In the second interview from our visit to the Killjoys set, we sit down with Hannah John-Kamen. She’s owning the sci-fi world this summer as Dutch, and shared some great insights into the show and her character.
How did you become involved in Killjoys?
In the UK, my agent called me and said, “You have an audition.” I didn’t get the whole script but I got the character breakdown, and I got a portion of the script for the audition. I thought wow, this character, she’s a strong female character, it was incredible. Then I auditioned, got recalled, came here (Toronto) for the screen test, and I fell in love with the character instantly.
How does Dutch fit into this trio, and what do you like best about her?
Her relationship with John is, at this stage, platonic. But the love and the trust that the characters have for each other is not a love story. The girl doesn’t always have to be in love with the leading guy. Our relationship is like a brother and sister, trustworthy, and they’ve been through so much in their life together. They’ve grown up together really to this stage of their life and who they are now is because they sought goodness in one another. They bring out the good in each other.
The ship, Lucy, she’s a character in herself, and how [John and I] met is actually that I shot him, which is quite funny. I stole the ship, and John was actually coming to steal the ship, and that’s how we started, but now we’re the best of friends.
Dutch has a mysterious past. How much will we be seeing of that in the first season?
At the beginning it’s teased and you get glimpses of this real broken past. A darkness to her is from this past that’s she’s trying to run away from, to get away from. Throughout the season, the past becomes more and more and is growing. At a specific point, you’ll get to see a lot of Dutch’s past.
Of this trio, D’avin is the one with the tactical military background and John’s the negotiator. What is Dutch’s role in this group?
Dutch is like a snake. She’s an assassin. Her level of skill for killing is actually part of her past that you’ll come to discover. It’s of a very different level, a scary level of training.
Would you say that she’s driven by instinct?
I think her body and mind is one. It’s a sixth sense. She’s doing the action before she’s realizing the situation. It’s there, it’s in her body, it’s her sixth sense.
This looks like a very physical role. Can you tell us about your fight training?
My favourite part has been the fighting. It’s so cool. I’ve had a lot of fight training and it’s just wonderful to learn all these skills. Also, learning what would happen in real life and how you would actually fight somebody. I’ve done scenes where I’ve had to take down six guys in a small corridor, and it was so badass and cool actually learning the maneuver that you would do. What’s great is we’ve all got our own style. For D’avin, it’s more military and with certain fights in a bar it’s more fisticuffs, but with my character it’s more of a dance, weaving in and out and knowing I’m doing that move with that person before I even know that I’m going to take this guy out. I’m multitasking with my fighting which is fantastic.
Why are the bounty hunters in this universe called “Killjoys”, and what does it take to land that job?
Well there’s “kill”, and “joy” means money, so it’s “Killjoys”, but it’s quite a boo within our world to call us “Killjoys”. We’re actually called reclamation agents, and it’s killing for money, that’s essentially what we do. I’m a “Warrant Level 5”, and that’s the top level of training of a reclamation agent. John is a Level 3 and D’avin is Level 4. It all comes with your background of training and skills, so it’s kind of like handing in a CV. There’s “The Rack” authorities that are the top guns that we have to apply with to be a “Killjoy”.
Are your characters competing with other “Killjoys” for warrants?
There are other “Killjoys”, and there is a scene in an episode where we’re all competing Hunger Games style for a warrant. It was nice to meet and see the other “Killjoys” in this world, and we actually are in contact with them, but there is an episode where we’re all after the same goodie bag.
Luke and Aaron told us about D’avin and John’s relationship with Lucy, the ship. What is Dutch’s relationship with Lucy?
Dutch and Lucy is a really great relationship. John is Lucy’s favourite, she’ll do anything for John, and I think Dutch gets a little jealous of that. Lucy is a charcter, she’s very humorous and has her own place within our team, but she’s absolutely trustworthy. It’s a good relationship apart from when John gets involved.
Is Dutch a challenging character to play?
Altogether, it’s a big thing to play Dutch. She is incredible and such a cool, strong woman with this skill set behind her. For me starting this, I knew it was going to be a challenging thing, but I’m enjoying it and enjoy getting stronger, feeling that physically and emotionally. The emotional threshold for this character — it’s the biggest thing I’ve played in my career. It’s beautiful to play. It’s challenging, but it’s amazing.
Who of this trio is the serious one that has to keep the others in line?
I think we all take it in turns. Dutch does have her fun side absolutely, but she’s always on her game. John is the negotiator, the mediator as well, when certain things erupt with me and D’avin. And there are points when D’avin takes the reins of a situation. It’s like any family, taking turns to play a certain role. Between all three of us, we take it in turns.
What can you say about Dutch’s relationship with D’avin?
In Dutch’s first meeting with D’avin, she’s very suspicious. He hasn’t seen his brother in years, and suddenly he’s in our lives. Dutch is very protective of John, She’s very suspicious and kind of like a panther testing out the territory beforehand to take it slow and really read this guy. Because if he’s going to be a part of our lives, Dutch doesn’t want anything to upset or hinder what Dutch and John have.
Is being a reclamation agent black and white in this world? Or are there times where you or the others question a warrant?
There’s a saying in the show that Dutch sticks to: the warrant is all. That’s it. You don’t take sides. You do your job. That’s what Dutch is sticking to. I don’t know about D’avin or John. For now, the warrant is all.
We all have a soul. There is right and wrong. There is battling with what is right and what is wrong, especially with some of our warrants. So you will see a lot of struggle. But at the end of the day, the warrant is all. That is a big part of our struggles that you’ll see.
You’ve mentioned that Dutch is a strong, powerful woman. Is that typical in the Killjoys universe, that women are equal to men in this world, or is she an exception?
In this world, whether it’s men or women, it’s who you are. There’s so much strength with other females, absolutely. Dutch isn’t the only one. It’s who you are and that strength within yourself that measures you compared to other people and how strong you really are. I’m not the only strong female at all. There are others, and some are stronger.
Is this a world where people are defined by what they do?
We’ll see that there is a lot of prejudice against who you are and what you do, and which planet you live on and where you live. It’s like life. There is prejudice on our show with other characters, but we’re not defined by that. People aren’t defined by what they do.
Was Dutch always this strong?
It’s really interesting because Dutch is, and you’ll see from her past that she really hasn’t always been this strong, tough, tomboyish female. There was a time when she was a child, a little girl, you’ll see her past.
Were you familiar with Michelle Lovretta’s previous work before reading for Killjoys?
I was very familiar with Lost Girl, and again, it’s a wonderful strong female. It’s inspiring. Michelle’s really wonderful. I was familiar with Lost Girl and a big fan, and very excited to get on that plane here.
Photo Courtesy of Space