Tag Archives: Melanie Scrofano

Bad Blood: Melanie Scrofano on Valentina, shooting emotional scenes, and Wynonna Earp

Melanie Scrofano says things are “relentlessly bad” for Valentina Cosoleto on Bad Blood this season, and based on the first three episodes, it’s hard to argue.

A momentary marital indiscretion put Val under the thumb of Detective Bullock (Lisa Berry), who is squeezing her for info on her husband Nats’ (Dylan Taylor) organized crime activities. To make matters worse, in the last episode, Declan (Kim Coates) kidnapped Val and Nats’ young son to get back at meddling mobster twins Teresa (Anna Hopkins) and Christian (Gianni Falcone) for abducting Reggie (Ryan McDonald), which unfurled a disastrous turn of events that landed Nats in prison.

While Val has her son back, “she still doesn’t feel safe,” explains Scrofano. She also says her character now feels the need to “right some wrongs.”

We caught up with Scrofano while she was filming a new project in Toronto to learn more about Valentina’s dilemma, how she unwinds after filming emotional scenes, and the possible “chaos” coming up in Wynonna Earp‘s fourth season.

You are an Italian-Canadian. Did it excite you to work on a project that tapped into that part of your background?
Melanie Scrofano: I think being Italian-Canadian is very different than being Italian-American, which is what we usually see on TV or in the movies. There’s a certain flavour to it. It’s something that I know very well, and it’s something that’s so familiar to so many people. So it was really cool to just lean into the way that I grew up. But also, you realize how eerie it is that all these people seem so normal. Like my husband in the show, our family is so normal. And it just makes you go, ‘Wow, what is going on in these families that you don’t even realize?’ 

I really feel for Valentina. She made one mistake and now she’s being squeezed by the police—and forced to have too many manicures—under threat of her secret being exposed. 
MS: I think when Valentina and Nats got together, part of her wanted to be like Teresa but without having to do all the work. She wanted to have the clothes and the lifestyle and all of that. And over the years, life was just sort of normal. I think for a minute, she was just—like a lot of people—you have a kid, and your marriage gets a bit stale, and I think she just wanted some excitement, so she had an affair. And that one mistake sort of turned her life around. I think by the time we’re in Episode 3, she’s realizing that maybe this isn’t the life that she wanted after all. I think it’s hitting home what the reality is, and it takes her aback.

Episode 3 was tough on both Val and Nats, with Declan kidnapping their son, Adamo. The scene where Val finds out her baby is gone was very raw and emotional. Was that hard to film?
MS: I was very nervous about that scene, and I said to Jeff [Renfroe], the director, and [showrunner] Michael [Konyves], ‘Is there any way we could shoot it so that it can feel messy and we can talk over each other’s lines and just make it more real and make the urgency more palpable?’ And they were like, ‘Yeah, we’ll have two cameras and we’ll shoot it and just make a mess of it.’ They were very generous with that, and I think that’s what helped Dylan and me get to some really honest places. There was nothing slowing us down. And I think because we both had kids, it’s just terrifying. The little boy had the same hair as my son. He was so similar to my real life boy, and they were actually the exact same age while we were shooting, they’re a week apart. So I think it just hit close to home.

It was a very intense, real-feeling scene.
MS: I did feel bad. The slap wasn’t scripted, and poor Dylan had no idea it was coming. I just watched it back today, and you can see where it’s red on his face. I felt terrible.

Last week’s episode ended with Nats accidentally shooting an innocent bystander and getting sent to prison. How will this impact Val in Episode 4 and beyond?
MS: I think Val has her baby back, but without Nats, she still doesn’t feel safe. So I think her priority is going to be to do whatever she can to get her husband safe. And she’s also, at this point, acting in self-preservation because the fact of the matter is that she’s not only cheated on her husband—which in any culture, but certainly in the Italian culture, is frowned upon—but in addition to that, she’s been talking to the cops. So there’s just going to be a lot of trying to right some wrongs for Val.

