Wynonna Earp saunters into Purgatory, and Syfy, this Friday night, and I had the chance to jump on the phone with series star Melanie Scrofano to talk about her headlining role in the brand new series, and her mysterious turn on Damien, happening Mondays nights over on A & E.
IÂ caught up with Scrofano while she was doing press in LA, on the heels of a whirlwind launch week that also included a fancy premiere and a panel at Wonder Con. Scrofano, who might be a familiar face from her arc on the final season of the Canadian series, The ListenerÂ or guestÂ spots on shows like Haven, Warehouse 13, and Being Erica,Â says she came to the role of Wynonna fairly easily, as far as casting series leads usually goes.
“It was a lot easier than I thought it would be. You hear all these horror stories. With me, it seemed like we were all on the same page from day one,” she explains. “I did my audition, a callback, and a screen test. Emily Andras runs a great room, by the way. And that was it. I got the sense that they were behind me from day one. It was pretty straightforward.”
After she was cast, the real training kicked in to get herÂ ready. “They signed me up for a motorcycle course so I could get my license. There was a lot of pressure not to fail,” she laughs. “They got me a trainer, a stunt coordinator called Louis Paquette, who tried to kill me about four times a week and very nearly succeeded.”
“We did fitness, and all sorts of martial arts, and fighting for television, because it’s very different than fighting for your life. When I got to Calgary we did weapons training–how to shoot and the [safety of it] and choreography training with our stunt coordinator, Steve McMichael.”
While it might be a daunting prospect to be the centerpiece, and literal face, of a new series, Scrofano felt like this was a role she could handle, and said everyone involved made her feel like she could, too. “I knew from the beginning that I had it and what to do with it,” she says. “During shooting, for the most part,Â I was really confident with the character because nobody gave me any reason to doubt myself.Â Nobody for a second gave me the sense that they didn’t trust me. Beau Smith…every week e-mailed me…and told me I was doing such a good job, so to have his approval was [validation] that I must be doing something right.”
Scrofano says she did encounter some negativity online, and admits that’s sometimes hard to turn off, but she’s doing her best. “Isn’t that the most human thing–100 people say nice things and you hang onto to the one negative thing someone says. That’s where I’m hoping I’ll be able to deal with it with grace and self respect.”
This season, Scrofano says we can look for Wynonna to figure out how she fits into this world she inherited. “She’s has to fend for herself for so long and now she’s responsible for people, and that’s not her wheelhouse. Wynonna wants nothing to do with the family curse [and] law enforcement because of some stuff she’s done in her past.”
“When Dolls comes along, she has no intention of helping him even if he can help her, until she’s given no choice. She is just thrown into something she did not ask for and did not want,” she says. “Watching what she does with it and how she handles this journey [will be the focus this season].”
Before Wynonna started filming last fall, ScrofanoÂ completed an arc on the first season of Damien, playing Ann’s employee, Veronica.Â She says that was a super secret process because she wasn’t clued in on the specifics of her character until she had the role, and even now, she has to tread lightly in what she is allowed to share.
“I did four or five [episodes]. That role was very secretive. She’s definitely someone to keep an eye on. There’s a lot more to her than we think,” she says.” “I auditioned totally blind. I had no information. I felt like it was either the best or the worst audition of my life. I got it, and then Glen Mazzara called me to talk about it and he gave me her full background, which I can’t share because it’s all going to unfold, but I was blown away…[it’s] complicated and interesting.”
Scrofano had previously worked with Barbara Hershey, who plays Ann,Â on Anne of Green Gables: A New Beginning,Â and was happy to have a familiar face on set. “[We] sort of knew each other. She was very sweet to me on [that film]. When I came onto [Damien], it was comfortable, becauseÂ I didn’tÂ know anyone else on set. She’s a very motherly figure behind the scenes. I didn’t expect that. We talked about family and plants and cats. She’s such a real human beingÂ [with] heart and a really deep soul.”
With two supernatural series under her belt, Scrofano says that at the end of the day, it doesn’t change the way she plays her roles. “I approach it the same way. In their world everything is real and has stakes,” she points out. “Betrayal is betrayal. It’s all human.”
Scrofano is looking forward to catching her breath now that Wynonna has wrapped production on its first season. She just finished ADR on an upcoming feature film called Birdland. “My friend, Kathleen Munroe, is the lead in that. She’s one of my favorite actresses. It’s a dark sort of noir suspense story but I don’t know when it comes out.”
You can also find her in the recently-released Happily Ever After, which is availableÂ on VOD on Amazon. “I play a woman whoÂ is trying to make the best of her life in her small town,” she says. “[She] wants to live the dream with the husband and the house. She’s the opposite of the lead [played by Salem‘s Janet Montgomery], who left and didn’t want to have anything to do with it. We’re the complete opposite of each other.”
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