Wynonna Earp follows the life and trials of the great-great granddaughters of the Western icon and renowned gunslinger Wyatt Earp. With a supernatural twist the Earp women of aptly named small town Purgatory have the daunting task of putting down the folks their grandpappy killed who’ve come back at demons – or “revenants” – and wreak havoc and terror on the citizens of the town.
Melanie Scrofano plays the lead character and namesake of the show, which starts its second season premiering June 9th at 10 pm on Space. Like the character she portrays, Scrofano shoots from the hip, has a healthy sense of humour, and calls it like it is.
When Dork Shelf sat down with Scrofano and I lead with our trademark question: “What’s on your Dork Shelf?” She’s quick to the draw, “Oh, I’m into The Crown right now. And My Dad Wrote A Porno… That’s not a fact, that’s a podcast.”
“Right. You mean your father didn’t write up a porn,” I reply. “Well I dunno maybe he did,” she laughs.
Paternal pornography aside, it’s actually Melanie who has been the Scrofano author these days. She collaborated with Beau Smith, author of the comic book on which the series is based. “We co-wrote two together and it was the scar-i-est because I don’t read comic books so, um, I really had no idea what I was getting myself into and, um, you know because the fan base goes back to the mid nineties. There were a lot of people to disappoint.”
Despite the pressure, Scrofano rose to the challenge, “ [It’s] super scary but also so cool and you don’t say no to something like that.”
The actor is admittedly not an avid comic book reader herself, but after stepping into the world of portraying a character ripped from the pages of comic books and also authoring some stories, the acquisition of the books themselves has become something of a fetish, “I definitely started collecting them. I just haven’t started reading them because I’ve been writing more and so, I just have to… It’s sort of overwhelming because everybody knows so much about them so when you start, well where do I start? Can I get the first issue, can somebody get me that one of Batman?”
“I’m in over my head, but if anyone has any guidance, please send it my way.”
Slinging Out Season Two
Wynonna Earp’s first season was filmed and released in its entirety giving the cast the unique ability to exist in a kind of bubble whilst filming on location in Calgary. But the show has garnered a lot of popularity and I ask Scrofano how she looks at going back to work on a show that means so much to its fans.
“… [W]e’ve now all grown and we’re now all twenty percent more dick heads. It’s in our contracts, we get to be 20% worse each season,” she quips.
“I feel like the expectations were so high that, um, it was just a constant struggle to just… not show up, at work. ‘Cause I, I was like, ah man now you’ve set a bar and you certainly don’t wanna go below it.”
Her lips are sealed about the happenings of season two, but I ask how she’s grown as a performer through the second season, “I think there was one, example that, of course I can’t get into. Where we just see Wynonna, um, like, to the thousandth degree, she just really, um, I got the chance to play her, uh, like unfiltered, and that was really cool ‘cause you get to sort of explore a person without, um—”
She stops herself looking up at me. “I feel like I’m really monotone”
Affecting a chipper voice, she continues, “You get to really explore a person!”
“You get to explore what a person would be like without boundaries, which is a cool acting exercise and I think I grew from that for sure. The rest I can’t tell you, ‘cause it attached to other things that I can’t say.”
Okay, okay we’ll all just have to wait and see.
“But let’s talk about it again sometime,” she says with an assuring smile.
Then And Now
From ComiCon to Twitter fans of Wynonna Earp have expressed their love of the Supernatural Western. I ask Scrofano what’s the most notable cosplay or fan interaction. She takes a moment to consider, her hand poised over her coffee cup.
“Can’t we edit out long pauses?”
“I was just pausing before I answer.”
Scrofano’s worries about her interview performance seem to dissipate after this and she admits a hilarious story of mistaken assumed identity, “There’s been a lot of cosplay, not as much of Wynonna. Often, I’ll be like, ‘Hey that’s a cool Wynonna’ and they’ll be like ‘C-Cool, I’m Sara Manning from Orphan Black’ … Oh yeah me too.”
We laugh, “That happens more than I care to admit.”
“There’s actually a lot of great cosplay… There was one boy we kept seeing around ComiCon dressed as [villain] Bobo Del Ray. And he was just the sweetest kid. He came with his whole family […] That was really touching, like we matter to you—as a family!”
Of Monsters and Women
Monsters have always been a fodder and fascination for fiction, and I ask Scrofano her feelings on what makes the slaying of these demons so appealing.
She reflects on her character’s journey and the struggle between good and evil concluding the show, “gives a sense of power when we otherwise feel powerless. How often have you just walked down the street and been like, aw if I had a knife! I haven’t done that, but you probably have.”
“It’s that sense of… when we just feel so small sometimes. That’s how I feel like when I play Wynonna, like I would never do this in real life. I would RUN. But it gives me a sense of power and a sense of-of control of my environment I think. And as sense of justice because a lot of the times I think we just don’t have that, especially now in the world. I think it’s so, PROFOUND what I just said.”
“That’ll be the pull quote.”
“Yes, pull quote. PULL THIS!”
“Yeah no, everything’s so, there is no sense of justice right now in a lot of ways I think we’re all experiencing that and I think sometimes when you just go like, um, these stories just let you feel like, ‘What would it be like if I could just make things right?’”
I ask how working in Calgary was for the Ottawa born actress, “I love that everybody has a leather worker. Everybody has their leather guy. If you have something that needs to be fixed, they’ll just be like, ‘Who’s your leather guy?”
“It’s just surreal, it’s just a different world and everybody does the rodeo. Somebody in your family is in the rodeo. It’s just like, nothing I’ve ever experienced befor . But it really does having, and on your crew, um people are in that world, and so you can very quickly see what that world is like as an actor. Oh that’s where I am, okay!”
“And so it’s a very immediate—whereas if we were shooting in Toronto or something I’d have to pull a lot deeper to feel like I was in that space.”
My final question is another attempt to get some details about season two. I ask for a single work to describe how Wynonna changes from Season 1 to 2, or perhaps a colour? Animal?
“It would like be a bear, but like with the tail of a mouse and but also the back legs of the mouse. So it’s just like, ‘Scurry! Scurry! Scurry!’ But then the front looks all tough.”
“That’s actually another profound thing I just said,” she smiles.
“That’s a great answer.”
“Somebody should write this down,” she looks around the room.
“I think somebody’s recording it,” I motion to the tape recorder.
That’s right folks, we did record this interview and you can check out the full audio here, wherein Scrofano and I talk the power of sisterhood, sexuality as a drug, and women in Westerns.
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