Things in our TV universe just seem better when Missy Peregrym is on our TV screen. It’s no secret we here at The TV Junkies loved and miss Rookie Blue, so we were overjoyed at the prospect of Peregrym’s two episode guest arc on Saving Hope this season. As we saw last week, Peregrym is playing Layla, a self-help guru, who Alex (Erica Durance) helped through surgery. Peregrym returns Thursday night, as Layla convinces Alex to let her use her new age techniques to try and heal whatever is going on with Alex.
This Saving Hope guest role won’t be the only time we can catch Peregrym. She has joined Season 2 of Syfy’s Van Helsing as Scarlett Harker and will make her debut when it premieres this fall. Not much is known about Scarlett, but Peregrym was able to share some about her experience joining Van Helsing when we recently spoke to her. She also discussed with us why she related so much to Layla and why, after taking some time after Rookie Blue, she feels more ready than ever to get back to work.
The TV Junkies: There’s a lot of Rookie Blue alums that are involved in Saving Hope. Is that how this opportunity to do a few episodes came about?
Missy Peregrym: Well, yes because it’s the same team of people and a lot of the Saving Hope writers were on Rookie Blue. It was great, the same crew and I was just really happy to go back. It felt like a little bit of a reunion actually, but also super strange because it’s not what I used to do at all. It was just nice to be back in Toronto, I was happy to do that and see everybody.
TTVJ: That had to be a nice draw for you, especially if this finally worked out timing-wise.
MP: I knew that they’d be great and it was fun to play a self help guru. I find that stuff so difficult to do though. For Erica and those guys to be able to say all the things that they are saying medically, it’s a really fine line of being able to be professional, but also have the drama of the experience. It was so strange I had to be awake during the surgery and a totally different thing to play. I was happy to work with Erica so much because we’ve known each other for so long, and it was just really nice to do something together.
TTVJ: You would’ve had to learn a lot of police lingo on Rookie Blue though. So after five seasons I guess they are all used to the medical procedures and technology.
MP: I guess you’re right and that’s totally fair, except that I think “10-4” is a little easier than some of the words they have to say. [laughs]
TTVJ: We met Layla in last week’s episode, but what does she have going on this week now that she’s had her operation done?
MP: It was such a big deal for her to trust Alex with that and go under again. She sees that Alex isn’t OK and is going through something. So she wants to repay, if there’s anything she can do for her because it was such a big deal for Alex to be there for her.
TTVJ: One aspect of Layla’s story that interests me is that she has a past with sexual assault, a very hot button issue at the moment. Was that something that was important for you with this character?
MP: It definitely was. I really appreciate the fact that she starts out appearing to really have it together, and then gets betrayed by her own body because of the stress of not dealing with the trauma properly. I relate to, not the assault, but going through a really hard time and just picking up the pieces and doing everything you can. Sometimes you don’t really look at the deeper stuff, thinking as long as you keep moving it’ll be OK, and I like the fact that she explores this a little more and has to face it. That’s really where her healing comes from, not all the guru work — even though there’s validity to it and she believes it — but at the end of the day the only way you get through this stuff is to actually go through it. You have to face the really hard stuff and it looks different for everybody.
I really did appreciate playing that character and also the change it made in her, and how she becomes much more authentic. I think that’s actually really important, and for me it’s important because with social media, I don’t love it, but I really hate how it’s all this self promotion and always positive. That’s not always the case and so I try to share full well-rounded stuff — hard stuff, tough things, thoughtful stuff, things I think are funny and stupid — but at the end of the day what I’m interested in sharing is stuff that’s relatable, heavy and deep things that bring human beings together. That part was very cool to me and I really related to it.
TTVJ: Watching you on Saving Hope made me realize how much I miss having you on my TV screen all the time. Lucky for us, you’ve joined Van Helsing for Season 2! What can you tell us about the character you’re playing, Scarlett Harker?
MP: Oh man, the reveal in the show is such a secret, so I don’t know what I’m allowed to talk about. I will say it was a trip to do a genre show. Vancouver has tons of sci-fi but this was another level. It was just a totally different vibe because there’s no time for all the deep feelings and sorting through character stuff. It’s more if you don’t hurry right now you’re going to die because it’s an apocalypse and vampires are killing everybody. It’s very fast paced and intense in a different way, and it was an adjustment for sure.
TTVJ: It definitely seems like a role that could have a ton of physicality. Did you have to do a lot of stunts?
MP: Yes, and that was part of the reason I took the role. First off, I wanted to go back to Vancouver. I hadn’t worked and lived there for 10 or 11 years so I was excited to be near my family a bit. The other reason was because the role was going to be very physical and I love that stuff. It was hard and really grinding, just because of the weather. I forgot how emotional the weather is there. It’s rainy, then freezing, then windy and then beautiful out of nowhere. You get so happy and then it’s pouring again! It made it difficult to be filming an outdoor show when you’re outside for hours and hours and hours everyday. The people were wonderful though.
I would love to be on TV again. It was good to have the break and I cut my hair off immediately as soon as we knew it was finished. It was a lot of reclaiming myself, even though I loved playing McNally and I grieved her for a long time, actually. I still do and I still talk to Matt [Gordon], Charlotte [Sullivan] and Enuka [Okuma] all the time. We had such a good time together and it really was special. I hope to do something like that again, but we’ll see what happens though. I’m really grateful for Rookie and the other projects I’ve been able to work on while taking some time, but I really do look forward to doing that again.
TTVJ: With you discussing how hard it is to shoot outside, I know that is bad for you guys, but as viewers it really comes out beautifully.
MP: That’s the unfortunate part. Everyone who isn’t out there everyday is like super bummed when it’s sunny out and all ‘Ugh, it doesn’t look as good!’ Meanwhile, I’m like ‘are you kidding? Can you give me a day? A day?’
TTVJ: California has made you weak!
MP: I know! It’s true, it’s really true. Here’s the thing, to defend myself, it’s fine to work in the weather, but I never get characters that get to dress for the weather. I just did not have enough clothes on at all for this one. Everything is super thin and there’s nothing you can do about it, except put 150 hot shots in my pockets. I’m just saying, I have suffered! [laughs] Apparently though, I’m a glutton for punishment because I get to film outside and I do love nature.
Are you as happy as we are that Peregrym is back on our TV screens? Sound off in the comments below!
Saving Hope airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on CTV in Canada and Saturdays at 12 a.m. ET on ion TV in the US.
Editor in Chief Bridget Liszewski comes from a long line of TV Junkies who fostered her love of television from a very young age. She's channeled that passion into covering both US and Canadian television shows, and is thankful everyday for the invention of the DVR. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, she loves college football and is a fan of sports in general. Bridget is always up for talking TV and you can follow her on twitter at @BridgetOnTV.