[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]
Doc Holliday is quite the mystery on Syfy’s new Western with a kick, Wynonna Earp. I jumped on the phone today with Tim Rozon to chat about what makes Doc tick, where he goes next, and working across genre TV and in comedy.
Rozon initially auditioned for the role of Dolls, but was called back to read Doc Holliday instead, and had very little idea of how this Doc Holliday would be different from THE Doc Holliday, but he leapt at the chance to do it. “You get a break down, like maybe two lines describing the show, and then a couple of scenes that may or not be in the show; they might just be an audition piece,â€ he explains. â€œI got a break down for the show and I loved it right away. It’s right in my ballpark.â€
â€œ[After I read for Dolls], they called me back and said, â€˜We like what you did with Dolls, but we want to see what you with Doc. I read it and I knew I had to have it. There are so many things that are out of your control as an actor. You can only do your best. There are a couple [of parts] that you really want and you have to have it, and this was that.â€
â€œI called my agent and said, â€˜Whoever gets this is going to be good, because I was really, really good.â€™ I went to LA and read with Mel[anie Scrofano], and I thought, â€˜If they don’t hire her, they’re crazy.â€™ And I also read with Shamier [Anderson]Â and talked with everybody and left and called my agent and said, â€˜Iâ€™ve got to be part of this project.â€™”
Once he was cast, he had about two months until the start of production and had to break the news to his then-fiancee that he’d have long hair and a 19th century gunslinger stache at their wedding, which took place the day before he departed for the Calgary set to begin shooting the first season. “When I got the call, I was beyond happy. I knew I had to start growing a mustache,â€ he recalls. â€œI called my girl to tell her good news and bad news. Good news, I got the part; Bad news is we’re getting married with the mustache. [And then] all my friends came with mustaches to the wedding.â€
In the intervening two months, he also had to get up to speed on Doc’s weapon of choice and then got the surprise on set that there were no twirling shenanigans involved and that the replica he trained with was much lighter than the gun he received on set. â€œI ordered a replica of a Colt Thunderer, which was his sidearm. I was literally walking around my house pulling this fake revolver out because I wanted to be comfortable with it,â€ he says. â€œWhen we got to set, Greg [the weapons expert], said the spinning stuff is not real and we donâ€™t do that [and] I realized me spinning a fake gun in my house scaring my cats was pretty pointless.â€
He also kept his physique slight, bearing in mind that before whatever it was that made Doc whatever he is now, he was very, very ill. â€œThey weren’t telling me too much because they didn’t want to give anything away,â€ he remembers. â€œâ€™Will we play the sickness?â€™ was my first question and Emily [Andras] said, â€˜No, and I can’t explain why.â€™ I was coming off Schitt’s Creek, where I was [already] pretty lean so I wanted to make sure I stayed lean for Doc because of the whole consumption thing. I wanted to come in looking kind of sickly with a giant mustache.â€
Doc is the only one who’s moved between Bobo’s world and Wynonnaâ€™s world, playing individually to each party as the situation warrants. Rozon says Doc is always going to have his own interests at heart. â€œI believe, until we find out [otherwise, that] Doc’s real motive is revenge. I’m playing him that he’s hell bent for revenge, with someone we may or may not have met yet,â€ he shares. â€œHe has selfish reasons for everything. He has his own agenda. He’s been stuck in a well, and there’s a reason he’s not dead, and he wants to deal with that.â€
â€œHe was best friends with Wyatt, who was probably his only and best friend. We’re going to find out some of his past history this Friday. That will give more insight. We’re going to find out some stuff now that will show [why he makes] the choices he makes. I don’t think he knows what good or bad is. He’s doing things that he needs to do to help himself. He lives in the gray a little more.”
