One of this season’s most intriguing arcs has been Khylen getting unseated by an ancient alien called The Lady while she’s walking around inside the body of a teenage girl. Played respectively by Rob Stewart and Alanna Bale (Cardinal), their scenes together have been a mesmerizing dance where we think we know who’s controlling the board until we find out that we don’t. During last summer’s press tour, Stewart and Bale sat down to chat about playing complicated villains.
Stewart has of course been on the show since the beginning. He joked that he’d given series creator Michelle Lovretta an ultimatum when they were casting The Lady and was thrilled with how it was answered. “[I said], ‘I don’t who you’re getting to play the Lady, but she better be the best damned actress in the country,'” he laughs.
“[Alanna’s] now the best damned actress in the country. “The first day [she was] on the set, all the writers came down. She has to intimidate [me]–the guy who was the bad guy. After the first take, they were blown away right away. She had more hoops of fire [than she knew] and she did it with grace.”
Bale hadn’t seen the show before she was cast and admits that she went with her gut in the audition, which was done with a few sides and no real context. “When I auditioned for the show, I hadn’t watched it. I don’t have cable TV and it wasn’t on Netflix and I know that’s an awful thing to say. I hadn’t seen the show,” she says.
“When I got the sides to audition, it was the night before. I had just the night to prepare, so I was just going to make some choices and try to figure out who the character is and go with it. I knew what I was doing, but I was sort of making up the plot from the prior seasons in my head. I guess it worked out well because I’m here right now.”
Bale echoes what we’ve heard again and again about how welcoming the Killjoys tribe is, and says that getting knocked down by a cold right out of the gate was actually strangely helpful for calming her nerves. “It’s pretty daunting to start on any show, let alone a show that has been running for four seasons and the cast has been together for years and years and years,” she explains.
“I was nervous but everyone was super welcoming. They’re used to having characters come in and out all the time. It’s daunting to come in, especially on the very last season. After the first-day jitters were gone, everyone becomes a family and you forget you’re new.”
“I was super super sick the first week of filming so I was trying to contain myself and all my energy was expelled trying not to cough or snot in people’s mouths. There was no forethought to be nervous because I was a little delusional.”
Both actors approach their characters through a lens that’s a bit of “doing the wrong things for the right reasons,” and nailing down that tone requires playing the roles from an honest place. For Bale, that means playing an ancient being trying to rage through her own mania while trapped in a body surging with adolescent, human hormones.
“When you distill it and take away all the creepy, alien, sci-fi layers, in my mind, she is this being whose angle is to survive and provide a place for her offspring and the things that she loves to survive,” explains Bale.
“Her goal is pure and I can understand why people perceive her as evil, of course, In order for me to wrap my head around how she goes about getting what she wants, it has to come from a place of genuine love for these beings. I acknowledge that she’s evil, but her intentions while I’m playing her are pure.”
Stewart says he didn’t have much of a bead on Khylen when he started, but he has been thrilled to see the characterization he imagined and the love he imbued in playing him made manifest in the later seasons. “It’s been an absolute joy. We don’t get told much in advance [so] I didn’t know [in] the first episode of Season 1 who he was, but he seemed pretty evil,” he recalls.
“It’s like Alanna said about [working from a place of] love. So I focused on Dutch, and I just guessed, and I played love even though I was doing bad things and didn’t know why or how it would play out. All the things we posit in our own imagination, to love our own characters…it’s been so amazing over five seasons that the writers have played out those guesses and that feeling.”
“I was able to play that subtext and now that’s on the screen. Now I get to explore it more fully. I used to hide it and just have glimpses where I’d show love. Now I can play it fully, all those things I imagined. It’s a gift.”
Once she was on the show, Bale started catching up on episodes and joined Stewart in becoming an unabashed fan. “I’m constantly asking [Rob] questions and trying to grasp some of the situations the characters have been in. I can now say I’m a huge fan of the show,” she shares. “To be watching this show and enjoy it and see it from the outsider’s perspective is super special, and I’m super thankful to be on the show.”
“When we first get [each script], we get that first literary thing like reading a novel and then we get to put it on its feet and see it a year later and [are] a fan again,” says Stewart. “The crew itself…I’ve never had an energy like that. Everyone from the floor [all the way through the crew]…these are our friends and family. That’s very comforting.”
“The cast itself, they’re the most warm, loving people. We see each other socially, We hug when we go in the makeup trailer. That’s a huge thing and that’s not always the case. That makes it a joy. In terms of being a fan, that’s on the editors, writers, and the actors, who are brilliant. That’s what makes us fans.”
“We love watching it even when we’re not in it. Normally when we’re an actor, we watch for our scenes. It’s just damn good. I think it’s very rare. From the first season through to the [last one, it’s] gotten exponentially better. I just love the show.”
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 seven Season 5 episodes on demand on the Space Go app and Syfy app and website.
