Interviews

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Meet Kelly McCormack, KILLJOYS Newest NERD Zeph!

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Kelly McCormack joined the Killjoys’ cast in the second episode of the third season as the awkward, filterless, super geek Zeph.

Will O’Hare Photography

Syfy fans might know Kelly from another popular series, Defiance. She portrayed Jalina, the Castithan handmaiden to the Tarr family who met an abrupt end in season two after an eventful night with Tony Curran’s character, Datak. At least Zeph has already proven her extreme survival skills as the only geek left standing in the Killjoys trial by fire.

“Screw it. I’m just going to be myself this year.”

Diverse characters, complex plot lines and one-of- a-kind vocabulary, along with Killjoys’ uniqueness as whole, is why Kelly was drawn to the show and says she took a real chance when she auditioned for the role of Zeph. “I am such a nerd and so is the show runner. Auditioning for that role was the first time that I allowed myself to dress like my tomboy self and not wear makeup. I was like, ‘Screw it. I’m just going to be myself this year,’ and it totally panned out!’

Kelly says the role meant a lot to her personally because her New Year’s Resolution was to show more of herself in auditions. “I’m just going to be myself and [Killjoys] was the first audition of the year and it worked. Within a week, I was shooting my first episode and everything changed after that. It was a whirl wind”

Show creator Michelle Lovretta confirmed her satisfaction with casting Kelly when she tweeted to her just after the episode aired. “So you know, girl. That’s how you got the part. Being your hilarious lovely self was your best decision.”

Obviously, Kelly was overjoyed with Michelle’s public recognition of her work. “I was like ‘Oh my Goodness!’ and showed [the tweet to] all my friends. I can’t believe she said this about me. You never know with auditioning. You’re just throwing darts against a wall. There are actors who go into an audition thinking they are going to book everything and they think they’re the cats pajamas and then there are actors, like me, who walk in thinking this is a shot in the dark and every time I book something I think it’s going to be the last time I ever work. The self-doubt is real within me.”

“A show rests on the show runner’s attitude and personality. It comes all the way down every single person she hires every single person she associates herself with is a reflection of her choices
and her way of working.”

Though Kelly admits she is “fan girl’ of Michelle’s, she also looks to Michelle as a mentor as she furthers her own career as a writer and producer. “[Michelle] is such a pro and I’ve learned so much from her. Not just as an actor, because she gave me such a great part, but also as a creator myself. A show rests on the show runner’s attitude and personality. It comes all the way down to every single person she hires. Every single person she associates herself with is a reflection of her choices and way of working.”

Zeph’s character was well thought out by the writers, but Kelly added her own flair in the form of Zeph’s finger ties. The ties serve as a kind of geek post-it note to remind Zeph to do different tasks. The character was described to Kelly as “a farm girl turned science nerd who has no filter, doesn’t have the best interpersonal skills and is kind of a thorn in the teams side. She will basically do anything to be right. Zeph, to her detriment, wants to be right, but it comes from a really honest and sincere place. Science is her thing. The thing she can hold on to and it’s the thing [which] she defines herself.

“I’m not going to be gelling at first. There will be some friction
between Zeph and Johnny.”

Zeph’s desire to be right gets her into trouble from the start and that theme looks to continue throughout the season. Our new geek chick is highlighted best this season in episodes seven and eight and we can look forward to some sparks between the Killjoys triad and Zeph as she tries to fit in. Kelly explains that “although I might be on the team,  I’m not going to be gelling at first. There will be some friction between Zeph and Johnny. She’s this new science nerd. but Johnny has been the nerd of the threesome for so long. [Zeph is] a total monkey wrench thrown into the team.”

Dutch (Hannah John-Kamen) is Zeph’s hero. “She is absolutely obsessed with Dutch,” says Kelly.” Zeph idolizes [her] because she has all the hard skills Zeph lacks. Zeph is undecided and fidgety and all over the place, [whereas] Dutch is a straight line.”

Luke Macfarlane’s D’Avin, on the other hand, is not someone Zeph connects with yet. “Dav and Zeph have a funny dynamic. They are polar opposites while she and Johnny are both nerds and they both might go tit-for-tat with each other. [D’avin] and Zeph are on different planets.”

“For a team that has so much swagger, I definitely say some pretty ridiculous things.”

The differences between our Dynamic Trio and super geek Zeph has already resulted in some pretty hysterical dialogue. “For a team that has so much swagger, I definitely say some pretty ridiculous things.” Zeph’s clinical use of the word “moist” in her character’s efforts to ferret out the truth was a priceless Killjoys moment and fans know from the season three trailer that the hits are sure to keep coming.

Kelly admires the vibe and easygoing dynamic of the cast and crew. “The three leads (Hannah John-Kamen, Luke Macfarlane and Aaron Ashmore) are best friends. They are the funniest, most lovely people on the planet. I’ve never met a crew that gets along as well as this one. Between each take, they are just laughing and singing. I haven’t seen one sliver of tension on the set and that is unheard of [in the industry]. It’s such a joy!”

Killjoys airs every Friday at 8 pm only on Syfy! Stay tuned to NiceGirlsTV as we continue to give you the skinny on all things Killjoys and more from its newest addition, Kelly McCormack. Tweet with Kelly throughout the season @Kelmccormack. Be sure to live tweet with me, @PxlWvr and @nicegirlstv as we join the twitter fun. For more on Killjoys, check out other cast interviews with Hannah John-Kamen, AaronAshmore Luke MacFarlene and Tamsen McDonough!

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