Interview: MacKenzie Porter and Patrick Gilmore Talk ‘Travelers’November 30, 2018
Recently we had the chance to talk with MacKenzie Porter and Patrick Gilmore, who discussed their acting careers including their roles as Marcy and David on the sci-fi show Travelers.
How did you both get into acting? Was it always something you wanted to do or was it an interested that developed over time?
MacKenzie: For me, I started acting very early. I grew up doing a lot of theater and then when I was thirteen years old I convinced my parents to let me study film and TV in acting class. The problem was the acting class was only for people eighteen and older so I called the teacher, I think four or five times, and begged her to take me on and finally, she said ok, I’ll teach you privately. I did private lessons with her and a year later she and I flew out to Vancouver and I signed with my agent and I’ve been with him as my agent ever since, so I knew from the beginning that’s what I wanted to do.
Patrick: I spent a lot of time in the principal’s office so I got accustomed to telling tales. (Laughs) My dad actually came home with a video camera when I was about five, one of those ones that was on the shoulder and you had a harness to hold the battery and the VCR, and I remember him asking me if I want to be on television and I honestly thought he meant the news. He filmed my friend and I riding our bikes in the driveway and it was just magic to me. It wasn’t long after that where I made the connection that it was the same sort of stuff Raiders of the Lost Ark is and that people can do that. It was always in the back of my head but I never really made a decision until they basically force you to in high school. I took drama but that was because the football coach was the drama teacher and he was the first guy to tell me I could do this for a living. At that point I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else, that was thirty odd years ago, and I still can’t imagine doing anything other than acting.
Television is definitely in a golden age right now, there is such great content out there. Do you both want to stay working in television or bounce back and forth between mediums?
MacKenzie: I do, I definitely want to. I would love to do films but TV is so good now that as long as the content is there, the stories are there, it doesn’t matter to me whether it’s television or film, as long as the writing is good and I’m drawn to the character.
Patrick: Yeah, that’s much the same for me, as long as you’re being drawn to the story that’s being told. There is something about TV, where you get to revisit a character over and over again and it’s fun, it feels like a long-term project and you get attached to these people. When we’re in between seasons I miss David, I miss Marcy. There is something attractive about movies too and it’s funny, when I was growing up there was this stigma that movie people don’t do TV. Now, there are so many platforms, the lines are so blurred I mean, is Netflix TV or is it film? As long as there’s a story to tell and it’s something I’m excited to do, that’s where I’ll go.
How did you both get involved with Travelers? Did you audition together, to see how the chemistry was between the two of you?
MacKenzie: No, but we knew each other. We did a movie together, back in 2012 maybe, a long time ago. For me though, the process was simply it was pilot season and I was auditioning for everything. I actually originally read for Carly, who was booked by Nesta, and we got an email back saying hey, we think you’d be better for Marcy, or that’s what I heard. It was very fast, I taped that day or the next day and I think within five or six days I had booked the part. Then I found out that Patrick had booked it and I messaged him and said, I think you’re going to be playing my love interest.
Patrick: Which was funny because I remember, I think in the last audition I had, I was chatting with Brad and our director and he was describing the MacKenzie character and what the actor needs to bring to it. He started listing off all of these things and we all had a good laugh and I said well, good luck with that and then when MacKenzie messaged me I was like oh god, yeah of course. Thank god too because my role was so dependent on Marcy, we were going to spend a lot of time together, and even today we’ve talked about how lucky we’ve been to be able to work together because we get along so well and work so well together.
MacKenzie: It’s so easy too because, we joke around all the time, but he really is the easiest actor to work with because he’s easy to feed off of, it’s always so natural with him and there’s no awkwardness. Sometimes there is this awkward feeling, especially when you’re playing a love interest and it was never awkward at all, it just felt so real. He’s really an amazing actor.
Patrick: Well, that’s very kind of you.
MacKenzie: I’ll take that hundred bucks now. (Laughs)
Patrick: I was lucky enough to work with Brad Wright on Stargate and Brad tells me the role was written for me which was very kind, I still had to audition, he actually told me that right before the audition (laughs). He said no pressure, smiled and walked away and I had to meet him in the audition room. That’s how I came to the role and regardless if Brad had written it I was interested.
