One of Cardinal‘s many strengths is its casting. Season 3 is no exception, with the addition of new cast members Devery Jacobs, Rya Khilstead, Genelle Williams, and of course, one of our Killjoys, Aaron Ashmore.
I chatted with Ashmore last week about joining the show and got a sneak peek of where we can see him next before Killjoys airs its final season this summer on Space.
This season on Cardinal, Ashmore plays Randall Wishart, a married real estate agent who leaves his young lover, college student Sam (Jacobs), out in the cold when she witnesses a murder after one of their trysts. Ashmore was a fan of the show, which had only filmed and aired the first season before block shooting Seasons 2 and 3 together in the fall of 2017.
He was happy to join the cast. “I remember reading the first script and [thinking] that it was something different and I’d be interest in playing it. I’d seen the majority of the first season and really, really liked it,” he recalls.
“It was really high-quality and looked amazing and I found it to be an interesting premise for a show. I was excited to be a part of it. It was fun to play [someone] so smarmy and arrogant.”
“Being in the Canadian industry, you go on set and you know a bunch of people and the writers know each other [from your other shows]. There’s a real connection there and it’s very nice to be working on projects where that happens.”
Wishart is a big–ish fish in a small pond and we see his face plastered around town, including on a Zamboni, which Ashmore got a kick out of. “It’s kind of embarrassing, in a way,” he laughs.
“It’s cool to have your face on a Zamboni but the, ‘Come play with me,’ cheesy hockey star thing … It was exciting-slash-embarrassing. In Randall’s office, there’s an abundance of posters posing with his hockey sticks. It was great fun.”
“You feel like a bit of a fool [doing the photo shoots] but you appreciate that somebody knows what they’re doing and they serve a greater purpose. I joked that I was going to bring one of the posters home [but I didn’t].”
Next up for Ashmore is role on the third season of Designated Survivor, which jumps to Netflix this year. “I’m doing a little arc. That came about because Chris Grismer, who’s the executive producer and director on set, did the first couple of episodes of Killjoys,” he says.
“We had a really good relationship and he found a role I would be right for. I’m playing a young Republican political strategist. It’s different from any roles I’ve played before. I’m lucky that Toronto is so busy right now.”
Ashmore’s film, 22 Chaser, is now streaming and on Blu-ray and DVD, and he’s glad people will get to see it on a broader scale. “It’s a great little film from one of the executive producers and writers of Season 1 of Killjoys, Jeremy Boxen. It’s his baby that he wrote,” he explains.
“Another cool movie where I get to play a bit of a dirtbag. It’s sort of a Western-style movie about tow truck drivers in Toronto. It sounds like a bizarre mashup and it is but I think it’s really, really interesting.”
“There are some over-the-top crazy characters and a lot of the actors brought some really interesting stuff. Brian Smith grounded the movie with his performance. He’s the lead and such a great actor.”
“It’s fun and different and I think people will enjoy it if they check it out. It’s definitely kind of dark at times and bizarre. Who knew that the world of tow truck drivers was so sordid and crazy?”
Ashmore wrapped Killjoys in September (for which he just received a Best Actor in a Drama Canadian Screen Awards nomination), and appreciates that they were able to finish on their own terms. “It was bittersweet. I’m very grateful to have gotten five seasons. I loved the character and the show and the people,” he says.
“I was working with Rob Stewart on Designated Survivor. We crossed paths and we were saying, in a lot of ways, it’s been the highlight of our career so far, with characters, roles, and people that we absolutely loved. You don’t know when you’re going to find another [project] that you feel the same way about.”
“We realize how lucky we were and what an amazing project that we were getting to work on. All good things come to an end and you know when you start a show that it will end. We lucked out having five seasons. It’s sad. I still have my full costume tucked away.”
“At some point, I’ll thrown on the jacket and gun belt and [do cosplay with some of the cast]. The costumes looked amazing. Everybody was always outdoing themselves. And Trysha [Bakker, who is nominated for a CAFTCAD award next weekend] is just the nicest, coolest person.”
Ashmore recently wrapped Tammy’s Always Dying, a Canadian film directed by Amy Jo Johnson. “It’s an independent, Canadian film. I was really, really excited to be a part of it. We shot it in Hamilton. It starts Anastasia Phillips, who has a very good, fun, recurring role in Killjoys Season 5,” he shares.
“It’s a really interesting small-town story. Kind of rough around the edges, it’s like a very, very dark comedy. I’m playing another not-great guy. We just shot it in November/December so it probably won’t be out for quite some time. I hadn’t worked with [Amy] before. She was a great director, I really enjoyed working with her.”
Photos Courtesy of CTV and Space