Tim Rozon as Doc Holliday in Wynonna Earp. Photo copyright of Syfy.
Gunfighter, gambler and former U.S. Deputy Marshal, John Henry “Doc” Holliday led quite the colorful life back in the America’s Wild West. At the age of 21, he received his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree, having graduated from the Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery. His dental practice, however, soon took a backseat to his other more adventurous pursuits, including the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. In the new Syfy supernatural series Wynonna Earp, Holliday’s life has had a bit of a makeover. Having been cursed and banished to the bottom of a well, he emerges decades later into a much-changed world, where technology is one of many “demons” he must confront. Having been cast as Holliday, actor Tim Rozon wanted to learn as much as possible about the man before stepping foot in front of the cameras.
“Almost everyone knows who Doc Holliday is, so I did some research on him and found out some interesting things,” says Rozon. “He was a professional poker player, which at the time was a very noble profession. He was also a knife fighter and very good with a blade. It’s not been confirmed how many people actually died at his hands in gunfights, but he was also a quick draw. Doc used a Colt Thunder; it has a shorter barrel than most other pistols, which would make sense given his quick draw.
“As soon as I received the phone call letting me know I got the part, I ordered a replica of a Colt Thunder from a place in Alberta [Calgary, Canada], which, just coincidentally, is where we filmed Wynonna Earp. When I received it, I spent some time walking around my house with the Colt, trying to practice the quick draw as well as a couple of spins with the gun. Holliday is one of the most proficient gunfighters in history, so I made sure I was as ready as possible. Once I got to the set, the guys there were great. Whenever we wanted to, they’d take us out shooting, so I got plenty of practice in even once filming began, which was terrific.”
Way back when, Doc Holliday faced off against your traditional square-jawed, tough-talking gun-toting hombres. Nowadays, however, his adversaries are far more “unusual” and along the lines of hillbilly gremlins, zombie mailmen and red-neck vampires. Holliday is teamed up with Wynonna Earp (Melanie Scrofano), the great granddaughter of his old friend Wyatt Earp, who works for a special branch of the U.S. Marshals that deal with dispatching all things demonic and otherwise a supernatural threat to humankind. Although this connection to his past helps him adjust to this modern day world, it takes Doc some time to get used to being around all these new faces.
“My character’s relationships are a tricky area because he’s very much a loner,” notes Rozon. “He has a lot to deal with after being cursed and stuck in a well for all those years, and is now coming into a world he knows nothing about. Because of his prior relationship with Wyatt, the only person who Doc really trusts or opens up to is Wynonna. Mind you, I got to do some terrific stuff involving him and the other characters, including Waverly Earp [Dominique Provost-Chalkley], because there’s such a nice contrast between the two. It’s the same with Shamier Anderson’s character of Agent Dolls. I really enjoy the interaction between Dolls and Doc, again, because they are such polar opposites and think as well as react to situations completely differently. What’s really fun to watch, though, are the scene when Wynonna, Waverly, Dolls and Doc are all together.
“Of course, there are also the bad guys. Doc is driven by revenge, which kind of helps keep him motivated and moving forward. There are some amazing scenes with him and Bobo, one of our main villains, who’s played by the freaking amazing Michael Eklund, who might just be my new favorite actor. This guy is the real deal. Michael was100% into the work, and I looked forward to the days that I had scenes with him, because I knew Michael was going to really bring his best to the table, and he always did.”
A native of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Rozon gained an appreciation for the written as well as spoken word long before deciding to pursue an acting career. In fact, he originally considered wandering down a somewhat different creative path. “I think I was the only kid I knew who wanted to be a poet,” the actor recalls with a chuckle. “I just remember always being drawn to poets and wanting to be one. That eventually led me to the arts in school, and when I got to high school I joined the theatre department. Once I began doing plays, I caught the acting bug and that was that.
“One day a man stopped me on the street and said I had an interesting look. He gave me his card but, of course, it took me six months or so to call him because the whole thing kind of freaked me out a bit. It was my girlfriend who finally convinced me to call. So I did and ended up going to an agent’s office where they sent me to an audition that afternoon. It was two lines in [the 2000 A&E made-for-TV movie] The Great Gatsby. I was super nervous, but somehow I said those two lines, which they made me do twice, and left. The next day, this agency called me and told me, ‘You have the job, and we want to represent you.’ I couldn’t believe it. So I got incredibly lucky and started out in TV playing The Dandy Man in The Great Gatsby.”
In addition to a number of other TV movies, the actor has also guest-starred on such shows as Wild Roses, Rookie Blue, Heartland, 19-2, The Listener and Flashpoint as well as played regular roles in Instant Star and Schitt’s Creek. Besides Wynonna Earp, Rozon’s other TV genre work include recurring roles on Being Human and Lost Girl.
“Being Human was super fun, first off because we filmed in my hometown of Montreal, which I never get to work in, plus my character was a member of a werewolf pack,” says the actor. “So if there was ever a question of Team Vampires or Team Werewolves, you know where my loyalties lie. It was a great group of people to work with on that show, and Sam Huntington, who played the main werewolf [John Levison] was a pleasure to work with.
“As for Lost Girl, that will always have a special place in my heart. Emily Andras, who was a writer/executive producer/showrunner on that show, is also an executive producer on and developed [for TV] Wynonna Earp, so we have a little bit of history together, which is awesome. She killed off my Lost Girl character [of Massimo] four times, and he just kept coming back stronger and stronger. That made me appreciate that Sci-Fi is also the best genre to work in, because if your character dies, it doesn’t necessarily mean you lose your job. As with Being Human, everyone on Lost Girl was incredible, and Ksenia Solo [Kenzi], in particular, just blew me away. She’s a big talent and a pretty terrific person as well.”
As much as acting is all about making believe, Rozon has no such illusions when it comes to actually making a living in this industry. “I feel really lucky right now,” he says. “A lot of the time, acting is about heartbreak, hearing ‘no,’ and coming close to getting a gig, but then not getting it. However, when you book a job, you’re catapulted into the stratosphere,” enthuses Rozon. “So you always need be aware of when things are good in your life, and I truly appreciate every second of my life right now because I know what it’s like on the other side.”
Wynonna Earp premieres April 1st @ 10:00 p.m. EST/PST on Syfy (US). As noted above, photo copyright of Syfy, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any kind. Thanks!