The chemistry between you both is wonderful, it comes across as very natural and real. Do you have time to practice your lines together, work on the chemistry, or is it already there and you just jump into the moment?
Patrick: No, not a lot. I think because we’ve spent so much time together and have this rapport off camera as well, it’s so easy to find that rhythm when the cameras are rolling. I know how MacKenzie works now and it becomes a dance.
MacKenzie: I think so, too. I mean, once you feel comfortable with somebody the chemistry part comes along with it. I never get there and feel nervous about how he’s going to play a certain scene. I’m always pleasantly surprised at the different choices you are making but it always feels safe and comfortable, it’s good.
Patrick: It’s a constant trust exercise, a corporate trust exercise and we’ve been through it so much that there’s a strong trust there.
There is so much going on with Marcy and David. As a Traveler, Marcy has had to make numerous adjustments to what’s going on and David has had to try and cope with the different versions of Marcy he is experiencing. How much fun is it to play these two characters?
MacKenzie: It is so much fun, it really is. For me, I truly feel like my character is the best character on the show. I get to do so many things, so much fun stuff…
Patrick: I mean, my favorite is watching you play original Marcy.
MacKenzie: That is my favorite part of the show, too. Original Marcy is what we call the Marcy with the learning disability and when I read that part, in the pilot I guess, I was like oh my god, I need to do this. There are not a lot of times that a young, blond actress gets to play something that deep, especially being young, I would have thought those kinds of roles would go to an older, more established actress, so I was just like I need this, I want this.
Patrick: You get to play so many different versions and aspects, I mean when you get reset, you almost have to play a different character again, you’re juggling so many balls so yeah I agree, that your character is the most fun to play.
Travelers has a great sci-fi hook but what makes the show so good is the writing and the actors playing these characters. How enjoyable is it coming to work, knowing you have such a good writing team working with you each and every day?
Patrick: It’s not work, really. Its effort, sure, but it doesn’t feel like the job my parents went to. I guess that’s why I wanted to be an actor, I never wanted nine to five, but this feels like recess, it’s too much fun. It spoils me as well, for other shows I go on that don’t have that same sort of comfort, safety, and fun.
MacKenzie: Yeah I agree, I feel like we’re so lucky with the writing and the scripts, just where they take each character and how developed each character is. Especially with us, the relationship and how well that is written, it’s so easy to play those moments of chemistry when the writing is there.
Patrick: I’ve done a lot of shows where improvising comes into play quite a bit and I’ve never felt the need or the want to do it because everything is right there. They write so well, they have our voices down and that’s something going to the audition I picked up on, I said I know this melody, I know this cadence because they have our voices in mind.
Do you film this show out of sequence, because the way the storyline affects the characters, especially for Marcy, do you find it gets a little confusing sometimes?
MacKenzie: A little bit, yeah. We usually do blocks of two episodes but with the scheduling, it can change. Last year we were filming four at one time so that’s a little tricky and sometimes even trickier for me. I have a notebook of all the timelines so I can back and go oh, Marcy 2.0 would have done this and so on so yeah, it is a little tricky. It’s a little bit of a math equation that I just need to remember what I would know and which Marcy I’m playing. (Laughs)
Patrick: For David, he’s almost like the audiences POV. He’s left in the dark a lot and he can kind of follow along the story linear so it’s much easier for me.
Season three is getting ready to air in a couple of weeks. With the way season two ended should fans be expecting a lot of change in the new season?
Patrick: Nothing but, I mean, how do you not? Every season that we get the final script we come to the writers and ask, so how the hell are you going to get us out of this mess? It’s comes through just a complete upheaval of people’s lives and the idea that they wanted to take every character and push them to their limit in season three and that comes with devastating change.
MacKenzie: Yeah, I think season three is much darker but I like dark so I’m happy.
Patrick: Season three is the darkest of the three seasons, it gets pretty real.
I want to thank MacKenzie and Patrick for taking the time to talk with us.
Season three of Travelers premiers on Netflix Dec 14th