Interview with ‘Rookie Blue’s Erin Karpluk
Erin Karpluk, of Being Erica fame, has arrived at Rookie Blue’s 15 division to stir up trouble — and a little romance. Read on to hear about Erin’s experience on set as well as her other upcoming project, Riftworld: Chronicles.
You’ve had what I would think is a challenging experience of coming into an ensemble cast 5 seasons in. Was that difficult? What was the process like getting adjusted to being part of a cast who has been working together for 5 years?
That’s such a good question and there can be times where it can be like a machine that’s already in motion and well-oiled and you have to just jump on and do your best and not wreck things, so it can be stressful. But I’ve been lucky to have really positive experiences, which is especially true with Rookie Blue. I took the job because I was on a show called Saving Hope before with the same directors and the exact same crew. I can always tell how fun a show is going to be to work on based on how the crew interacts, and they were so much fun. So when they asked if I was interested in doing Rookie Blue I said absolutely. And honestly, after six years, everyone sorta belongs, there’s no ego there’s no drama. I think that’s a testament to Missy [Peregrym] and to Ben [Bass] for leading such an amazing ensemble cast. Everyone has so much fun. A lot of the girls down here, we hang out. Charlotte [Sullivan] just had a baby so she’s in Toronto, but otherwise we all went to an awards show together last week, we’re gonna go watch Magic Mike tomorrow night. So we all hang out. Everyone is super supportive, at the first table read there were probably 40 people there, it was a little overwhelming, and Priscilla [Faia] came over and gave me a big hug. Missy and I had met before and she said ‘we’re so excited to have you on the show.’ So once that pressure’s off you can actually have fun and do good work. So I was really grateful. And also Peter Mooney and I had a lovely reunion because we worked together before on Being Erica. I did my majority of my scenes with him which was such a treat. He is honestly one of the nicest people I’ve ever worked with. Super professional, super funny. When we were shooting I was training for a triathlon, sometimes we’d run home from set together. He’s just been really supportive. And he’s not too hard on the eyes.
Ha! It’s true. I was literally going to use those exact words to describe him! What would you say was the best part of working on Rookie Blue?
Would it be redundant if I just said the people? And I don’t want it to sound…but I mean honestly they’re just such great people. We would rent cabins on the weekends together and go water skiing. And as a side note, I take jobs for a number of different reasons. What is the story like? What is the character like? Where am I going to be shooting it? Who am I going to be shooting it with? Does it pay me enough that I can cover my bills? This checked off everything. It was great. I love shooting in Toronto, I love summer in Toronto. Notice I said summer, not winter. And also, I wasn’t familiar with Rookie Blue but I’d never played a police officer before. So that definitely stood out to me and I was able to have an amazing experience getting trained by police officers.
What kind of physical training or mental preparation did you have to go through to prepare to play Juliet?
When I arrived, a lot of the cast had obviously already had their police training so I said I’d really like to get that. They brought in this husband and wife team and they spent seven hours with me and we went through everything from stance to, I mean the majority of it was really gun control, how to hold a gun, how to take a gun out. You know what the hardest thing is? Handcuffing. It is very, very hard to get those suckers out and get them on. If you watch the show there are very few scenes where you actually see someone handcuffed, the usually cut away. [Laughs] A little behind the scenes for you. Also, I was able to do a ride along with the main division in Toronto downtown. They were incredible, and I got to be at the station and see all the behind the scenes things and then I got to ride along with the Staff Sergeant during that time there was a bank robbery and there was also a report of a TTC officer being held up with a gun…an emergency task force came in…I couldn’t have asked for a more exciting experience. I was completely blown away cause…we have an idea of what it means to be a police officer but from my little experience of “being in his shoes,” I didn’t do any dirty work, I just wore a bulletproof vest and stayed in the car when everything happened but I just have so much respect for them. They get a lot of flack but I’m so grateful that we have them watching our back. It’s so hard because you never know what you’re coming into on any particular day, on any particular call. It was really eye-opening for me and I was so grateful for the experience and also grateful that I’m only an actor doing it, ya know?
What would you say is the most challenging part of the role for you?
Hmmm, that’s a good question. I don’t know I feel so weird saying ‘oh it was easy,’ but you know I’m a new cop coming onto the show that everyone’s kinda keeping their eye on and I’m a new actor coming onto this show and it’s not like they were keeping an eye on me, but I can kinda use that, so there’s a lot of things that naturally work for me. There is one episode where my character all of a sudden becomes this geek web expert and I have to give these chunks of dialogue that are all very technical and computer based. That was tricky. I just had a bunch of jargon to say. That was one of the harder days. Other than that, it was just a lot of fun.