What did you find most challenging about playing Val?
MS: It was just relentlessly bad for her. There was no levity. So every time I came to set, I had to go to some dark places. You know, she’s either angry or crying or terrified. This is the worst time of her life, and there’s nothing about it that’s light. So I think it was just coming to set every day and trying to honour what she’s going through without being exhausted by it myself. Because it’s hard. You shoot those things and you get really emotional and, afterwards, the world just moves on, but you still felt all those things and you really need a hug and nobody is there. So you have to sort of take care of yourself. But on the other hand, the hard part is, what if I can’t get there emotionally? So you’re always stressed. You’re either stressed because you’re scared you won’t be able to deliver, or you’re stressed because you did deliver and it hurt.

Do you have a go-to way to decompress after a difficult day of filming?
MS: It sounds so stupid, but I need to be hugged. I come home and I feel like such a drama queen, but [I say to my husband], ‘Jeff, I need you to hug me for as long as possible.’ It’s just that human connection. I think it’s the feeling of being so vulnerable. You just need to have somebody to heal that wound for you with a good, old-fashioned hug.

You’ve been in three very different but very Canadian hits the last few years: Bad Blood, Letterkenny and, of course, Wynonna Earp. Does it mean a lot to you to be getting so many great roles in Canada?
MS: Yes, but here’s the thing: All these shows—well Bad Blood has mostly aired in Canada at the moment, but I suspect it will be viewed elsewhere as well—are known and respected all over the world. So I think we’ve really found our own the last few years in Canada with our programming. And I think finally people are starting to—instead of saying, ‘Oh, it’s so Canadian,’ as if that’s a bad thing—they are searching out Canadian shows. In Australia, I remember doing a panel, and people were naming all these Canadian shows that they loved, and I was on the other side of the world. So it means a lot to me, of course, to be a part of these amazing shows, but it means even more to me that people all over the world are starting to understand that what we make here is special.

Speaking of Wynonna Earp, Season 3 ended with some huge changes for Wynonna, most notably, that she broke the curse. Can you say anything about what that will mean for her in Season 4?
MS: I will say that when we read the script when Wynonna breaks the curse—and the whole premise of the show is to break the curse—we were all just shocked. How do we move forward from this?  I think what I look forward to in Season 4 is going, ‘How is Emily going to dig herself out of this one?’ I mean, what kind of person solves the problem to their show before Season 3 is even over? And what kind of chaos will that lead to in Season 4? I have no doubt that it’s going to be incredible.

Any idea when you’ll begin shooting Season 4?
MS: There’s a rumour about January, but that’s just a rumour.

Oh, Calgary in January. Bless you. 
MS: Oh, I know. That’s such a pain, but I’ve learned to love it.

Bad Blood airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Citytv.

Images courtesy of Rogers Media.

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Kim Coates on Season 2 of Citytv’s Bad Blood: “It’s epic”

When we last left Declan Gardiner, he was alone. Everyone associated with him in Season 1—Vito Rizzuto, Bruno Bonsignori, Gio, Nicolo Rizzuto Sr. and Gio—were dead and someone was, literally, gunning for Declan. In the season finale’s final moments, a gunshot rang out. Was Declan dead?

Nope. Declan is alive and well. And, when viewers meet up with him in Season 2 of Bad Blood—returning Thursday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Citytv—he is still on his own. A lone wolf. Just the way he likes it.

Season 1 of Bad Blood was based on real life, the story on Montreal mob boss Vito Rizzuto (played by Anthony LaPaglia). It was adapted by Simon Barry (Continuum) and Michael Konyves from Business or Blood: Mafia Boss Vito Rizzuto’s Last War by Antonio Nicaso and Peter Edwards. But the sophomore eight instalments, written by Konyves, Alison Lea Bingeman and Patrick Moss, go off in a brand-new direction, following Declan’s adventures.

“There’s no book anymore,” Coates says during an interview earlier this year. “It’s our own highway. It was [Michael Konyves] who said, ‘I think we need to start present-day.’ The last thing we saw was Declan sitting at his cottage, finishing off his book. Bang! Bullet hole. Slow turn. ‘What the fuck is happening?’ You don’t know. So we start five years later. It’s epic.” (Coates has had an epic year or so himself. In addition to a Canadian Screen Award for his role as Declan Gardiner, he won rave reviews and the best actor trophy at the Dora Mavor Moore Awards for his role in Jerusalem.)

