Exclusive: Michael Eklund Talks Wynonna Earp

Michael EklundTonight Syfy aired an all-new episode of Wynonna Earp. The series follows Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano), the descendant of Wyatt Earp, who hunts down Revenants and sends them back to hell.

In tonight's episode, Wynonna's long thought dead sister Willa (Natalie Krill) is almost killed, but is surprisingly saved by Revenant Bobo Del Rey, played by Michael Eklund, which adds another layer of mystery to his character.

Eklund recently talked to Jamie Ruby of SciFi Vision in an exclusive interview about his work on the series and what's next for Bobo.

SCIFI VISION: Can you talk about how you first got involved with the series?

Michael EklundMICHAEL EKLUND: I worked with one of the producers before on a film called Mr. Right that I shot in New Orleans with Sam Rockwell and Anna Kendrick. The producer of that film, Rick Jacobs, was producing a show that he told me about while we were on set shooting that film, this crazy western, and he said if it got green lit, he'd love to talk to me about it.

And then a few months later, I was actually in Germany at a film festival for another film I did called Eadweard, and the phone rang, and it was Rick, the producer, and he wanted to talk about Wynonna Earp. He presented me with a couple characters for me to have a choice of, and we settled on the character of Bobo Del Rey. We thought that was the best fit and the most fun character to play for me. And the process went from there.

It led to a phone call with Emily [Andras], the creator of the show, and she pitched the whole storyline and character arc of Bobo Del Rey.

I just loved the idea of the show and taking the western element and putting it into a more contemporary timeline. The character of Bobo Del Rey sounded pretty exciting to me, so I jumped on board as fast as I could, and I found myself on set a few months later.

Can you tell me what the other characters you were presented with were?

I originally read and auditioned for Doc Holliday and loved the character, and then the second I met Tim [Rozon], I knew right away why they grabbed him as fast as they could to play Doc Holliday, because he was meant to play that role from the very beginning. And I do believe that every actor does play the roles they're meant to play, and Doc Holliday's meant for Tim, and Bobo Del Rey was meant for me.

But they presented me also with possibly playing Wyatt Earp, and that was cool role too, but Bobo Del Rey definitely stood out and was the most interesting role that I thought fit.

When you first got the role, is there anyone in particular that you were inspired by for your portrayal, or that you thought about when you created him?

No, not really. Every character kind of takes a life of its own once you're on set and you shoot your first scene. You may have ideas of how you want to play it or the tone you want to go with the character, but you can't really be married to any idea until you get on set and start working with the other actors and see what they are bringing to the show.

And my first few days were all with Tim playing Doc, and I was very grateful for that, because the way he works and the style and the tone that he's bringing to the show, I knew right away where Bobo needed to go to perfectly conflict with the other characters.

So you always walk in with some ideas, but then once you go through hair and makeup and come up with the look of the character, everything changes. So we did the hair cut, and the hair and makeup team were amazing on the show. They came up with the idea of bleaching one side of my beard and one eye brow.

So there was the hair cut, but it was the magical fur coat, once I put that on, that was what established Bobo. A coat like that changes the way you walk, the way you hold yourself, the way you stand, even the way you talk. So the character was basically found while working on the show.

Michael EklundI was shooting another movie and finished a film on Wednesday night, jumped on plane, flew to Calgary, and started playing Bobo Thursday morning. So I had very little time to shake one character and develop Bobo on the spot, but the whole team we had on Wynonna Earp was just so amazing that they made it very comfortable for you to play and develop your character as you were working. And that was a lot of fun to do.

What was your favorite part of your costume? I'm guessing by what you said, it was his coat.

Definitely the coat. There're two scenes in the whole series where Bobo's not wearing his coat, and both of those scenes I begged to wear the coat, because without the coat I didn't feel like Bobo. The coat was very much a major part of the role and the character. There's a reason why I'm not wearing the coat in those two scenes, but I always just felt different when I wasn't wearing that coat, because the coat gave him weight and grounded him to the floor, because it was so heavy that coat. And it just like I said, once I put that coat on, I became Bobo. And no one else was allowed to try on the coat, just like no one was allowed to wear Doc Holliday's holster or touch his gun.

Someone on Twitter asked if the coat stinks.