One of those gray areas is his alignment with Bobo, and Rozon was thrilled to have Michael Eklund in that role. â€œWe understood each other right away. Just in blocking, I understood what kind of actor he was,â€ he says. â€œI was very excited to see who it was [since]Â most of my stuff was with Bobo. I was really, really looking forward to who was cast, and it turned out to be Michael and I was blown away.â€
This week, Doc meets Dolls and that goes about as well as you expect, but Rozon said he and Anderson had a ball working together. â€œI had a blast shooting with Shamier. It took a while for us to get to shoot together. The way the characters are written, they’ve got so much depth,â€ he says. â€œ[Doc and Dolls] are polar opposites. I think some really fun stuff comes out of our scenes together. Without giving too much away, I’m not the only one with his own agenda. Where they’re taking you with Dolls, put your seatbelts on, because it’s going to U-Turn real quick.â€
Doc is also helping out the Earp girls and Rozon says thatâ€™s partly heritage and who the girls are now. â€œHe has a soft spot for Earps. It stems from his relationship with Wyatt [plus] Wynonna’s one hell of a gal, so it’s easy to understand why he develops a soft spot for her. And young Waverly is pretty cool, too,â€ he says. â€œDoc likes to help people who have insurmountable odds against them. He’s an underdog himself so he likes to align himself with the underdog.â€
Even though Docâ€™s a walking blast from the past, Rozon says weâ€™ll see his character get up to speed in the 21st century fairly quickly. â€œHe’s not scared of a gun fight or the Revenants or the black badge and Dolls,â€ he says. â€œHe’s scared of things from this time that he doesn’t understand, like an elevator or a text message or a cell phone. [Weâ€™ll address it] slowly, but we couldn’t make too much of a meal out of it. He’s a quick study. He was a professional card shark. Heâ€™s picking up everything as it goes along.â€
Viewers might recognize Rozon for his recurring role on Pop TV’s Canadian comedy import, Schitt’s Creek, where he plays Mutt, the now ex-boyfriend of Alexis. â€œSchitt’s Creek is more petrifying for me than Wynonna because comedy was never thing that I had done,â€ he admits. â€œComedy is a special talent.”
“They’re a special breed. To be funny on TV is way different than being funny in real life. They’re all legends. Catherine Oâ€™Hara is so good in everything she does. It’s a gift. So is Eugene Levy, and Emily Hampshire. I feel like I have no idea. Give me supernatural demons and a gun and I’m in my wheelhouse.â€ He couldnâ€™t confirm or deny heâ€™ll be back in the new season, but says he is growing out Muttâ€™s signature beard. Make of that what you will.
Rozon also popped into Lost Girl for a recurring role as Massimo, and says he enjoys getting to do the different roles and genres. â€œI just like to play. That’s why I love the sci-fi genre so much. Because you want tell me what a Druid is supposed to look like? There’s no right or wrong. You can be told, â€˜Do less, throw it away…â€™ but I don’t want to do that. I want to have fun and play. [With sci-fi], there’s no other version that’s [right]. The character doesn’t exist [in reality].”
Rozon, along with cast and crew, is live Tweeting every week and he says that’s a non brainer because he’s as much a fan as we are. â€œI started Twitter for this. Itâ€™s been amazing. We’ve gotten great support. Nobody ever told us that we had to do it,â€ he says. â€œIt’s so much fun, how could we not? No one was happier to be at Wonder Con than me. I love comic books. I love science fiction. I’m playing in a science fiction show based on a comic book.Â Life is good.”
When he’s not working in front of the camera, you can find Rozon at work in one of the Montreal restaurants he co-owns. Food is his second love and he’s grateful for the balance. â€œI was doing a series in Toronto and my business partner called me and said the place downstairs was for rent. I started at 14 years old working in the kitchen and moved to the front of the house, and I said, ‘Iâ€™m in.’â€
â€œMe and my two buddies started a restaurant, and now my buddy [Chuck Hughes]Â is a celebrity chef on Food Network. We opened our second one five years ago and our first one 10 years ago. I love it. I need it. Shamier can’t understand that I’m in an apron in the kitchen when he FaceTimes me. I love doing it. I love the balance of both worlds. I don’t have time to be sad about not getting a part because I have a business to run. If you get to do what you want for a living, you’re living the dream.â€
Wynonna Earp ais Fridays at 10/9c on Syfy. This week we get a look at Doc’s story, and to a degree, Wynonna’s and Dolls’, too, as some old ghosts come home to wreak havoc. Here’s a sneak peek of Doc learning to use a Taser.
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