Do you miss Firefly, Battlestar Galactica and just sci-fi programming in general?
Well fellow geeks, the Syfy channel is going back to its roots this summer (June 19 to be exact) with an original series called Killjoys. The show is about a trio of interplanetary bounty hunters in a system on the verge of war. I'll be honest, they had me at "space bounty hunters."
Killjoys star Aaron Ashmore and I had a chat recently where we discussed the character's relationships, whether or not there will be sex and romance on the show, their hi-tech spaceship Lucy and plenty more.
Check out our exclusive interview with one of the stars of Syfy's exciting new series Killjoys.
TV Fanatic: Let's start at the top. How did you first hear about the project? I understand show creator, Michelle Lovretta, used your picture for John Jaqobis in the show's Bible.
Aaron Ashmore: Yeah, I didn't know that until we were about half way done shooting the show. She mentioned that to me, and I thought oh I would've been a lot less nervous testing for the show, if I'd known that my face was the one you pictured when you were conceiving the character. At the same time, you always have to go in and prove yourself and all that. But it was flattering and kind of interesting to hear that fact.
Originally how the show came around to me was, I was shooting a movie in Toronto and I bumped into the casting director that had cast me in the feature film. We were just kind of chit-chatting and I asked him what he was doing, and he said he was starting to cast this new show called Killjoys. He explained to me that the people from Orphan Black were producing it and Michelle Lovretta, who had done Lost Girl (which I'd done a few episodes of) it was her new show. I thought that sounds like a neat show, but that was it.
Then, about maybe a month later, I got a call to come in and audition and it was just one scene. It was the opening of the show, the very first scene. And just in reading that scene, it was really action-packed, really funny and it set up these characters in a great way. I was intrigued right from that moment, so I went in and I read and I got a call back, then it went on from there. It wasn't like an offer, even though they had had me in mind. It was very much like a regular process of auditioning.
TVF: Were you the first actor cast?
AA: No, they cast the three of us. Luke Macfarlane, who plays my brother D'avin on the show, he and I went in, we did a test and were cast as the brothers, but they hadn't found their Dutch yet. I guess they then decided to read Hannah, and she just really really clicked for the role. So, they sort of mixed and matched us to make sure that we worked together. The heart of the show is those three characters, so they really wanted those dynamics to work.
TVF: Tonally, the show has been compared to Firefly, but from some of the images we've seen its got a kind of Blade Runner feel to it. Is it a fun show or are there darker elements to it?
AA: I think the comparison between Firefly and Killjoys is really the bounty hunters in space element. Firefly definitely had a bit more of a western style to it, in its aesthetics; which we don't have. Yeah we're a little bit more grimy and there is like a dark element to it that is like the Blade Runner thing. Our show definitely has a sense of humor, much like Firefly, I think that show had a great sense of humor and so do we, but we are a completely different show. I think the similarities are drawn on some of the basic facts of the show.
The great thing about our show is we walk a line of humor, action and there's some really good drama. There's some really sort of dark story elements that happen. And it never gets really like grim, heavy, and dragged down and stuff, but there's definitely some things that are quite dark and interesting that are happening in this world.
The writers have done such a fine job of keeping it really fast-paced and funny in moments and when it needs to get dark it does those things and I think it does it really well.
TVF: How serialized is the show or is it more of a procedural? Is there an overarching storyline that ties it all together?
AA: It does both, at the beginning were a little bit more on the procedural side because we're introducing you to this world and the jobs that we do. What's interesting is that there's very specific rules that we have to work in as bounty hunters. Which is really cool, but we have to introduce you guys all to those elements and also this world that we're working and living in.
But even from the beginning, we start introducing a more serialized arc and there's definitely something that runs throughout the whole show that towards the end climaxes. That's really the climax of the show, the serialized element. But every episode, we do have these warrants where we have to track these people down. So, there's an A to B storyline every episode, but throughout the season there's definitely something that ties it all together.
TVF: That sounds fantastic! The serialized stuff is what we geeks keep coming back for week after week to see how it all ties together.
