Wynonna Earp is a U.S. Marshal, but she isn’t tracking down run of the mill fugitives or transporting prisoners. As a member of the special Black Badge division her targets skew much more supernatural, from redneck vampires to mummy hitmen to zombies, just to name a few. Luckily, she comes from a long line of peacekeepers dating back to the legendary Wyatt Earp which means taking down all manner of threats is in her blood.
Created by Beau Smith, Wynonna Earp’s comic book adventures initially began at Image Comics and continue today at IDW Publishing, which launched a new series in February written by Smith and illustrated by Lora Innes. But as of today, the world of comics aren’t the only place to find her. Syfy’s live-action “Wynonna Earp” series premieres tonight at 10 p.m. and stars Melanie Scrofano in the lead role.
Ahead of the premiere, Scrofano, Executive Producer and showrunner Emily Andras and actor Dominique Provost-Chalkley, who plays Wynonna’s sister Waverly, visited the world famous CBR Tiki Room at WonderCon to speak with Albert Ching about bringing the series to life in a brand new medium. The lively interview covers everything from the tone of the show, what it will and what use from the comics, how Scrofano approached playing the granddaughter of a legendary hero and how involved creator Beau Smith is with the series.
In the first half of the interview, Andras, Scrofano and Provost-Chalkley discuss the tone of show, which Andras said she initially pitched as “Justified” meets “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” and how they wanted to make this series different than both other Westerns and other female-driven TV shows.
On the tone of Syfy’s “Wynonna Earp” and and its “Whedon-esque” comparisons:
Emily Andras: I’m really lucky in that I’ve found my niche in genre writing for strong female protagonists on shows that are really fun. I showran “Lost Girl,” I was lucky enough to work on “Killjoys,” so when this landed on my lap — with the comic book by Beau Smith — I’d say it was cooked up in my own personal lab for me. It checked off everything I would look for in a property. It had a strong, kind of messed up, complicated female protagonist, it was super, super fun, and it had such a wit.
So when I was pitching the show I really was on a “Justified” kick. I also grew up out west — I grew up in Alberta, which is where we shot the show, which I would say, is like Canada’s Montana. So I was just stoked to go back and shoot there, and revive the supernatural western, it felt like time to do that.
As far as tone goes, I was really looking for “Buffy” meets “Justified” — [that] was kind of how I pitched the show, and people really liked that — kind of with that edge, with the strong female character, whose really funny and really witty, but really finding herself as a heroine. But at the same time, with this sort of “Justified” world — very kind of complicated, shades of grey, nobody’s really exactly good, exactly bad.
In part two, Scrofano explains what drew her to Wynonna Earp and how she’s actually approached playing the character, and Andras talks about working with both IDW and creator Beau Smith to ensure the series lives up to its potential and stays true to its comic book roots.
On what drew Melanie Scrofano to the character of Wynonna Earp:
Melanie Scrofano: She’s a mix of so many interesting things that are different extremes. I think she’s so brave, but I think she’s so scared, and I think she’s so strong, and she’s so vulnerable, she’s so funny, but she’s so messed up. But you can still be all of those things and still be a kickass heroine. I love that I was allowed to be vulnerable and still play an action hero and not have to walk around like this [gestures body woodenly]. It’s so boring.
Dominique Provost-Chalkley: It’s so much more real. I think that’s what’s great about Wynonna, she’s just such a real person, and people are going to connect to that and relate to all of those things that she goes through. And [Scrofano] smashes it out of the park, she’s amazing.
On working with series creator Beau Smith:
Andras: Beau Smith is honestly like the classiest gentleman I have ever met in my entire life. He’s such a wonderful warm person, and there was no doubt that this is his creation. He created Wynonna Earp, she was fully formed from his love of both the Universal Monsters and the Wyatt Earp myth. And he has an ongoing relationship with IDW, so they in particular made it clear that — we know that this is a different medium, obviously when you’re going from comics to TV. My favorite thing to say to Beau is like there’s a sequence in the comic where Wynonna is fighting gremlins on a plane, and I’m like, “We don’t have a plane, we can’t have gremlins, it’s gonna be a little different.”
IDW and myself, we were very open with Beau. We sent him everything — we sent him all the casting, he got all the dailies, he came to set, he got to work a flamethrower and direct a little bit, which I think he loved. He is just so savvy and smart and supportive. He has done another comic book series now, sort of as a companion piece to the show. And what he really got, is he’s always said quite honestly that his Wynonna when he conceived her is like 35-40, she’s kind of fully-formed as a hero and a member of the Black Badge Division, which is this monster fighting squad. Our Wynonna, it’s really an origin story. She’s 27, she’s kind of a mess — this is about how she’s going to become the hero, hopefully.
See how Wynonna Earp begins her heroic journey tonight at 10 p.m. on Syfy.
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