The quarantine that the global coronavirus pandemic has forced us into has changed a lot about our lives. Instead of working at an office in business attire, we’re working from our couches in sweatpants… and instead of actors being busy making shows and fans preparing to travel for in-person fan conventions we have… HomeCon!
Billed as the first of its kind, HomeCon is a virtual fan convention conceived of by Paul Amos and Rachel Skarsten, stars of SyFy’s cult hit Lost Girl. With coronavirus shutting down entertainment productions and forcing the cancellation or postponement of several fan conventions, Amos (Darken: Before the Dark) and Skarsten (Batwoman, Reign) thought it would be uplifting for actors and fans alike if they could still connect somehow. So, with help, Amos and Skarsten in two weeks built HomeCon, which used the gaming platform Twitch to broadcast panels featuring actors videoing in from their living rooms, and Zoom for ticketed 5-minute one-on-one video calls with actors. (10 percent of sales are going to the charity First Responders First).
The two-day con launched Friday with a Lost Girl panel, and later came one of the convention’s most buzzed about events: a panel on SyFy’s current hit Wynonna Earp. Stars Katherine Barrell, Dominique Provost-Chalkley, Tim Rozon, and Megan Follows — just four of the approximately 30 actors who participated in HomeCon — virtually convened for a panel. The thousands of fans who tuned in from around the world were not disappointed. Technical difficulties and interruption from Barrell’s dog Bernie only added to the fun. Fans were also treated to Provost-Chalkley and Rozon briefly speaking as their characters, and Tim dropping some big news: he became a father in December!
Here’s a dive into what else unfolded during this virtual HomeCon Wynonna Earp panel.
Moderator Jacki Jing asked the cast about their quarantine lives. Rozon, who sported a black cowboy hat worthy of his Earp character Doc Holliday, said he “selfishly” is enjoying quarantine because he’s spending time with his new baby boy. Follows, who wore a black sweater and her hair in a bun and was eating soup the whole time, seemed a little less Zen, as quarantine halted a new acting gig (with which Rozon was also involved), and she’s stuck in her childhood home “surrounded by [her] entire f—in’ life.” But she said she’s biding her time cooking and cleaning.
Provost-Chalkley, who was dressed in a T-shirt and ball cap, said just before quarantine, the cast had gone home for a regular shooting break (they were halfway through filming season four), so quarantine just feels like an extended vacation. However, she’s anxious that the show had only just gotten back on track after a year hiatus (production company financial woes threatened the show but a ferocious fight from the fans helped fix things). Barrell, though content at home (she said her and Provost-Chalkley being only children prepared them for this) echoed Provost-Chalkley’s concern.
But Barrell — who wore a baby blue top and her beloved dyed-red hair down — and Provost-Chalkley remain optimistic, citing excitement about season four and lessons learned from quarantine.
“Talking with people all over the world [in the one-on-ones] it really did give me a sense of ‘WOW, this is everywhere, everyone is feeling the same things,’ and it was sort of comforting in a way,” said Barrell.
Reflecting on their Earp roots
Fans went wild over cast audition snippets shown during a SyFy Wynonna Earp marathon the day before the panel, so Jing asked the cast to reflect on their auditions.
Follows said she struggled with hers, but her daughter pushed her on it. Follows added that when she directs projects, she gives actors second chances, to see how they take direction and to let them overcome nerves. Rozon said his initial audition for the role of Dolls didn’t go well, but when he auditioned for Doc, it felt right. Similarly, Barrell initially auditioned for Waverly and Wynonna. Those experiences made her feel more prepared for her Nicole audition, but she considered herself too “ingénue” to play a cop so she didn’t think she’d get the part.
Jing then asked about their characters’ introduction scenes.
“It was just perfect, it felt so right and it was a big moment for me in terms of finding who this character was,” said Provost-Chalkley, whose first scene was Waverly kicking down a door holding a shotgun. “The writers obviously wanted that to be the first impression — for Waverly to have that… fire in her that came through really strong.”
Barrell, whose first scene was Officer Nicole Haught meeting and flirting with Waverly Earp (aka the beginning of the “Wayhaught” same-sex relationship that propelled the show and actresses to icon status), was excited about being the pursuer, which she and women in general don’t often get to do.
“That scene was so direct and forward and has a perfect amount of bravery and going for what she wants, but also there’s a sensitivity and sweetness, too,” said Barrell. “It just has all the elements. I’m such a huge fan of the way that scene was written.”
The magic of Wayhaught
Speaking of Wayhaught… Barrell said being part of that has been the highlight of her life. Provost-Chalkley said seeing how far she and others have come in their own lives because of Wayhaught has inspired her.
“To see the power of that representation and be part of it is completely mind-blowing. And sometimes I find it very difficult to process that I am one half of Wayhaught,” said Provost-Chalkley. “I very much feel I’m part of the family, like [us and fans are] on the same level… [this is] a collaborative thing we’ve all shaped together over time.”
Then Jing referenced the blog post heard ‘round the (Earper) world. In late March, in a blog post on her charity organization’s website, Provost-Chalkley came out as queer. Jing asked the actress, to in light of that, reflect on the impact playing Waverly has had on her.
“It’s hard to think this was an accident… I feel the universe handed me a… proper gift that helped me on my own personal journey and I will be forever thankful for that,” said Provost-Chalkley. “I’m very blessed to have such an incredible costar, [and what’s also] helped me find the strength [is]… the amazing fans that find the courage every day to speak their truth, so I just have so much gratitude for everybody else.”
Season 4 sentiments
The panel included some insight into the upcoming season.
When Jing asked about getting back into character, Barrell spilled perhaps a little too much, noting there’s a kitchen scene where Nicole is in an unusual state of mind. This fed into fan theories that we may see a dark side of Nicole. Barrell said she struggled with the scene, but Scrofano, who directed that episode, helped her. Then Barrell added that props and costumes — like Nicole’s uniform — usually help her get back into character.
Rozon said for him, it’s growing Doc’s mustache, and putting on his Stetson hat.
“I get to set and that hat is waiting for me… and it says ‘Doc Holliday hero hat’ on the box and just seeing that makes me feel awesome and I put the hat on and there he is,” said Rozon.
Provost-Chalkley said when she adopts the American accent, Waverly comes flooding back. She also gives herself a “Waverly pamper session” to help — painting her nails, listening to music while taking a bath, shaving her legs.
When asked what words describe season four, Follows said “don’t know” — could that mean she’s not in it? — and Barrell said “love story.” Provost-Chalkley said “refined,” and Rozon said “from the heart.”
Rozon wouldn’t say what Doc will be up to in the season, but said, “The writers have done an incredible job this year. It’s gonna be a good season… I’m really happy with where [Doc’s] going and growing.”
Goodbye and good tidings
After a false ending, the cast returned for an encore to give goodbye messages. Barrell and Rozon expressed love for the fans, and Provost-Chalkey and Follows spoke to getting through quarantine.
“This is a time to slow down and reflect and reconnect… Be kind and gentle to each other but also be kind to yourself,” said Provost-Chalkley.
Said Follows: “There’s something about… giving support to people who are on front lines, and really recognizing that even if it doesn’t seem like something’s happening around you, there are places in the world—and the more we work together, the better and stronger we are… We will get through this we will be ok…”
Provost-Chalkley ended things for real by vowing that the cast is looking forward to getting back to work on the show and will give even more love and passion to it when they return.