People are either born hosts or born guests (thank you, Max Beerbohm). Thom Allison and Sharron Matthews were most definitely born hosts which is why they will take to the stage at the Aga Khan Museum on Sunday, February 10th to head up the inaugural Canadian Alliance of Film & Television Costume Arts & Design (CAFTCAD) Awards.
“If we are going to do an awards gala, then we are going to do it right. Thom and Sharron bring a triumphant spirit to this event and we are thrilled to have them on this very special night,” said Joanna Syrokomla, Chairman of the CAFTCAD Awards.
Two-time Dora nominee, Thom Allison, can be seen as ‘Pree’ in the hit series, Killjoys, on Space Channel/Syfy Network. Thom has appeared on Broadway in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and in the original Canadian companies of Miss Saigon, The Who’s Tommy and Rent. At the Stratford Festival, Thom has appeared in Romeo and Juliet, Pericles, Threepenny Opera, The King and I, Hello, Dolly and King Henry VIII, and Into the Woods. At the Shaw Festival, he received critical acclaim for his performance in Ragtime, as well as performing in Wonderful Town, A Little Night Music, Guys and Dollsand Follies: In Concert. Some other credits include The Drowsy Chaperone(Vancouver Playhouse, National Arts Centre, Citadel Theatre), OUTRAGEOUS(CanStage), Cabaret (Theatre Calgary), My Fair Lady (Manitoba Theatre Centre), Evita (Manitoba Theatre Centre, Theatre Calgary), Elegies, A New Brain (Acting Up Stage) and Take Me Out (CanStage). Film/TV: Judge on CBC’s Over the Rainbow, Leaving Metropolis, I Me Wed, Road to Christmas, Kim’s Convenience, Murdoch Mysteries, Private Eyes, Your All-Time Classic Hit Parade. Directing: Seussical, Mary Poppins (YPT). His CD, “A Whole Lotta Sunlight” can be purchased on iTunes.
Award-winning actress, writer, singer, producer Sharron Matthews is one of the stars of the CBC’s hit TV drama Frankie Drake Mysteries, airing on OVATION and PBS in the United States and ALIBI in the UK. She has toured her highly acclaimed one-woman shows around the world from New York to London to Cape Town, has acted in movies with stars like Tina Fey (Mean Girls) and John Travolta (Hairspray: The Movie), written for newspapers and magazines across the globe, sung with Canadian icon Jann Arden, and performed on stages alongside comedy legends Mary Walsh and Andrea Martin. As if that wasn’t enough, Sharron is also the host of the CBC digital series, “The Mystery Of…”.
The CAFTCAD Awards will take place on Sunday, February 10, 2019 at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto.
Formed in 2008, the Canadian Alliance of Film & Television Costume Arts & Design (CAFTCAD) is an association of individuals interested in promoting costume design for film, television and media from both an artistic and technical perspective. Our goal is to enrich our community with a national organization that is inclusive of experience and talent. The Alliance provides an open forum for discussion, networking and knowledge sharing for our members through periodic seminars, workshops, exhibits and an online forum. We explore the areas of individual design approach, illustration, and advancements in film technologies. We celebrate the richness of historic and contemporary fashion and its relationship to our craft. Our vision is to increase awareness and the value of costume arts and design as a powerful element in the collaborative process of filmmaking; furthering international recognition of the creative talent we have in Canada.
Every episode of Killjoys is must-see, but this week’s instalment may be among the most anticipated. As show creator Michelle Lovretta told us prior to the Season 3 return, “The Lion, the Witch and the Warlord,” delves into Pree’s past.
Both Lovretta and actor Thom Allison teased the episode on Twitter, ramping up the drama with these two posts:
So, does Friday’s new episode live up to the hype? Here’s Space’s official synopsis:
An ambush sends Dutch and Johnny running to Pree’s warlord past for help, as D’avin tries to get to the bottom of a Black Warrant that hits unexpectedly close to home.
And here are some juicy tidbits gleaned from watching the episode, written by Julian Doucet and directed by Paolo Barzman.
Zeph vs. Johnny
We won’t give anything away, but D’avin having to say, “Into your corners, nerds,” should be a pretty good indication as to how the relationship between Zeph and Johnny is going. Perhaps they’ll be able to bond over a shared project: opening the Remnant. To be honest, I’d watch a spinoff series starring Zeph, Johnny and D’avin—the chemistry with this trio is off the frigging charts.
Johnny celebrates a milestone
And Turin is there to be very hands-on with the party. He may not get a ton of screen time, but Patrick Garrow (and his hair) make the most of it when they do. Turin is the perfect counterpoint and confidant to our heroes. Johnny’s buzz is killed by a situation from his past that returns to haunt him. Chaos ensues.
From his quips in the bar to his shady past, Pree is front and centre on Friday night, helping Johnny get out of the mess he’s in. That leads Lucy, Johnny and Dutch to a planet only Pree can get them access to. It’s a world called Ohron, an icy place where making an entrance is key, keeping warm is necessary and going blond is fabulous. Writing for television is a collaborative effort with many hands involved in the recipe, so kudos to Julian Doucet and the writing room for giving Pree such a rich and meaningful back story. Also? Johnny and Dutch air out some very dirty laundry between them.