Half a decade later, Declan is running his own squad. That, of course, attracts some unwanted attention. Cue a new group of mafiosos from Calabria, Italy, to Canada in the form of twins Teresa (Anna Hopkins) and Christian Langana (Gianni Falcone). Once they arrive, the Langanas present themselves to Hamilton, Ont., brothers Domenic (Louis Ferreira) and Enzo Cosoleto (Daniel Kash) and their sons, Luca (Franco Lo Presti) and Nats (Dylan Taylor). Together, the sextet takes aim at Declan. Meanwhile, the Organized Crime Task Force gets ready to take everyone down with the help of a confidential informant. Although he prefers to work alone, Declan realizes that, in order to remain on top, he’ll need to enlist some help. To do that, he partners with Rose Sunwind (Sharon Taylor).

“My world meets their world and it comes together,” Coates says. “This is going to be bigger than the first season.”

Like Season 1, the second of Bad Blood was filmed in and around Sudbury, Ont., and Montreal. That meant a return to the cold Coates dealt the first time around. And while he hails from Saskatoon, Coates admits the years in Hollywood have had a dampening effect on his endurance with dropping mercury.

“We were in Sudbury and Montreal in November, December, a bit of October,” Coates says with a smile. “We got all kinds of different patterns. We’re all Canadian, but I’m a baby now. I don’t like the cold. I’ve become soft. Don’t tell my buddies.”

Bad Blood airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Citytv.

Images courtesy of Rogers Media.

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Wynonna Earp: Melanie Scrofano talks directing, Mama Earp and Letterkenny

Fans of Wynonna Earp are still aching over the death of Xavier Dolls. And, understandably so. But last week’s new episode, “Colder Weather,” went a long way to healing those wounds with a memorable and emotional sendoff.

With a new episode coming later this week, here’s our interview with Melanie Scrofano, who talked about this season, the man who plays the show’s biggest bad, directing and her scene-stealing role on Letterkenny.

Despite the fact that it’s been fantastic to have a baby in real life, has it been kind of nice to not have to worry about your health while filming the third season of Wynonna Earp?
Melanie Scrofano: Yeah. There is such a freedom that came with having my body back, but also just not having … it was not just that it limits your movements, to do everything it was just less elegant. And it wasn’t as free as I wanted to feel, but it was also just hard feeling like everybody for lack of a better term, was babying you, because everybody understandably was like, ‘I don’t want to be the reason that she has a miscarriage on set.’

How fun has it been to come back into that world and to play this character for the third season?
MS: Well, funny you should mention that. I think Emily [Andras] wanted to start off with a bang and really remind people who Wynonna is and that for me was just so fun. I was scared in Season 2. I was like, ‘If we don’t get a Season 3, I won’t get to feel this free and have fun again.’ We just had the best time. I think there’s no better way to show people how not private I am any more than riding the mechanical bull and being drunk and having your shirt wide open.

A lot has been said about Megan Follows and the character. I know you’ve been asked this question before and I apologize, but I have to ask it, what was it like working with her?
MS: She is such an icon and you never know what you’re gonna get because she’s been around for long and done such iconic stuff. She brought her skills and professionalism and it really just reaffirmed my wanting to make the show the best it could be because that’s what she wanted to do. She questioned her character all the time and she always wanted to make it honest and authentic. You know, for someone going into Season 3 who could become a bit complacent, it was a great way to kickstart the season by really reaffirming all those questions why am I doing what I’m doing.

One of the big fears that Wynonna had back when we first met her in Season 1 is that she was crazy.
MS: I think any kid—don’t tell my parents—but you see your parents, and you want to emulate their good side, but more often than not we’re taken with what we don’t want to replicate. For Wynonna it’s one of her biggest fears is ending up … she was in a mental institution when she was a teenager. She was proven to be not crazy by the fact in Season 1 everything that she had been talking about turns out to be true.

However, there’s still an element of that all happened to her when she was so young and seeing her mom go to the psych ward, it never stopped being a part of her DNA to be afraid of it. I think it’s just a constant battle not to end up like her mom in a lot of ways. As a parent even.

