Patrick Garrow Talks Killjoys, 12 Monkeys, and Slasher [Exclusive]
Killjoys has been heavy on fantastic characters throughout its four (and soon to be five) seasons. One of the many joys has been the supporting cast who surround Team Awesomeforce. Around here, we adore Turin, who’s been a terrific multi-layered surprise, the crusty bastard in a position of authority who has been allowed to soften up as the series grew more serialized. Last week, I jumped on the phone to chat with Patrick Garrow about playing the role for the entire run of the series, as well as his turns on 12 Monkeys, Pure, and Slasher.
Series creator Michelle Lovretta has gone on record that Turin was initially conceived as an expository character when the network said somebody needed to explain onscreen what a Killjoy was. Garrow never fathomed it would turn into a five-season gig. “There are no promises in film and TV land. You come in and they give you a sense of what the character is, you put your own smell on it, and do the best job you can and expect not to return, or in the case of my characters, they return and are escorted to jail for several decades [or killed off],” he laughs.
“[Turin] is interesting enough and has a particular idiosyncratic curl to him, if you will, that he holds over the course of five seasons. I’ve played a lot of characters that I’ve enjoyed playing who are less fully formed and if I return [to them], I need a little more to hang it on.”
“This character developed over the years. I enjoyed that I could not been in three episodes and feel like he wasn’t neglected. If he wasn’t in it, he wasn’t lost out of the show’s storylines or the character dynamics. He’s off doing things…figuring something out. ‘We’ll get to him.'”
Over the series run, Turin has evolved from the thorn in Team Awesomeforce’s side to their trusted ally, and Garrow says that was to be expected when the “enemy” changed and evolved. “I like the fact that they brought him in to be the badass and read the riot act to the main characters and specifically, Dutch, and that’s one particular aspect of their life,” he says.
“There are rules and they have to abide by them or their boss will be angry at them. Pretty soon thereafter, the rules become academic because other things supersede it. We have enemies to vanquish and planets to conquer, stuff to do.”
“There was an increasing awareness on Turin’s part of the mutual respect he had for Team Awesomeforce. They didn’t play by the rules but they were my guys and they got the job done and they were good people and they understand that I have to sometimes to read them the riot act.”
“He’s crochety as anything. He gives them the gears, but he appreciates people who have a sense of what’s right and wrong and will fight for the prevailing of what’s right. [From Season 2 onward], shit was going on behind their backs at a higher level and they were all scratching around in the dark trying to figure out what the hell is going in. In those circumstances, they had to work together to figure out what Khlyen was doing.”
“[First, Khlyen] is the predominate adversary and then he helps them, and then Aneela is the enemy, and then she’s in the fold, and now they’re going after the Lady. Their only consistent ally is each other, so they have to find the core of what it means to fight whoever the enemy du jour is.”
“The way we interact with each other has a consistency. Whether we’re chasing Khlyen, Aneela or The Lady, there’s a base quality to the family and the extended bunch of people who are Killjoys. And that’s the sign of a good series when you have that feeling. Whatever this week’s adventure is, you just drop into it.”
This season, Turin was paired for several episodes with Weej, the young de-Greened Hullen who Zeph rebooted, and that partnership revealed his softer side. “He takes a big risk with Weej. He’s suspicious of anyone who’s been touched by the Green. He doesn’t know what that means, like he was with Fancy,” Garrow says.
“He’s his guy. As a sort of emotionally closed-off character, [TPTB] allowed him to take a proprietary interest in trusting Weej and that was a big deal for Turin. He’s fresh out of the blister pack. The tag is still on him. There’s no history between them.”
“He has to shepherd him from knowing nothing to becoming a fighter pilot and leading the charge, even though Team Awesomeforce are behind him. You have a backup plan, of course. There’s something interesting about him letting his guard down. [With Weej’s death], I think the rest of the team sees things in Turin that they didn’t know were there, which I enjoyed.”
“[Going forward], the losses continue and it shows the team as resourceful and resilient. It doesn’t matter whether they’re going to live on the RAC or Armada or wherever, they’re going to continue to do what they do and make adjustments accordingly.”
Garrow admits that he’s regularly thought of for a certain kind of role, so when Pure [now on Hulu] popped up a couple of years ago, it was a breath of fresh air. “The out-of-left-field opportunity is always great. To play a coke dealer among Mennonites is leaping into a pool I didn’t know existed,” he explains.
“With thriller roles, you’ve seen versions of that and you know that exists. So, you’re trying to do something different and see what makes that character tick. Don’t judge him. Who is he? I’m always seen as the bad guy or the asshole or the dirty cop so they hang that on you and keep bringing you in for [those kinds of] things. That’s why doing Pure was fun. It wasn’t the same old same old.”
The horror series Slasher, which is available now on Netflix, cast Garrow in its first season as a serial killer and convict who isn’t quite what he seems. He says block shooting the episodes out-of-order was quite the brain tease as most of his scenes were set with him inside a jail. “You’re in a room they make out to be a jail cell and you’re shooting bits out of sequence and maintaining the chronology in your head [and figuring out what you know and when you know it],” he points out.
“It’s a juggling act to give your character that sense of an arc over time because you’re shooting in a compressed, ass backward way. You try and bring a sense of, ‘How are these scenes going to be different? How does he change? Does he change her?’ It’s a balancing act.”
“You don’t have much sense while you’re shooting of the arc of the character and how the audience is going to watch, week by week or hour by hour. Hopefully you’ve laid the groundwork and [supplied the] information and detail in your work that it comes out and reveals itself in the edit of the show.”
“It’s a weird chemistry that happens and you just have to try and trust that the more you do it, and respect the writing, you bring enough out of it and give enough raw material to the director, showrunner and editor so they can pick out the things that are useful to them.”
The final season of 12 Monkeys [On Demand on Syfy] was full of treasure, including the origin story of James Cole. Garrow was surprised and pleased to be brought back for “One More Minute.” “[Back in Season 1], I went in and did [‘Paradox’], and I liked everybody, and then I got shot in the head. I didn’t expect to hear from them again, but I was playing the Dad of the lead [so they brought me back] in flashbacks,” he says.
“When you’re initially booked, there’s no suggestion, let alone contract, that you’re coming back. As far as you know, you’re on the pavement with a bullet in the forehead and they’re moving on.”
“The fact that you’re coming back over four seasons is gravy. It’s the completion of a storyline you knew nothing about, and they probably made the decision based on what you did the first time. There’s so much of that series that’s similar to Killjoys with the [evolving mythology].”
“You have to read the script and ask your questions to fill in some of the blanks. You have to trust that what you [did before] was interesting enough to you that you can come back to it and continue to feed off it to ground yourself.”
“[The directors and cast changed from episode to episode], but how I interacted with my character and what that suggested to me, it was pretty easy for me to jump back into that and let it feed me.”
Finally, Garrow is completely aware of and game about the attention paid to Turin’s hair on Killjoys. “Most of the [jokes] don’t make the shooting drafts. They’re early draft jokes and it’s like the writers are amusing themselves with insulting things they can say about Turin’s hair. Everybody laughs at the read through, but we have a good time joking about it,” he shares.
“They give me the gears and I take it. When I was kid, I loathed my red hair. My sister had it, too, but our parents didn’t. We were the rented children with red heads. There’s no incognito when you had red hair, so I hated it for the longest time. So, the fact that people like it is great. It’s revenge. I like it now.”
Killjoys airs Friday at 10 pm/9c on Syfy and Space Channel. The first nine episodes this season are online at both sites and on their apps. All of our Season 4 coverage is here.
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