WYNONNA EARP is now in its fourth and reportedly final season, Friday nights on Syfy. Created for television by executive producer/show runner Emily Andras, based on the graphic novels by Beau Smith, WYNONNA EARP is the story of the title heroine, played by Melanie Scrofano, who is the great-great-granddaughter of famed Western lawman Wyatt Earp. On her twenty-seventh birthday, Wynonna inherits her ancestor’s gun – and the family curse, which calls for her to fight revenants, the reincarnated souls of those that Wyatt killed.
Tim Rozon plays Doc Holliday, Wyatt’s best friend who was trapped in stasis for a century-and-a-half. He is now Wynonna’s ally and sometimes lover. At the same time, Rozon has had a recurring role as Mutt Schitt on the just-concluded multi-Emmy-winning PopTV comedy SCHITT’S CREEK.
Rozon, originally from Montreal, Canada, has also had starring or recurring roles on INSTANT STAR, WILD ROSES, LOST GIRL, BEING HUMAN, DIGGSTOWN, and VAGRANT QUEEN. He is one of the leads on the upcoming Syfy series SURREALESTATE, about investigators of haunted houses.
In a Zoom interview with three journalists, Rozon talks about the end of WYNONNA EARP, the intersection of fandom for WYNONNA EARP and SCHITT’S CREEK, and more.
The romance between Wynonna’s sister Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkley) and her fiancée Nicole (Katherine Barrell) seems promising, but the relationship between Doc and Wynonna is rocky. What can Rozon say about where that’s headed?
Rozon laughs. “Love is complicated. It comes in different shapes and forms, and people love differently. And they love different things about other people and themselves. It’s funny, I just feel like Doc has come so far by Season 4, and he is really done with the old life. He understands that sometimes, to move forward, we’ve got to let the old ways die. I think, as a society, we’re learning that, and I think Doc finally gets that. It’s time to let go. And it’s unfortunate, because I don’t think Wynonna has yet. But Wynonna had the burden of the curse. It was Wynonna who had to save the day. So, you couldn’t really say, ‘Hey, let’s stop and grow a family, and grow barley in the little farm,’ like Doc wanted.
“But now the curse is gone. And Doc just sees it as, ‘Why do you fight? Did you somehow just come to love the fight? Is that what it’s become?’ Will she ever let go? Because they can never be together if she doesn’t let go, too. So, we’ll see what happens. With Waverly and Nicole, that’s just magic. Those are those stories we hear about. They’re just magic. True love like that does exist. That’s the beauty of love and life. Doc and Wynonna are a little closer to real life, with the turmoil – maybe not. If you’re in a relationship, to be honest, like Doc and Wynonna, you should probably get out, it’s probably not the healthiest.” He laughs again.
Although Doc went from the nineteenth century to the twenty-first century, Rozon says he was told not to explore that aspect of his character overmuch. “We didn’t play the man out of time, as much as I would have loved to. I did find some moments early on in Season 1 to really play it. I remember specifically, there was an episode where I went to where all the broken cars were, where Bobo [the revenant leader played by Michael Eklund] lived. I got into a car with the Levi character [played by Christian Goutsis], and I acted like it was the first time I got in a car. The director, Ron Murphy, said, ‘Tim, what the hell are you doing?’ And I’m like, ‘Well, Doc Holliday, he’s never been in a car before, he wouldn’t know …’ Ron’s like, ‘Yeah, dude, we’re not playing that. We don’t have time for that. He’s figured out stuff right away’.” Rozon snaps his fingers for emphasis. So, we never played the man out of time stuff. I think he’s less crazy than he should be, to be honest, because he was stuck there for a hundred and eighty years in solitude. I’m pretty sure that would drive me nuts. So, I think that the old cowboy did pretty good.”
Like virtually all productions, WYNONNA EARP was forced to shut down because of the COVID pandemic, then resumed months later under strict health protocols. How was shooting during COVID?
“It was very difficult,” Rozon replies. “In a weird way, it was the busiest year I’ve had of my life, actually, shooting during COVID, because I went directly from the last day of WYNONNA EARP, getting on a plane, and flying, and starting SURREALESTATE four days later. I had to test, I think, six times within those three days that I was off. I felt for the crew a lot. WYNONNA was tough, because we were [one of the first shows to come] back in Canada. So, there were a lot of eyes on us, and a lot of pressure. For me, there was a lot of responsibility to make sure that we got this season done. When we first got out to Alberta, the [COVID case] numbers were kind of low, and some of the cast were like, “Oh, let’s go for dinner,” or, “We can go for lunch,” and I’m like, “I’m not going anywhere. I just quarantined at home for three months. If you think I’m coming here to start work, and put this entire production at risk, of how lucky we are, you’re crazy.” And they’re all like,” he groans to indicate the attitude. “But nobody went for lunch, either. It’s the crew’s job [at risk if people get sick], the Earpers are waiting for that season. It was just too important.”