In this country we’re obviously a few episodes behind what’s aired in Canada, so we don’t really know what’s going on with Juliet. We know you’re keeping some kind of secret. Is there anything you can tell me about what’s coming up with Juliet without giving too much away?
Honestly, it’s one of those shows where their like not wanting…and for the fans, obviously we don’t want to give anything away. I can say she’s been brought in from Vancouver, and clearly there’s a bit of chemistry between her and Peter Mooney’s character, and we’ll see what happens.
Have you found as the cast that it’s difficult to keep things under wraps because the two countries are airing the show at different times?
It’s hard for us to keep the episodes straight. I have no idea what just aired in Canada last night. There’s a couple of episodes I”m not in, and I live in the States so I know what episodes are coming. I think we’ve all gotten pretty good at staying away from spoiler alerts and ignoring the spoilers on social media that might be there. People can post whatever they like, but I think that the cast tries to steer clear of that and not spoil it for the other fans.
You’ve talked a lot about how close the cast is and it is such a strong ensemble, but you, Juliet, have been somewhat limited as far as the characters you’ve interacted with. Is there anyone in particular in the cast that you haven’t gotten to do so many scenes with that you wish you could work with more?
Obviously I have most of my scenes with Peter, and I’m not complaining about that. It’s funny the first day I got to set the wardrobe designer was like ‘everyone’s so mad at you that you’re the new love interest for Peter’s character.’ Cause everyone loves him. I was really excited to get to work with Missy. I had some good episodes with Missy. A huge one [last night’s Uprising] where we get partnered up together and we’re put into a female penitentiary and a riot breaks out. And Greg, who’s obviously one of the main actors on the show, also directed it so it was a really cool chance to get to know Missy. And it’s funny cause the first 15 minutes of working with her I was like ‘we’re completely similar’ where we kind of joke around until the say ‘action.’ We’re not really method or in character all the time, we’re both tomboys, we both like to joke around. So we probably had a little bit too much. And a lot of the girls who guest starred on the show, Romina was incredible. So, working with Missy’s great. I had one scene I think with Charlotte. I wish I could’ve had more with Adam MacDonald’s character because we had so many great scenes together on Being Erica. He’s just so loose and fun and present to work with. He’s a really strong actor. Matty Gordon, I loved just being in the parade room. He has all this dialogue he has to give to just start the episode off and he’s so gentle, so kind, such an awesome father. And the parade room is a tough room because when they’re doing their lines, you have the entire cast and the entire crew staring at them and he does it seamlessly, flawlessly, so spontaneously every time. I didn’t have a lot scenes with Ben. Actually, the majority of my scenes were with Missy and Peter. I had that one scene with Priscilla that was funny. She’s so funny to work with. And Enuka, I would love to work with Enuka. She’s so beautiful and amazing. Anyway, I didn’t really answer your question. It would’ve been nice, but it’s such a big cast, they have to cover so much territory.
Tell me about your upcoming project, Riftworld: Chronicles.
Riftworld is a project, it started off of a short film I did, by accident. Because, I’m not sure if you’re familiar with an actor, his name is Tahmoh Penikett, he was on Battlestar Gallactica and Dollhouse. Anyway he and I have been friends for years and I got a call from my manager saying that Tahmoh’s friends are doing this short film, would I be interested in shooting in Toronto. And I thought, yeah. I’ve known Tahmoh for years, we’ve lived together and at different times during pilot season, we’ve camped together, but we’ve never worked together so I jumped at the chance to work with him. So I show up at Toronto and it’s day two of shooting and he’s wearing this big wizard costume and I say to him, ‘hey how did you hook up with these people?’ And he said ‘what are you talking about? They’re your friends.’ So basically the producers said to his manager ‘Erin’s people are doing a short film and they want Tahmoh to do it’ and they told my manager that Tahmoh’s friends were doing a short film and they want Erin to do it. So they kind of tricked us into getting there, but we ended up having a blast doing this short film. It did really well at film festivals, comic cons…and then when I wrapped Rookie Blue the producers said they wanted to turn it into a web series. I read the script on the plane back to LA and I was dying laughing. I just got off the plane and texted Tahmoh and said ‘we gotta do this.’ It’s hysterical. And coming off of Rookie Blue, I was just kinda looking forward to doing something lighter and fun. So I went back to Toronto less than a month later and we shot eight web series, premiering on July 14. It’s basically like Crocodile Dundee meets a romantic comedy. It’s a bunch of different mediums mushed together. The wizard is teleported from his world to planet Earth and he’s met by my sarcastic, non-magical character. But there’s quite a bit of chemistry between these two.
Watch the official Riftworld: Chronicles trailer here: