In part four of our Killjoys set visit interviews, Luke Macfarlane and Rob Stewart talk about the complex new dynamics of Season 2, and how every character’s story influences the others. Macfarlane mentions that D’avin learns what makes him unique to the team this year. He also discusses his character’s PTSD and it being realistically portrayed via sci-fi. Ready to learn more of Khlyen’s backstory? Stewart tells us we will, but you will have to tune in to the season to learn more. Our final interview is coming up, so check back with us in a few days for that!
Knowing Khlyen is behind a whole lot of this stuff D’avin and Dutch have had to experience, is there this ongoing tension when you guys are on set?
Luke Macfarlane: It’s interesting why the show does this successfully and we continue things in the second season. The question of what is an enemy? What is something we’re afraid of and constantly trying to figure out? When is a father figure a bad person or when is he good, what does it mean to discipline or support your child, when are you just a bad person? D’avin is someone usually very principled until he meets his brother and Dutch, he follows the order of the code, so [Khlyen’s] very confusing to me.
Rob Stewart: I think you’re right but we definitely explore that in a much deeper way in the second season. As an actor opposed to the character, in the first season I only got to work with Dutch, which was great and we create this wonderful relationship, very confusing for both of us as none of us knew what was going to happen next. But when I first got to work with Luke, that was more me as an actor, this is a fun, new dynamic and change to be complex. Some of the things we have had a chance to do, to create the respect for my little girl’s boyfriend, sounds ironic and diminishing, but there is a sense of respect. All those things he says ironically, there’s a sense of giving him credit for that. For me as an actor, working with Luke was a real fun challenge and to create a new complex relationship that will confuse that.
Should we read into that then, that your guys are together and still shooting Episode 6?
Rob: It’s alphabetical! Makes no sense. We don’t know why they did this…
For Khlyen going after D’avin was as much about hurting Elena as it was about the larger mythology, where do we find him this season?
Rob: I’m going to correct you from saying hurting. As I’m not entirely sure as there’s still parts of Khlyen that I’m still in the dark on. I’m a fan of the show and read the scripts like a fourteen-year-old nerd so I think hurt would be disingenuous of me to say. I would say help. Even though I do everything horrible to her. It’s a father-daughter relationship that’s very complicated and I do tough things.
Luke, after playing the husband in Brothers and Sisters and then the Night Shift, D’avin is a different character, at the time did you think about being typecast and how have you settled into this role?
Luke: It’s also interesting as you never know what roles are going to pop up. I think as most actors, your eager to try something totally different. I loved Scotty and then Captain Rick in The Night Shift but we love to try different things. I think there was a part of me eager to play somebody more physical in their lives and in the last four or five years that’s what was more interesting to me. I’m very excited to have action in my repertoire now.
How have you settled into your role?
Luke: The weird thing with Brothers and Sisters, I did 100 episodes of that character so it’s always about figuring it out with every passing episode. I feel incredibly settled and firm in who he is through this season. It’s away a fun thing to convince people when they recognize you from something else.
Are we going to see D’avin as a character go beyond his tortured mind back to his more confident self?
Luke: Very much so, that was a piece of storytelling in the first season, they had a relationship so something had to come along and mess that up. This time they are more of a triad. We are all really needing of each other. For me, talking to the writers about it, how am I necessary to the group, what do I bring to it? Obviously I’m a fighter and strong, but Dutch can beat up anybody, so how am I different? John is the tech guy and the great friend. So this year, D’avin has discovered what is special about him and it’s a big point where he figures out this thing that now has makes him necessary and special to the group.
Your character has PTSD, is that something you are looking to explore more, what have you done to study that?
Luke: I have a couple friends who are former veterans and they said “You can’t tell PTSD in the future, in the sci-fi world.” Maybe because it would somehow be irreverent and not be realistically portrayed in a contemporary setting. But this show actually stripped away everything and made it about the trauma, the way we cope and being violent and hypersexual. These are all things I discovered as there is a need to create conflict and embrace it as it feels real. This was interesting to me. I seem to constantly keep playing characters who have PTSD.
Brothers and Sisters seemed to touch on that too, how do you articulate that narrative of the genre plays rather than the traditional drama?
Luke: I think what I was trying to say is that in sci-fi we get to strip away everything and don’t have the constraints, we can go very big with it. I think it’s interesting as we didn’t know it was PTSD at first then we had to look at the symptoms more, rather than the cause as much.
Rob, with each layer that gets peeled away with Khlyen, it’s like you have played five or six characters inhabiting Khlyen, what is the core of the character that exists in all those different iterations?
Rob: Love. It’s Khlyen. I can’t claim to be the one who figured that out. That was Michael Nankin in 106 who gave me that note. It was brilliant and changed the whole tenor of it. I always had that as I had a son and taught him how to sword fight since he was three years old. We have a lot of similarities, apart from the bad parts. So when I started work the first time, it wasn’t with Hannah, it was with the eight-year-old so all the paternal stuff comes out. No matter what the scenario, there’s a child with those eyes looking at you so all the paternal stuff comes out, you would be a stone if it didn’t. I think it was always there as any father would have that response. Then we did 106 and it sparked that whole thing. Even when we had that fight in 110, all those things I keep as my base, then I twist it and knot it up with bizarre things, but that’s the base for me.
