Recently, my colleague Tom Gardiner had the chance to participate in a conference call with the stars of Killjoys – Aaron Ashmore, Hannah John-Kamen and Luke Macfarlane (and I will admit to more than a twinge of jealousy). Here’s Part 2 of our chat! You can read Part 1 by clicking here. And be sure to check out our show preview – then come back each week for our episode reviews.
Can you tell us something about your character that maybe only you know?
Luke: Not to get too dark but I think that John and D’avin’s father used to beat up D’avin.
Aaron: Yes. I mean, that’s interesting too because we’d never discussed anything like that and there’s nothing in the show like that. But I had thought of similar things like John and D’avin’s background. You know, we don’t really get into the details of it in the show but it was very, very difficult so I thought of things like that too about scenarios, and I pictured that too that D’avin was the older brother and so he probably took a brunt of a lot of that growing up. And probably was protecting John, so for me there’s slight guilt dripping in some of those potential things about, you know, it’s kind of dark. But hey, the show is still fun, it’s not all dark.
Is there a really funny scene that stands out in your mind that we would be looking for?
Luke: Gosh. Oh, I know something to look that I think is very funny. In a much later episode John comes in contact with a super computer and he gets really excited about that super computer. So I’m just going say that much, I laughed really hard when I saw that.
Aaron: Good, I’m so glad. So John’s nerdiness that you find – that’s good I like that. The show is not necessarily always ha, ha funny like knee slapper, I think it’s sort of subtle and it’s really in the way that these characters tease each other or interact with each other. It’s just so peppered throughout the show, this current of humor on the way that they sort of gab at each other. To me that’s really where the humor lies, it’s not like, oh my God there’s this one hilarious like comic scene. It’s really the tone of the way these people rib each other and tease each other that to me is where the sense of humor really lies.
Could each of you share something about each of your co-stars that surprised you the most? Perhaps their personality or their process, anything that comes to mind.
Aaron: Oh, telling tales on each other, oh my goodness. I was very pleasantly surprised at how funny and not just funny but weird both Luke and Hannah’s sense of humor is. That’s one of the really unique things about the three of us together is that we’re just so weird. And our sense of humor just kind of rips off each other and so I was really pleasantly surprised to see how strange their senses of humor were and then how we as a whole bonded together.
Hannah: Like I think it’s the sense of humor. Because on set like one of us is saying something and then without even any questions the other one would join in and then it wouldn’t stop for like an hour.
Aaron: In harmony nonetheless.
Hannah: In harmony. That was a surprise to me – this kind of crazy sense of humor, no questions asked, just really join in.
Aaron: Yes. And that’s not always the case, right, the things that you think are funnier, the things that really tickle you have other people that you’re working with and it flows, that was sort of really surprising and lucky I think.
In an action oriented show sometimes the actors will use mood music or conjure up certain mental queues to kind of inspire them to kind of pump them up for the intense action scenes. Do either of you have devices that you utilize?
Aaron: I find in emotional scenes sometimes that works better, to set the mood if it’s sad or anger or something. But the action stuff is like you’re just thrown in and you got to run or you got to kick butt. Sometimes that’s not the hardest thing to motivate yourselves into. But sometimes for emotional scenes that works a little bit better to put you in a place emotionally.
Luke: Yes, definitely. In fact thinking about the first fight scene that we filmed, which is John and I in the cage fight right at the beginning, it was so amazing to have that whole crowd of people around us yelling, that was sort of enough to get us into the mood. Like it was really cool to have 100 or whatever extras all screaming, they don’t know what the show is, they don’t know what they’re screaming for. But still…
Aaron: It was interesting too, I remember we did a first take right after lunch and everybody was still kind of coming back from lunch, they just had something to eat, everybody was kind of quiet. And then Chris Grismer, our director, was like, OK, guys we’re back from lunch, I need you to scream and yell. And then when we did another take it sort of changed everything because when you have like 100 people screaming and beating on the cage, that sort of energy really amps everything up for us. And, yes, that was really cool actually.
