you're in a situation where it's not your situation but somebody else is having a hard time with something and you're looking at it from the outside and they're coming to you with an issue or a problem with their lives. And they're kind of like, "I don't understand why this is happening, blah, blah, blah." And because you have the outside perspective you can give them probably better advice than somebody else who's involved in the situation as well...It's that kind of thing that I've accessed to help facilitate it.
"People have called me an old soul, I don't know if that's really true or not, but I certainly grab onto that or grabbed onto that when I read the breakdown for Trick and kind of went like "OK, I'll find my personal old soul-ness." And try to exemplify that as much as I possibly can."
Howland embodies some of Trick's personality traits. "What's more like Trick is how much he has concern for others and for the people that he feels are important around him. I think I'm very much like that. I'm quite loyal to the people who are loyal to me. I like to think that I'm a good person, and I'd be light Fae probably, not dark Fae, in the real world, or in that world."
The actor jokes that he is different from Trick in that, "I'm not actually around 2,000 years old; I'm not quite as old as Trick. And then not actually being Fae, I suppose."
Howland learned early on that the Fae characters on the show already exist in lore. "One of the great things about the show is that from the beginning the writers and the producers were very clear on making sure that the things that they were writing about, the Fae characters that they were creating, are out of some other lore that already exists. So you can pretty much search any of those characters and you can find a visual reference and some sort of text written on them, usually Wikipedia or somewhere out there in Google.
"I certainly do that, and I try to get the writers to tell me as much as they can about what I'm about to be taking about, as well as what is their plan in terms of our characters' development and our interactions with each other's character. They generally just give us enough to facilitate what we're going to be doing and try not to give us too much extra information."
The showrunners are open to some bits of character collaboration, but the actors generally stick fairly close to the script. "What's written as the dialogue is quite important that we actually get that out. You can change the odd middle word here and there, but it's really important that the meaning comes through. And more importantly, it's hard to improvise a lot of the Fae stuff. It has to be very specific because what I'm telling Bo what this thing does, it does it four scenes later. So it's not like I can change that, because that scene might have already been shot. So it has to be very specific to what is written. And so I have to follow those things.
"But for my own ability or back story, early on there was stuff that I made up for my own self to be able to play a little more mystery or whatever. And then when I'd get a chance I would talk to the writers and they would either say "That's exactly what we're thinking" or "No, not at all, but that works, so that's great."
"But in terms of the actual scripts, we've got to stick pretty close to it. They are open to our suggestions and as each season begins they want to hear what we're thinking about our characters and they want to hear where we think our characters might be going. They certainly listen to us and then they write like crazy."
Part of the script is what Howland finds the most challenging – the "Fae-speak." "The characters and the descriptions and things like that [are challenging]. It's great to have actual references and often the props people make, like there's images or a book that I'm referencing, and they'll often have the image of that character and some of the text that I say written. Not the actual text that I say but text that would be written in book form that it would make sense that I'd read this and turn to them and say, "Well this is what it does."
"That stuff can be quite difficult at times especially if it gets technical. I admire Zoie for being able to pull out a lot of her doctor speak that she has to do, that's pretty difficult stuff to get your mouth around."
Fans have recently learned more about Trick, even if the new information posed new questions. There is more to come. "There's more and more that you're going to learn about how Trick is connected to the situation that's kind of bubbling up and he's always an advisor and a mentor to Bo and you'll see more and more of that as we continue on in season one especially."
The actor couldn't reveal much about what's coming up, or if Trick knows about where Bo came from. "There are some things I think that Trick does know, and then there's other things that he has suspicions of and he's not quite sure yet, so he keeps his cards kind of close to his chest just so he doesn't say something that's not true. And so there's a bit of both there...
"[Bo] certainly finds things out, she learns more and more. I mean that's the whole thrust of the show is about her finding her way in this new world that she's discovered that she's a part of that she didn't know. And we, all the rest of the cast and the characters in the show facilitate a lot of that...
"Stuff's going to happen so that you get to see kind of how he works a bit more, and it kind of shoots us into season two."
