In Syfy’s KILLJOYS, Fridays at 9 PM, a trio of bounty hunters – Dutch (Hannah John-Kamen), D’Avin (Luke McFarlane) and John (Aaron Ashmore) – who actually get along with each other track down wanted criminals throughout the solar system in their sentient spaceship, while the possibility of war brews around them.
Michelle Lovretta, who previously created LOST GIRL, devised KILLJOYS and serves as show runner and one of the executive producers. She answers some questions about her new outer space adventure.
ASSIGNMENT X: When did you start developing KILLJOYS?
MICHELLE LOVRETTA: Good things take time to develop, so that’s my way of saying I think it took me awhile [laughs]. I’m trying to remember how long ago it was. I went from a show [on the CW in 2011] called SECRET CIRCLE, about witches. I think it was just after that that I started developing this.
AX: Although KILLJOYS is science fiction and happens away from Earth, there are no aliens. Were you a fan of other science-fiction shows with no aliens, like FIREFLY and the new BATTLESTAR GALACTICA?
LOVRETTA: Yeah. I’m pretty much a fan of anything that allows me to have a spaceship and an adventure, so fortunately, there are a lot of things in the past that I’ve been able to enjoy as a viewer and take some inspiration from.
AX: How did you decide on who the main characters should be? Did you always think, “Well, it should be three people and this is what they should be like” or …?
LOVRETTA: Yeah, it’s one of those weird ones. Sometimes you really struggle to try and come with an idea and flesh it out. This just sort of comes onto your plate and it has all the pieces. I knew I had the look of them in mind, I had the idea of the warrant being all[-important], it was all kind of one piece of pie. And then the fun afterwards is putting in more detail, more structure.
AX: And how did you decide on what your three characters should be like, what their quirks were going to be? Obviously, they have to have some aggression to do their bounty-hunting jobs …
LOVRETTA: Yes. I love aggression personally, so that was very easy for me [laughs].
Literally, as I said, it all pretty much came out of a piece in a shocking fashion. I knew what Dutch’s skills would be. It’s important to me that when you have a female hero, her skills are something that people buy into, her visible skills, and so she’s very good, she’s trained in very specific hand and weapon fighting skills. Whereas D’Avin comes from a military background, so he’s tactical, he’s used to commanding.
AX: How much of a character is the ship?
LOVRETTA: She’s actually increasing. So if we’re fortunate enough to get more seasons, we’ll have even more fun with her. But she’s got her own voice, [played by] Tamsen McDonough, she’s got her own personality – her name is Lucy. She’s visually beautiful – I love the design of her, but also, she’s got favorites. John is somebody she’s protective of, she seems a little bit envious of Dutch.
AX: The initial ads for KILLJOYS looked a lot like the ads for Syfy’s BEING HUMAN, with the multi-ethnic heroine, the tall dark guy and the less dark, not quite so tall guy. Seeing that BEING HUMAN ran for four seasons, was that similarity intentional?
LOVRETTA: No. And this wouldn’t – this was the first photo, this was sort of the first look that we did, and that’s our little set behind us there. That’s the Royal, which is the bar that they all hang out in. As I said, it was fun for me to have this opportunity to go back to the bar as one of their home places.
AX: Your fellow executive producers Ivan Schneeberg and David Fortier are partners in Temple Street Productions, which also does ORPHAN BLACK. How much input do they have? How big is your writers’ room?
LOVRETTA: The writers’ room is small. Ivan and Dave are really, really great guys. They are supportive, they are involved in the right way. Often, they’ll come in – they’re both former lawyers and so they’re very logical – and they’ll go through our scripts and they’ll give feedback on every single script and they still come in on every playback. What I find really wonderful about it is, if there’s something they have an issue with, they’re very supportive about finding funds to solve it if we need it. Because sometimes you have producers that are just wanting changes but aren’t becoming part of the solution, and they’re very good at being part of the solution.
AX: You also created LOST GIRL, which is on hiatus between the first and second halves of Season 5. Is this the last season?
LOVRETTA: It is, as I understand.
AX: Are you still involved with LOST GIRL?
LOVRETTA: I am not now. I scaled down from the first season. I was involved every season a little less and the last one that I sort of had input on was Season 3, but that was still at quite a bit of arm’s length.
AX: What would you most like people to know about KILLJOYS?
LOVRETTA: That it’s a hell of a ride.
This interview was conducted during NBC’s spring press day at the Langham-Huntington Hotel in Pasadena, CA.
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Article: Exclusive interview with KILLJOYS creator Michelle Lovretta