As Thom Allison says, you never know how fans will react to a character until a TV series airs. After a season of Killjoys under his belt, Allison’s Pree is a bona fide smash with viewers. The wise-cracking, eye-rolling owner of Old Town bar The Royale made an impact the minute Dutch (Hannah John-Kamen), Johnny (Aaron Ashmore) and D’Avin (Luke Macfarlane) walked into his establishment, a pretty big feat considering the trio are the main focus of the show.
Now, with Season 2 of Killjoys returning on July 1, creator Michelle Lovretta has given Pree admirers an early Christmas gift: Pree is front and centre in Episode 1, helping Johnny, Dutch and Lucy find D’Avin and break him out of Red 17 on Arkyn. Along the way, we discover a little bit of Pree’s backstory (including some giggle-inducing aliases) and that he can hold his own when bullets start flying.
We sat down with Allison during a break in production on Season 2 to talk all things Pree.
The fans have really responded to Pree.
Thom Allison: He’s been a hoot to play.
How did you get the role? Walk me through the process.
The casting director called my agent and said, ‘I have a part for Thom.’ I went in to read and we had a great time, and they said, ‘Come back next week.’ I came back the next week … and that was it. It went really quickly, which can be rare. And it was just me going with the script. It was so crazy, zany and fun, but smart and sassy. I went to town and played around.
Played the right way, Pree can inject humour and attitude into a scene Played the wrong way and he’s a clown.
Exactly. You have to care about him, and the key to that is Pree cares about [Dutch, Johnny and D’Avin]. That was where it landed for me. He’s like the older brother that says, ‘Fuck off, kid. Here’s a quarter.’ He’ll tell you when you’re being ridiculous, but he also loves you and wants you to be OK. Also, living in Westerley and owning a bar … he has an edge.
In every script so far, there has been something in it to make me excited for the fans. I was telling someone the other day, ‘The fans are going to shit their pants!’
How does the bombing of Westerley affect Pree going into Season 2?
We end up with a lot of fun opportunities. Clearly, he’s industrious and he’s also clever. It becomes, ‘What does he do now? Does he find his way back there? Is the bar still there?’ What I keep thinking, and it gets me excited to think about, is what does Pree become? And, along with that, what do we find out about Pree? What brought him there? I know some of the fans have speculated that he becomes a RAC agent. [Laughs.] I’m excited to find out about his past, and how that informs where Michelle goes with it in Season 2.
Have you come up with a backstory on your own? And is having a backstory in your mind help you play a character?
Certainly, yes. I have things in my head and little secret bits that I imagine. Because he’s so fancy, I picture him coming from some kind of money or wanted it enough that he owns this bar on this crazy planet. He was smart enough to know where to go to make money off people who need to drink. [Laughs.] But it’s a planet of pretty dark things … so there is a strength of character in that.
What I love about Michelle’s world is it’s not about the flamboyant idea that he’s a gay character. In her world we’ve already gotten past that. It’s not about that he had to fight against homophobia, which means we get an obvious thing out of the way and I love that. We get to play around and explore things that aren’t obvious. Obvious is boring in 10 seconds. Our fabulous costume designer, Trysha Bakker, said early on that she picture Pree as this flower—a bird of paradise—in a pile of shit. And that was one of my earliest indications as to where I could go with this character. Something that’s shiny in dark places.
What has the fan input been like?
I’ve never done sci-fi before, and the fans are so devoted. That’s amazing to me. They think through the story with you. They have their hopes and dreams and they share all of that online; they let you know when it feels inauthentic.
At the time we’re recording this, you’ve seen four scripts. What are your thoughts on them?
There is some good shit. I admit, there were moments when I made sounds. There are some little story plot lines and details that have been put in that make me smile because they are so smart. In every script so far, there has been something in it to make me excited for the fans. I was telling someone the other day, ‘The fans are going to shit their pants!’
Killjoys airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on Space.
Check out the first four minutes of Episode 1