Once you realized that you had gotten the job that you’re going to play a bounty hunter, did you do any like research and perhaps find that you had a favorite real life fictional bounty hunter that you might have drawn inspiration from?
Aaron: My dad is a big “Dog The Bounty Hunter” fan, and I already watched a ton of Dog. But that’s not really what we’re going for here so I kind of did the opposite of that – I stripped away anything that I’d seen from Dog and decided to just go off the script.
Luke: That was wise. He came with a mullet the first day.
Aaron: I got rid of that pretty quick.
Hannah: I don’t know, I think for me I just basically did character research and more of this character building with Michelle and Chris. And the skills come with the training and within the character. But for me it was kind of who is Dutch first before what does that do.
Luke: Both Hannah and Aaron had experience in the sci-fi world, I was intimidated, I’ve never done anything in the sci-fi world, so I actually watched a lot of sci-fi programming thinking that, oh, I’m going to be interacting with these people and fans that know the sci-fi world much more deeply than I do and I don’t want to look like irreverent to their genre.
If you could travel anywhere in outer space where would you want to go?
Aaron: To a planet where there’s alien life maybe. Wherever is that, I don’t know the name of it unfortunately, I can’t be that specific but…
Luke: If you could I would be…
Aaron: Very impressed. I would be wasting my skills as an actor if I could tell you where that is.
Luke: Yes, it’s hard, there’s not a lot of places that you could go.
Obviously Dutch has a lot of secrets and Luke also, about what’s happened in his past in the war and everything. So, Aaron, my question is does John have any kind of secrets that we’re going to be finding out about?
Aaron: In this first season not really. And I think that needs to be that way because the whole thing is that Dutch and D’avin have these secrets that are holding the team apart because they’re not really wanting to share those and trying to deal with all these things by themselves. And it causes a lot of strain on the team and I think John’s position in this first season is, his main purpose in the show and his goal is to keep the team together because they’re just ripping each other apart.
So I think if you then throw John into the mix where he got things, I think it would be a bit convoluted. You needed somebody who was just not being torn apart by all this stuff to kind of keep it together. So I hope that if we get another season that we’ll get to start to see a little bit of John’s past and the things that he had to go through, the difficulties and stuff. I really hope that we will get to do that but I think in this season it would have been a bit much to sort of have all three of them really trying to explore these dark secrets.
What has been your favorite part about working on Killjoys so far?
Hannah: The sets have been amazing, I think the fighting as well has been so cool. But I think with Aaron and Luke they’re just so amazing to work with. They just made the whole time and experience just injected with fun.
Luke: Yes, it’s really true. You often hear actors talking about, “Oh, you know, we all like each other so much.” But really legitimately it was like a really great group, I love showing up to work, it was wonderful. And just to use your imagination in a really profound way. You know, it’s not often that you’re required to imagine so much and that it makes you feel like a kid again when you’re looking out the window of your spaceship and you see a green screen having to imagine what’s on that. Often your job is entering into a living room with cup of tea. So being able to use your imagination that massive way is super fun.
Aaron: Yes, I agree. I think first and foremost not just as the actors but the whole creative team and the whole crew, I think everybody really, really enjoyed themselves. And again we’re working in such a fun business, but the experiences are not always amazing, amazing. And I think like on a personal level the fun of working with everybody was way, way up there.
Another thing for me was getting to start on a show, I’ve done lots of shows where I kind of come into them while they’re already been successful and then become a lead on the show or recurring. But to come in to a show from the very start and feel like you’re really, really part of something.
And like Luke was saying, it’s just not really part of something where it’s set in New York or wherever where we know everything but we’re really getting to explore and create the world and these characters that nobody has seen before. You know, coming from Michelle’s imagination and the writers, and then we really get to inhabit these places that don’t exist, and these societies, these cultural levels that are not real. So who gets to do that, some people get to fantasize and get to think about those things but we actually get to act them out and create them. And that’s been the really, really exciting thing that very few people get to do, so it’s a lot of fun.