Actually it didn't smell; it was very clean every day I wore it. They took very good care of me. When it was warmer out, yeah, I did sweat in it a lot, but once it got cold it saved my butt while all the other actors were freezing. I was very grateful to have my wolf and buffalo fur coat.

Was there a part of the costume you got to keep? Although I'm not sure where you would wear the coat.

I asked to take the coat; I don't know what I would have done with the coat, but I asked if I could have the coat, but obviously that coat was built, and designed by our wardrobe team, so it's a piece of art now to the show.

So I didn't get the coat, but what I did take, what they gifted me with, was Bobo's boots, his pants, and his belt. I have Bobo's belt right beside me right now; I'm looking at it. And I keep his Boots on display in my living room, which I'll have to bring back if we do have a season two.

Also, you talked a bit about his hair, is there a significance to the white patches?

It's a rare condition where the pigment it's colored, it's white...It's called poliosis and it's a decrease or absence of melanin color in hair or eyebrows. Yeah, so basically it's just a lack of color in the hair, and it's a hair disease or condition called poliosis.

Michael EklundDo you know if there was a particular reason that they gave him that condition?

No it was just the imagination that our team came up with, and I was as surprised as anyone on my first day when I showed up that morning and they came up with the idea that he was going to have this poliosis on parts of his beard and eyebrow, and I thought it was a good little touch to the character.

And then I was stuck with it for four months, because it was real. Yeah I really did it, they bleached half my face and my eyebrow, and I walked around looking like Bobo Del Rey for four months, and I kind of liked it.

Does it help you inhabit the character?

Yeah. Right now I have bleached white hair for a new character. So yeah, it's exciting and fun to always come up with a new look and transformation for each character that I do. I kind of like doing that; it makes you kind of embody them.

Bobo is this evil Revenant, how did you kind of connect to him, and did you bring part of yourself into the character?

I think with a character like that, there're a lot of secrets to come. They're unveiled about the character Bobo Del Rey up to the final episode. You'll learn a lot about him in the last three episodes of the season, which will explain a lot to the way I've been playing Bobo. It will make it a lot of fun to go back and watch the whole season again and watch closely the details I've been slipping in and layering in to the character. It will make more sense the second time watching it.

But basically, when you're playing the dark side of the character, or the dark colors I call them, of a personality, you approach it like any character, if you're playing the antagonist of the show.

But I consider him the protagonist when I'm playing Bobo; I don't consider him an evil guy. I play him like he's, you know, a good guy. He has wants and desires and needs of his own, and he believes that they're right, so to me he's the protagonist.

On the surface, to the audience, he's the antagonist. So I don't approach the character in any way differently, it's just that the scenarios that he's put in bring out the aggression and darker behavior traits that would come off like a bad guy. But I think if any character were under those same situations and conditions, they would act the same way. So there is a lot of myself, but there is a lot of imagination obviously created in Bobo as well.

Michael EklundSo does that mean that you knew this stuff at the very beginning of the season when you started, or did you learn it along the way?

We found out as we went. Each script would come out and it would give us another piece of the puzzle. And all the actors on set were comparing the pieces of the puzzle that they had, and we were putting the whole puzzle together, trying to figure out what was actually going on, or where the direction of the show was going.

We had very little information at the beginning, and then as the show went on, they would suddenly give us clues of where it was going, because sometimes an episode that's coming up in the future will affect the performance of the scene that you're doing one or two episodes before. So they gave you the information that you needed to know when you needed to know it, which also made for a fun way of working as well.

We know Bobo has telekinesis, and when he took Peacemaker off of Wynonna, he was able to hold it, which the other Revenants weren't. Is he more powerful than the others?

Yeah Bobo Del Rey is very much a different type of Revenant than the others. There is something different about him; there is something special about him.

I don't know the exact episode, I would have to guess that maybe it was episode 3 or 4 where there was a scene where another Revenant did try to hold the gun, but they can't. I think it was the character Levi, one of the Revenants that I forced Doc to drag across the line. He tried to hold Peacemaker, and Bobo warned everybody that they couldn't touch the gun, but Bobo can.

So when you see him in the interrogation room, Bobo holding the gun, then you know that not all the rules apply to him, and why that is, you're just going to have to wait and find out. But yes you clued in on that one; it was a good observation. Bobo is very different.

Can you talk about his motivations? Because I know Bobo wants to get out of the Triangle, but I feel like there's more to it than that. Is there anything you can tease about that?

