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An Interview with Killjoys’ Hannah John-Kamen, Aaron Ashmore, and Luke Macfarlane – Discussing Season Two

Photo Credit: NBCUniversal
Photo Credit: NBCUniversal

Flying back to our screens on Friday, July 1, is everyone’s favorite trio of intergalactic bounty hunters. Featuring Hannah John-Kamen as Dutch, Aaron Ashmore as Johnny Jaqobis, and Luke Macfarlane as D’avin Jaqobis, “Killjoys” shot its way into our nerdy, sci-fi loving hearts with action-packed fight scenes and quick wit and Thom Allison’s Pree among a number of other amazing supporting cast. Renewed for a second season last year, we’re blessed with getting to see that season start-up on Friday. I was honored to be asked to attend a press conference where the main cast took questions regarding the upcoming Season Two and did their best to answer your burning questions without giving too much away. This is what they had to say.

What can you tease about Level 6?

Luke Macfarlane: I think what we can tease is that we learn a lot more about what a Level 6 is. And that it’s not as simple and it’s not as good and evil as we originally thought. I’ll also tease by saying it’s what makes the Level 6 that becomes a big story point, the actual physical sort of makeup of a Level 6, that becomes a big clear point.

Can you tease some upcoming moments that fans can look forward to?

Hannah John-Kamen: Well, definitely I think this season, what fans need to expect is the world is a lot bigger. And we just discovered Arkyn and with that comes really, really awesome new and exciting characters.

Aaron Ashmore: Yes. I think a huge part of this season is — yes, obviously, new characters. But also really expanding on some of our supporting characters, which I think is awesome. Pawter, and Alvis, and Pree are three that we really, really sort of get to see more background. We really interact with them sort of in our mission and stuff. That’s a pretty exciting aspect of the show moving forward, exploring these other characters that I think are really interesting.

Season One seemed to revolve thematically around finding your family. Is there a certain theme for Season Two?

Aaron Ashmore: Holding your family together. (laughs). I definitely think the circumstances that are happening in the Quad are sort of tearing it apart. On some level – even though we explore that the team is being pulled apart in the first season and this world is being torn apart, we really continue with that and what’s that going to look like and how our team is going to stick together through all these insane things.

Luke Macfarlane: Yes, that’s right. I think we learned a lot last year, you know, what it means to kind of love each other. Now, we sort of know that we have loved each other, so it’s now what we can bear, how much weight we can take on, how much responsibility, how much we can understand each other and what everybody needs as individuals, etc. We challenge each other a lot, the three of us this year.

As far as filming Season Two, how different did it feel for you all compared to Season One?

Luke Macfarlane: I am going to answer this question right off the bat. I just want to say, it’s wonderful…. We had a really, really tough time in our studio this year. So I’m just going to [start] with that. We have incredible audio people. One of the really challenging things this year was our studio space was really loud, literally. (laughs). We had to hold a lot of roles. We could hear compressors, and saws and drills through the wall. So this year was, it was snowing and it was cold and it was a winter. The first season was in a summer. So it changed, I think in a really good way, the outdoor experience of the show, because all of a sudden the world that we’re in is cold and rainy and wet and snowy, whereas the first season it was green….So that I think that’s two very distinct things that changed the filming experience this year versus the [first].

Aaron Ashmore: I think something that was sort of different for me, or I found different is, the first season we were all getting to know each other. It was totally brand-new, this world, these characters, and even like our relationships with each other. This season, we were sort of past that. We already knew each other now, we were friends. I think that in a lot of ways it was even more fun in the second season because all that getting-to-know you stuff was sort of out of the way. We are already friends, like from day one of the second season when we jumped in. So I find it to be a lot of fun. And yes, even more fun than we had during the first season.

Hannah John-Kamen: I think for me what was different this season was actually kind of story-wise, without giving too much away is, I remember last year working a lot with Aaron and Luke and with Nora. But then this season I know that there’s just — working with different people for a long period of time, because of the way the story goes. So yes, Iwon’t say who and what and when but definitely that was different to me.