AA: Yeah absolutely.
TVF: Speaking of the set of rules the Killjoys work by. Can you talk a bit about that?
AA: The basic rules for the Killjoys, and we work for an organization called The Rack, the basic thing is The Warrant Is All. So, we can break rules, we can do whatever we need to do to fulfill the warrant; that's the most important thing. And that doesn't mean that we just do terrible things all the time, but if we have to break in somewhere that might be illegal to break in just to fulfill the job, well then that's what we'll do. That's sort of the ethos of The Rack, and the Killjoys is The Warrant Is All. It's the most important thing to us and we will do what is necessary to get the job done.
TVF: What can you share as far as John's relationship with Dutch and his brother D'avin?
AA: When we start off, John and Dutch are working together as Killjoys. They're very successful, they're a very profitable team. Dutch is one of the baddest in the business and John is a great support and wingman for Dutch. They work incredibly well together. Then D'avin gets introduced back into John's life, and subsequently into Dutch's life, and it throws everything out of whack.
These two are estranged, and due to the circumstances D'avin's thrown into the mix. So what happens now with this team that was working so well? They've got this other guy that they have to deal with, and it kind of shakes everybody up. It shakes the team up and it's them trying to make this all work together which is maybe not so easy to make happen.
TVF: Will there be romance on the show? Because John and Dutch are strictly platonic right?
AA: Oh for sure, I think there will be some romance on the show; love elements for sure. I think as far as Dutch and John, and this is not coming from the writers, but from me, they have such a love for each other and such a respect for each other that where the show is now there's no romantic interest, but who knows if the show went for five seasons; you know? Maybe something would happen between them.
There's definitely romance that happens within the show, but I wouldn't say that that's the primary thing that's happening. There's some sex and sexy moments. There's some romance thrown in. You know every good show needs a little bit of that.
TVF: Let's talk about Lucy, the spaceship. She's your favorite bit of tech on the show, is that right?
AA: I'm a bit of a nerd myself, and I like the idea of being able to fly a spaceship. That's what my character gets to do [laughs]. But Lucy is also sort of the fourth character in the Killjoys, because she has artificial intelligence. She can communicate, she talks to us, we rely on her in so many ways and she's a character in every episode of the show.
So, it's kind of neat to have this element of the show, but the difficult thing is we didn't see all of her animated stuff, as far as the CG stuff. And also her voice was always read by an AD. So it's like some dude's voice reading it, but Lucy's a woman [laughs]. I'm really looking forward to seeing all those elements put together because she is such a huge part of the show that we didn't get to interact with fully like we get to interact with each other as actors. I think it's going to be really cool and Lucy's a big part of the show and a big part of the team.
TVF: Did you win her in a card game like Han Solo won the Millennium Falcon or something? Or was she always John's ship?
AA: No actually, and I don't think this is giving too much away, but it's actually Dutch's ship. Let's just say that Dutch and John met somehow because of Lucy; because of the ship in some scenario. In the first episode, all that stuff is explained. John is just such a tech guy and has such a fondness for the ship, and they interact so much that it sort of feels like his ship. Technically, the ship belongs to Dutch.
TVF: Looking back at these first 10 episodes. Did you have a favorite scene or episode you can talk about without giving too much away?
AA: Yeah I don't want to give too much away. I will say that my favorite scenes were the ones where the three of us were working together. You know, doing some sort of action scenario or infiltrating something. It's kind of fun, we all get to dress up in this slightly futuristic leather stuff when we go out on missions. Because a lot of the time you're in the ship and we're prepping for stuff or whatever. But when we actually get out on missions, we get to put all our gear on and get out there; it just feels really badass.
TVF: Aaron thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me about Killjoys. I'm super psyched about this show and can't wait to see it.
AA: I really hope that you enjoy the show when you see it. I think it's a great show and I feel very proud of it.
Killjoys Premieres Friday, June 19 at 9/8c on Syfy and Space (in Canada).