One of the many things we love about Killjoys is the way the show has seamlessly expanded its cast roster across five seasons, and not always in the most linear way. Case in point: Delle Seyah Kendry.
She arrived in the series as an entitled, arrogant foil to Dutch, then was revealed to be a murderess, was turned Hullen, fell in love with Dutch’s doppelganger, Aneela, and bore a child seeded by the brother of the man who’s true love she killed and was made human in the process–and she managed to avoid the mindwipe of the memory matrix. It’s been A LOT. And with every twist and turn and evolution, Mayko Nguyen has kicked absolute ass.
This season, she’s been a fierce, albeit begrudging, mama bear, and then had the love of her life returned to her amidst a mixed bag of emotions. Nguyen is currently filming Season 2 of Canadian series Hudson & Rex in Newfoundland, and we jumped on the phone this morning to talk all things Delle Seyah.
Looking back across the series’ run, Nguyen has been as surprised as anyone by both her character’s longevity and growth. “Delle Seyah has been such a surprise for me, the actor. I never had any idea. I assumed the first season [would be it]. I feel like by Season 5, she has really evolved. She’s grown up a bit and that surprises me because in Season 1, I never would have thought of her as needing to grow up,” she shares.
“To get the scripts and see where the writers were taking her was always really exciting. I’ve been very grateful because I got pregnant on the show and you’re immediately like, ‘Oh God, what’s going to happen…?’ They were so amazing to keep the pregnancy and use it and create this really exciting arc for her. She gets to go places I never would have anticipated she’d get to go.”
One of the funniest moments of Season 4 is a super brief scene in when Delle Seyah recalls her time trapped with the Jaqobis and hilarity ensued. Nguyen says that was mostly improvised and they had a blast doing it. “We have these dynamics as the characters and these dynamics and rapport as the actors so that was fun,” she explains. “I think there were a couple of lines and then the director told us he was just going to roll and we did whatever we felt like.”
Last season, when Delle Seyah gave birth to Jaq, she forefeited her Hullenization and became human again, and a human mother, compounding an already complex situation. “What was interesting for Delle Seyah is that she’s not an emotional person, so to have all this change and upset in her life and all of it is so foreign and new, [she has] to titrate those feelings a bit because she’s not somebody who is familiar with that kind of deep [affection],” she explains.
“I don’t think she understands love. I think that season with Aneela threw her because that kind of deep, real, true love wasn’t something [she’d experienced] and you throw in this boy and she has no idea what it is be a mother or what that should feel like.”
“It was interesting to play the emotional stuff because I felt like it had to be confusing for her. It had to be an element of her just working it out. Sometimes I feel that in my own life. It’s not clear why I’m feeling what I’m feeling. It’s that thing of having strong feelings and not comprehending what it means.”
“The idea of investing in Jaq and being invested in a child is very scary for her. The reconciling of that emotion and she’s now tethered to this boy is something she has to figure out somehow. Not necessarily consciously, either, because she’s not an emotional person. There’s a bit of a filter on some of that as well.”
Nguyen loved getting to channel her inner Nikita and Xena this season, and says stunt coordinator Alicia Turner made sure it all came together. “[It was] so much fun [and] a bit nerve-wracking. I don’t normally do stunts and on this show, the fight sequences can be so elaborate and so well played out and being new to that I didn’t want to screw it up,” she admits.
“I didn’t have to do anything too crazy. Alicia was really great in terms of accommodating what my capabilities were and working with that and making me feel at ease with whatever I had to do. [Delle Seyah] characteristically has this psychological power to her. [As for] a physical power, she’s not embodied in that way until Season 5 and that was a lot of fun [to do].”
When Aneela emerges from the cube, it’s not smooth sailing for the couple. “[Delle Seyah] is not vulnerable very much, so anytime you get to see that side of her, or I get to play that side of her, is really great—where she’s a bit off-tilt. I found it really fascinating, this idea that being human was lesser than, that, ‘You’re Hullen, I’m human,” could create distance between us,” she shares. “It was a really interesting idea that now that Aneela is back, there could be conflict. It’s not just, ‘OK, let’s go. We’re in love [and everything is fine].’ There was a little bit of stickiness between us.”
Nguyen particularly enjoyed Delle Seyah’s version of “I’m not going to be ignored!” “The idea of playing with getting to be over the top [was terrific]. She’s generally quite contained. To get to the point she loses it a bit and is frustrated and insecure and feeling so much it culminates in her picking up mushrooms and throwing them at [Aneela] seems so silly and infantile,” she says.
“That was a lot of fun. I’m always surprised by what comes out of Delle Seyah. There are things I can make choices about and then there are things that are just, ‘Oh…!’ How she’s become, and I didn’t make a decision to make her that way, but through the writing and instinctively what happens with me on camera, that’s just what happens. That stuff is always fun for an actor. Your actually are surprised by the characters and it’s fun to not have complete control over what you’re doing as a character.”
And then of course the conversation turns into their brand of foreplay. Nguyen says she got a kick out of the way Hannah John-Kamen delivered those lines. “I distinctly remember [it]. Aneela is so deadpan,” she says. “Hannah did such a great job with her. Aneela is so peculiar. I find her jokes so funny.”
Nguyen is currently at work on the CityTV series Hudson & Rex that Killjoys writers Julian Doucet and Vivian Lin are also working on. As of yet, it’s not airing in the U.S. She says it was quite the switch from Delle Seyah. “It’s a procedural but it’s also very family friendly. There’s nothing dark or gritty about it,” she points out. “It’s just a lighthearted, feel-good kind of fun. It’s definitely switching gears for sure.”
After five seasons, Nguyen is immensely grateful that the role came her way. She hasn’t yet said goodbye to it. “I have her close to me because she’s not a character I’ve ever gotten to play. Nothing I’ve ever played has come close to that,” she shares.
“I’m holding off watching [Season 5]. When I sit down, I’m going to do it all in one go. I started Hudson & Rex immediately after Killjoys. I wrapped before everyone else and came up to St. John’s, so it’s been quite busy. I haven’t had the chance to really think about Killjoys and it’ll be really nice when I have a bit of downtime to do that and say goodbye to it.”
Killjoys airs Fridays at 10 pm/9c on Space Channel and Syfy. All of our Killjoys coverage is here. You can catch all four seasons and the first six Season 5 episodes on demand on the Space Go app and Syfy app and website.
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