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Actor Dewshane Williams talks hit show 'Defiance'

As a child, Dewshane Williams would sit and watch television, immersing himself in movies. He studied the actors as more than just the characters they were portraying, but how they were portraying them. Even from a young age, he knew he was meant to be an actor. He was half raised by film, and was always passionate about it. This passion is evident even now in each and every project Williams takes on, and why he is sought-after all over the world.

Having starred in dramas like The Story of Luke and Home Again, Williams ability to connect with audiences on an emotional level is tremendous. However, he is multi-talented, and takes on roles in many genres. In the gripping drama Dogpound, Williams captured the realities of juvenile delinquents in correctional facilities, and now he is known for his leading role in the hit Syfy series The Expanse.

Despite such success, the highlight of Williams’ esteemed career came from his role in the science fiction show Defiance. The show took place in the year 2046, where it’s new Earth - with new rules. Over thirty years after various alien races arrived on Earth, the landscape is completely altered, terraformed nearly beyond recognition. To the town of Defiance, on what used to be St. Louis, comes the mysterious Nolan (Grant Bowler) and his charge, Irisa (Stephanie Leonidas). As they settle into town - overseen by the mayor, Amanda Rosewater (Julie Benz) and filled with residents like the powerful Rafe McCawley (Graham Greene), enterprising lounge owner Kenya (Mia Kirshner) and the ambitious, alien Tarrs (Tony Curran and Jaime Murray) - events begin to unfold that threaten the fragile peace this border town has fought for.

“We had hundreds of people working in both California, and Canada in order to bring something really special to viewers. That’s a highlight. We were shooting a TV Show and making a video game at the same time. The caliber of talent was so high, and it forced me to show up to work every day at my best,” said Willliams.

In the show, aliens known collectively as Votans have come to Earth seeking a new home after their solar system was destroyed. However, when they reached Earth, they discovered despite a prolonged negotiation with the government on Earth, they were not welcome. Rather than turn away, they began a war with the humans as they are determined to make Earth their new home. After the bloodshed, a group comprised of both humans and aliens settle down in St. Louis and rename the Town “Defiance.” Williams played Tommy Lasalle, a Deputy Lawkeeper in the Town of Defiance. He was an obedient, kind hearted young man who always wanted to do the right thing. He was patient and understanding, and he had a sense of humor that Williams related to. Tommy ultimately sacrificed himself in order to save Earth from being destroyed by his alien partner, the main Protagonist in the show. Their relationship was an important dynamic on the show, and Williams’ role was vital.

“Dewshane is a very skilled actor and he became an integral part of our series. His work ethic is second to none, and it's always a pleasure watching him perform on set. The most rewarding thing was getting to experience his development as an actor; he grew incredibly over the Seasons. His commitment, curiosity, and passion are what makes him a good actor. These are just some of the characteristics he displays that make him a fantastic filmmaker. He's a focused young talent that definitely has a bright future ahead of him,” said Kevin Murphy, Executive Producer and Writer of Defiance.

Williams auditioned for the part of Tommy, competing against actors from all over the world. He was eager to be a part of the show after reading the script. This passion for the show was evident in the audition, and led to him getting the role. He kept saying to himself that he was meant to be a part of the show, and this belief became reality.

Once receiving the role, Williams spent a lot of time studying policemen, having never played a role in law enforcement before. He also made sure to be trained in firearms. Not only did he want to use the props convincingly, he had never worked with firearms and wanted to be safe. He made sure to always talk to the producers and writers about where his character was headed in future episodes to better prepare for certain nuances in the scenes he was working on.

During his two years on the show, Williams feels he truly grew as an actor. He loved the challenge of showing up on set everyday knowing that he had to deliver at the highest level, something he does with every project he embarks on. He also was committed to telling the story the best he could.

“The story is important because it demonstrates that despite our differences, we’re all human. There may be a time when we will need to put aside our differences and work together for the greater good. That’s an important message,” he said.

Defiance was nominated for an Emmy in 2013. There was also a tie-in video game of the same name released just before the show premiered. In Williams’ words, “it was epic.

First image: Dewshane Williams as Tommy LaSalle in Syfy's "Defiance".

Second image: Left to Right; Graham Greene, Jaimie Murray, Julie Benz, Grant Bowler, Dewshane Williams, Stephanie Leonidas, and Jesse Rath of "Defiance" pose for Fans at The Fan Expo Canada.

Third image: Tommy LaSalle (Dewshane Williams) protects Irisa (Stephanie Leonidas) and Nolan (Grant Bowler) from a fugitive in "Defiance".

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