Will we get to spend more time delving into each character’s pasts this season?

Hannah John-Kamen: Definitely, this season is — we went a lot together last season. This season we will be doing our own thing actually. Dutch was absolutely — we’ll be seeing so much more of her past come to life and that’s the real battle that Dutch has with herself and a struggle with what’s good and what’s evil and — yes. I mean, definitely you will be seeing so much more of Dutch’s past.

Aaron Ashmore: Yes. There’s always going to be character development with the three of us. That will just be what it is. But again, there — we need to sort of develop the world bigger and these other characters. So there’s definitely a lot of that as well. As Hannah was saying, Dutch is our main girl, right? Dutch is our — the focus and the focal point and what sort of brings all of these characters together. So yes, we definitely get a lot of really cool — really, really cool back-story and layering with Dutch, which I think people are really, really going to find it interesting.

Luke Macfarlane: Yes. In the classic second season of the show, we meet the characters, we understand the way they function, how they operate, and the second we make the world bigger. We’ve done that for sure in the second season.

There are some great fight scenes on the show and what we’d like to know is what learning the choreography is like for that?

Aaron Ashmore: I learned none. (laughs). 

Luke Macfarlane: Oh my gosh.

Aaron Ashmore: And Hannah learned none.

Hannah John-Kamen: I learned a lot. Well, to be honest, like when it got — it’s a bit crazy actually kind of learning the fight. And luckily, it’s quite natural to me. There’s so many cool, awesome badass fights that happen this season. There’s actually the first girl-on-girl fight this season as well….

Aaron Ashmore: Oh, tell me more.

Hannah John-Kamen: I do remember fighting outside and it was in the snow. And I didn’t know my fight yet. I remember I had light and the camera rolling, like, “Right, Hannah. You do like left, kick, turn around.” I was like a damn. And then yes, the fight kind of happened. So it’s pretty…

Aaron Ashmore: Miraculously, this is an amazing thing…

Hannah John-Kamen: It miraculously happened. So yes — it was really fun, actually, it’s really — it was a challenge. But you know, when you achieve it, it was cool.

Luke Macfarlane: I think Hannah is a little modest in a sense that I think something that the writers and the producers discovered this year was like, “Actually Hannah has a real gift for the fight choreography. She picks up really quickly.” They asked a lot of her and she always delivers. Honestly, this year she has longer, more badass fight. It’s really been impressive.

Hannah John-Kamen: Luke is really good.

Luke Macfarlane: So I’m like the grunter and the muzzle. There is this one episode where I have to do something quite balladic for reasons that would be revealed later. I had this very complicated like stick thing that I have to clean and spin and twist and do it very elaborately. There was a group of reel of about, you know, 50 takes of me just going look, “Oh God! I can’t.” “Oh my God!” (…) Then when I actually saw the thing get together, I look like I know what I’m doing. But just rest assured, I really don’t know what I’m doing. And that’s like our kind of thing. (laughs).

What is harder for you to do, the physical aspect of the show or dealing with the green screen and working against nothing?

Aaron Ashmore: We actually don’t do a ton of green screen work to be honest with you. I’m trying to think when we and Lucy obviously looking at the cockpit and stuff, there are some green screen shots. But it’s not — we don’t do over-the-top stuff. They do a really good job of building sets and going to locate some of the stuff so that we’re…

Hannah John-Kamen: On location, yes.

Aaron Ashmore: So — I mean, obviously, there’s green screen stuff that has to be done. But not as much as you may think being that we’re, you know, set in a galaxy far, far away.

Luke Macfarlane: What was also interesting too, because the effects artists are so gifted like, I was actually just looking at something today, and something levitating very close to me and my eyes were tracking it. Because they do their work so well, it looks like my eyes are actually tracking this whole thing that wasn’t there. So like a lot of it, the success of it has to do with the work that they do afterwards, honestly. But the physical stuff, I actually always find really quite enjoyable myself. It’s a very different party here, the brain, the body. You don’t have to think as much as disturbed reactant. I always find the struggle is just to get this much out of my head as possible. So I really like the physical stuff a lot, personally.

