Dani Kind sounds off on her memorable Wynonna Earp and Workin’ Moms roles

Just how tight were lips on the set of Wynonna Earp during Melanie Scrofano’s pregnancy? So tight that Dani Kind read fake scripts when she was auditioning for the role of Mercedes Gardner.

“They wrote these fake sides for Mercedes … she was even named something else,” Kind tells us on the line from Toronto. “She was this character who owned a bar with her brother and her brother was this big sleaze. She ended up handing her brother his own ass.” And while we’d love to have seen that project come to light, we’re loving Kind’s real role on Wynonna, that of Mercedes Gardner. A fellow former bad girl of Purgatory, Mercedes has evolved from real estate baron to flesh-eating monster after being possessed. Now Mercedes and Beth (Meghan Heffern) have captured two of three seals, meaning the future of the world is in jeopardy.

We spoke to Kind about Wynonna Earp, the role of Anne, the wonderfully caustic, heartbreaking character she plays on CBC’s Workin’ Moms and … playing Tori Spelling’s stand-in!?

We were delayed a bit in our chat because you were going through some wig fittings. I guess that’s for Season 2 of Workin’ Moms?
Dani Kind: Yes! It’s crazy. It feels like it’s come around so fast. I got two months off working on Workin’ Moms and then I booked the Wynonna job. And then I got two months off from Wynonna and I get to go back to Workin’ Moms.

I couldn’t let our chat go by without asking you about a credit on your IMDB page. It says you were a stand-in for Tori Spelling in Mind Over Murder?
[Laughs.] I was. I grew up in Ottawa and there is a production company there that just pumps out movies of the week. That’s kind of where I started. I got some parts and some lead roles. I was kicking around in Ottawa doing jobs and one of them was to be her stand-in for two movies. She asked me to come back for the second movie that she ended up coming and doing. She’s amazing. She was the coolest chick and has the greatest sense of humour. I know she has a whole celebrity image and stuff, but I was like, ‘I could hang with her.’ She has the exact same potty humour as me.

How did you score the role of Anne on Workin’ Moms?
I did a self-tape audition and then got a call that [creator and showrunner] Catherine [Reitman] had gone back to L.A. after doing some casting in Toronto. They asked me to do a callback Skype session with them in L.A., so I did another audition with them over Skype. Then, I flew out to L.A. to do a chemistry read. There were a bunch of women all reading for several parts. Then they called a few weeks later and said I’d gotten the part.

Did Workin’ Moms open the door for you to play Mercedes on Wynonna Earp or did you still have to audition?
I still auditioned. I went in to see casting, but the sides were totally different because everything was so locked down about Melanie [Scrofano] being pregnant. They wrote these fake sides for Mercedes … she was even named something else. She was this character who owned a bar with her brother and her brother was this big sleaze. She ended up handing her brother his own ass. I reamed him out during one scene and I felt great about the audition. The sides they wrote were so great. I got a call later saying I’d gotten the part, but I had no idea I’d be on as much as I’ve been on. I thought I’d only be on a couple of episodes.

It’s so awesome that you auditioned using fake sides.
I know! I got the [real] script and I was like, ‘Whoa, whoa, what’s happening?’ Also, for the longest time, Mel didn’t look pregnant. She’s one of those women who turn around and you’d like, ‘Wait, what?! You’re pregnant?!’ She was so stunning and her body is so petite. I actually had people on-set talk to me and some of them thought she was wearing a fake belly.

How ironic is it you’re on two shows featuring pregnant women?
I know! And, when I got pregnant, I was asked what I was going to do. Everyone is so scared they’re going to lose their jobs and careers. It’s so not the case.

Before Mercedes was possessed, I really liked her attitude and not caring what people thought of her.
You don’t see men apologizing for chicks that they’ve slept with. There is so much about male characters on TV that women have had to identify with for so long and now it’s being shown that, ‘No, we’re three-dimensional human beings who also sleep around and get drunk and have fun and it’s cool.’ It’s so refreshing and so great.

Is it a bit of a challenge to play a character enrobed in black with your face obscured? You have to use body language instead of your face.
I had a lot of questions for Emily as we were shooting and she was like, ‘I don’t know, I don’t know!’ I think that, per episode, I was finding her. We all were. As wardrobe was, as hair and makeup was. Thank God for my acting coaches because they really helped me. This is super-specific work and when you’re working in sci-fi, you have to ask questions and just try stuff out.

Is it important to have answers to questions when you’re playing a role?
I do, especially for a character who is as complicated as this one. And, especially because I thought I was playing Mercedes and would be playing Mercedes all season. And then I find out I’m a different character. I grilled Emily as much as I could, and that really helped. Workin’ Moms is a little bit different because I don’t have to but up Catherine’s ass about Anne because there is so much about Anne that I understand and love. And because Catherine has been so smart about the way she writes it, I can see all of the characters in her. And then it’s just about getting really personal with myself and asking the tough questions.

Let’s close out talking a bit about Workin’ Moms. Anne is such a wonderful, galvanizing character. She made a tough decision to have an abortion last season.
You do see abortion storylines on TV, but it’s a woman who is hard done by or finds herself in this situation. They’re never portrayed as anything positive, it’s always associated with some negative thing. What I didn’t know is that one of the top percentages of women who get abortions are married women with children. I didn’t know that. Catherine was so graceful about the storyline at the beginning of the season. She asked me about it and wanted to check in and see if I could represent it. I said, ‘Absolutely.’ The way she wrote it was so beautiful but also, ‘Yes, of course, this is a decision that [Anne and Lionel] would make together as a couple.’ It just made sense and I felt really proud to tell that storyline.

Did you feel like, when you were in production on Season 1, you had something special?
There were moments when a camera woman or someone in the props department would be emotional during a scene. There was stuff happening that, especially for a comedy, that felt really grounded. Everything felt so real and Catherine was so specific in her choices about cast and crew … it really starts from the top and trickles down. I want to do everything I can to make this dream of her what she wants it to be.

You were incredibly active on social media during Season 1 of Workin’ Moms.
I just think it’s cool if somebody tweets about the show. Some people ask me stuff … why wouldn’t I respond? People are being incredibly kind and are genuinely invested in it. We put a lot of work into the show—Workin’ Moms and Wynonna Earp—and I feel like that interaction makes a lot of sense.

Wynonna Earp airs Fridays at 10 p.m. ET on Space.

Season 2 of Workin’ Moms is in production now. Season 1 is being rebroadcast on Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. on CBC.

Workin’ Moms images courtesy of CBC.

Greg David
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Greg David

Prior to becoming a television critic and owner of TV, Eh?, Greg David was a critic for TV Guide Canada, the country's most trusted source for TV news. He has interviewed television actors, actresses and behind-the-scenes folks from hundreds of television series from Canada, the U.S. and internationally. He is a podcaster, public speaker, weekly radio guest and educator, and past member of the Television Critics Association.
Greg David
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