Rozon continues, “The actors, we’re the luckiest ones. We’re the only ones who get to take our masks off, even if it’s just to film, or when you go to your little area, after your mask is off. The crew – their masks are on from seven in the morning until 8:30 at night when we wrap. It’s difficult. I didn’t like the groupings,” he refers to breaking the company into small groups allowed to socialize within that group, “because we never had that on WYNONNA EARP. I’m friends with the crew, as much as I am friends with Melanie. On the weekend, I’m going to equally hang out, go have brunch with the grip. But the groupings make it like, ‘Well, only Group B can talk to Group B. What group are you in?’” He makes a sad sound. “Sometimes there is that on a set anyway, different groupings, and I hate that. So, I didn’t like that grouping part. But you understand – it’s a global pandemic. They never would have written this for WYNONNA EARP. It’s too crazy,” he laughs. “All the crazy stuff we did, but they never would have [gone] to pandemic, because that’s just too nuts. And yet, here we are.”
WYNONNA EARP and SCHITT’S CREEK both have vigorous, active fan bases. How has that affected Rozon? “In the best way possible, in just the sense of family and community that I’ve met. Meeting people virtually is one thing, and it’s amazing, but some of my favorite memories in the past years have been meeting people in person, the fans of both those shows.”
Rozon is happy to give credit to both groups. “Everybody talks about the Earpers, but the Creekers, man, they’re amazing, the same energy. I’ve gone to Australia, and I’ve met Earpers and Creekers together, and they’ve all been very supportive. It’s immediate. The most amazing thing is, especially with the Earper community is, it’s like, we don’t need to talk about it. We already understand. It’s a symbiotic thing.”
Every time he and his cast mates meet fans, Rozon says, it’s as if the two groups are thanking each other, whether or not the words “thank you” are literally used (which they often are). “And both people meaning it. In a lot of ways, it’s just made me conscious to make sure that I’m just the best version of myself that I can be. And I’ve seen some amazing things. I’ve seen a lot of people come out [as LGBTQ] for the very first time, and the courage it takes to do that, and I’ve seen fathers that came to the cons to support their daughters for the first time. It’s stuff that’s bigger than the show at the end of the day. That’s why I’m happy that, if it is over, that part’s never over. The Earpers – it’s not over. The community and everything they’ve built, it’s bigger than the show, it’s better than the show, it’s more important than the show. The show was amazing, it was great, but what these people created is incredible, and I feel lucky that I got to be a part of that, and into their world. It’s so weird, because they feel lucky that they got let into ours, but it’s so obvious to me that it’s the other way around. It’s very special, a very special community. And the same with the Creekers. I just did a Zoom meeting with Karen [Robinson, who plays Ronnie Lee] for charity for a couple of CREEK fans. And it was supposed to be a fifteen-minute Zoom call. I think we went almost two hours, and it was great. “
Does Rozon feel satisfied with the end of Doc Holliday’s story?
“I love the ending of the show,” Rozon replies. “If that is truly the way it ends. Especially for my character. Emily is wonderful, and as a show runner and a writer, she’s very open, and she’s there for you if you need her, but I never bother her, I never ask for things. I’m not that person. I put my trust in what they do, and I perform, and I understand that I have a job to do, and sometimes my character is going to do things that aren’t so great, and I understand that. But the way it all came together, I remember telling Emily, ‘Thank you. I thought you did an incredible job with this character. You showed him so much love and compassion and growth.’ It was really touching.”
As for whether Rozon has said goodbye to the character of Doc, “I made sure to, while we were filming the second part of Season 4, just because you never know. It took us so long to get there, to finally film Season 4, to complete it. It almost never happens, twice.” Rozon is referring to the fact that WYNONNA EARP was canceled, then renewed, then halted by COVID, then restarted again. “So, yeah, I was aware of it the entire time, so I tried to literally enjoy every second that I possibly could with that character. It’s difficult, now that it’s more real than ever, that the show most likely isn’t coming back, to say goodbye to that character. I think most people understand that it’s one of my favorite characters I’ve ever played. He just has a special place in my heart, the old cowboy. So, yeah, it’s tough. There’s just something so special about this show.”
Rozon said WYNONNA EARP “most likely isn’t coming back.” Does that mean there’s a possibility that it might return after all, perhaps on another network? “I haven’t heard anything,” Rozon replies. “I’m always the last to know.” This isn’t strictly true, Rozon amends. On previous seasons, “I’d know a little stuff before anybody, because I’d have to grow the mustache.”
Rozon concludes with, “I’ll say this, and this is a thing that makes the whole process easier for me – the only thing at the end of the day that I really care about is the Earpers, the fandom. The way that the story ends now, if it ends, I’m very proud, and I’m very happy, and I think everybody’s going to be very happy. Now, if it continues on, I’m a hundred percent sure that Emily and her team can write another amazing story, and there are other stories and other avenues to go down, other than telling these stories. Even if Doc doesn’t come back, you could tell the Valdez story. There are so many great stories you could tell.
“But for me, the most important thing is, I’m really proud and happy that I think the Earpers are going to be happy, and that’s what makes me happy, to be honest, the most, because they deserve it the most. They’re the reason that we got as far as we ever did, and there’s no doubt. So, that’s the one part that makes it all kind of okay, because I know that they’re still going to be happy.”
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Article: Interview with WYNONNA EARP star Tim Rozon on the fourth and final season of the Syfy series