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Exclusive: Sean Baek on the Season Finale of Killjoys


Sean BaekKilljoys, which aired an all-new episode tonight on Syfy, follows intergalactic bounty hunters Dutch (Hannah John-Kamen), Johnny (Aaron Ashmore), and D'avin (Luke Macfarlane), who chase warrants throughout the Quad. They have tried to stay impartial, but with a friend's recent murder, what they've learned about the green plasma, and a war brewing, it's become almost impossible.

Tonight marked the season two finale of the series. In the episode, it was revealed that the plasma is actually sentient. With the help of Khlyen (Rob Stewart) and Fancy Lee, played by Sean Baek, the team try to stop what's been set in motion.

Baek recently talked to SciFi Vision in an exclusive interview about the series, which has now officially been renewed for season three.

SCIFI VISION: How did you become involved in the series originally? Did you audition?

Sean BaekSEAN BAEK: Yes, I did audition for the role of Fancy Lee back in 2014, a few months before Killjoys season one filming began. The initial audition call was typical; I got an audition notification e-mail from my agent with the description of the show and a scene to prepare. I did notice and recognize the show-runner’s name, Michelle Lovretta, as well as the production company, Temple Street Productions, right away - I had made a brief appearance in an episode of Lost Girl in season four and I am a big fan of Orphan Black.

When I read the first audition scene, it was one of those roles that came to me easily, meaning the way the character spoke and what the character would do came to me easily. And instantly, I really wanted the part.

Then, some time passed, so rather than obsessing about it, which is not good for your mental health [laughs], I moved on to other auditions and projects, but deep down inside, I kept thinking about Killjoys and the role of Fancy Lee.

Then I got another notice for a call-back audition with the same scene, but with the director present in the audition room this time.

Some time passed again, and I got a second call-back audition with a different scene for the director and a producer present at the audition this time. By that point, I had made a rather strong connection to the character. I felt like I knew him inside and out, and I really wanted to get cast to play the part. That’s a dangerous territory for a working actor, because there’s always a chance that it might not work out for you, and you want to keep your sanity.

And then even more time passed. Looking back, it was rather torturous, to be honest. [laughs] But that wasn’t the first time that kind of situation happened for me as an actor.

Eventually I got a phone message from my agent, on the night of this public reading of a play that I was doing, letting me know that I got the part. I still remember exactly where I was, what time of day it was, who I was with...It was one of the best days of my life thus far!

Is there anyone who inspired your portrayal, or did you take it all from the script?

I pretty much took it all from the script. I have a background in classical theater training and performing - mainly Shakespeare - after my university education and training, and have played some of the most iconic roles in that setting in my career. So, most of the time, the text - what is written on the page - is all you have and really all you need.

For TV roles, you usually get a brief description of your character from the writers and producers, but what and how your character speaks and does from the script is what gives you the foundation.

Then you consider the situations and circumstances and use your own imagination. And then you collaborate with your fellow actors and directors you work with. I have found that, especially for specific genre sci-fi TV shows like Killjoys, you really get to use your imagination, and I think that is a big part of having fun while working. Killjoys is my very first sci-fi show I have ever gotten to work on, and I am very grateful and proud to have been a part of it thus far.

Was there any research you put into the role?

I did some brief research on bounty hunters before filming Killjoys season one and made some key observations based on the research as a sort of a “launching pad,” but not too extensively. As I have said in other interviews, the writing on this show is so excellent, so if you just commit to suspending your disbelief and trust and use your own imagination that is based on the imagination the creator/show-runner and writers and/or producers have created, and then you just go along with people with whom you work on that creative ride.

Sean BaekHow are you most like/dislike Fancy? How do you connect to him?

I am kind of like Fancy Lee in that I love gadgets, building and modifying things and such. When I was a kid, I used to build model planes and tanks, etc., all the time - You should have seen the collection I had in my room when I was a kid! I realize that that is totally different from and not as advanced as some of the cool gadgets Fancy Lee got to use, such as the Bloodhound, his ballistic knife, his own directional dart gun, aside from the space guns he got to use in the cool world of the Quad, but in terms of building things, I think I’m sort of like Fancy Lee.

Also, I personally can be very task-oriented, meaning, if I have something to get done, I focus and do it, however long it might take, the sooner, the better, usually. Typical Type “A” personality, I suppose. So I’m kind of like Fancy Lee in that regard.

I am most unlike Fancy Lee, because I have never killed anyone, like he did in Killjoys season two, episode 2.04.