Luke: It’s funny as we move into the second season, I think D’avin was the first person to see that in a way Dutch can’t. It’s like when you go “Mum! God, you’re so annoying” but actually it’s like, “Your Mum has a point.”
It could explain why Khlyen didn’t kill off D’avin right away, but he didn’t have any hesitation to kill off her first husband.
Rob: Because of that, yeah. That whole fear and apprehension of losing Dutch for all those years because of his rash action. He doesn’t want to make that mistake again. If anything he has learned very quickly and is devious and whatever his bigger goals are he’s going to be a lot more cunning about it. 201 is one of the best scripts I’ve ever had the pleasure of being a part of. When we did the table read I felt like I was at a rock concert, so much energy, it’s such a good script.
Do we get to see any more of Khlyen’s backstory?
Rob: We do, that’s new to me. I heard that when I was getting prepped for this. We have to get the do’s and don’ts of what to say and what not to say. I just found that out extremely recently and so I’m really excited. I don’t know how deeply or in what way. I don’t even know what it is, I’m in the dark.
And you wouldn’t say even if you knew…
Rob: I wouldn’t be able to say but I would tell you I know with a smile on my face, all smug and Khlyen like, but that’s not the case.
After the cruelty and brutality of Season 1 and where they left things with Dutch and D’avin, is there a possibility he may want to pursue romance with her again or is that off the table?
Luke: It’s interesting, I know a lot of people thought it was a romantic triangle but I never saw it like that. It was like the PTSD conversation, she was there, she has it too, and it was a very confusing, wanting to bond or be a part of it. Or envious of whatever John has with Dutch. He thinks why he can’t be close with a woman like that. That was his way of trying to figure that out. In a weird way they almost need to get that over with. In Season 2 it’s a deeper sort of intimacy that doesn’t involve sex. Whether that’s romance, I don’t know, but it’s a different way to come to understand each other, I think deeper, maybe not sexual, or maybe.
Khlyen’s about the only one who isn’t getting any?
Rob: Thanks God at my age! I am so over love scenes. It’s fun when your 29 or 30. I never liked it. I did a show with 66 episodes and there were 66 love scenes at the beginning of every show and I just started hating it. I felt awkward and 70 people are watching. I can’t watch people kiss on screen. It’s so funny, I’m like a prude or something, I know they’re actors but I’m just like “Ahh!” I don’t know, I think these shows have ‘shipping’. If they introduce some wickedly powerful female who’s just evil, strong and messed up, she’d have to be wicked strong.
Does it annoy you that some critics say the show doesn’t have enough drama, would you like to see more of that?
Luke: Sometimes Aaron, Hannah and I are stuck on a ship on a rainy day and trying to do some small thing like sweep Lucy, I don’t know do you mean drama over the action? The action is an important part of the show, it’s the way we tell a story.
Rob: You always have those quick bits in between the acting and that’s where those moments come as you’re so good at it.
Luke: We have a ton of story, we work through a lot of story.
You get to have your downtime with Dutch, when you guys were stuck on the ship.
Luke: Right which is fun as we love that as it’s not rushing into a fight choreography, or getting rigged up.
You both have done series that are longer, so can we talk about the change in doing 10, do you prefer that telling a tighter story and telling it faster?
Rob: I prefer the show to anything I’ve ever done but I don’t think it has anything to do with the episodes. I don’t know about the compression, maybe. I just love the character, the people I work with, it’s fantastic but I don’t know a technical reason. In terms of 10 versus 22, it’s a lot easier for the lead actors as that’s a grind. The kind of work they do on a show, 22 is tough, so in that were probably saving lives. They can give it more and be more intense. For me it’s easier as I’m not in it as much. Good thing about 22, you’re rich after. That’s the funniest thing when in my twenties and thirties, it’s’ “I’m poor!” I was ready to declare bankruptcy. Then you get a phone call, then it’s “I’m rich”. The paradigm changed a bit. The quality is better and that’s why HBO and Syfy do it now, BBC had been doing it for years and the quality is light years ahead of ours. Now we’re getting the idea it’s better to focus and do really good work instead of just a lot.
Luke: It also forces the writer, you have to be very precise with every scene as there’s so much story to tell, there’s really no fat… like the sweeping scene with Lucy.
Do you get to interact with any outside characters we haven’t seen before?
Luke: We do yes! We all kind of do. That’s what’s interesting with Season 2. What bonds us, we all have our outside lives, but we all come back and it’s like the family’s back together. I have some stuff with Rob and the bartender at The Royal. We do get to work outside the family.
Rob: Which is cool as the triad get affected indirectly by these different, wonderful things but they all come back together.
Luke: Everybody’s stories influence everybody else’s story and you learn something.
Killjoys Returns to Syfy on July 1st at 9/8c.