Let’s talk about this character played by Jean Marchand. What can you say about this incredibly bad dude that has entered this world named Bulshar?
MS: It’s like everything else is a trickle-down of this demon so he’s like the scariest. The way Jean Marchand plays him, it’s just such an unexpected refinement. It’s kind of refreshing to have, it’s sort of like the scariest dogs are the ones that don’t bark.

He just oozes this sinisterness and doesn’t have to really say anything which is kind of cool.
MS: Yeah. What’s interesting is that he in real life is the most generous, like he will not stop giving me DVDs. He’s generous, kind, and a fan of the show before he was on it. He is exactly the opposite which is so often what you hear about these bad guys, but it’s so cool to see him play such a dark presence.

A quick question about directing. You directed a scene. Is that something you’ve always wanted to do? Is that a natural progression for you?
MS: I think it’s a natural progression. I think it’s something that maybe I didn’t know I always wanted to do but then once I did it, I was like, ‘Oh my God, this fits. It makes sense.’ I just love storytelling in general. I love being able to work with people and create … I think a lot of times as an actor the external really drives the internal. So being a part of creating the external down to just little details really help tell the story in a way that felt so, it was so satisfying.

I can’t talk to you without asking you about Letterkenny. You are fantastic as Mrs. McMurray. What’s it been like working with these guys and playing this character?
MS: It’s just so, they’re so fun. All you do, and I think you can tell when you watch the show like all we do is laugh and mess up takes. But that’s so fun and it’s nice to go from a show where I have so much on my shoulders—which I love and wouldn’t trade that for the world—but it’s nice to be able to breathe and play on somebody else’s show where they set such a great tone.

I just have fun with them and know that if Mrs. McMurray messes up, people are still gonna watch the show. There’s no pressure. So if Mrs. McMurray sucks, they’re still gonna watch Letterkenny. It’s an amazing show which is a breath of fresh air as an actor to not have an pressure.

Jared Keeso has created a really fun work environment. I mean, you all do work hard there, I know, but also they like to have a lot of fun.
MS: Yeah. And Jacob Tierney as well. As a team, they are just unstoppable.

Wynonna Earp airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on Space.

Letterkenny is streaming on CraveTV.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

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Wynonna Earp: Showrunner Emily Andras sounds off on Season 3

Canadian Wynonna Earp fans have had to wait a few days longer than our friends in the U.S. That’s because Syfy offered up a special preview of “Blood Red and Going Down” this past Monday while those grumpy Guses at Space stuck to their guns (see what I did there?) and are waiting until Friday for us to see it.

Being a member of the media has its advantages. I’ve seen Season 3’s return “Blood Red and Going Down.” Simply put? It’s sublime. After a year away, sliding back into Purgatory alongside Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano), Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkley), Doc (Tim Rozon), Dolls (Shamier Anderson), Nicole (Kat Barrell) and Jeremy (Varun Saranga) has been ever so sweet. And with new characters via Kate (Chantel Riley) and big bad Bulshar (Jean Marchand), this pile of episodes promises to be a thrill ride.

We spoke to Wynonna Earp showrunner Emily Andras while we were at the Banff World Media Festival and she had the following to say.

The support behind Wynonna Earp has been incredible, especially from folks like Josh at Syfy.
Emily Andras: Yes, I feel like we are so lucky that we have tapped into something that we just can’t buy, which is kind of fan-driven passion. So I’m so happy people are leaning in. Even the excitement around the trailer, like ‘We trended on Twitter.’ I just think everybody’s kind of having fun with it and being like ‘OK, anticipation, here we go.’

I am constantly fascinated by the passion of the fans and how they really latched on and it’s beloved. So that said, can you not kill anybody on the show now?
EA: I think I have to still make the show be dramatic, how about that? Because … it is still a supernatural show with huge stakes and it’s terrifying. Yes, it’s terrifying, especially when you don’t have Walking Dead numbers. We kind of have a cast of six, maybe eight if you’re doing some funky Canadian TV math. Yeah, it’s incredibly challenging but at the same time, it’s a show about life and death. The metaphor I always use, I drive it into the ground is ‘I’m gonna drive the bus. You can get on the bus, you can be drunk on the bus and probably should be. You can scream at the bus driver, you can get off the bus and flip the bird and say I’m not riding this stupid bus anymore but we can’t all grab the wheel of the bus or the bus is going over a cliff.’ I definitely feel it’s a fascinating time for creators insofar as with so much immediate feedback, does that help or hinder storytelling? I’m like, ‘If Nicole Haught wears the wrong sweater, I’m gonna hear about it. My family is going to have to go to witness protection.