How I connect with him is pretty much like any other roles I have played. I consider the circumstances he is in; I pay attention to what he says and does to other characters, as well as what others say about and do to him, and I look at relationships and relationship dynamics with other characters.

Can you talk about the action and fight scenes? Do you enjoy that? Were there any stunt or weapons training?

I think one of the skill sets I have that were useful for the creator/show-runner and writers was my martial arts background. I have trained in a Korean martial-arts system called “Kuk Sool Won Hapkido” since I was sixteen years old.

I have also served as a fight director for stage plays in the past, so I respect and enjoy fight scenes and fight choreography, because it is truly an art in and of itself. For stage or for camera, a fight choreography really is like learning to dance with your scene partner; you have to breathe together, focus together, not only for safety - because we’d have to do it over and over again, and you can’t and must not get injured, but also for the believability of the fights. I am not a stunt performer; I am an actor first and foremost, so there is a limit to what I can do in terms of stunts, but I have done my own stunts here and there during the filming of Killjoys.

Are there any cool special effects you worked with you can talk about?

Visual Effects and special effects are usually done in post-production, so I’m afraid I don’t have much to talk about it, except that we have one of the best VFX/Special Effects teams for Killjoys. I think the design work on Lucy (Tamsen McDonough) and Khlyen’s spaceships are FANCY-tastic! Yes, it’s a word I myself made up! [laughs]

Sean BaekFancy gets some great lines. Do you have a favorite?

From Killjoys season one: “The warrant is all.” From Killjoys season two, to D’Avin: “Hey, Square Jaw! You made it.”

Can you talk about working with Rob Stewart?

I enjoyed working with Rob Stewart very much in Killjoys season two. Rob is a veteran actor - in experience, not in age! [laughs] - talented, committed, and generous. What does it mean when one is a “generous” actor? Well, for me, Rob was generous, because he wanted to work closely together with you to make the scene as good as it can get. Some actors work in such a way of just focusing on themselves, very private, just doing what they want to do. I am guilty of that too, sometimes, which is perfectly fine, but Rob is one of those actors who are really good at effectively communicating, without saying too much, what he needs from others and what he could do for others, which doesn’t necessarily mean prompting his choices and such. Because working with actors who surprise you is a lot of fun. That is inspiring, because that shows he intends to be and is a good team player, and at the same time, he helps you feel like one as well, or more of one. And in his performance, he really gives, but he makes it look effortless. And that’s because there has been a lot of homework as well as being good on your feet. And he can be very funny, too.

Sometimes, performing can get really tough with difficulties in many different aspects of filming, long hours most of the time, etc., so being able to share humor while remaining serious about our work, was like icing on a cake. So, I really enjoyed working with Rob. I’d work with him any day.

Originally in the first season, Fancy did try to kill D'avin, but he seemed to be just about the warrant, not necessarily that he was bad or against them. Just in your own opinion, do you think if he hadn't become a Six he would have jumped on board helping save the Quad, or would he just have stayed out of it and stuck to the warrants?

That’s a really good question. WWFD? - What Would Fancy Do? - right? Yes, in Killjoys season one, Fancy Lee was mostly portrayed as an utmost and utter professional who was all about warrants and fulfilling his job and responsibilities. And I’m glad and appreciative of what you said about Fancy Lee not necessarily being "bad or against" fellow RAC Agents, aka, Killjoys. In my opinion, with the state of the Quad, Fancy Lee would have tried to find the truth of the RAC, as well.

In Killjoys season one, from what we have seen anyway, Fancy Lee was the only other Level 5 RAC Agent, aside from Dutch. So, as a high-ranking officer, I think he would have found an appropriate ways to figure things out, with or without the Trio, Dutch’s Team, but, most likely along with Dutch’s Team.

How far in advance did you know where everything was heading? For your character's story and also just this alien storyline in general? Were you surprised?

In terms of Killjoys season two story-arc, or for season one for that matter, I didn’t get to find out about things in advance at all. And yes, I was very pleasantly surprised by where the story was going. Our Killjoys writing team and producing team are so good at keeping things hush-hush, and I actually wouldn’t mind that. If I desperately needed to know something that would help my character, then I would ask questions, and normally I would get appropriate answers. But I’m a huge fan of mystery, and I don’t like things spoiled, and I get a kick out of getting surprised by a turn in a story, so I actually didn’t mind being kept in the dark for certain things. I am very excited about where the story [will] go in Killjoys season three, whether or not I’ll continue to be a part of it. I take nothing for granted and I’m not a fan of assuming!

