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article imageWynonna Earp's Dominique Provost-Chalkley on Waverly Special

By A.R. Wilson     Apr 25, 2016 in Entertainment
U.K. native Dominique Provost-Chalkley tells Digital Journal about landing the role of Waverly, her sisterly bond with Melanie Scrofano, and her big move to Canada.
British actress Dominique Provost-Chalkley says she never expected to land a role on a Canadian-made TV series, much less a genre show like supernatural western Wynonna Earp.
"It's just as much of a shocker for me as it looks like on paper," she laughs. "I was in the U.K., minding my own business, when this project cropped up, and it really stood out to me."
Based on an IDW comic series by Beau Smith, the series — which airs Mondays on CHCH in Canada and Fridays on Syfy in the U.S. — follows the titular great-granddaughter of legendary lawman Wyatt Earp as she returns to her hometown of Purgatory to fight demons resurrected by a family curse.
Intrigued by the show's quirky concept and witty dialogue, theatre-trained Provost-Chalkley taped an audition for Waverly Earp — Wynonna's plucky younger sister — in her bedroom in Bristol, England, figuring the show's producers would never contact her.
But they did.
The actress, who is half French Canadian, was visiting family in Montreal when she received a call from her agent saying Wynonna Earp's creator and showrunner Emily Andras wanted to meet with her in Toronto, and, in a moment of serendipity, series lead Melanie Scrofano showed up at the audition to read with her.
"We instantly hit it off," Provost-Chalkley remembers. "It was like we'd known each other for 10 years, and I think that really, you know, worked in my favor.
"It was such a wonderful experience going in the room, because I feel like Emily creates this wonderful atmosphere, which, obviously, you can see in the show she creates. She creates kind of a nurturing, family kind of safe haven, and I met Mel, and I thought, 'I have to work with these girls.' I just left the room and I called my manager and I said, 'Even if I don't get the job, is there any chance I could have their numbers so I can become their friend?' It was just an instant connection."
"And then I was lucky enough to have the phone call on the same day, which never happens."
But it did.
"It was kind of like the best day ever," she says.
Courtesy of Syfy
Phoning from Los Angeles, where the cast of Wynonna Earp appeared at WonderCon, Provost-Chalkley speaks with a crisp British accent that sounds nothing like Waverly, however, she does exude a similar enthusiastic vibe.
She says she was drawn to Waverly's "bubbly and infectious" personality, but she was especially impressed with her character's developing sense of self.
"We find [Waverly] as a 21-year-old girl who has been playing a role within the town that she thinks she should fill almost," she explains. "I think a lot of young girls fall into that trap. I certainly did. Like, for many years, I thought I should be acting a certain way, I thought I should be a certain person because of school and all that sort of thing.
"But when Wynonna comes along, it almost inspires her, I think, to really actually listen to who she wants to be, and because they're facing all these demons and all these crazy things that are going on, it makes her evolve. Waverly goes on a massive journey, a huge journey throughout the series, and I think you see her becoming who she really wants to be, and I hope I inspire girls to listen to that and to know that they can evolve and to do whatever feels right for them."
Waverly's evolution may include her sexuality. In the early episodes of the series, she is dating dim high school sweetheart Champ (Dylan Koroll), but Officer Nicole Haught (Katherine Barrell) — aptly pronounced "hot" — shakes things up by asking her on a date. "I would say that Waverly is young and she's working things out," she hints. "I can't say too much, of course, but it's pretty evident that something maybe might come of it."
But the primary relationship for Waverly is her bond with Wynonna, which is something Provost-Chalkley thinks sets the series apart. "I thought what was really fantastic was that there's this strong sisterly relationship that is at the forefront of the show. So, firstly, begging to female power, just the very fact that there was a strong female lead fronting our show, I just thought was really fascinating and really fantastic, and then, secondly, instead of her being surrounded by men, there was this second female who is going to be alongside her. I just thought that's a fantastic base to start a show."
Courtesy of Syfy
Her real-life rapport with Scrofano helps bring Waverly and Wynonna's relationship to life.
"Working with Melanie Scrofano has literally changed my life," she says. "I honestly believe that on many levels. I think that she is one of the most giving actors that I've ever worked with.
"We were [filming] in Calgary, far away from our families — and I was very far away from my family — and we were each other's support throughout the whole process. I think it is so important that you can have someone you can turn to on the days that you're not feeling as confident or whatever it might be, and we had this extremely special relationship where we could turn to each other, and I'm hoping that that comes through in our work because I felt like she was genuinely a sister."
Provost-Chalkley — who also appeared in ITV's Britannia High and Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron — says she enjoyed working on Wynonna Earp so much that she's decided to move from the U.K. to Canada.
"As a British actress, you think it's either the U.K. or the U.S. that you should be based in just because that's what you hear about the most," she says. "I think it inspired me to continue the adventure of being away from home and meeting with incredible Canadian actors, and it opened my eyes to a whole world of TV and film that I wasn't as aware of."
But she is now.
"I'm going to give it a go in Toronto, which is extremely exciting."
'Wynonna Earp' airs Fridays at 10 p.m. on Syfy in the U.S. and Mondays at 9 p.m. on CHCH in Canada
Note: Canadian viewers can live stream 'Wynonna Earp' on the CHCH website at 10 p.m. on Fridays and again at 9 p.m. on Mondays
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