Why Wynonna Earp’s Jolene Allowed Zoie Palmer to Really Challenge Herself

SYFY / Bell Media
SYFY / Bell Media

Purgatory has never met anyone quite like Jolene, the woman who suddenly appeared at the Earp Homestead with many, many baked goods, you can be sure of that. It was a very surprising sight when Dark Matter alum Zoie Palmer turned up at the end of last week’s Wynonna Earp episode with brownies and warning Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano) that a demon was coming after Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkley). Now in this week’s episode, airing Friday at 9 p.m. ET on SYFY and Space, Palmer gets to stick around town as a demon causes havoc and everyone must decide who they can trust.

Having worked in the past with Wynonna Earp showrunner Emily Andras on Lost Girl, some would say it was just a matter of time before Palmer was out in Calgary and shooting a guest spot, but for Andras it was all about finding the perfect character. Palmer recently spoke with The TV Junkies about why Jolene was the perfect one to really stretch her range as an actress and why she had so much fun joining the Wynonna Earp gang for this spot. Also, as a heads up, we’ll have more with Palmer after the episode airs so stay tuned for Part 2 of our interview.

 

The TV Junkies: From what we’ve seen so far, Jolene looks like a pretty crazy character to play. Is that a safe assumption?

Zoie Palmer: She was a blast to play! It was a very cool role for me and I really appreciate Emily reaching out and offering that to me. It was a big stretch and I wasn’t sure because I read the part and thought ‘oh my goodness! What do I do with this?’ Emily had complete faith though and she knows what she’s doing. I questioned it when I read it thinking ‘really? Me? Are you sure?’ She was confident though and knew I could bring something to it. That’s a testament to her all-knowingness and whatever she attaches herself to seems to work somehow.

TTVJ: She told us that she’s been wanting you on Wynonna for awhile but needed a character that would really show off “The Full Palmer.” So did she warn you at all just how crazy this character would be?

ZP: I think her exact message to me, if I remember correctly, was ‘are you ready to come and play the baddest bitch in town?’ [laughs] I thought ‘Hmmm…what’s that? Sorry!’ So I had a bit of a heads up but didn’t know the extent until I read the script. I think most actors know it’s so important to keep pushing yourself in places you’re not sure about. It’s so easy to play in your wheelhouse, so like anyone in any job, you want to be challenged. This character definitely did that. I’ve been doing this a long time now and usually feel relaxed on set, but I was nervous to show up for this and figure out how on Earth to play this person. That’s the time when it’s the most exhilarating as an actor, when you think ‘do I have anything to bring to this? Can I do this?’ It’s very cool.

SYFY / Bell Media
SYFY / Bell Media

TTVJ: Emily and the cast have mentioned they had no idea what was happening with the baked goods at the end of last week’s episode. Did you have any idea what was going on in that scene?

ZP: I can’t remember now if I had the next script or not at that point, but I was aware that the baked goods were special and made people trust me and do whatever I wanted. I can’t recall completely but I was certainly aware that she wasn’t just a really happy baker.

TTVJ: What are your baking skills like in real life? Did Emily and the writers draw upon that? [laughs]

ZP: I don’t know, but I actually really like baking. If you follow the recipe exactly then generally speaking it turns out well. With cooking that’s not the same and you can mess it up easily. If you’re a good instruction follower then you can bake, and I think I can bake fairly well. I’ve baked a few things in my day.

TTVJ: Canadian TV is a smaller industry and I know you’ve worked with Emily and Tim and others before, but what was it like getting to come to this project and really play with everyone?

ZP: People have said this a lot about this show, and it’s very true, that it’s an extraordinary gang from left to right. Everyone from the cast and crew to Emily, who I worked closely with and is a friend of mine, is a treat and they treat everyone like they are a series regular. You come on the show and they immediately embrace you, and that’s not the case with every show. Sometimes you guest on a show and it feels uncomfortable and you feel like a guest, but the dynamic on Wynonna is so comfortable, relaxed and open that you can’t help but fall into that fold with a lot of ease. It was a complete pleasure.

Melanie is a lovely human being, as is Kat, as is Dominique and Tim I worked with years ago on Instant Star. They are all really unbelievable human beings. Emily somehow managed to find the best people in the universe and put them all on one show. They really are an extraordinary group and were completely welcoming. For that time on the show, I felt like I had been on the show from Day 1. For one episode you don’t usually have an emotional reaction when you wrap, and when we wrapped it out I thought ‘Wow! I’m really going to miss you guys.’ I really felt like that and we all hugged. It’s just the fact that they are a special group.

SYFY / Bell Media
SYFY / Bell Media

TTVJ: I apologize beforehand for this next question, but it is very important in the Wynonna Earp fandom at the moment. If you had to, would you rather fight one horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses?

ZP: OK, I think 100 duck-sized horses. Am I in the majority? Is that typical?

TTVJ: It’s pretty torn, but you did pick the same answer as Emily.

ZP: Yes! Because you just kick them! You kick and kick until they are all gone, but with a horse-sized duck where do you start? What do you do with a horse-sized duck? You can’t even reach it! That’s insane. Give me the little duck-sized horses!

 

Are you excited to learn more about Palmer’s Jolene in the next episode? Stay tuned for Part 2 of our interview with her after the next episode and in the meantime, sound off with your thoughts below!

Wynonna Earp airs Fridays at 9 p.m. SYFY and Space Channel in Canada.

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