How did you get involved?
I was lucky. As an actor, all you normally get is a breakdown when a project first comes along – maybe a paragraph synopsis of the show. But I knew just from that paragraph that this was going to be awesome and that I needed to be part of it. Then when I found out that Emily Andras was showrunning, I got really excited, and then when I found out that IDW were part of it, and it was based on a comic book I just knew I had to be part of it!
I originally auditioned for the part of Dolls. My agent called me back and said “They really like you for Wynonna but they want to see you again, this time for Doc Holliday.” I went, “Doc Holliday? What do you mean – Doc Holliday’s son? Doc Holliday’s great-grandson?” And they went, “No the Doc Holliday.” I knew exactly who Doc Holliday was and I got really excited.
This is really a dream role for me – my checklist all checked off in one. A Western, it’s based on a comic book. It’s just the best thing ever.
There have been lots of different interpretations of Doc over the years – Tombstone vs Wyatt Earp… Did you go back and look at the historical version, or did you take your version from what Emily has given you in the script?
I don’t want to sound corny, but I just knew that Doc was inside of me. I really wanted to play this character, and I knew that the Doc we were going to do was there, and if I had the chance, I’d be able to have a lot of fun with this role.
I knew exactly who Doc Holliday was: I’ve seen Tombstone, and I love Val Kilmer’s performance, and I also love Dennis Quaid’s performance in Wyatt Earp. I’ve always loved Doc Holliday. But I made sure not to go back and watch those movies again when I got the part; I didn’t want to do someone else’s interpretation that had already been done. I wanted to do my own version and have a lot of fun.
All the credit is to Emily and the writers, though – they’re the ones who give me such good stuff. In a lot of ways I’m at their mercy: each week I would get a script and be like, “Oh my goodness this is where we’re going?” And then they’d let me play – so that’s what we did.
It’s clear from talking to your colleagues that Emily is a very sharing showrunner in terms of discussing character; were there elements you discussed with her that turned up in the script?
But we were all on the same page from day one. It’s funny – when they called me and wanted to talk about the character, they said, “grow a moustache”, and I said I was already growing a moustache. I said, “If you didn’t know, his gun was a Colt Thunderer so it would be good to get something close to it,” and they said, “Tim, we already got the Colt Thunderer, don’t worry.”
When I went in for my first fitting, when I went out west, I knew exactly which hat it would be, and so did everybody else, but you have to go through the process of me trying on all the other hats when we all knew which hat was it. Everyone was in agreement – there wasn’t one person who thought it should be a different hat.
What’s given you the most challenge?
Every part of it is challenging because it’s such an iconic role. I went from the most excited person a kid could be – I’m a comic book collector, so for me to be a part of a show based on a comic book, was one of my dreams – to fear real quick when I realised I was playing a real character that people loved, who’s been done so well before. There was a lot of pressure to ensure that I could be really good at it and not wreck everybody’s idea of what they had for it already. But everybody’s been so supportive, and enjoying what I’ve been doing. Knock on wood!
No, man! You need to know something: Shamier Anderson is a ninja! He’s amazing. He’s so athletic it’s not normal. He loves this stuff. That’s not my stuff. I like the day to be doing scenes with BoBo or kissing Melanie – the good stuff. It’s a hard life!
But it’s a sign as how good the stunt coordinator, Steven McMichael, was: we did this scene, we choreographed it. There were two stunt doubles that day – one for Shamier, one for me – and we didn’t end up using mine once. I did every part of that fight.
I am so proud of it. It was a nine hour day and I got bumps and bruises but it was worth every single one of them. It ended up being one of the funnest days I’ve ever shot.
It was my idea that I should have that pugilist stance – and it was also my idea that he would smash the bottle. I thought if Doc’s in a fight, he’s going to fight dirty; he knows he can’t beat Dolls without his guns, so he’s got to fight dirty. We put all that stuff into it.
It was a special experience and to see it all come together on the screen, it was so fricking amazing. I was really proud.
The entire experience as a whole. I can’t pick one. I’m living the dream! My first scene with Bobo I thought was the best thing ever because I love Michael Eklund, I’m such a fan; my first scene with Melanie – I knew we had a good show because our number 1 is so good; and then my stuff with Dominqiue – oh my goodness, we should do our own spin-off, the Doc and Waverly show; and then finally doing my stuff with Shamier and we have such a good chemistry too. I just feel so lucky every day to be a part of that show.
IDW has been amazing – making friends with Beau Smith, the creator of Wynonna Earp… I’m friends with the creator of a comic book! My life changed in so many good ways…
On the assumption the show goes again, what would you like to see happen to Doc?
I feel so lucky, and I trust in the writers so much, and I trust in Emily so much, that wherever they take me I’m ready to go.
The only thing I would say – and Emily and I have already had this chat about where to go – is I don’t ever like it to be too easy. I like the fine line. I like that Doc kind of lives in the grey. He’s selfish, he has his own reasons. He’s not always good, he’s not always bad. I’m not the hero – Wynonna Earp is the hero. I like that Doc’s not perfect, and I’d like to keep him not perfect.
But I’m down for whatever! I’m only sure that good storylines are coming.
You’ve hit on a key point about the show – nobody is perfect…
All our characters are flawed, they’re vulnerable. Look at our lead, Wynonna: she’s crazy, hanging on by her shoestrings. She’s trying to get through all this crazy shit and she’s killing people… It’s such a good show.
What was the filming like for it?
We got really lucky last year – it was pretty warm. I’ve filmed in Calgary before and it can get a lot colder than it was. It was one of the best crews I’ve ever worked with, and I love the cast – and I was doing my dream role, so I didn’t care! It could have been minus 50, and I’d have loved it.
I’ve worked a lot now, and I’ve worked on some good stuff, but to work on something that you really love doing with all of your heart – I know how lucky I am, and I appreciated every moment of it.
Wynonna Earp airs on Syfy in the US, and begins on Spike in the UK on Fridays at 9 pm from July 29
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