Why Killjoys’ Stunt Coordinator Alicia Turner Says Hannah John-Kamen is “Not the Norm”

Ian Watson/Killjoys IV Productions Limited/SYFY
Ian Watson/Killjoys IV Productions Limited/SYFY

If there’s one thing that everyone knows about Killjoys it’s that you do not mess with Dutch. Hannah John-Kamen’s space bounty hunter is a deadly assassin capable of single-handedly taking out some of the galaxy’s most powerful bad guys. Dutch doesn’t just fight either, the way she takes out her enemies truly is an artform. While John-Kamen is a highly skilled actress, who recently has transitioned and put those fighting skills to use in blockbuster movies like Ready Player One and Ant-Man and the Wasp, there’s another woman behind the scenes responsible for making Dutch’s fights look so amazing.

Stunt Coordinator Alicia Turner has been working on the show since the pilot. She began as John-Kamen’s stunt double, worked her way up to assistant stunt coordinator in Season 2 and since Season 3 has been the show’s stunt coordinator. She is the woman behind coordinating some of the show’s most epic fights and making sure that Team Awesome Force always looks in top form during their fight sequences. When The TV Junkies visited the Killjoys set earlier this year we got a chance to speak with Turner about her time on the show and more specifically, what it is like working so closely with John-Kamen.

 

The TV Junkies: Did you always want to do stunts?

Alicia Turner: I kind of did. I wanted to be an actress that does cartwheels and jumped off stuff. I then realized that was a stunt person. I had a light bulb moment.

TTVJ: We’ve heard that one of the reasons Steven Spielberg really wanted Hannah for Ready Player One was because of her stunt work. How did that feel for you?

AT: Hannah was a dancer so we started off in the first season with Krav Maga, but she really took to it. Her choreography is insane, where you go through a fight three times and she then knows exactly where to be. She just really knocks it out of the park and she’s just so good at it. In a way it spoils me because I go on other shows, and I’m used to Hannah and I forget that’s so above average. It’s not the norm.

TTVJ: Killjoys is a show that has to deal with budgetary constraints. How does that affect you or what kind of challenges does that pose for you?

AT: We will have really busy rehearsal days because we’ll only have one and try to throw three fights in one day. By the end of the day, none of us can make a full sentence because our brains are so dead. Another way is that some of the exciting stuff tends to go away. I’ll read a first draft, but by production something has gone away. You have to manage your expectations, but few shows go five seasons now. It’s so great that this show, being such a girl power show, did go five seasons.

Ian Watson/Killjoys IV Productions Limited/SYFY
Ian Watson/Killjoys IV Productions Limited/SYFY

TTVJ: What about things like Delle Seyah being pregnant and dealing with Mayko Nguyen’s real life pregnancy? Does that affect your job a lot?

AT: It was mostly the camera department and shooting around the fact that she was pregnant. There was one day where she got dragged in and we got a body double for her. So the body double got dragged instead. They did a great job of it because they didn’t put a giant suitcase in front of her.

TTVJ: Do you have a favorite fight that you’ve choreographed?

AT: I do! Remember the fight in the spa with the two bald guys? That was maybe my favorite fight. I also had a lot of fun because I was briefly in that fight — I was coordinator and double last season. I love in the first season when Dutch fights D’avin and he gets really brutal. That was really great and those stand out in my mind.

TTVJ: What’s the process like? Do you get the script and then plan everything out?

AT: I will read the script and start to get ideas that I’ll bring to the stunt and special effects meeting with the director. They’ll ask ‘what do you see here?’ I’ll tell them and sometimes they say it’s awesome and other times they say that’s way too expensive. That’s when we sit down and throw stuff around and that meeting is where we really get things together. From that I’ll go away and work on it, plan, hire and work on budget. By the time we’re shooting I better be ready because it’s too late on the day.

TTVJ: We’ve started to see some stunt coordinators make a leap to directing. Is that something you want to try down the road?

AT: It’s definitely a thought I’ve had and such a big animal. Also, when you work with really great directors you have those moments where you think ‘I could never do this!’ That’s such a terrible thing to say, but you see all the things they have to do and solutions and ideas. So I work with some and think ‘I’d never be good enough to do that,’ but then I work with others and think ‘I’m already good enough to do this.’

For me, the challenge would be the actor side of it. I find that as a stunt person, I’m dealing with numbers and safety, and I think what’s important is creativity, which can fall out when you’re so busy being pragmatic. That’s something I’ve been working on more is creativity.

 

Do you love the stunt work on Killjoys? Add your thoughts and favorite fight below!

Killjoys airs Fridays at 10 p.m. ET on SYFY and Space Channel.