Dominique Provost-Chalkley’s star is rising for all the right reasons, and Hollywood is definitely taking notice. The actress, who plays the youngest Earp, Waverly, on the SyFy series Wynonna Earp, is giving women everywhere another amazing and strong female character (along with Melanie Scrofano, whose interview with us can be found here) to root for and admire, not to mention some much needed inspiration in the love department.
Provost-Chalkley recently sat down with us to talk about her role on the show and her career. She spoke at length about her LGBT fans and Way Haught, the ship name given to her character and Nicole Haught (Katherine Barrell), which just recently became canon in episode nine. She did also talk about episode 10, which aired on 6/3 in the US, and there are a few spoilers.
Provost-Chalkley talked about the different audition process she had to go through and what attracted her to the series. “I’m from the UK, as you can probably tell from my accent, and the way it works with UK actors is that we have to tape for roles, so I originally got sent the Wynonna side from my manager in the US and I loved the project, I absolutely fell in love with the script. So, I put Wynonna on tape and I didn’t think anything of it, even though obviously I thought the project was fantastic. I knew that the likelihood of getting a callback was so slim considering I’m in the UK and a few months later, I get a phone call saying ‘Would you be prepared to read for the sister?’,” she shared.
“So in reading the, sister side, the Waverly side, I started getting really excited because I thought, ‘That means that they liked my first tape but they knew I wasn’t right for it’ and of course you don’t wanna get your hopes up, but that’s a good sign. So I did another little tape in my bedroom, I kept thinking ‘Look at me, look at the little Brit in the UK going out for this wonderful role’ and I filmed it with a friend of mine and I think it might have been like a month later, I got a phone call saying that Emily [Andras] really wanted to meet me in Toronto and would I be prepared to come and meet them and of course I said, “YES!” Luckily, I was in Montreal at the time, visiting family, so I jumped on the train and was there the following day. I met Emily and Mel [Scrofano] and did my final audition for Waverly,” revealed Provost-Chalkley.
The actress then gave a little insight about what drew her to role and the show. “What attracted me to the show the most was these incredible female characters that Emily Andras creates. They’re so complex and well-rounded and to play one of those was such an exciting prospect for me and then on top of that, going into the room and meeting Emily and Mel confirmed that it was a wonderful group of people and there’s something about stepping into an audition room and feeling like you fit in. It’s quite hard to explain, but it’s almost like you’re on the same wavelength and feeling that from the get-go is so important. I walked out of that audition room and I called my manager, and I said this before in one other interview but, I called my manager and said, ‘Even if I don’t get the job, is there any way I can get their phone numbers because I really wanna be their friend?’ Which is a ridiculous thing to say but honestly, it was as if I had known Mel for 10 years, it was as if Emily, her special magic, I like to say that Emily has special magic, was just oozing out of her, and it inspired me so much about the project and these incredible, powerful, women. I knew that I would be so disappointed if I didn’t get it.”
She continued to talk about the amazing chemistry she and her cast-mates have. “It’s funny, I don’t think I realized quite to what extent chemistry in real life makes a difference, because obviously as an actor, your job is to pretend that you have this specific relationship with another person, but with Mel, I experienced something quite new and really quite special where we were so open and honest with each other outside of set and on set and we had a trust with each other that we could expose ourselves and be vulnerable around each other that I’ve never really experienced before and I think that that’s what you see on screen, you see two people that have a deeper understanding of each other. Like you say, the fact that we are such good friends is such a blessing because sometimes you don’t know whether you’re going to get on well with another co-worker, just like any job, so we’re really fortunate and I know Mel feels the same which is great…We probably sound really soppy don’t we? But it’s coming from such a real place that every time I start going off on a rant about how amazing Mel is, I’m always like ‘Oh, people must be sick of hearing it but it’s so true and it’s such a huge part of the experience of the show, it’s such a huge part of my personal experience and you know, people keep commenting on it so it must be such a part of, a huge part of everybody else’s enjoyment, which is awesome…It’s actually hats off to Emily and the creators and the producers who selected us and put us together. I think they created such an amazing environment and an amazing and safe workplace, they hand-selected us all because they saw something good in us, good people. So it’s more down to them than anyone else and it’s even to the point where I’ve moved to Toronto. I just fell in love with the family that we created and it inspired me to move countries, so that’s the power of the Wynonna family.”
The series seems to have gained popularity fairly instantaneously, if Twitter is any indication, and has a large, and enthusiastic LGBT fan following. We asked about the intensity of the fans and if that was something Provost-Chalkley was expecting. “I love the intensity and actually I didn’t know what to expect. Emily had said ‘You will get some LGBT fans’ and I was really excited about that because I understand the huge importance of representing gay characters on screen, I think the more I’ve gotten into it, the more I realize the importance of it. So, for me, I’m just really proud to be able to give a character to LGBT fans that they can get behind and a loving, beautiful, relationship. I love getting involved with all the fans because I feel very similarly to you guys, which is a nice place to be. Twitter wasn’t something I was particularly knowledgeable about before, like I used to tweet every now and again but since jumping on the Wynonna wave and with all the Way Haught stuff that’s been going on, I’ve absolutely got right involved because I just think it’s really important and I’m just so happy to have such an incredible fanbase surrounding me, it’s extremely flattering and I don’t see why anyone would not want to embrace that, you know? Just wonderful people that love the show.”
