Welcome back to our ongoing Ladies of Sci-Fi interview series! My latest guest is Canadian actor Dani Kind, most well known for her turn on Wynonna Earp this past spring. Kind played Mercedes Gardner and later the demon who became known as Widow Mercedes after stealing the real Mercedes’s face. She is also known in Canada for playing the crass and hardass Anne Carlson on Workin’ Moms, a refreshingly vulgar female-centric comedy on the CBC. Despite it not being sci-fi, we discussed it along with Wynonna Earp. After all, both shows are not only great but female-driven, something we at The Fandomentals love to see.
The following interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
Lisa P: In Wynonna Earp, most of your screentime in season two was spent playing the demon who steals Mercedes’s face, but the real Mercedes was quite intriguing as well. She described herself as the second-most hated girl in Purgatory and she joked about sleeping with half the town and needing to avoid more harassment suits. We know she’s from a rich family and she took over as head bitch in charge to her siblings when she came back to Purgatory, but what else can you tell us about her?
Dani Kind: I think you guys know as much as I do, unfortunately. When I auditioned for it, I got a fake set of sides, so I wasn’t even auditioning for Mercedes, I was auditioning for this made-up character, and that’s who I thought I was playing. And then when I booked the job, I got the script and they were like, “By the way, you’re actually playing this character called Mercedes, she has two siblings, she’s rich, she’s come back to sort of take over the town and clean up her brother and sister’s mess.”
[Showrunner Emily Andras] jumped in the car with me on the way to set on my first day of shooting and just gave me bullet points on who she was, so I didn’t get a whole ton of information, and you’re right, I didn’t get to play her for that long. She’s a great character, she was so fun. But yeah, I don’t know, I don’t really have any more information on her than that. Unfortunately.
LP: Okay, fair enough. You may be able to clarify one thing, though. What exactly was her connection to the Earp girls back in the day? Because from some of their conversations, I got the impression that she was more friends with Willa than Wynonna.
DK: Her and Wynonna went to school together, apparently, and they were not friends, they both had very different circles of friends but they were both equally hated for sort of similar reasons. I think they’re both brazen women who are very outgoing, speak their minds, do what they want, and sleep with who they want, and drink as much as they want, and I think a lot of people – you know how high school is – people have problems with anybody who is on the outside of cliques that they’ve deemed “popular.” And I think these two women just didn’t give a fuck and did what they wanted to, and even though they didn’t have a connection I think that that’s the thing, they can identify those qualities in each other especially now as grown-up women, and they kind of connect over that.
LP: Actually, Mercedes remarked several times on how hot Wynonna looked and she called her a “crazy, awesome bitch” in a moment of awe. Is it my imagination, or is Wynedes kind of a thing? Is Mercedes maybe a little into Wynonna?
DK: [laughs] Wynedes?
LP: You haven’t heard of that?
DK: I haven’t heard it. You just made that a thing. That’s amazing. Has anybody said that yet?
LP: Oh yeah, that’s a thing.
DK: How do I not know about this? That is so funny. That’s hilarious, I love that. Is it a thing… are you asking me if they’re gonna make out?
LP: [laughs] No, not necessarily.
DK: Okay, okay. God, I dunno, man. It’s Emily, anything could happen.
LP: That’s true.
DK: Maybe they will make out, I dunno. I mean, they get along, and Mercedes is so pushy. You know? She forces Wynonna into a hug and just calls her out on things. Like, “I see your sad heart. I can smell it from over here.” She calls her out and she sees her and any kind of animosity they seem to have had in high school seems to not – like, Mercedes doesn’t give a shit anymore. So, are they gonna be friends? I dunno, Mercedes has no face right now, so I would love if Emily brought her back, but I dunno if that’s gonna happen or not yet.
LP: Yeah, that’s something I was going to ask you about, actually. Last we saw she was in a coma and missing a face, but alive. So, you don’t know right now if she’s coming back?
DK: I don’t know. I mean, even if I did know, I wouldn’t be able to say, but…
LP: I know, I was gonna ask if you could tease anything at all about it.
DK: I can’t. I mean, there’s been a lot of talk, especially from the fans on Twitter, about bringing her back, which I’m super touched by.
LP: I’d love it.
DK: I would love it too. I would love to go back on that show and play Mercedes. She’s a crazy, crazy character, and so far from me, she’s so awesome. So fingers crossed. They start shooting in January.
LP: Wynonna Earp is a very witty show in terms of script. Did you have any favorite lines you got to deliver this season?
DK: I loved the bar scene between Mercedes and Wynonna when she was trying not to slide off her stool. It was a great line. There were lines like that I got to say where I was like, “Really, Emily? Really?” It was great. And Emily’s like that in real life. I don’t know if you guys have met her, but she’s so quick and so sharp and she has like a million one liners at any given moment of the day. She’s incredibly funny.
LP: Yeah, I attended her writing workshop at ClexaCon. She was quite hilarious.
DK: Oh, you did? How was it?
LP: Oh, it was great. Are you gonna go with the crew this year?
DK: I dunno, I was invited this year but we’re shooting Workin’ Moms. Wynonna Earp happens in the winter and Workin’ Moms happens in the summer, so it’s kinda hard for me to get away to anything.
