When you are fighting the forces of evil it helps to have as many allies as possible on your side. In Knights of Bloodsteel, a wise man named Klegg risks his life to help our heroes on their quest to find the Crucible and what remains of a very special ore called bloodsteel. This mineral gives its owner magical powers, which is why the story's chief antagonist, Dragon Eye, is desperate to have it. So it is up to Klegg and his friends to find the bloodsteel first. He is more than up to the challenge, as is the actor playing him, Ian A. Wallace.
"What I really like about this character and why I wanted to play him is that he actually leads our hero, John Serragoth [David James Elliott] and the others to the Crucible," explains Wallace, taking a break in-between shots while filming on-location in British Columbia. "Klegg is able to translate the old words on this scroll that can help them on their mission. The elf Perfidia [Natassia Malthe], who is on our side, understands the language a little bit, but Klegg is able to properly read it.
"This bad goblin named Swope [Peter Bryant] has the scroll but is unable to translate it. He kidnaps one of my character's colleagues because he thinks he can read the scroll, and when he cannot, Swope comes after me. John and his friends arrives at the mining compound where Klegg lives, and at first he doesn't trust them. However, after they tell Klegg that they're knights, he agrees to help them, so here I am."
Like most actors, Wallace had to audition for his role in Knights of Bloodsteel, and it was a type of character that he was already familiar with. "It turns out that this is the third project I've worked on for Reunion Pictures," says the actor. "They also did [the 2007 TV series] Flash Gordon, in which I played the Shaman of the Blue People [in the episode Secrets and Lies], and then I was also in [the miniseries] Tin Man, which was done by the Sci Fi Channel and Reunion Pictures as well.
"So I had been playing these types of roles in Sci-Fi/Fantasy stories, and when I go to auditions I usually dress up. For this project, I made myself a special pair of glasses and covered myself in dust like a miner. I pretty much looked like I do today and wound up getting the job, so I was very pleased."
On his first day of work on Knights of Bloodsteel, the actor had to imagine himself being menaced by a fire-breathing dragon, naturally a computer-generated (CGI) one. Yet again, his prior experience, in particular working with a green screen, came in quite handy. "Years ago I did [the feature film] I, Robot with Will Smith, and because we were playing robots we had to do [green screen] scenes wearing these green costumes," recalls Wallace. "They had to shoot each scene three times - one with us as robots in it, then without us, and finally with just a silver ball moving through it in order to get the lighting right for the [computer] animation. That was a real learning experience for me to work on a huge budget film with a big star like Will Smith.
"Not too long ago I played a Fire Creature in an episode of Sanctuary [Sanctuary for All: Part 1]. The program is about this woman [Dr. Helen Magnus, played by Amanda Tapping] who runs a place called the Sanctuary where she has gathered together all these strange creatures, including a mermaid, a two-faced man and a fire creature, who I supplied the face for. When they shot that, I was standing in front of a green screen and the camera came in really tight on my face, which shows through the fire when Dr. Magnus opens the door of my room. I was supposed to express fear because of the presence of her new protege [Dr. Will Zimmerman, played by Robin Dunne] in the Sanctuary, but when I hear her voice I'm relieved.
"So I've played some interesting, unconventional parts, but last week I read for the role of a human being, which is really different for me. He's an ex-military-guy-turned-activist. I know I did a good job in the audition and I'd love to play the character, especially as it was a real stretch for me to just say normal everyday dialogue instead of something Science Fiction and fantastical-like. To be honest, though, whatever I'm saying, I enjoy it [acting] very much."
Although he had appeared onstage as well as done a little feature film work and TV commercials in Toronto, Wallace almost had to start from scratch when he came out to Vancouver to pursue further acting work. "I tried to get an agent but no one in town knew me," he notes. "So Stuart Aiken, the casting director, suggested that I do some background work, which I did for three years. It was wonderful training just to be in shots and really see how it all works. From there I got a really good agent and have been acting ever since.
"The thing I especially like about playing Klegg in Knights of Bloodsteel is that he's going for the light, you know? In Tin Man, my character was working for the Sorceress [Kathleen Robertson] and was a torturer, so it was all really dark. I think Klegg, however, is someone who's more like me in real life," he says with a smile.