Killjoys: Hannah John-Kamen on Heroes and Villains
Hannah John-Kamen has loved being the villain in Ant-Man and the Wasp and Ready Player One, but she’s at home as the hero in Killjoys.
This interview contains spoilers for the current season of Killjoys.
Hannah John-Kamen has anchored Syfy’s Killjoys as the bounty hunter protagonist Dutch from the very start, but as she expands her role to include the villainous Aneela, the actor’s growing body of work starts to take on decidedly more evil tone. After showing up as prominent antagonists both in Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One and in Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp, fans of Killjoys appreciate all the more the conflicted nature of both of the characters John-Kamen plays on the humble space drama, and we spoke to her about the gray areas her roles seem to inhabit.
Like many actors, John-Kamen admits to having a lot more fun playing the villain, but fortunately the distinction is already fairly blurred in Killjoys. “Playing the protagonist is really fun, and I learn a lot from Dutch, but at the same time I think the lines cross over quite a lot of the time because the protagonists aren’t always good,” she says. “You do bad things, and you actually have the responsibility of being the good guy or the good girl but doing the wrong thing and seeing the repercussions of that; whereas when you’re the antagonist, you know you’re doing the bad thing, but you’re more selfish and desperate to get it. So I have really thoroughly enjoyed playing, I’d say in inverted commas, ‘the villain’ because it’s fun to try and persuade the audience that actually you’re the good guy.”
What audiences have come to realize as Killjoys season 4 has progressed is that even Aneela, who actively battled against the team of Dutch, Johnny, and D’avin in season 3, is not entirely evil. “She was born into the world with a loving family, and she had that all taken away from her,” John-Kamen explains. “And I think that even though the green inside of her and the green that she is constantly consuming alienates her from society and what is human and what isn’t, it doesn’t make her a bad person. It just makes her have a goal as to where she was at with the Lady at the time… It was really fun discovering who Aneela was.”
Even as Dutch herself joins a different struggle in fighting the Lady with her former enemies, Aneela and Khlyen, John-Kamen insists that there’s room for reconciliation. “With Dutch, there’s a childhood trauma there,” she says. “She’ll never get over that because it’s who she is. She’s carried that; she is walking evidence of what she’s been through with Khlyen. He’s shaped her into who she is, and she can’t ever forget that. But at the same time, can she forgive that? Yes! … I think there’ll be pushes and pulls in that relationship with Khlyen and her acceptance of herself.”
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John-Kamen admits that her dual roles of Dutch and Aneela, now cooperating somewhat in Killjoys season 4, make an odd pairing, a testament to her completely distinctive portrayal of the duplicate daughters. “It’s the weirdest friendship in the world,” she confesses. “No one’s perfect. Dutch has made mistakes; Aneela has definitely made mistakes, but I think what came to fruition at the end of season three with Aneela and Dutch was that Dutch was made from Aneela. There was a love there, and there was an understanding, and there was kind of a connection there… Never say never when it comes to a friendship and bonding.”
Weirder still, perhaps, will be her dealing with D’avin’s fatherhood, whether there’s still a spark between her and the older Jaqobis brother or not. “I kind of giggle when I play Dutch with this new situation happening,” she says. “From the previous seasons at the prodigy school, [we know that] Dutch isn’t very good with kids. She doesn’t quite know how to be around kids, and she doesn’t really see them as these lovely, innocent, cute things because she wasn’t one herself. So yeah, it will be interesting to see what happens with this new situation in the setup.”
Despite the fact that her recent film roles have taken her to the vaulted heights inhabited by Spielberg and Marvel, John-Kamen very much enjoyed returning to the set of Killjoys season 4 and will be sad when the series ends after its fifth season. “It’s home. I come home… I come back to Lucy; I come home. I put my leather on; I’m home. I’m with Aaron and Luke, Johnny and D’avin — I’m home!” John-Kamen says. “I thoroughly enjoy coming back home to Killjoys and getting to play these amazing characters. And getting to just laugh; I just laugh so much on the set, and I have such a wonderful time. I’m really going to miss it!”
Killjoys season 4 will hit its halfway mark this Friday with the episode entitled, “Greening Pains,” at 10/9c on Syfy. Follow all of our Killjoys coverage and reviews throughout the season, and listen to the full audio of the above interview (including the question of whether John-Kamen would ever consider playing “The Doctor”) in our Sci Fi Fidelity podcast. Subscribe or simply listen below! Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Soundcloud