Wynonna Earp is one of those shows that catches you by surprise. The main character is a quick witted woman, with a wicked leather jacket to match, who’s run away from her problems her entire life. She’s a sister, a daughter, and I forgot to mention, she’s the chosen one in a battle against a group of demons that rise again when an Earp reaches the age of 27. Easy right?
We sat down with Wynonna Earp showrunner Emily Andras and leading lady Melanie Scrofano to talk about what makes this show standout among the rest.
Five words to describe Wynonna to someone who’s never watched Wynonna Earp?
With so many comic book adaptations out there, looking at you Marvel, DC, and Image Comics, what makes Wynonna Earp different? Especially as a female led comic?
Emily: I think in every way she is an underdog. I think the biggest difference is that technically Wynonna is not a superhero. She’s a complete hot mess. She is like if Mary Jane Watson suddenly had to save the city or you know the sidekick on some level. She is really a normal girl who makes some terrible life choices due to some tragedy in her past, but nonetheless she has somehow inherited this magic gun. And has been tasked with kind of ridding her town and the world of demons.
So I think what keeps it fresh is that she is barely a hero. She’s going to learn how to become a hero. She doesn’t really have that many super powers so to speak. But it also is about this motley crew of dysfunctional underdogs trying to fight the supernatural. It’s not the X-men at all. These guys barely remember to brush their teeth. I feel like it it’s subversive of the superhero genre as a whole because the fact all these outsiders.
The biggest difference I think is the setting. It’s in this beautiful, Albertan landscape that’s passing for say Montana or somewhere like that, out West. So it really feels so fresh in comparison to a common urban landscape which has it’s space, but I feel like our show just feels very different.
Lyra: I was watching it and it reminded me of Jessica Jones but in a completely different setting, with a completely different person and I love it.
Emily: Good. I wanted to remind you all the good things about Jessica Jones. I’m gonna be honest, I was less familiar with Jessica Jones, and of course we were already half way through production, when Jessica Jones debuted so I was like “Heart attack!” I was like, hard living, hard drinking, female heroine, with some trauma in her life and a beautiful leather jacket. I do feel like the show feels quite different and of course a fan of Krysten Ritter, the greatest lead ever. I got nervous and then I was like, it’s ok. The world can probably handle two television shows with two female superheroes. I think we got this.
Wynonna is assertive, funny, brash, brave, big hearted, and has her own personal demons that she struggles with everyday. She’s flawed/unapologetic and it’s great for a woman who wants to see someone struggling too. Why is it that we don’t see more female characters like her on TV?
Melanie: Because it’s too scary. There’s a note that I would get a lot (from producers) which I didn’t get once with Emily. It’s funny because you’d make a joke and then the whole crew would laugh, and the producer would ask to do it again, but less. They know that a sexy girl who does sexy Victoria’s Secret poses, and is perfect, and probably waxes her vagina everyday, will sell. They “know” that will sell. So they’re like, “Let’s not take any chances.” This show takes every chance there is. And I think it’s exciting.
Waverly is a huge reason why she decided to stay in Purgatory. But what else drives a woman like Wynonna to protect this town? Destiny or her own decision?
Melanie: Waverly was a big reason. But I think, beyond that, it was sort of going like, “I could keep running. I could keep turning my back on the things that need to be faced, cuz they’ll still be there. Or for the first time in my life I can choose to stand up and do what’s right. Even if it’s the hard decision. “I can do what’s right and maybe make something of my life. And maybe live up to some idea that I had for myself growing up. I was gonna be something special.” So I think it’s really about her redeeming herself.
Lyra: It feels real when you see her struggling with all these different things and decisions.
Melanie: Yeah, it’s also life isn’t that clean. Sometimes you have to do right, even by people who suck. Doing the right thing is what’s going to make us go, “Ok, I’m righting all the wrongs I’ve done. This is the only thing I can do now to right the wrongs. And it might not turn back time, but at least it’s something. I think that’s what Wynonna is trying to do.
Wynonna has had some funny and ridiculous moments, like one of the Revenants pretending to smoke a finger, or being giddy to shoot a guy because you might have the opportunity to shoot him in the dong. What’s your favorite moment or line so far? And where do you come up with such hilarious ideas?
Emily: Well what is Lyra going to like? That’s what we gotta do. We gotta pick her brain. We gotta make her laugh. Someone go to her house. Go through her magazines. What is she reading these days?!
I mean, I don’t know. I really have always been a short weirdo. And so when I figured out I could make people laugh I realized there’s power in that, there’s power in humor. (Making a room of people laugh.) I’m a super big goofball. And we put a bunch of goofballs in a writing room, who are all A-type weirdos, and the biggest pleasure of your day is trying to make a TV show by making each other laugh. I just really like jokes that come from character, too. Like Wynonna would never make the same joke that Bobo would make, that Doc would make. Every character has their own set of humor.
One of the best things that happened is when we cast Melanie. She’s one of the most quick witted people in real life and she just got my lines. You write it all and you don’t know if someone’s going to be able to pull it off. It’s really hard to pull off that snark and still be likeable. And I’ve written lots of characters where I realized that it makes not really likeable or kind of mean spirited. Or maybe they just can’t do comedy. So I feel like I’ve been pleased by that marriage. And yes it’s a marriage now. Get used to it.
Melanie: Where’s my ring?