Photos Courtesy of Space Channel and Syfy.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Dennis Heaton Talks The Imperfects
Longtime readers at TV Goodness will know that Motive is one of my ride-or-die series, and as such, I am fiercely loyal to its creator, Dennis Heaton. He followed up that fantastic reverse procedural with Netflix’s The Order and is back on our streaming screens with The Imperfects, which dropped…
Kelly McCormack Talks Favorite Moments in A League of Their Own
[Warning: Mild spoilers for season 1.] Now that you’ve had a chance to watch A League of Their Own, here’s the rest of my chat with Kelly McCormack about her favorite moments of the season. Seeing the iconic Peaches uniforms for the first time wasn’t just a goosebump moment for…
John Griffin and Harold Perrineau Talk From on EPIX Season 1 Finale
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] How are we doing, #FROMily? In case you missed it this morning, the very good news is that that cliffhanger will be followed by a second season, which was gifted this morning ahead of the linear broadcast of the finale. I always legitimately appreciate when we…
Elizabeth Saunders Talks EPIX’s From
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] One of the things that makes EPIX’s From such a fun ride is the abundance of Canadian cast members. Elizabeth Saunders, who plays Donna, is a favorite from her turn on the third season of Mary Kills People [streaming on Global TV in Canada and Roku…
Corteon Moore Talks From “Broken Windows, Open Doors”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight’s episode of From had us all in our feels as we learned through flashbacks about the Sophie’s Choice Boyd had to make to save his son, and back in the present as Boyd said his piece with Ellis before heading into the woods with…
Pegah Ghafoori Talks From “All Good Things…”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode] Tonight on From, Fatima’s anniversary celebration turned into a Colony House of horrors when a misguided Kevin let his monster bae in and she promptly killed him and left the window open for her crew. While the party devolved into terror and sent everyone running,…
Shaun Majumder Talks From “Book 74”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight on EPIX’s From, Father Khatri made a bold move, kidnapping Sara instead of turning her in, and then recognizing her as a vessel for some big messages. That startling realization speaks to him on multiple levels–as a man of faith, a man trapped in…
Avery Konrad Talks About Sara’s Struggle in From “Silhouettes”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Over the course of the season so far on From, we’ve witnessed Sara’s battle against the voices telling her to to do terrible things, and tonight we saw her unravel further, threatening the Matthews and lashing out in a moment of terror with horrifying results….
Hannah Cheramy Talks From “Choosing Day”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight, on EPIX’s From, the Matthews participate in the show’s version of the sorting hat, choosing where to call home–the town or Colony House. At the end of the episode, Julie makes the decision to split from her family and instead settle in with Fatima…
Ricky He Talks From “The Way Things Are Now”
[Warning: Spoilers for episode 102 of EPIX’s From.] Epix’s new series From is two episodes in and it’s already laying the groundwork for a seriously spooky season. Tonight’s episode demonstrated the careful balance of relief and horror that the show hits, with our characters’ worst fears realized, just not when…
What They Said: Three Revealing Conversations from Survivor’s Remorse “Closure”
WARNING: Spoilers for Survivor’s Remorse “Closure” The latest episode of Starz’s Survivor’s Remorse featured conversations that showed characters really digging deep into their thoughts, emotions and motivations.
Two Takes: The Catch “The Knock-Off”
Who can you trust? If this episode of The Catch was any indication, the answer is just about nobody. Betrayal was running rampant as Felicity (Shivani Ghai) arose from the dead to seduce-con Margot, Gretchen (Maria Thayer, Gotham, The Mindy Project) played gold-hearted Alice 2.0 before swindling Ethan, Tessa jumped…
What They Said: Top 3 Quotable Moments from Preacher “El Valero”
Both Quincannon and Jesse refuse to give up on what they each think is rightfully theirs. While Jesse is struggling to face the consequences of his actions, Quincannon has laid his past demons to rest and is hellbent on moving forward and putting Annville on the map again. Despite a…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Supergirl “Worlds Finest”
Oh, Supergirl. That ending was cold. But I can’t hate on you because the latest episode has quickly become one of my favorites.
What They Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Black Sails “XXIII”
The dialogue in “XXIII” is phenomenal. It’s always a fun ride when Black Sails carries its viewers along without giving them the chance to catch their breath. When an episode moves at this unforgiving pace, there is no chance for a breather nor is there a respite from the information…
What Lucifer Said: Favorite quotes from Supernatural “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
Supernatural episodes are almost always funny but thanks to the dialogue and a certain man speaking said dialogue, I laughed a lot during “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” You know, when I wasn’t busy fearing for Sam’s life or wondering what in the world was going on with Dean and…
What They Said: The Flash, “Legends Of Today” and Arrow, “Legends Of Yesterday”
Two nights of Arrow +Â The Flash = what more could we ask for?! I don’t know what it is about blending these shows, but I canâ€™t help but feel that every time they come together, they somehow become greater than the sum of their parts. And thatâ€™s saying a lot…
What they Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Graceland “Little Bo Bleep”
Shoot outs. Fake outs. And long-awaited revelations. “Little Bo Bleep” was a jam-packed episode that wrapped up some loose ends and totally frayed others. Â It finally gave us one Sarkissian in jail and pulled back the curtain on Briggs’ master plan, but it also set up Jakes for a world…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Poldark “Part 4”
â€œWhat have I told you, I don’t require my wife to crochet and sip tea, but I do require her to remember she’s not a beast of burden.â€ No, Iâ€™m not talking about The Rolling Stones! I have to admit though, just for a second, the lyrics popped into my…
3 Moments of Goodness from Brooklyn Nine-Nine “Johnny and Dora”
The most satisfying part of this season’s finale has to the Jake and Amy kiss. Well, they kiss three times but the last one is the best one — and it means something. The Charles and Rosa dynamic was also great. I love how she’s convinced he doesn’t know anything…