Let’s be perfectly clear, it was no easy task. For two seasons on Wynonna Earp we had heard the stories of the woman that was Mama Earp, and how she supposedly left her daughters to fend for themselves with their alcoholic father, Ward Earp. How could she? What kind of mother does that? Then, in the Season 2 finale it turned out that Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano) had actually known where she had been all this time? What kind of game was this woman playing?
It’s no wonder the prospect of who would actually play such a pivotal character had Earpers in a frenzy and they all rejoiced when Canadian icon and legend Megan Follows was cast in the role. Follows and Mama Earp arrived right at the start of Season 3 of the SYFY and Space channel series, which airs its Season 3 finale this Friday at 9 p.m. ET, and there were even more surprises. Not only was Wynonna aware of where Mama had been all these years, but she was a bit crazy and had been in prison the whole time.
Of course, in typical Wynonna Earp fashion, things are never quite as they seem and Mama actually had went to prison to protect Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkley). As viewers’ perspective and opinions on Mama Earp shifted, the character got closer to her now grown daughters before taking off to find Waverly’s father, Julian. Whether she was a figment of Wynonna’s imagination, or more than handling herself in that bar fight, one thing was for certain and that’s Follows immediately made clear that she was the perfect choice to play Mama Earp and fans wanted more of her character. They aren’t alone, we here at The TV Junkies are huge fans of Follows’ portrayal and extremely thankful that she found some time to speak with us recently about her time on the show. Follows is also an accomplished director who has directed episodes of Heartland and Murdoch Mysteries.
The TV Junkies: Before you were cast as Mama Earp, I know you were a fan ofthe show. I remember Earpers coming back from your Dragon Con panel after Season 2 aired, all excited you mentioned the show. What was it about the show that made you want to be a part of it?
Megan Follows: I was really impressed with [showrunner] Emily Andras. I had met with her and they seemed, and do, have a lot of fun together and are very loyal. I was also really impressed with the fan base of the show, how loyal they were and what a huge part they’ve had in keeping the show on the air. It’s really been their commitment and fighting for it that kept the show alive. It’s always exciting too when a show has really strong female protagonists and characters. That show in particular, with its inclusivity and diversity, really hits a lot of the right notes.
TTVJ: Since you were a fan beforehand, were you as surprised, as many of us were, when you started to learn more about Michelle Gibson and her whole backstory? I think it was particularly surprising when we saw she was in prison and a bit crazy.
MF: [laughs] I knew I was in for a ride. I figured in that universe anything goes so nothing surprises me. If anything, one isn’t going to be too surprised about all the delicious twists and turns that happen in that crazy world.
TTVJ: Throughout the season, you and Melanie Scrofano have shared some very powerful scenes. How did you guys work together to build the relationship between Mama and Wynonna, and what’s it like to do such intense scenes like those ones out on the cliff face?
MF: It’s really wonderful working with Melanie and she’s an amazing leader for the show. She sets an incredible tone, has the respect of her fellow cast members and crew because she’s an incredibly hard worker — prepares hard, is playful and is very inviting. I certainly felt very welcome.
It was a bit weird of a storyline at first too because you’re not sure what’s really happening and what’s a projection inside her head. Some of that was really interesting to play with and I had made a choice, and Melanie was really great in it, that I started to mimic some of her gestures. If I was only in her head and not really there, then what was that voice and who was I really?
As you know from watching the show, it’s a really expansive universe in terms of the way you get to play and who you are, all the really fun stuff with Zoie Palmer coming in as Jolene, putting people in the trance and Mama having an innate rejection to it because somewhere she knew something wasn’t right. There’s a lot of murky territory at play in that world. [laughs] You get to just really get out there and play which is so much fun.
TTVJ: Well, also a lot of our opinions on Michelle changed with that introduction of Jolene. Now the woman we thought abandoned her daughters and was in prison, actually was a mother protecting and sacrificing everything for them.
MF: That’s very cool. I’m glad the fans were happy because they are a smart fanbase. [laughs]
TTVJ: Since Michelle has been out she’s really been trying to mend her relationship with her daughters, as we saw in the Christmas episode. Is it possible for Mama Earp and Waverly and Wynonna to have a good relationship and move past everything?
MF: I sure hope so! I’m sure it’ll always be complex because they are three pretty complicated women. I don’t think it’ll ever be easy, but I think it’s desired and they all want it from each other.
TTVJ: One of my favorite scenes of the season was in Jolene when there’s the huge bar fight and Mama Earp really got right into the middle of that action. What was that like to shoot?
MF: Things like that are always amazing to shoot. They are complicated and there’s a lot of beats. That was Paolo [Barzman] directing that and he did an amazing job of really having to tie together a lot of different moments that are happening. When you have that many players, and then a physical action or stunt, at its best has to be very orchestrated. You always have to do two things when you’re acting with a lot of enthusiasm or energy, or you’re playing something that’s out of control, and that’s that you’re really in control. It’s a dance and there was a lot going on. It was so much fun and I’m always game for that. I think I said ‘can I jump on their back? I want to stand on a chair!’ That’s the fun thing about that world, as long as you have a gameplan and a reasonable motivation for what you’re doing, they really let you play. I had a character that was going to get out of control so it was fun to do that.
TTVJ: Another fun instance of you getting to play that Emily shared with us was in the Christmas episode where Mama is preparing the turkey and that it was a real turkey. She said you just got all up in there. [laughs]
MF: I did. I got all up in that turkey! [laughs]
TTVJ: I also really enjoyed Mama’s interactions with Doc, so what was it like working with Tim?
MF: Well, first of all he’s so much fun and his character is a riot. He’s also… well, look at those eyes, need I say more?
TTVJ: You alluded to the fans earlier and so, what has your experience with Earpers been like then?
MF: It’s a new world to me and they do seem like such an incredibly supportive fanbase. I’ve learned a lot from listening and then on Instagram seeing what Kat, Dominique, Melanie and Tim do there. It’s a new world to me though, so it’s probably best to ask me that again in a little while and I’ll have a more informed answer for you.
TTVJ: I know you’ve been doing some more directing the past few months. Can you share with us what some of those projects are and what you find so enjoyable about directing?
MF: I was directing on Heartland out in Calgary, and I had a lot of fun on it. I just did a Lifetime Christmas movie starring Alexandra Breckenridge [Christmas Around The Corner], and I am about to do a new series called October Faction that’s a Netflix series. I’m also acting in that as well. So I love doing both, directing and acting. It’s fun creating just more than your role in a story. I’ve found that your responsibility as a director is that you’re putting together a whole piece and have to look beyond just your singular point of view. That’s a wonderful thing with storytelling.
Did you love Follows joining the Wynonna Earp party as Mama Earp this year? Add your thoughts below!
Wynonna Earp‘s Season 3 finale airs with back-to-back episodes on Friday, September 28 at 9 p.m. ET on SYFY and Space Channel.
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.