Hannah John-Kamen Talks Dual Roles and Love Stories in Killjoys [Exclusive]
When I visited the Killjoys set in March, I sat down for a one-on-one with Hannah John-Kamen, and we chatted about her creation of two distinct characters with Dutch and Aneela and the evolution of those characters’ relationships with Delle Seyah and the Jaqobis brothers. (You can see our discussion of Johnny here). In tonight’s episode, “O Mother, Where Art Thou?” John-Kamen again knocked us out with her impeccable portrayal of those disparate, complex women. In this next installment, we talk about that duality.
When the idea was first presented to her last season, John-Kamen was excited to tackle creating Aneela. “It’s amazing. It [was] such an eye-opener to me because I’d never done that before. To really play with and create another character, that was the fun part,” she says.
“When I started creating Dutch, I was figuring who she was. When you play villainous roles, you have to play them as if they’re good, that what they’re doing is right and they have to do it. There’s an obligation to what they’re doing. Michelle [Lovretta] has this incredible ability to write complex characters There’s no such thing as god or evil. There are a gray areas.”
John-Kamen particularly enjoyed Dutch’s origin story that cast a new light on Aneela’s psychology. “It was fun to have both of their journeys last year and have them reverse roles where you felt sympathy for Aneela and Khylen,” she recalls. “Season 3 ended with this kind of moment between the two characters where they came to some sort of an understanding and agreement in a way.”
“There’s a real sorrow and tragedy for Aneela. It wasn’t her fault. She wasn’t bad to begin with and to finally figure out where Dutch came from was a revelation. It completely cleared [Aneela’s] mind. That feeling of clarity of finally knowing. It all makes sense now. [For Dutch], it’s understanding, ‘I got to have Khlyen and Aneela didn’t. That’s where her [negative] energy comes from.’ There’s a bit of the princess locked in the tower in a lot of ways with Aneela.”
The actress also played both sides of that epic Season 3 finale fight scene, and is proud of the work that went into nailing a specific fighting style that was true to both characters. “I fought as Dutch and Aneela. It was really fun working with the stunt team,” she explains.
“Dutch is more nitty gritty and violent and throwing punches and Aneela is stabby. We had body doubles and myself to get the camera positioned and then I would change up and play the other side. It was so fun. I do my own stunts as much as I possibly can.”
“I’ve picked it up. I’m so glad that I have. I have a dance background. It’s important to find that movement in the character. Not every character can do a stunt. You have to figure out the movement. It’s what makes the characters ‘them.’ It was amazing to watch back.”
John-Kamen says she learned as the season went along last year what Dutch’s origin story would be, and the back story of Aneela’s mental disintegration . “All of that is a different Aneela. It was amazing because it didn’t distract me from the other Aneela because she’s completely drunk on the green,” she shares.
“She’s terrifying to play. [When we see her let go of the green], to play that emotion and [have her] feel emotion again and become human in a way, again. It was a beautiful thing. You feel for and root for both of them.”
John-Kamen has also been allowed to play two very distinct love stories. Aneela’s romance with Delle Seyah had an additional complexity given Delle Seyah’s history with Dutch. “With Delle Seyah and Dutch, there’s always been a flirtatious respect…two strong women locking horns. I think Dutch surprises Delle Seyah. There are moments of her heroism that Delle Seyah respects because she hasn’t seen that before,” she points out.
“Dutch is rougher around the edges. Aneela is even more powerful than Dutch and she had queen-like abilities because she is a queen, And that’s something that Delle Seyah identified with. There was an instant connection. For Aneela, Delle Seyah was the first connection she’s had with anyone in such a long time.”
“I can’t speak for Mayko [Nguyen but I think for] Delle Seyah to see [a version of] Dutch in this kind of vulnerable, yet stronger form with such status, it invigorated her in a way, and Aneela, too. They’re immortal together, which is another strength.”
With D’avin, Dutch gets a reality check that she doesn’t always get with Johnny, and when they finally came back together, it was earned. “D’avin calls it how it is. There was obviously a sexual energy there in Season 1, and then after [they hooked up], that huge fight scene. It took time to come back from that, and afterward there was such a vulnerable angst going on. They had a different energy. It took a whole other season to get [past that],” she says.
“[Matters of] life or death make people live on the highest point of their emotions, and [at the end of Season 3], Dutch says she’s going to sacrifice herself–if she kills Aneela, she goes too. It was a reckoning. [This season their relationship] is about adjusting after everything that has happened and slowly figuring out [where they go]. There’s 100% love there.”
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