Luke: I remember the first time we all were on the cockpit together, and we’ve been watching the ships get built because we’re filming on our station and we see them and like, “Cool, that’s our spaceship.” And then all the sudden we were on the spaceship and they built this beautiful thing but nobody knew how to drive it and we got to make up how to drive the ship. And we got to imagine what button to press to try to make it go up and make it go round and that’s thrilling.
What challenges did you face when filming the first season?
Luke: It’s a small cast and we all worked a lot, it was really long hours. You know, sometimes when cast of shows are bigger and there’s more screen time to go around but this is very equally spread among three people so we had really long days.
Hannah: The challenges at the beginning, I remember when we had this gun and it was so heavy. Actually kind of like getting to use to it, the equipment and the armor, and making it look like I’ve been carrying this gun for years. It was really embodying a killer, as a bounty hunter, and getting used to the kind of physical way of that.
Aaron: Even up until very recently I felt this way throughout the whole season, so you’re really excited to do this, this is an amazing opportunity. But you’re really like, I hope that we do all of this justice, I hope that all this hard work that we do and we put in, you know, that it pays off, that people really enjoy it. Because we’re not just doing a cop show where we’re emulating something that’s already out there and people will buy into it. We’re creating a whole new world and so you really want to get it right and you really wanted to create characters and a world that’s believable and people are going to buy into.
And that just comes with the genre, I think that that there’s a lot of actual work that you have to do and pressure that’s put on you because people have to buy into this. It’s not an easy thing to buy into, and the sci-fi audience is very discerning, they’re very intelligent, and you want them to like it. So there’s some pressure in that and that doesn’t just fall on us obviously as the actors, as a production we all have to accomplish it together. But after seeing the show I feel very confident and very proud of the work that everybody did and I’m really hoping that everybody is going to enjoy it.
Luke: That’s a really good point, yes. And I think there is more reverence, the intelligence of the audience in this genre than any other genre I think I’ve worked in and wanting to do them right.
Killjoys is created by the creator of Lost Girl, Michelle Lovretta, and it’s produced by the producers of Orphan Black and Temple Street. What do you think fans of those shows would like about Killjoys?
Aaron: Well, obviously they’re coming from the same sensibility, the same minds, but I think our show is going to be very different because of the content and the world that we’re in. So hopefully the things that you enjoy about those other shows, they’ll be assembled in our show as well.
Luke: Speaking a little bit about Lost Girl, I think there’s something about, not to be sort of light about it, but there’s a sense of female empowerment that I think is definitely something that’s really strong (in viewers), strong female characters that aren’t just strong because they beat people up but they’re very comfortable with their sexuality. Michelle writes a lot about sexuality in a really unique way.
You just talked about this a little bit but are you guys ready for the vintage genre fans you’re about to have?
Luke: Bring it on.
Hannah: We’re ready.
Luke: I would love it. I have a lot of flight attendant sort of fans right now, I like to sort of broaden my fan base. I often get like – “Oh, you know, the first class wine is a little bit better than the coach wine. Let me see if I can scrounge a glass for you.”
Aaron: That’s a bonus.
Luke: Yes, it’s very nice.
We talked previously about Dutch’s past and what’s going on with her. But can you tell us a little bit about D’avin’s search for the military doctor (more about this in episode 2) and whether his search will come to a resolution this season?
Luke: Well, he’s definitely looking for this person all the way through the show and, gosh, I don’t know how much I should tease but yes he finds her, he finds her. And that she is a her. And I think it’s really interesting because there’s a lot of comparisons that a lot of soldiers are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, and are trying reconcile with their sort of violent past and I think it’s a great story line. But he does get more completion and closure than Dutch does.
Source: TBIS – Three If By Space