Sean BaekIt seems like by the point the episode ends, Fancy's joining their fight to save the Quad when they move forward. Do you think he'll be able to become part of the team, or are they still going to not work well together? Though it's hilarious when they don't in get along in the finale, so it wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing.

I can’t really say how things will go. That really and obviously depends on where and how the story is going to go, but, based on what I know to have happened, as far as Fancy Lee is concerned, I personally think that he would join Dutch and D’Avin and others on the team, considering what he went through with the Level 6 Program of the RAC. I think he would want to get to the bottom of things, and assist/investigate/fight alongside Dutch. But that’s just me, my own thought and my own imagination.

Do you think Fancy will have a hard time coping with being a normal human again after having been a Six and losing his strength and things like that?

Honestly, that is really hard to say or comment on. Again, that really depends on where the story is going to go. I would say that it would be interesting to see what the differences are in Fancy Lee, after having become a “normal human being.”

Is there anything in the season finale that you are particularly looking forward to fans seeing?

In case some people will be catching up on the season at a later time and not necessarily when the episode airs, I don’t want to say too much for fear of spoiling. However, in the Killjoys season two finale episode, in my humble opinion, I believe our beloved fans would really enjoy the epic journey of my fellow Killjoys. And, by “journey,” I mean both actual events that happen and their experiences and emotional journeys.

What's your favorite part of the set? What about your favorite part of the ship?

In Killjoys season two, I really love the Spring Hill compound interior set, even though I never got to be in that section of our set. We have an amazing crew, one of the best, and they have designed and built that beautiful set.

It’s always nice to be on the ship, Lucy. Lucy might beg to differ, though! [laughs] I love the ramp and the interior of Lucy. The cargo hold is pretty cool too. Also, I got to be on Khlyen’s ship, and I love the interior of it, too - so sleek and shiny.

What's been your favorite scene to film?

As far as my memory can tell, I really enjoyed the quiet, but “brewing” moment I got to share with Hannah John-Kamen, Luke Macfarlane and Thom Allison at the end of Killjoys season two finale episode.

What's been the most difficult part of working on the series?

This doesn’t have anything to do with the series itself, but for Killjoys season two, back in March and April, when we were in the smack dab middle of filming, I was also doing a theater show. The production company graciously and masterfully arranged schedules - DJ Carson is one of our producers - so that I could continue to do the play, for which I got an offer before Killjoys shooting plans were in place.

And my baby girl was three months old, going on four months old, at the time, so during my off days of the rehearsal period of the play, I would go shoot Killjoys. After the play opened, during the day, I’d be helping out my wife with taking care of our baby girl, and then in the evenings, I’d go perform in the play - which got nominated for Outstanding Performance, Ensemble category, by the way, for the 2016 Dora Awards - the Dora Awards in Toronto is like the Tonys in New York City for theater - And also several times, I’d have to be whisked away to go film Killjoys during night shoots. So, for me, personally, it was a very taxing time. But, in the end, no one died or got hurt, [laughs] so it’s all good.

Sean BaekDescribe Fancy in three words.

Lord - or Sir. Intergalactic. Badass. [laughs]

Have you enjoyed the social media aspect of working on the show and live tweeting, etc.?

I was fairly active on Twitter before Killjoys, but I definitely got busier on Twitter during and after Killjoys season one, which has continued nicely with our season two. I am generally quite social in nature, and I love our devoted fans, so I have definitely enjoyed the social media aspect. Interacting with people - current and new fans of Killjoys - on social media like Twitter and Instagram has certainly been, to use a word I made up again, “FANCY-tastic,” and a lot of fun. [laughs]

Do you have any other projects coming up that you want to promote?

I am currently in rehearsals for a stage play called The Last Wife, written by Kate Hennig, a co-production between the Belfry Theatre in Victoria, BC and the Great Canadian Theatre Company in Ottawa. It is a contemporary re-telling of the relationship between Katherine Parr, who was the 6th and last wife of King Henry VIII, told mainly through the female, Katherine’s, point of view.

I play Thomas Seymour, a rather interesting character, who was Katherine Parr’s clandestine lover and who became Katherine’s husband briefly, after Henry VIII’s death, before getting executed.

Also, shortly before starting to work on this play, I finished filming another TV Series as a recurring character, about which I can’t really comment much yet.

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