Wynonna Earp’s Greg Lawson on Why Nedley Can’t Just Peacefully Retire

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If Randy Nedley (Greg Lawson) thought he could retire as Purgatory Sheriff in Season 3 of Wynonna Earp, and just ride off into the sunset unscathed, he was sadly very, very mistaken. Not only did he get roped into helping Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano) try to get into the Garden, but he got bit by a bunch of demon-crabs and turned into an ogre for his efforts. Thankfully, Wynonna and the gang were able to de-ogre Nedley and get him back home safe and sound.

Not only did Season 4 bring about the return of Nedley’s beloved chili cook-off (FOR FREEDOM), but viewers also were treated to a reappearance of his daughter, Chrissy (Dana Christina). Lawson recently spoke to The TV Junkies about Chrissy’s reappearance in Nedley’s life, what his thoughts are on Nicole’s standoffish ways, and what still lies ahead for him this season. He also discussed what makes Scrofano such a great director, and how he felt getting to utter that iconic line that means so much to Earpers everywhere.

 

The TV Junkies: First things first, were you shocked when you found out Nedley would be the one lying naked in the snow?

Greg Lawson: I thought, ‘Well, hell, everybody else is naked in this show so I may as well give it a shot once.’ But just once! There isn’t going to be any Full Monty production with me in it. No, the first thing I thought was that it was January, and a few days before we shot it was -27℃. Then, just before we shot it warned up to -10℃. It wasn’t really that cold. Jennifer [Heffenden] and Patricia [Livingstone] from wardrobe had me so bundled up that I couldn’t move. I told them I couldn’t move, and asked them to take some stuff off me, and they said, ‘No!’ [laughs] They took really good care of me. The thing I didn’t count on was the rope. They used only one rope and when they wrapped it around me it was frozen. I didn’t count on that at all. 

I do have a fun story for you, though. I have the same friends now as I did in Grade 3. Their names are Gord, Garth, and Chris, and we now Zoom every Wednesday. I don’t know why we hadn’t been doing this before the virus, but it’s now a weekly chat. Last Wednesday, apparently they started watching Wynonna, and I log into the Zoom call, and they are all sitting there with no shirts on. Garth had a leaf blower that looked like a water gun. They were laughing and laughing. These are guys all over 60 and grandpas, but here they are, sitting naked on Zoom laughing at me. These are my friends. Gord’s wife walks by and just shakes her head. We haven’t grown up at all. Separately, we’re all adults, but when we’re together it’s like we’re back in school. 

TTVJ: Melanie directed that scene and episode as well. What was that experience like to have her as the director?

GL: Oh, Mel was just great! Melanie is a really generous actress to work with. She’s open to whatever you want to try. That quality in her, which is extremely valuable, she carries through in her directing. She knows what she wants, and yet, she’s open to ideas from other people and is collaborative. That’s the best of both worlds. Sometimes you run into directors who only know what they want. Melanie is an actor’s director, and it makes sense because she’s an actor. There’s directors out there that genuinely don’t like actors, and you can tell when you’re working with them, but Melanie appreciates what actors have to go through. I hope she does more. 

TTVJ: She did a great job and had some really beautiful shots.

GL: She had that shot with her perfectly placed feet covering Nedley’s crotch area. [laughs] I didn’t even know she was doing that until I saw it on the monitor. 

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TTVJ: Were you surprised to see Chrissy Nedley return in that episode? 

GL: No. I saw that coming because the fans loved her. I’m more surprised that she disappears. She shows up and then just takes off. I can’t figure that one out. [laughs]

TTVJ: Since Chrissy wasn’t as surprising to you, is there any information you did learn this year about Nedley that did come as a shock?

GL: For these few years, and four seasons, Nedley doesn’t really do anything so much as that he has things done to him. Any little background on Nedley, for me, is gold. Like finding out he divorced a Taurus, that gives me a lot of information. He was married and his wife didn’t die. They just got divorced. Finding out those little bits of information is gold. I’m just rarely surprised, though, and take things as they come. It was so great to see Chrissy.

TTVJ: Do you think Nedley was mad he missed the chili cook-off (FOR FREEDOM)?

GL: Yeah, I also don’t think he was aware of the shirt he was wearing. I think he finally looked and said, ‘wait a minute!’ Then, he realized what he missed, and saw that it was a memorial cook-off, and realized how close he came.

TTVJ: Nicole definitely seemed off at that reunion scene with Nedley. Do you think he notices and is concerned for her this season?

GL: I think he noticed it at the time and reacts to it. She definitely seems pre-occupied and he picks up on it. I don’t know that he’s the kind of guy that would push on something, though. He’d use his wily cop skills to get something out of someone, but he’s more a sit in the corner and watch guy. He probably thinks that Nicole will tell him what’s bothering her when she’s ready. He doesn’t want to push.

TTVJ: Nedley uttered a pretty important line this season in “Nobody fucks with our family.” What was that like for you to get to say, knowing how much it would to Earpers everywhere?

GL: At first, I was honored as an actor who read it in the script. Then, I had to forget about it and its importance, in order to play it as Randy Nedley. There was one take where the script supervisor, Marion Milner, said, ‘Oh no, you said the line wrong.’ Mel and I looked at her and said, ‘I don’t know, that’s a pretty famous line to get wrong.’ You’re just very aware of the significance of what happened last season, and you don’t want to overplay it. Those kinds of things are very easy to overplay. It’s a nod and wink to the audience and they are very difficult to do. You can’t overdo them or you’re in a different world, stylistically. 

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TTVJ: In Episode 404, we are introduced to the Clanton family. Since Nedley was Sheriff in Purgatory for so long, does he have a history with them? Will that be explored at all?

GL: That’s interesting, but I think we’re in a new world. After the 18 months, all of the sudden there’s people hanging in the streets. I don’t know that it’s quite the same Purgatory that we knew, and the demons are now out in the open. I get the impression it’s just all very different, but I don’t get a sense in the writing that Nedley has had a history with the Clantons.

TTVJ: Nedley was an ogre for 18 months, and Nicole was busy keeping the Homestead safe during that time. So what do you think happened to Calamity Jane? Fans are very worried!

GL: I have absolutely no comment. There’s a reason why, but I have no comment. I’ll talk to you later about that because it’s an interesting story and we’ll have to wait. Months from now, I do have an interesting story for you. 

Calamity Jane will live forever in Greg’s world. I don’t know about Nedley’s, as I have no control over that, or what happens, but for me, Calamity will always be with me at every convention I go to.

TTVJ: Is there anything you can share about what Nedley has coming up this season?

GL: Honestly, he doesn’t do too much. He’s just enjoying his retirement, but every once and a while, he gets drawn into the troubles that plague Purgatory. Whether it’s someone needing an extra pair of hands, or whether it’s accidental, he does have an eventful road to retirement. He pops in and out this season. I wish I could tell you more, but I don’t want to give away too much.

TTVJ: What is it like being back and shooting the rest of Season 4 during a pandemic? It must be very difficult.

GL: They have it pretty well-organized and it hasn’t been bad at all. At least not for the cast, but I imagine it’s a hardship on the crew. I give those guys all the credit for working through this with masks on. We get to take our masks off when filming, but it just must be hard for the crew to work a 12 hour day, and be so hyper-aware of disinfecting everything. We’re kind of a guinea pig. 

 

Wynonna Earp airs Sundays at 10/9c on SYFY and CTV Sci-Fi.