Wynonna Earp''s Dominique Provost-Chalkley Goes West, Metaphorically
The youngest Earp sister is a revenant researching machine, but there's much more to her than meets the eye.
The first time we meet Waverly Earp on SyFy’s Wynonna Earp, she’s kicking down the door of her own apartment with a sawed-off shotgun in hand. It’s an appropriately bold entrance for a character who’s proven to be equal parts heart, kindness, and bravery.
In the first 11 episodes of Season 1, we’ve seen Waverly reunite with her sister, get kidnapped, join Black Badge, kill a “stripper” with a pair of scissors, and get “a little bit shot.”
Waverly’s been on a journey this season, but one of the parts of that journey particularly resonant for fans was exploring her feelings for Officer Nicole Haught. In a pivotal scene in Episode 9, Waverly does one of the bravest things she’s done all season, confessing to Nicole that, “When I think about what I want to do most in this world, it’s you.” The still scene has LGBTQ fans talking.
“When I read that scene I actually teared up in my apartment in Calgary. I just thought, ‘God, I’m so lucky to be able to play this,’” says Provost-Chalkley, “and what comes with it is a huge amount of responsibility so I was adamant that I was going to do my absolute best, but really it’s thanks to the writing and to Emily [Andras] for giving it to me, really.”
Looking for insight on Waverly’s depth, her relationships, and, of course, on #WayHaught (the portmanteau for Waverly and Nicole Haught), we spoke with Dominique Provost-Chalkley about her character’s multitudes and what’s in store for Waverly.
We’ve watched Waverly go on a journey of self-discovery and personal growth this season. What was it like to uncover those layers?
I think it’s really important to show these periods of discovery, especially in young women. It’s really lovely when you get a role that you’re portraying something real and that people can relate to, so for me, it was the best gift they could’ve given me, especially with exploring Waverly’s sexuality.
I actually didn’t realize when I got cast as Waverly that we were going to be exploring her sexuality. When I read it in Episode 2, I really was over the moon, but I was also adamant that it was going to be addressed in the right way. And of course, there was the fear that perhaps it was just in there for an LGBT relationship and just to tick that box, but I spoke to Emily about it the following day. We had this beautiful conversation and it just reassured me. Emily has such sensitivity in everything she approaches and so I knew that it was going to be dealt with in the perfect way.
There’s been a lot of love for the scene in Nedley’s office in Episode 9…but what has the response to WayHaught been like so far?
We’re very lucky. It’s been very, very positive. And I’d say that the reaction to WayHaught has probably been the biggest surprise to me, but I feel extremely privileged to have these awesome fans that are on our side. I was so pleased with how much of a buildup there was to that pivotal scene. If it had come earlier in the series, you wouldn’t have cared so much for these characters.
It just makes it more pure and beautiful. Waverly is in a huge period of transition in many aspects of her life, so everything is pointing towards getting to this moment and the stakes are really high. I just feel very proud when watching that scene back that we managed to achieve that.
One of the most important relationships in the series is between Waverly and Wynonna. What was that dynamic like to develop with Melanie Scrofano?
The show wouldn’t be the same without Mel, firstly. It’s like Wynonna Earp the character was kind of cooked up in a lab for her. When we’re around Mel and Emily together, you can really see why Mel was the perfect fit for Emily’s show, because they have exactly the same sense of humor, finishing each other’s sentences. Their brains work so quickly and they’re so in-tune with each other that it’s no surprise that when Mel lifts Emily’s words off the page it just comes out so naturally.
The relationship between the two sisters is key to making the show special because you don’t really see it very often. What’s really lovely is how that relationship evolves as well throughout the series…at the heart of it and at the core, there’s this huge amount of love between the two girls that ultimately is the reason why Wynonna is fighting this curse, to protect her sister.
One of the other really fantastic relationships we’ve seen more and more is Waverly and Doc. What was it like to uncover that relationship?
Waverly has a real pull to Doc and I think she doesn’t really know why, but he’s come along at such a difficult point and with all of the madness that’s going on around her, he just has this aura and this warmth about him that she can’t help but be attracted to…I think she really sees the good in him and sees that there could be a genuine friendship there and that’s what she wants more than anything is to have just a friendship with him.
One of the scenes that I love the most is where he’s driving out of town, when she opens up to Doc and says, “I’m trying with Nicole,” and there’s all of that fear that comes with that. [She’s] seeing how he’s going to react, and the fact that he doesn’t even flinch is so beautiful because it shows Waverly that he’s not going to judge her and he doesn’t want her to be anything but what she is.
We’re seeing another evolution in the relationship between Wynonna and Waverly with Willa coming back. How is that relationship continuing to evolve?
When Willa comes back, I think Waverly’s little heart gets crushed in many ways, because as much as it’s wonderful and an extremely exciting prospect to have their other sister back, undoubtedly things are going to change between Wynonna and Waverly and that scares her, understandably. She’s managed to get back to a really wonderful place and she’s extremely happy in many aspects of her life at this point and then a curveball comes in. It will be really exciting to see how that evolves.
In Episode 10, we see that this world is getting bigger. What was it like to explore that and can you tease a bit about what that’s going to look like going forward?
If you look back to Episode 1 where Waverly’s done all this research, and she seems like she has such a great understanding of everything, she’s [now] realizing that she’s only just touched the surface. It’s so much deeper, so much darker, than what she originally envisaged. The writing carries on evolving as we go and the mythology becomes much more complex and the characters have to react to that.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.