A CORK actor has landed a plum role in a US science fiction tv series.
Claire Loy, from Carrigaline, is set to feature in The Outpost, which airs on the Syfy channel next month. The programme, produced by Dean Devlin, of the Independence Day and Godzilla movies, has been well-received by American audiences, sparking hopes of a second series.
It tells the story of Talon, the last surviving member of a race known as the blackbloods, whose village has been destroyed by brutal missionaries.
Claire, who plays the main character’s mother, initially rose to fame playing an alcoholic on the hit BBC show, Casualty. However, she explained why this latest role is particularly close to her heart.
“Growing up, I was obsessed with sic-fi,” she said.
“I can remember writing to the FBI, during secondary school, when I was really into the X-Files. I wanted some information on UFOs for a presentation I was doing for English. Not long after that, I heard my name being called out on the school intercom. There was a parcel for me at reception, which turned out to be an information pack about UFOs sent by the FBI.
“Looking back, it didn’t seem like a big deal. You almost expect these kind of things to happen, when you’re young. My one big regret is that I didn’t hold on to what they sent me, as a keepsake.”
The actor faced a number of challenges in preparing for the role.
“When I got the script, it was in the ‘blackblood’ language, which took a bit of getting used to. It turns out that my character speaks English to her daughter, but when tempers flare, she reverts back to her native blackblood.”
Claire’s dream would be to secure a role on Dr Who.
“I even have a Dr Who tattoo,” she laughed.
“The funny thing is, the studio where Casualty is shot was right next door to the Dr Who studio. The canteen there is really surreal, as you might see someone in full costume and prosthetics just tucking into an egg and onion sandwich. Unfortunately, the days I spent shooting there were the one time the Dr Who cast were shooting abroad. I can remember being so disappointed at the time. My biggest dream is to one day have a role on Dr Who.”
Claire has also been lauded for her comedic flair, which lent itself well to a Bord Gais ad she starred in last Christmas.
“I hear it’s being featured in a compilation of funny ads taken from across the world. In the ad, my character talks about how she swapped one of her great-aunt’s Christmas presents for a foot spa.
“It’s made for some funny moments. Even when I was going to Tenerife on holidays, one of the airport security guys stopped me and said: ‘I can’t believe you changed it for a foot spa!’
Claire said that opportunities for female actors in science fiction programmes are growing. “You don’t have to be a spring chicken anymore. I did acting as a teenager, but only started retraining when I was 31. There are quite a few opportunities for women in their late thirties now. However, parts for women over 50 are still very rare, so there is a lot of work to be done.”
The Outpost will air on the SyFy channel on Monday, August 13.