Emily: Quite honestly, she elevates the material. And some of the best lines too, Mel is one of the only people on the cast I really trust to improvise because she is so funny. I have a lot of faith in her trying because she knows herself and she knows my humor so well. It’s amazing. So I feel like instead of having to pull back I’ve just been able to try even more insane things. Which is just great. And what’s most gratifying is that the audience loves it. They understand it. They get what we’re trying to do. Just seeing all those gif sets, and people quote live back to us on the live tweet on Friday nights, it’s honestly one of the most gratifying professional things that’s ever happened to me.
I don’t really have a favorite line. Every episode has a different line I love. I have lines that make me cry and I have lines that make me laugh.
Melanie: What’s a line that makes you cry?
Emily: Well it’s not coming up. I kind of like it when Wynonna says in Episode 2 when stupid Levi says, “You’re just a girl.” And she says, “No, I’m THE girl. With the big ass gun. And one by one I’m gonna blow you all away.” There’s tons of lines that make me cry. There’s tons of moments. There’s a moment in the finale that totally makes me cry every time that I’ll tell you later.
Lyra: So I should expect to cry during the whole finale?
Emily: Yeah, you’ll have to call back. There’s so many time in 8 when Wynonna’s in a really precarious situation where I was like, “Oh my god, I love her so much. I just love that she never stops fighting and trying. I would say she’s so inspiring. But funny wise, oh my god. There’s so many. And the other thing we’ve all seen about Mel, is that her facial expressions are just so hilarious! She could star in a silent movie. I could mute the episode and still laugh my ass off. It’s hard for me to pick a favorite one.
Melanie: What’s your favorite line?
Lyra: My favorite line is in Episode 2 when the Revenant comes into the bar and asks her for the Peacemaker and she answers, “It’s in my panty drawer.” I couldn’t believe this girl was serious!
Emily: Think about how only a very specific type of actress can pull off that line. It’s a ridiculous line. And only Mel could do it. She kills it. There’s just so many.
How is this show different from other shows you’ve worked on before? Say, like in comparison to Damien (Melanie) and Lost Girl (Emily)?
Melanie: I’ve never…Emily this is going to sound like I’m kissing up to my boss right now but I’m not. I say this all the time behind her back. I’ve never been so free and so trusted on a set. That things we talked about before, about how people are scared to let you try things. And on this show it was no, no, just go. Try things because I trust you. And I feel like, specially season one, there could have been a lot of white knuckling from people going like, “That was really good. But can you tone it done? Can you be sexier? Can you…whatever?” There was not a single fucking thing said to me. Which is the rarest of the rare, I can not tell you. Somebody always has to tone you down.
Lyra: They didn’t tell you that you were “too female?”
Melanie: Yes. Others would be like, “You’ve got one too many ovaries!” But I’m like, “I’ll get rid of that next month!” No but honestly, nobody pulled me and told me, “You’re really funny but be hotter.” Nobody told me or undermined what I was doing. Never. It’s such a rare case. I felt completely trusted.
Lyra: And you Emily?
Emily: I’ve been really lucky. You mentioned Lost Girl and that show is obviously a beloved show. That show absolutely changed my life and my writing. It changed the way I thought about female characters. It introduced me to genre and genre audiences, and the sophistication of that audience. And the type of storytelling you could do. So make no mistake, that show, absolutely made me who I am today. For better or for worse.
But as far as Wynonna. Wynonna is mine. It’s my baby with this incredible group of people. It was terrifying. It was like giving birth. A horrible birth. Like, “Look at the baby. She’s so beautiful. Omg, she has Melanie’s face!”
I would say this show for me, what made it special, is that I’ve never had a stronger cast in my entire life. I think I feel like what the producers of Friends must feel, when they said there’s something about the chemistry of these people together, that is literally like putting lightning in a bottle. There’s no weak link. They’re like the cast of people and performers that are extraordinary. I feel like the show knows what it is. It sounds like you should know what a show is, but you’d be surprised how often a show will not know the level of comedy their expecting. I feel like this show is fairly consistent from beginning to end.
Honestly I just had a ball. We all moved out West. We lived in Calvary. Some of us took our family. And it felt like a family making this insane little underdog of a supernatural western. And it really felt special. It feels special.
Lyra: It’s your baby.
Emily: Yeah, it’s my baby. I want it to grow up. And again, when you see your baby you think it’s cute even though it has a weird smushed in head. I think it’s really nice that other people are finding our smushed baby beautiful.
Lyra: I love your baby’s smushed head.
Emily: But it’s true, right? You love your baby no matter what. And there’s something extra joyful at this stage where I’m like, “There are all these brilliant/smart ‘Earpers’ (what Wynonna fans are called) who love the show and are going on this journey with us. And understand how special this cast is. And that has made all the difference as they say.
Finally what kind of Wynonna are we going to be left with at the end of Season 1? Someone still fighting destiny? Or all in?
Emily: Well we’re still midseason so we’ll say…well the last episode (Episode 7) ended in a cliffhanger. There are so many shocks and surprises coming. So many twists in characters. So many left turns. I would say that the past comes back to haunt the Earp girls in big ways. Ways they don’t expect. And they have some really daunting evil to face down.
Melanie: That’s what I was going to say!
Wynonna Earp airs Fridays @ 10 p.m. on SYFY.