[laughs] All I can tease about is that from episode one - and we're on episode ten now and going on eleven - obviously we know Bobo's been trying to escape the Ghost River Triangle, but he's been searching for the lead the whole time, and in most episodes, you always hear Bobo talk about finding the lead, finding his lead. You know, asking the Stone Witch (Rayisa Kondracki), because she supposedly had the lead, but she didn't have it; she lied to him. He needs whatever the lead is to get out of the Ghost River Triangle. That's part of the mystery of Bobo, is what is that lead, and you're about to find out.

Michael EklundContinuing on that, can you talk a bit about why he saves Willa at the end of tonight's episode? Is she connected to that?

That's a good episode; that's one of my favorites. Yes. Bobo Del Rey's character has a long history with the Earp family way back before they were born, and especially when the girls were all children. That's part of the Bobo Del Rey storyline that will be unveiled in the next three episodes.

There's a connection, obviously between him and Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkley), and in episode eleven you're teased with a connection between him and Willa as well. So whatever happened to Willa, Bobo Del Rey was definitely there and a part of it when it happened. And that's all the gift unwrapping to come. I don't want to ruin it for anyone.

In regards to Bobo's plans, he also bought the bar, Shortys. Is there a specific reason, or was it just to piss them off?

[laughs] Probably a little bit of both. You know, the whole show is a power trip; it's a game of control. Right now Bobo's in control. You know, he's been sitting quiet for a certain amount of time while he's been digging up bones for the Stone Witch, and when that fell apart, Bobo upped his game. He decided that buying Shortys was the right thing to do and will propel his master plan into action in the last few episodes.

In tonight's episode when Bobo saves Willa, can you talk about filming the head smashing scene in the episode? That was pretty great.

[laughs] On a show like Wynonna Earp, there's a lot of action obviously, a lot of gun play, a lot of fighting; there's a lot of physicality and stunts. And for the most part the actors did as much as they could, unless their lives were in jeopardy. And I think it's very important to mention, we had an amazing stunt coordinator named Steve McMichael, and he choreographed every fight scene that we have in the show. And without him I don't think we could have pulled off most of the physicalities and stunts that we had.

The fight scene in episode eleven, that's actually Steve that I'm smashing open with a rock. So he got to be on camera and play a role.

And I've worked with him for the last seventeen years. I think my very first acting job ever, he was my stunt double. He was a stunt man, and now he's become a stunt coordinator. And so we got to reunite on Wyatt Earp, and it was a lot of fun for us to finally get to share the screen together as I smashed his head open like a watermelon with a rock.

Michael EklundCan you talk about how you did it? I mean obviously you didn't really smash his head in.

[laughs] You want the movie magic. Okay. Yeah, there's a real guy for most of it, and then when you get to the actual head smashing part of the scene, obviously we switch a real person out with a dummy or a mannequin and you smash their head in with a rock.

And we had an amazing special effects team as well, which should be noted. They created a head filled with blood and brains and everything else you might find in a skull. And they gave me a rock, and they said, "action," and we did it in one take. Once you smash that head there's no going back.

So you really see a different side of Bobo Del Rey in that scene, where you know he could actually use his powers, his telekinesis, very easily and just kill anyone he wants, but the connection he may have with the character Willa, I think the brutality that he shows with just using a rock, shows a lot to the history that they may have.

Continuing on special effects, can you also talk about them dealing with your demon look with your eyes and everything?

Yeah I can talk about it a little bit. I didn't know much about it when we were shooting. We didn't know what it was going to look like. It was as much of a surprise to us when the cast, all of us, started watching the show. We heard a lot about it and what it was going to look like. I think it was episode two for me when they described that Bobo has a brand on his back. They describe it to you, but until you actually see it, you don't know what it's going to look like.

So when we were shooting the show, they would say to me, whenever Bobo gets really angry, that's when he changes. They're kind of like a mood ring for him, his eyes; so when he's mad, they go red. But all they would tell me is that Bobo's going Revenant here, but I didn't know what that was going to look like until I watched the show. And it was very cool that they went just with subtle special effects, you know, the eyes go black, and you see a bit of red. I think it's subtle enough, but creepy enough. That's all it really needs.

You've had a lot of great one-liners, do you have a favorite quote?