I’m only partially kidding. I went to a panel in Austin and I wanted to be really careful about this. It was about modern fandom and there was a lot of bemoaning from people about ‘Well the fans just don’t understand behind the scenes why decisions were made.’ And so often it’s budget or a network executive or an actor wants to lead is another thing that happens, a ton of times. But at the same time, as the showrunner, I feel like the buck stops with me and that’s the covenant with the fans. I have asked them to be on social media helping me push this delicious content so when they’re unhappy it super sucks but … maybe you just gotta weather it a bit. So remind me I said that. If anything terrible happens this year.

It’s true because you walk that line as a showrunner, a head writer and you’ve got a room full of writers, you’re writing the show for yourselves.
EA: Exactly.

But you also have to walk that fine line with the fans because you want to keep them entertained, you want them in your corner. You don’t want to anger anyone but you also don’t want to make a show that’s just for the fans to keep them happy because then you’ve got a boring show.
EA: Lots of people would like domesticated Wayhaught sitting on the couch making cookies and I’ll try to give you that scene if I can but that is not a Syfy show and Syfy’s not going to want that show. And you’re not actually going to love that show. It’s going into a third season because this is it. In the first season, we made the whole thing. We were running around the woods in Calgary and being like ‘Is there even film in this camera?’ But it kind of felt like we were doing some crazy demon hunting skits in the woods and then it dropped and people liked it.

And then in the second season, people were just so happy to have more of it. But now in the third season, there’s no doubt. People have expectations, people have wants, people have put their hopes and dreams on characters and storylines. I have done this dance before with Lost Girl … with semi-Canadian success comes semi-Canadian responsibly. So I’m ready, but I think the only rule I tell my writers to keep us all grounded when we’re kind of flailing and nervous is the one rule is the story has to be consistent with character.

The characters have to act the way the characters would act. Even if terrible things happened or they make mistakes, or they die, or they break up, or what have you, as long as it feels like, ‘Yes, this character would do it,’ even if you hate their decision as you would hate it if your friend made a terrible decision, I hope to fans are at least like ‘I don’t love this but it still feels like my show.’ That’s the only thing I can try to do. It’s not to do with story for story’s sake but to have it come from who these beloved characters are.

This third season, is this where you’re chugging along like ‘Yeah, this is where I wanted to be’?
EA: Yes, great question. The third season is batshit insane. So we’ll see if people like it. But there’s such a confidence to the performances in particular. It’s so delightful. Everybody just hits the ground running, very few people are pregnant this season, some would say none.

I’m just so incredibly proud of this cast because you feel it in the confidence. And their confidence with the material, their confidence to deliver both wit and quips while fighting a demon and hopefully getting the emotion and ending in tears.

Every year from the writer perspective, you have to be like, ‘How are we gonna up the stakes, what crazy cliffhangers are we gonna have?’ But there is a confidence this year that just feels like if you love the show, I just think you’re going to be so happy from the first moment you see Wynonna to hopefully the last.

Wynonna Earp airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on Space.

Image courtesy of Bell Media.
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Photo gallery: Season 3 of Wynonna Earp

Yes, I know that Entertainment Weekly already posted these exclusive Wynonna Earp Season 3 gallery images the other day. But honestly, I can’t get enough of them. So when Space dropped these puppies—sans the EW watermark and therefore PERFECT for downloading as using as my new wallpaper—well, I just had to post them myself.

As Wynonna Earp fans already know, Season 3 returns to Space on Friday, July 20, at 9 p.m. ET. We already aware Megan Follows will portray Mama Earp, Jann Arden drops by for a recurring role, Zoie Palmer will play Jolene and Frankie Drake MysteriesChantel Riley checks in as Kate.

Like I said, this was just an excuse to post these gorgeous images again. Enjoy, and update your wallpaper while you’re at it.

 

Wynonna Earp returns Friday, July 20, at 9 p.m.  ET on Space.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

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