[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]
Y’all know how near and dear I hold Thom Allison, so it was one of my many, many great joys as Slasher Season 5 came together to have him front and center as a magical creature named Georges Rondeau. Part charlatan, part mystic, part magician, and so much more, Allison gleefully inhabits one of the few characters who actually weaves in and out of everybody’s stories while developing a rich story of his own. I chatted with Allison about the project, which he filmed last year just as we were watching him wrap up his Canadian Screen Award-nominated role of Eli on the final season of Coroner.
Series showrunner Ian Carpenter and series creator Aaron Martin wrote Georges specifically for Allison to play — the second time that’s happened for the actor — and he says it was an embarrassment of riches when it came to fruition and he had the scripts in his hands.
“It’s one of those weird things that you hear about, like actor lore, that someone says, ‘I’m writing a part for you in this show.’ And then they, literally, had actually written the part for me,” he shares.
It was his second outing in the series, after popping in to do a one-off episode for Slasher: Flesh & Blood, when another planned role didn’t happen. “They came back after that, for the new season and said,’We want to write a part for you if you’re available.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, I’m available,'” he recalls.
“They told me the world of it … an occult magician at turn of the century Toronto. And I thought, ‘Oh, that’s fun. Very showy, theatrical, check. Got that.’ But then I got all eight scripts. They had them all. I could not fully [comprehend all that it was]. I’m like, ‘So let me get this straight, boys, I’m cutting people in half. I’m gonna do seances and I have to speak four languages.’ I couldn’t believe I get to have all the fun.”
Just in the first four episodes, we’ve seen Georges perform magic tricks, mesmerize a woman, conduct a maybe-real seance, and get arrested and tortured. It’s been a lot, and Allison loved every minute of it. “I get to go to jail, I get to be tortured, and I get to have a fight in the jail with Eric McCormick,” he laughs.
“Daniel Kash is a mad man and was so genius, just being in the room with him as he was losing his mind was so hilarious and he was so committed to it. He was amazing. He’s so great to work with, but he goes so into it that it’s not hard to actually be terrified.”
“It was cool and weird. They had blood on my foot and then the nails and all these things. I had to pretend something else was happening. Because if I looked at it and thought of what it looks like or what it felt like, it was too many things. But it was fun. It just ends up being ridiculous. I mean, I’m having my toenails pulled off and I’m just screaming bloody murder and having a ball.”
“It’s funny that once you’re in it, it’s so easy [to surrender to] the abandon of it. You just go with it. You feel feel the spirit of what you’re doing and you realize that the more gruesome and awful it is, the better it is [onscreen].”
The lovely camaraderie of the Slasher repertory company was another source of joy for Allison, who met several of his castmates for the first time working on the series. “That whole day of everyone on the set [for the flashback party] was all one day. It was a scream. We got to see everyone and the conversations were happening and we’re all visiting with people,” he explains.
“And some people are old friends and some people are new friends and we’re all looking fabulous having fun. Those days are always fun. Whenever I thought I’d just had the best day ever, the next day on set was a good day. So each day kept topping itself.”
Allison has also just finished his stint directing the Stratford Festival production of Rent. He led rehearsals of for four months before its started previews earlier this month, and it officially opens in June.
“I think we’ve had four, five previews. When I run into the shops [and] people recognize [I’m] the director, they say, ‘I hear the show is great,'” he shares. “It’s going well. Standing ovations every show [and] they’re on their feet. That doesn’t always happen. And that’s great.” You can buy tickets now here and listen to Allison’s curated, Rent-inspired Spotify playlist here. You can also catch Allison on StratFest @ Home’s Northern Tracks nine-episode musical tribute to Canadian music here.
Coming up this week on Slasher: Ripper, we’re just past the halfway point of the season and nowhere near slowing down. Georges recovers with a little help from Terrence while the Botticelli sisters sink to a new low in their rage against young Verdi, which just might backfire in a most unexpected way.
We learn how Terrence and Salome came to be co-proprietors of the brothel and how Salome knew Margaret back in the day. After the latest victim is discovered, Basil is even more driven for answers, and Rijkers gets an assist from Regina and her connections to chase a lead on the Widow’s identity. Shelley Scarrow wrote the episode directed by Adam MacDonald.
The next new episode of Slasher: Ripper premieres Thursday at 3:01 am ET on Shudder and AMC+ in the U.S and at 9 pm ET on Hollywood Suite in Canada. You can catch the first four episodes on all outlets now. As a reminder, you can catch last season’s Flesh and Blood there, too. The first three seasons of Slasher are still on Netflix. And all our coverage of previous seasons is here. Here’s a sneak peek of “Everybody’s Darling.”
— Slasher (@SlasherSeries) April 27, 2023
Photos courtesy of Cole Janeteas/AMC Networks and Stratford Festival.