When we last left Dutch (Hannah John-Kamen) and Johnny (Aaron Ashmore), they’d vowed to find D’Avin (Luke Macfarlane) and spring him from Khlyen’s (Rob Stewart) clutches. Season 2 of Killjoys doesn’t waste any time in getting to that plot point, as the duo—aided by Pree (Thom Allison)—get busy finding their imprisoned brother and friend.
With the return of Space’s Killjoys just days away, we spoke to creator/showrunner Michelle Lovretta about what fans can expect from the rollicking space adventure, as well as what she’s looking for in potential writers.
Who have you got in the writers’ room this season?
Michelle Lovretta: We have Adam Barken, Jeremy Boxen, Jon Cooksey, Julian Doucet, Sean Reycraft and Priscilla White.
Talk about the importance of bringing new voices into the writers’ room. Some of the Season 1 folks, like Aaron Martin and Emily Andras, are writing other projects now, but do you see yourself as a mentor to newer writers?
I’m too tired and self-aware to be a mentor… [Laughs.] I’m teasing. I really do like working with new writers. What’s been bizarre to me to see second-hand is when you’re on a show and the head writer is being a dick and doesn’t have the backs of their writers. Anyone that I work with now, they look forward to showing new writers the humane way to do it; the way to be supportive. I’d work with all of these people all over again.
How do new writers get on a show run by you? Do you apply?
You do. I receive a pile of scripts through my agent and I’m somewhat infamous for reading everything that is appropriately submitted. I don’t read anything that hasn’t been vetted. It’s a long process and every year you need to construct a room from the top down. I know my strengths and limits; the next two people down from me in the senior positions need to be able to do the things that I’m not so good at, better. And then, when you go further down, I look at what my balance is with regard to pacing, structure and comedy. Sometimes you have to, from season to season, say goodbye to someone you love, because you’re looking for someone who’s funny because your funny person has left. It’s a cake I’m making with a new recipe every year and is contingent on the best ingredients I can get.
OK, let’s get into Season 2 of Killjoys. Where do we pick up when the show returns?
We pick up not too long after we left our people, as they try to find D’Avin.
What’s D’Avin’s mental state?
I think if I answer that too directly, it will take some of the fun away for the audience. One of the things that I love about Luke is that he’s very professional, lovely and game. There are cases when I’ve told him we’re going to put him in some very uncomfortable situations and he completely action-hero’s it up. D’Avin has not had an easy time of it in the first 10 episodes. He’s had some emotional turmoil and traumas, and there are a few more of them that he weathers this year. That puts him on his own path this season.
What’s so much fun about a second season is that in the first you’re writing in a bit of a bubble. You’ve already broken so many episodes ahead of time before you’ve ever seen anyone on the set interact with one another. By the second season you absolutely know, and the fun of it is not only you know what they can do, but you know them as people. I’d like to put Hannah’s real-life levity on-camera.
I like to make sure that we have fun and tell a larger story and that we find places within that story for our characters to have some challenges and growth. We have quite a few fun little moments that I think fans in particular will enjoy.
Can you talk about Pree’s journey this season? Thom Allison hinted there might be a dark side to Pree that we might see.
Yeah. One of the things I love about both Pree and Thom is that they both bring a joy when they are present. What’s interesting to me is to round that and give that character a little bit more heft and a bit more backstory that is kind of interesting and worthy. We’ve had a little bit more fun with that this season and Pree does get out from behind the bar and out into the broader world.
Khlyen was the big bad in Season 1. How much does he overshadow things in Season 2?
There is a twist with Khlyen and his relationship with Dutch. There is a continual unfurling of who the actual big bads are in our greater world, what their goals are and who is part of that plan. Khlyen goes on a bit of his own journey to explore that for the audience.
From what I’ve seen during filming, it appears things move very quickly in Season 2.
There’s certainly a lot that happens and every season is, potentially, your last season. I like to make sure that we have fun and tell a larger story and that we find places within that story for our characters to have some challenges and growth. We have quite a few fun little moments that I think fans in particular will enjoy. I don’t believe in writing specifically to what fans would want, but by Season 2 we’re also fans of the show, so it’s very fun to say, ‘Oh my God, can we do that with such-and-such a character?!’ If we are finding joy in that and think it’s a hilarious beat, certainly we hope the fans will as well.
My favourite thing to do as a writer is develop and create worlds. I love showrunning. It’s an important way for you to realize that vision and to work with all of these wonderful teammates and partners to bring it to life. It’s also your entire life and my brain, once I think a show is kind of settling in, I just start hearing the voices again. I don’t know where the next one will take me. I don’t know if I’ll even be interested in trying to sell it, or stay with Killjoys or be exhausted or what. I do know that it has started and I suspect it’s still going to be genre. I’m wondering if it might actually be more horror because those are the visions that are popping into my head.
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!’