LP: Yeah, that makes sense. So, along that same line, did you have any favorite scenes to film?
DK: There was a day where I got to torture Nedley, get hit by a truck, Tim [Rozon] emptied a round of bullets into me, Melanie [Scrofano] punched me in the face, and I don’t know if it was the same day or the next day where we got to burn a church down and eat a priest. And it was like, my partner called me and was like, “How was your day” and I was like “This happened.” Like, this is my day. It was so crazy and it’s the first time I got to do the sci-fi genre, so it was really… I mean, all of that stuff is so cool.
Those are really exciting days on set where you get to do fight scenes and you get to watch the stunt team work. They have an incredible stunt coordinator and incredible stunt artists and standing off on the sidelines and watching them work is one of my favorite things. And seeing what they do with their bodies and then putting myself back in when it’s my turn to go in is… those days just feel really collaborative with everyone, and that’s my favorite stuff to do on this show.
LP: Between Wynonna Earp and Workin’ Moms, you’ve spent a good chunk of time recently working on female-dominated projects. Is there a big difference in the work environment between them and shows where there are fewer women around and in charge?
DK: I want to say yes, like I wish I could say yes, but I don’t think that there’s a difference, because women just haven’t been given the opportunity. So, you know, I became accustomed to working with a whole bunch of men for like the last ten to twelve years, going in and seeing a whole bunch of men, and the very first day I got to Workin’ Moms, the entire camera crew was female, and I didn’t realize… I think more personally there was a difference for me because I didn’t realize how affected I was until I walked into the room, they were all women, and I just started crying, because I was like, “Oh this is amazing. This is how it should be.”
It should be inclusive. It should be everybody. It shouldn’t just be men and a couple women sprinkled in, and I think I didn’t realize how much I was gonna be affected, I didn’t know how much it was gonna mean to me. But in terms of work ethic and badassness, obviously women are hard workers, obviously women are badass, and having women in those positions… it’s an obvious thing that women can do anything men can do, it’s ridiculous they haven’t been given a chance. So, going on to a set with a whole bunch of women feels amazing because it feels like there’s a shift happening, but in terms of the working environment, I think everyone is just there working their asses off. If that makes sense.
LP: That makes perfect sense. Okay, so this one’s a bit of a strange question, but the fandom’s inquiring minds want to know. What was the deal with Widow Mercedes’s dress? Was that a nineteenth century bustle under the skirt or did the demon just have a big spider butt?
DK: Yeah, they modeled it after a Victorian piece. A lot of the pieces I was wearing were actual vintage pieces. Back in the day they used to make jewelry with people’s hair or teeth when people died, so we had a bunch of jewelry on that were actual pieces. The jacket that I wore as the widow was a vintage original piece. The skirt they had to sew. They tied two pillows under my butt and then put the bustle on and then put the dress on top of it.
Looking back, as the season unfolded, I wish I would’ve known where it was going. I mean, I’m sure every actress says this, but I wish I would’ve known where it was going so I could have used the butt better. [laughs] So many jokes to be made! But, I wish I would’ve embodied the spider a little bit more. I didn’t know that she was gonna explode into a million spiders at the end, I don’t know if anybody knew. I don’t know how the writers do it, it’s really cool how they tie everything together. It’s pretty impressive. But, yeah, if that answers your question. It was modeled after an old Victorian piece.
LP: You shared the screen with Kat Barrell on Workin’ Moms as well. Did she suggest you audition for Wynonna Earp?
DK: Not to my knowledge. I don’t think so, no. That’s a good question, I don’t know, I don’t think she did. But Melanie’s incredibly sweet, and when I auditioned for it, she wrote me a private message and said, “You kicked ass in your audition for Wynonna Earp” or something like that. I didn’t even know that she had even seen it or whatever but she sent me a lovely little message and I was like, “Aw, that was really nice and supportive of her.”
LP: She’s Canadian, right?
DK: She is, yeah.
LP: Well, that explains it.
DK: [laughs] Yeah.
LP: No, see, I actually thought maybe it was… in Canada it seems most of the actors are in the same things and know each other so I thought maybe that was how you and Varun Saranga got involved, because you knew Kat from that show or something.
DK: I don’t know, I’m not sure. It could be, because I know Emily really values their opinions and will ask about actors and, you know, she asked me, “Do you have any suggestions for your brother or your sister on the show?” And she’s really open that way. But I’m gonna ask Kat that, I dunno.
LP: I love Workin’ Moms, and I love your character in particular. During the scene in Wynonna Earp where Widow Mercedes attacks and strangles Nicole, I honestly couldn’t help thinking that was something Anne would want to do to [Barrell’s character] Alicia Ruthorford.
DK: [laughs] That’s amazing. You’re probably right.
Many thanks to Dani Kind for her time and for opening up about her experiences on Wynonna Earp in season 2. As she said, fingers crossed she’ll make a return in season 3! We do know she’ll be returning to co-star in Workin’ Moms season 2, which has added rising star Amanda Brugel to the cast. Brugel, who was recently promoted to a series regular on The Handmaid’s Tale, will join the group of hilarious Canadian actors that includes fellow Orphan Black alumnus Jessalyn Wanlim.
Images courtesy of SyFy/Space, unless otherwise specified