When Bleeding Cool visited the set of Wynonna Earp, Dominique Provost-Chalkley talked to us while waiting for a change in the camera set-up and began the interview speaking as her character, Waverly Earp. The UK-born Provost-Chalkley apologized when she realized she was speaking with Waverly’s voice.
“It’s very strange,” she said. “When I do my English accent, I’m a lot more polite. It comes with it.”
Waverley Earp, meanwhile, is something a firecracker. Provost-Chalkley called her “full of energy” and “wonder.” As the series starts, she and Wynonna reconnect after the title character spent many years away from Purgatory. “The whole start of the season is [about] working out our sisterly relationship,” the actress explained. It comes with difficulties, of course, but she says there is still love there despite the estrangement.
Where Wynonna was eventually convinced that the Earp Curse was all in her head, Waverly never doubted it was real. “It’s really nice because in the first episode, Wynonna arrives and doesn’t want to deal with any of this and Waverly is really enthusiastic about it,” she said. Looking at the curse with academic rigor, the younger Earp is somewhat disappointed she cannot deal with the Revenants — the men killed by Wyatt Earp and doomed to plague his descendants — herself.
“I think it’s really hard for Waverly. She’s been working so hard for so many years and like anyone would be, she wonders why it isn’t her,” Provost-Chalkley said. “Wynonna hasn’t done the work, but still gets to be the chosen one. It’s a struggle for [Waverly] to get past that.” The tension informs the early part of the season, but there will be a sort of acceptance as the story progresses. “It’s a lovely thing when we realize we each have a real place in the group and there’s things I can bring that Wynonna can’t,” she explained.
At WonderCon last week, she added that the dynamic holds the show together. “You’re really rooting for them to conquer things together,” she said. “But like any sisterly relationship, there are little jealousies.”
The actress originally auditioned for Wynonna, but was called back to read for Waverly, a part Provost-Chalkley said she was ultimately “more suited to.” She relished the opportunity to play comic relief in her audition. She also looked forward to playing a character who became “more and more badass,” as the season progressed. “[Waverly] can hold her own,” she said when we talked to her in December.
But that will be a process for the character. When we meet her, Waverly will be full of a youthful enthusiasm about the task ahead that will be challenged once she sees a Revenant put down. As Provost-Chalkley put it, “She doesn’t see things as a fairy tale, but the reality — it’s one thing to research these things and other to go out and kill creatures — it hits her a bit harder than everyone else, I think.”
Facing that reality will inform the course of her story as the show continues past the pilot. “Breaking the Earp Curse is the ultimate [goal],” the actress explained. “But for her, it’s [also] working out who she is. She’s twenty-one and she’s struggling to understand who she is. She’s been pretending to be something for a long time and then her sister comes back and maybe … she’s not all what her exterior [suggests].”
And one person who challenges her self-identity is Tim Rozon’s Doc Holiday. ““Every time it seems we’re becoming friends, he’ll do something [to sabotage that],” she said of their characters’ dynamic. “The great thing about Waverly is that her morals are so strong and she has this view which is possibly naive about how everyone should be friends. And sometimes she gets let down.”
Realizing that Doc was Wyatt’s best friend, Waverly assumes they’ll get along “like a house on fire,” but Provost-Chalkley said Doc’s motives sometimes get in the way and her character struggles to understand his choices. “Something always brings Waverly back to Doc,” she added. “There’s something about his eyes.”
Her initial gung-ho spirit will also inform her early encounters with Black Badge Division’s Agent Xavier Dolls, played by Shamier Anderson. “Waverly wants to impress Dolls and she wants to prove that she’s ready to be part of the Black Badge,” she said. Her urge to prove herself may lead to some mishaps along the way.
But it is these character dynamics, which emerged very quickly according to Provost-Chalkley, that will make the show interesting to viewers. “All four of us have really good chemistry and they realized that quite soon on,” she said. “Relationships — [like] between Doc and Waverly, for example — that you wouldn’t thought of straight away have been nice and [the writers] have been playing with that. There’s all sorts of complexities.”
She recalled that the four principle characters did not appear in a scene together until the fifth or sixth episode, but “it really gelled together” once the scene came around because of the strong characterization already in place. “It surprised me in a good way to see where they’ve taken Waverly,” she added. “They’ve made her a lot more complex and I’ve been able to play a lot of different layers.”
“It’s an incredible world they’ve created,” she added.
Wynonna Earp premieres tomorrow on Syfy.