Syfy’s second new spaceship show, Killjoys, premieres Friday night before a new episode of last week’s newbie, Dark Matter, and tonally, it’s an interesting pairing. Whereas Dark Matter is driven by mystery, Killjoys is driven more by truth–to a degree. Two of the three main characters are harboring secrets, but they all come together as a team of intergalactic bounty hunters, or Killjoys, and their mantra is that the Warrant is All. They don’t get bogged down in sob stories about potential targets. They do the job.
We’ve seen the first four episodes, and they’re a fun, popcorn ride. I personally appreciated the panning away from the implied gore–enough shows out there want to show and tell. I’m OK not to see it. The series has been on my radar for almost a year, since I chatted with Luke Macfarlane (The Night Shift) last July while he was driving to Toronto to start the shoot. This week we jumped on the phone with him, Aaron Ashmore (Warehouse 13), and Hannah John-Kamen (The Hour) for a press call to tease the new season.
One thing that was immediately apparent is that this cast like each other A LOT. They laughed often and long and it was lovely to hear that after shooting 13 episodes in fairly close quarters and wrapping over six months ago, they were still thick as thieves. That bodes really well if we get a second season. The conversation ranged from their chemistry to character dilemmas to the actual physicality of the roles.
All three credit casting with throwing them together. “We had a really great casting director that took the time to really kind of do mix and matches,” explains Macfarlane. “So as we’re sort of slowly assembling this group, we auditioned with various people and that’s always terribly nerve racking as an actor but I think ultimately it’s really a useful sort of thing to do. Because we got along from the beginning almost immediately, [we had a] very similar sense of humor.”
Ashmore adds that you either have chemistry or you don’t. “When they’re doing a show like this that obviously revolves around the characters having sort of dynamic chemistry, it’s really important. But, you know, sometimes you just really luck out and I think the three of us have become really good friends and we got along so, so well, and it’s kind of rare,” he says. “So I think it’s special and I think that we all appreciate it.”
“I was very pleasantly surprised at how sort of funny and not just funny but weird both Luke and Hannah’s sense of humor [was]. One of the really unique things about the three of us together is that we’re just so weird. And our sense of humor is just to kind of riff off each other.”
“It’s important to have the chemistry on the screen and off,” points out John-Kamen. “And I think that we all have the same sense of humor, which really helps. Because on set [if] one of us is saying something [without] even any questions, the other one would join in and then it wouldn’t stop for like an hour. In harmony.” She added they also were prone to making up songs between takes.
D’avin and Dutch, Macfarlane and John-Kamen’s characters, have a past that will unravel over the course of the first season, while John (Ashmore) is pretty free of emotional baggage. Their shared secrets bring them closer, but as friends, not necessarily a romantic pairing.
“The relationship between Dutch and D’avin is very interesting because it starts off [that] I’m very, very, leery of this intruder coming into my situation with me and John,” says John-Kamen. “But then we seek out that we both have similarity and I think that gets me to a point where we have to address that…and kind of solve it in our own way.”
“I think like any two people who have to sort of reconcile their pasts, they sort of clumsily reached for each other in a way. And even though, you know, ultimately we might not be the best sort of [way] to kind of get to whatever it is that sort of troubles our brains, we sort of reach out through each other in a way,” adds Macfarlane. “And we do seek a certain level of conclusion or reconciliation, I think more on my part as far as, you know, this thing that happened to me in my past and how I try to take care of it.”
The roles are intensely physical for the actors because their characters often called up on throw down with their marks to bring them in–when they’re not getting side jagged into random turf wars–so they spent time with trainers to get ready, which allowed them to shoot some of the action themselves and parse out to their stunt doubles as needed.
“We all had stunt training, military training, and physical training as well,” says John-Kamen. “We bonded pretty violent.”
“When I first got into the business, there was a sort of mythological idea that [if] you have action show, you [hire] a trainer. And this is actually the first time that I ever got a trainer,” says Macfarlane. “It’s always like this badass thing that I wanted to have and the [producers] did it, and it was a great excuse to [work out].”
“The physical stuff that we got to do at the beginning, the military stuff, the working out, the fight training is really kind of neat because the three of us didn’t know each other so we [were] sort of thrown into all this really intense training together,” explains Ashmore. “And I think that it’s kind of fun when you start on it and it’s a good way to…bond with your fellow actors. [And] we really get to know each other. And everybody was sort of slightly out of their elements because none of us are martial artists or anything like that. [You’re] all thrown into this new experience…together and it was actually a lot of fun.”
It definitely shows. Killjoys premieres at 9/8c Friday on Syfy. Here are a couple of sneak peeks and the first four minutes of the premiere.
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