Hannah John-Kamen: Yes, I love the physical stuff. The physical stuff is amazing. But yes, I agree with Aaron and Luke that the effects are amazing. But we haven’t like a massive ton of it. But when we do, when we’re in the space, it was actually, it was really fun. It kinds of brings back like you’re a kid again, like just hanging, just using your imagination. So yes, I like it.

Aaron Ashmore: And the directors do a great job of sort of explaining to you what it’s going to look like and what’s going to happen. It’s not like they just leave you to hang out there and have no idea. They definitely fill you in and — yes, like Hannah was saying, you just use your imagination. We sort of do that all the time anyways in our jobs. So yes, it’s fun.

If Johnny was the parent of a child in the Killjoys world, what would be the biggest thing you would be afraid of for them?

Aaron Ashmore: Have you seen the Quad? It’s a terrible, terrible place. Everything (or maybe) — we’re surrounded by assassins and civil war and everything. Lucy is not baby-friendly. Yes, we have laser guns all over the place so we would have to seriously baby-proof Lucy. I think there’d be a lot to be afraid of. But I also think that Johnny would (risk) some really fun little toys and stuff like that for his baby with his little – he put little things together and have the baby well pacified while they are out on missions. Or he could build some cool little armor structure that he could like mount the baby on its chest and go like some sort of a warrior father or something, I don’t know. It would be fun, I think. I think it would be fun to see Johnny do that.

In Season One there were a lot of self-contained episodes that seemed to, by the end, kind of tie together very nicely. Can we expect to see that same kind of flavor in Season Two?

Aaron Ashmore: Well there’s definitely warrant-based episodes in Season 2 but I think that now that we sort of locked into a bigger story, and there’s the sort of bigger mystery about what’s going on, obviously, that’s what sort of driving the second season. I think it sort of much like the first where — the first couple episodes, we definitely have some more warrant-based things happening. But it really does sort of ramp up again like the first season, I would say. That was my sort of take on it.

Hannah John-Kamen: I think as well. What — because things this season will be revealed. You’ll kind of forget about them until you actually find out the bigger meaning behind it in like a later episode. So yes, it does tie together. But in between that, there will be a warrant-based episodes. And what we find on the warrant actually will play much bigger later on. And that kind of — yes, it all does tie into a little bit more like that this season, I find.

What would you guys attribute to the show’s ability to pull fans in and keep them coming back week after week?

Aaron Ashmore: I definitely think it’s the characters that sort of draw everybody in. Because I think the sci-fi stuffs is amazing. And if you’re tuning into sci-fi, that’s good looking. You want that sort of futuristic or sort of not quite reality. But I think if the characters in the story line and the dynamics between them aren’t interesting, you’re not going to get a loyal fan. People aren’t really going to be drawing in. I think that what the writers and Michelle did really well, is creating a dynamic between these three characters and all are supporting characters that’s really dynamic and interesting to watch. It’s not just the action that keeps people coming in. I really think it’s the characters. As like an actor, it’s like, I love these characters. I love all of them. I don’t just love the character that I play, I love all of them. I think that they’re all so interesting and well-rounded, and all sorts of different colors of them. I think that that’s what people respond to, that’s what people watching the show respond to as well.

Hannah John-Kamen: They kind of go against the grain as well. Like especially with Dutch and Johnny’s friendship, platonic friendship, is you don’t really see that in shows. When there’s kind of two guys, one girl, it’s kind of inevitably always like a love triangle, or like Dutch and D’Avin, trying to find a way back to being friends again. I don’t know it’s kind of this complex thing between the characters, I think, as well. I’ve seen a massive response from that as well.

Luke Macfarlane: Yes. I think what brings people back is that they sort of want to know these people and be part of their — be part of their little community.

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