She has yet to have any encounters with fans that cross a line, something Provost-Chalkley attributes to the positivity of the episodes, “I think the fans are just very happy to see a loving encounter between the two characters, I hope that there isn’t too much negativity that comes with it, but we’ll see. I just hope that we can continue to deliver what the fans want.”
Nicole and Waverly are coming around in a time where trusting someone with queer (being used as an umbrella term) female characters feels like a lot to ask for some fans, due to the number of queer characters that have died in 2016 alone. We asked Provost-Chalkley how much she knew about, if she got any sort of rundown, since this is not a problem that is confined to 2016. “I’ve been looking into it and it seems that Way Haught has come at the perfect time for the LGBT fans, it seems they like need a good new representation, so I’m very happy to be able to give them that…It’s so funny seeing everybody’s reactions to it now because when we filmed it, I was adamant that we needed to get it right. This was way before the stuff that’s been happening recently [with LGBT characters] but I was adamant that we had to get it right. I spoke to Emily at length about it and I spoke to Kat as well and I just said, ‘I really want to represent this in a truthful, honest, and beautiful way,’ because I have many gay friends and I know that it’s a sensitive subject. I don’t want it to be gratuitous in any way, I don’t want it to be stuck in there just as the token gay couple, I was adamant that it was treated in the right way and I think what’s so lovely to see from the fan reaction, it feels like we may have achieved that, which is a huge accomplishment for me because I felt very strongly about it when we were filming.”
Provost-Chalkley talked about the scene where Waverly barges into the Sheriff’s office and if they missed the couch during filming. “Well it was actually really hard to get right, you know? When you’re doing a scene they’re like ‘hit your marks!’ Okay well obviously when you have a face in your face, it’s quite hard to see where you’re going and I was having to lead it and of course, I’m a lot shorter than Kat so I was like ‘I’m really sorry if I miss the couch and you end up on the floor!’ but we managed to achieve it quite well and it didn’t actually go wrong, so maybe we were just naturals, I don’t know.” Unfortunately, that means if we do get a blooper reel, there won’t be any from the couch scene.
In one of our favorite scenes in episode ten, Doc is leaving town when Waverly ends up telling him about her and Nicole. It’s a very nice moment between the two of them and Doc doesn’t really have much of a reaction, negative or positive, to Waverly and Nicole. Doc is the first person Waverly tells about Nicole, and we asked Provost-Chalkley to talk a little bit about their relationship and that scene. “I think Doc and Waverly’s relationship from the start has been so complex, and there’s something about Doc that Waverly connects with, potentially because of his past, and because of her passion for links with Wyatt and she knows that Wyatt was a good friend of his, so there’s an underlying trust there, even though he’s managed to let her down so many times. They’ve gone through a lot as well, if you think about episode seven and what they went through and that they fought together, there’s been a connection between Waverly and Doc from the beginning. I think Waverly has certainly got a deeper connection with Doc. I think that part of the reason why she says it to Doc is because she really doesn’t want him to run away and it’s like a way of trying to say ‘I understand what you’re feeling’ because of all the Wynonna stuff, but also because I think there’s a big part of Waverly that wants to tell someone. This is something that’s obviously so exciting and fresh and new to her and she can’t run and tell Wynonna because that’s a huge step and I don’t think she’s quite there yet…I think Doc is the next person that she could, you know, test the water with to see how he would react and if he was to react badly then maybe it would influence how she speaks to Wynonna about it or vice versa. I think that Waverly is a massive over-thinker and an over-analyzer and her whole life she’s spent way too much energy on trying to please people, she’s a huge people pleaser. In a small town like Purgatory, word gets around and I think she’s going through a huge period of transition and there’s a huge part of her that even though she’s overthinking everything and analyzing what’s going on, there’s a huge part of her that wants to just express it and speak to someone about it. So in that moment, it kind of just comes out and there’s a trust with Doc that she hopes that he’s not going to judge and because Doc is so mental in his own way and complex, she sees a lot of his vulnerability as well, I think she has a trust that he’s not going to judge and and so she tests the water.”
It will be interesting to see how long it takes Waverly to talk to Wynonna about her relationship with Haught. She did get a positive reaction from Doc but coming out is still a scary process and the Earp sisters have quite a lot to deal with in the coming episodes.
Speaking of the coming episodes, Provost-Chalkley gave a small tease for the rest of the season, if you haven’t seen episode 10, there’s a major spoiler here, so you’ve been warned. “Waverly has to deal with new dynamics and that may or may not be a little bit challenging….You’ll definitely see a deeper side to Waverly and maybe a more subdued side to Waverly” The new dynamics she’s referring to is of course the return of Willa Earp, who was believed to be dead up until episode 10, where Wynonna discovers Willa is one of the women she rescues from a cult.