The actor loves playing the mystery of his character. "That's the best thing about him, that you get to play all that wonder and subtext of "what is he thinking? What's going to happen, what does he know?" "
Howland would love to see more back story on Trick. "I would really love to see them go farther back into his life and there's a lot of history with Trick, some of it gets explored throughout the episodes, and I'm sure they'll be even more of it coming as we continue forward. But I'd like to go back in time with Trick."
The cast of Lost Girl
get along really well on and off set. "There's such a great group of people that we have. The cast is phenomenal, our crew is amazing, and we've all been together now for two full seasons and we'll have season three to do as well. And I'm just looking forwnow for season three."
One of Howland's favorite scenes with Anna Silk happened early on in the series. "One of my favorite scenes with Anna was actually, the one that [those in the US] have seen anyway, when I first meet her and sign her into the bar and I get her to sign that book. We have that scene, I ask what her parents last name is and stuff like that, and I realize to what depth she doesn't know about the Fae world, and it's that kind of instant connection.
"That's the thing, from the actor's perspective, we all connected immediately and really well in terms of our own personal connections to each other, and it makes it a lot more fun and easy to be able to then act with each other and connect as the characters."
Howland also loves working with Ksenia Solo. "I loved doing that scene (in "The Mourning After," episode 1.10) with the bird lady that only Kenzie can see, only female humans can see, we had a lot of fun playing that scene, when she gets the egg for me."
According to Howland, there are some more great Trick/Kenzie scenes coming up in season two. "You get to see there're a few more opportunities for us to do stuff together and it's great. The fans that have seen those episodes already, I mean, they comment to us on Twitter constantly, and people really love the Kenzie and Trick scenes. And I can guarantee you that Ksenia and I love doing our scenes together; we just love working together. We want to do more whenever get a chance; we're always upset that is done so quickly, that it's over so fast, because we just have such a great time."
Kris Holden-Ried is another actor that Howland enjoys working on scenes with. "We have these great scenes in season one, and a little less in season two, like just the ones where we get to kind of check in with each other, you know, and kind of tease each other a little bit, and then confide in each other. And it's really that kind of soldier in arms kind of thing, you know, and they're great scenes; they're just so much fun to do together."
Another scene Howland enjoyed filming was in last week's episode, "Faetal Justice." "I get to point a gun at the Morrigan. I liked playing that moment. You know, Trick doesn't really get into a lot of the fight scenes, which is good, because I'm not necessarily interested in getting squashed by really a big dude, I'd like to be able to come back the next week to shoot the next episode and not get squashed, but it's quite a lot of fun to get to hoist a gun and be threatening and powerful and stuff too."
Howland loves working on Lost Girl
, but he would love to play a completely different character in the future. "Trick is like the role that you kind of wish for when you're a young guy growing up, and I feel so fortunate to actually have gotten that wish, but I'd like to play something completely opposite to him. A little more unhinged...
"Some of the other actors have said, "You come into a scene and you're so still and calm," which is funny, because on the inside the actor's rarely fully still and calm; you're kind of vibrating. And it would be nice to play something right now that offsets Trick in that way, big and full of energy and expressive and unhinged and kind of quirky and messed up, not so certain and decisive."
There are quite a few people Howland would like to work with in the future. "I'd love to work with Anthony Hopkins. I'd like to play his son or something. And even with Danny DeVito, I wouldn't mind playing his son or younger brother...There're so many actors I'd love to work with."
Howland has directed in the past and would love to do so again, as well as write. "I've directed a short film and I've written little things here and there over the years. I haven't gone the path that the writers have gone, in terms of their careers. But I would love an opportunity to do that, I keep trying and work at that and getting a possible chance to write something."
Other than working in the television industry, Howland also writes and performs his own music. "People are slowly finding out that I play guitar and sing songs. I've been writing songs since I was about seventeen and I have a couple of albums on iTunes. They're just my own recordings; they're not anything full-out rock band.
"I think I had, as a lot of actors do, actually, when you're a little kid you start out with a rock star dream, and it kind of turns into the actor thing. It's about being artistic and creative in some facet of your life, you know? And I think there's something about [it], something for me, anyway...It's about experiencing and playing outside of myself. The roles that you get to do and things you get to say that you wouldn't normally have to do or say in your whole life. And it's kind of exciting to be able to do that."
You can catch Rick Howland as trick on Lost Girl
, which airs Mondays on Syfy.