With the final season of the action/sci-fi series Continuum quickly approaching, we had the chance to speak to Ty Olsson, who makes his return to the show. Ty is no stranger to audiences from his many appearances as Benny on Supernatural, as well as a myriad of other film and television roles.
You appeared on Continuum as Marcellus in the episode Last Minute. Now you have joined the cast for the 4th and final season. Are you back as the same character and what can you tell us about your role?
I am back as the same character; I play one of the super soldiers who come back to alter the timeline and hopefully set the world straight. Marcellus is the leader of the future group who has been hired to come back and get things done.
Sadly this is a short and final season for Continuum – I know the cast and crew are a tight knit bunch so how did it feel along with Kyra Zagorsky, Michael Eklund and others being one of the newbies on the set?
It felt good, as I am a Vancouverite so I knew a lot of the crew from other shows as well as the cast. I have worked with Ryan Robbins on and off for years so it didn’t feel at all coming into that group as a newbie – I felt welcome and I think they were all happy – it’s very rare that a show gets to end its storyline on its own way and time and it’s a privilege that few actors get to do, so I think everyone was really stoked to be there and I absolutely felt welcome on the set.
You and Victor Webster are both big fans of MMA. In a physical role do you try and bring as much training as allowed to that part if possible?
It depends on the role and if it is appropriate for the character, just because not everybody is going to be using those moves. I did a role on Motive and the director used a phrase that has always stuck with me; ‘the economy of violence’. It was perfect for that character because he didn’t put his gun down and do flashy stuff – he walks in – nothing graceful or pretty but he demolishes everyone in his way with an economy of violence. Sometimes you don’t want to be fancy. Just ruthless and heartless…boom..done. I like those characters who don’t do any more than they have to but if it suits the character of the moment I like to bring in what I know. I just really feel the most dangerous characters are the ones who just get it done fast and now.
You are originally from Halifax and have played a wide variety of roles including an appearance on The X Files. Even with that were you surprised at how many movies and show are filmed in and around Vancouver?
Yeah when I came here I really didn’t know much about the industry at all. I had no idea about the theatre or film industry or how it was in Vancouver but I came in when it was getting very strong here, so yeah I was surprised quite a bit. My first show being The X Files, it was doing great in the ratings and they were spending a lot of money on it so I came in at a time with less budget restraints so I was shocked at how much of a destination it was for filmmakers and how much was being spent there.
Including yourself, there really seems to be a core group of Vancouver actors who are getting a ton of work in some great productions. Does that type of familiarity help on the set or is there a risk of it becoming too comfortable as far as being cast?
I suppose it could be both, especially if people have come up through the ranks over the years it could be considered ‘always there and available’. There was a time when any Canadian actor was considered a service actor and would do all the supporting roles and I think unfortunately sometimes that mentality still remains and we have to fight to get respected not just as the top in Vancouver but top of the industry wherever you shoot your show. That is just the reality now. We have talent and crews that are as good as anyone in the world.
You have had quite a bit of success with CW shows including Supernatural, iZombie, Arrow, The 100 etc. What have you done to get in the good graces with those people?
I have no idea brother but I wouldn’t mess it up (laughs). I dunno, I think the CW is a unique network because they do have loyalty so if they like what you do and think you would be good for another role, they already know you so you don’t have to jump through all the same hoops. I think if the producer or director says ‘this is my pick’, the network can say ‘ok, we know him’, and you get the job. I know they have been very generous with me and it’s appreciated.
Was Benny always going to be a recurring character?
No, he had a 4 episode arc originally. He is one of those characters that struck a chord with me and struck a chord with the fans and the storyline was one that worked and still leaves some stuff to possibly be explored.
Anything you would like to say to the fans of Continuum as the series comes to and end?
Just thanks so much for supporting and watching the show. The entire cast and crew and great people and they all know how much the fans love the show and their support is greatly appreciated.
Continuum’s final season begins on Sept 4 on Showcase in Canada and Sep 11 on SyFy in the US.
Follow Ty Olsson on Twitter https://twitter.com/tyolsson