You know, the writing is so good on the show. I think we all had a lot of great one-liners. I don't know if it's a good one-liner, but I did a scene with Tim, and it was a confrontational scene, and it was such a simple line, but it just stood out to me, because it just sums up Bobo's character so well. It's where they're conflicting over a certain event, and Bobo just gets tired and tells Doc that he's bored. You know, he just looks at him and says, "I'm bored." And that is Bobo. You know, he's been around a long time and he's been working on this plan for the last fifteen years, and he's just tired and he's bored. And I kind of love that kind of line, because you know, in a normal show, they would get into the action, or a fight, but Bobo chooses just to walk away and admit that he's bored. It's a waste of his time. But there are a a lot of good one-liners I had. I can't remember them all.

What's your favorite Bobo one-liner?

Usually I'm laughing most when he says something sort of flirty to Wynonna while at the same time he showing that he hates her.

Michael EklundWe definitely have a strange relationship. Wynonna could have killed Bobo many times. She had many opportunities, and she didn't, because there's something that she needs from Bobo as well. And Bobo, he could have taken Wynonna out a few times as well, and he didn't. And again that will all unfold. It's all wrapping up soon, so it's very exciting to have everyone finally see where it's going. I think everyone's going to be quite surprised too.

Was there a scene or anything that was particularly difficult?

You know, the only thing that I remember that was difficult was sometimes the weather. It was cold, and we were shooting in Calgary, and part of the season was under really cold conditions, and so when after we would go out and do a scene and you're that cold, you're brain starts to freeze. And then your lungs don't work as well, and then your tongue starts to freeze, and then you can't really speak.

So there was a few times where we all were just trying to get our lines out, but that was more of a physical condition kind of thing. But as far as playing the role, no it was just so much fun, because, you know, especially with a character like Bobo, you can go any way you want with it. Like sometimes I'd choose to do the scenes more comical, sometimes more serious and darker. And whatever choice you went with worked with the character, because he's such a loose cannon and unhinged, that brutality that you never know where he's coming from. The darkest scene might be really funny to him, and sometimes I went that way with it; when it's supposed to be an intense scene, you know, you make it more fun, and similar fun scenes you make it more dark. So it was more fun to play than anything that was difficult, other than the weather conditions that kind of froze our brains a few times, but that's about it.

I had a blast making it. Because the acting is so good too, and the writing is so well written, that if you had a problem with a scene, and you didn't know which way to go with it, all you had to do was stop and listen to the other actors, because everybody was so good that playing a scene with the other actors, it started to make sense for you. You can sit in your hotel room all you want, trying to figure out the scene or the motivation of the scene or the point of the scene, and you catch yourself trying to stay up all night to figure it out, but then you get to set, and just playing with the other actors, it all just unfolds. And that only happens with such a good cast so perfectly cast for their roles.

Can you describe Bobo in three words?

Mysterious, loyal, and persistent. And lovable.

Have you heard anything yet about a season two?

The actors are always the last to know. Everybody else knows way before we know, then it slowly filters down, and when they feel like it's time for them to let us know, they let us know, but as far as I know, I don't think anything's been said yet, but we're all very much hoping that there is a season two.

The fan base that's developed so quickly has been amazing. And we're very excited and just so pleased that everybody's enjoying it and following the show so closely. I think we have one of the best fan followings on TV right now. So it's all credit to the fans and supporters.

If the series is renewed, do you see yourself still playing Bobo for two or three more seasons?

If it did come back two or three more seasons, I would love to revisit the character of Bobo and see where it goes, as long as he's always an interesting character who's got his own obstacles to overcome. Those always are the best characters.

Michael EklundDo you have any other projects you want to promote?

If anyone has iTunes, you can find a passion project of mine that is very important to me, a movie called Eadweard, which was a movie based on the life of the scientist and artist Eadweard Muybridge, who's the godfather of cinema. He's the one who created moving pictures for the first time. So you can find that; it's out now.

Another film I shot last year, called Mr. Right, which is on pretty much everything I think now, that's the film I shot with Anna Kendrick and Sam Rockwell. That's out; you can find that one right now, brand new.

[There's also] Into the Forest. Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood are in it.

And then currently I'm shooting a show called Dirk Gently, [about a] holistic detective, which is based on a Douglas Adams book, starring Elijah Wood, and we're shooting that right now here in Vancouver over the summer, and that's for BBC America. And we're really excited about that one as well.

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