‘Defiance’ Actress Anna Hopkins Interview On Joining The Hit Sci-Fi Show & Her Hollywood Career


Canadian actress Anna Hopkins made a splash on the big screen as Paul Giamatti’s daughter in the hit Barney’s Version. Now you may recognize her as Jessica “Berlin” Rainer in the sci-fi hit Defiance that returns with season two on June 19. She also has two films coming out later this year After The Ball with Chris Noth and her first French-speaking role in Les Maîtres du Suspense. Real Style recently interviewed the talented actress all about her Defiance role, her dance background and her upcoming films. See what she had to say.

Real Style: How does your role in Defiance differ from past roles?

Anna Hopkins: “Berlin” is an extremely different kind of role than anything I’ve ever done in the past. I’d attribute that mainly to how military she is. She grew up being  a soldier, and so she is a trained fighter as well. These characteristics were certainly new to me when I started, but an absolute thrill to tackle.

Real Style: How would you describe your character, Jessica “Berlin” Rainer?

Anna: Berlin is a hard-ass, with a heart of gold. She believes passionately in the cause of the Earth Republic to bring peace and order to Defiance, and this desire for order comes from a very personal place. As a young girl she watched her family die at the hands of war, and ever since then she blindly followed the Earth Republic on their mission for peace, yet as the season unfolds, her perception of who she works for and what is right and wrong begins to be challenged.

Real Style:  What was the most difficult part of filming Defiance?

Anna: I’d say shooting the outdoor scenes in the winter. It can get quite cold in Toronto in the winter, but we couldn’t necessarily show this change in temperature in the show, and therefore couldn’t change our wardrobe a whole lot. There were a lot of numb extremities and dancing to try and keep warm.

Real Style:  Do you and your character have anything in common or is she opposite you?

Anna: Berlin can avoid showing emotion quite a bit, I can definitely relate to closing off when feeling vulnerable. I think a lot of us do so as a survival tactic.

The Frozen

Real Style:  How did you transition from hip-hop dancing to acting?

Anna: There came a point with hip hop dancing where it was either train 5 or 6 times a week  to move into the next phase of what I guess could have been a dancing career.  Around that time I was just getting into theatre in high school, and I found my interest shifting. I was used to the intense training and performance aspect of dance, so the switch over into acting was somewhat smooth.

Real Style:  Were there diverse challenges when starring in a French film (Les Maîtres du Suspense) as opposed to an English-speaking film?

Anna: French is my second language, so I definitely had to prep quite a bit in order to feel free with the language in a scene, especially if improvisation was required. Aside from that, it was an absolute blast to shoot. I’ve got to say one of the biggest challenges for me was trying not to laugh during some of the takes. The three main actors, Michel Coté, Antoine Bertrand and Robin Aubert are these giant Quebec stars, and straight up comedic geniuses. Often times when it was my turn for a close up, they would stand right in my eye line and make it their mission to make me laugh. It would destroy me.

Real Style:   What type of role would you like to see yourself playing in the future?

Anna: I’d love to play a character on a highly personal and intense mission. Characters like Ryan Gosling in Drive, and more recently Guy Pearce in The Rover really speak to me. One of my favourite female versions of this type of character is Saoirse Ronan in Hannah.

Real Style:  What is your favourite part of acting?

There’s this feeling when you’ve put in a ton of work on a character, and then you can just let go and be that person in a scene. When you start forgetting about that work and you can become spontaneous is a thrilling feeling, and one of my favourite parts of acting.

Real Style:  What has been your favourite role so far? Why?

Anna: I’d say between Barney’s Version and Defiance. They are polar opposites, but were both challenging and highly rewarding – two things that make for a feeling of accomplishment.

Real Style:  How was it working alongside Dustin Hoffman, Minnie Driver and Paul Giamatti in Barney’s Version?

An absolute pleasure. I learned so much working with the incredible cast, it was like I was in an acting master class every day. I will always cherish my time on Barney’s Version.

Photos: Kourosh Keshiri and Sabrina Lantos

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