Dominique Provost-Chalkley And Katherine Barrell On "Wynonna Earp" Season 4 And The Impact Of Waverly And Nicole's Love Story
"I feel so lucky that we got to experience their relationship together."
Dominique Provost-Chalkley and Katherine Barrell's work as Waverly and Nicole on Wynonna Earp has been nothing short of career-defining as they've brought to life an LGBTQ love story that arrived just when TV needed it most. From the minute they shared their first scene together, you could feel how special these characters were, and it has been a privilege to watch their characters on screen and to watch these two actors grow off screen.
To celebrate the Wynonna Earp Season 4 finale, Dominique and Katherine sat down with us to chat about everything — like what it was like filming the highly anticipated WayHaught wedding, what filming the Season 4 finale felt like, what they are most proud of, and much more. Here's everything we learned:
First, Waverly and Nicole's wedding in the Season 4 finale was something everyone has been looking forward to for years. What are your favorite memories from filming?
Katherine Barrell (Nicole Haught): One of my favorite memories of shooting was actually looking out at all of the chairs and seeing the names of all the characters. It was such a lovely, reflective, full-circle moment. We got to not only acknowledge having this amazing wedding that we'd been looking forward to for these characters for so long, but also getting to honor all the characters that have been part of their lives up until that point. That was one of my favorite moments of that day. We also had such beautiful weather, and it was such a lovely day. Everyone was there and dressed up. It felt very, very celebratory, which I really loved.
Dominique Provost-Chalkley (Waverly Earp): It couldn't have worked out any better. Like, the sun was shining and it was so beautiful. I remember the day before we filmed the ceremony, and we went to just see the preparations of the wedding and I had this really deep feeling of like, Waverly would be so happy right now. Of course, Nicole too, but I was seeing it and living it through Waverly. When we had been on panels and had been asked the question of, "What would the perfect WayHaught wedding look like?" Like, they achieved it. Every single detail was exactly as we would have liked. And, for me personally, I just felt like the dress that Waverly wore, the way she wore it, the hair, like everything was so in alignment with who she is and how she would have wanted it to go. It felt perfect.
And, like Kat said, looking out and seeing all those names and just feeling so emotional. It's really sort of looking at the journey that we've all been on as a family and as a show. It was really quite special.
BuzzFeed: Were the names on the chairs in the script or was that something you saw for the first time when you arrived on set?
DPC: I hadn't seen it in the script.
KB: No, I don't think it was. I think it was an Emily [Andras, the show's creator] and art department decision that was made and it was so perfect. I can't imagine it any other way. I loved the sentiment of it. I just loved the names and I thought it was so perfect.
Waverly and Nicole's story has been huge for LGBTQ representation on TV. How was it dealing with the importance of filming their wedding?
DPC: For me, it was a whole range of mixed emotions. It's funny, I remember, we talked about this, Kat, you were like, "I just really hope that I'm in the pocket," I think you called it. Like, feeling really aligned and grounded. Sometimes while filming you feel really in it and on it, and sometimes you feel a little bit off. I remember the days running up to the ceremony I felt in it and on it, and then, the day after I felt really good, but the day of filming, I can't deny that I felt this sense of pressure that I put on myself. Like, this is so important and if I had seen something like this when I was younger, like, what that would've done. So, it was really feeling the weight of the responsibility for the queer community to make sure I get it right. That is something I'm always working on, just releasing this pressure I put on myself. So, there was a little bit of that energy, for me, in there.
KB: What you said, Dom, about the weight of how important it was and how much it will mean to so many people, you try to let that go because it can be such a crippling feeling at the same time, like it's such a double-edged sword, that feeling. We've talked about it over the years with a lot of the stuff that we've done, especially with WayHaught, but that day I felt a real sense of trust with the way that the story was written, the way everything looked. I was like, "Yeah, we've got it. It's all there."
BuzzFeed: Also, it must've been amazing to share the wedding moment not only as your characters, but just as a cast.
DPC: I think there was such a range of, "I can't believe we're here doing this. Look at all my friends. Look at how happy everyone looks." Seeing Varun [Saranga] right there doing this beautiful speech for us and the sun being out. It really was so special. And then, afterwards, when we got to do the scenes post-ceremony where we just got to play and dance around. That was probably one of the funnest things that I've ever filmed because it was just us as friends actually having a party and celebrating the years of madness that we've all experienced together.
KB: I feel the same way. I loved the celebratory aspect of it and that it really felt like as a group we got to just have a party and have those moments. I love that we got those moments of improv at the end of the ceremony because it allowed us to just play and laugh, and have some really authentic connections. It was really fun to shoot those scenes and I just remember feeling so happy for the characters too.
One of my favorite moments from the wedding was hearing Martina Ortiz-Luis sing "Wildwood." It was such a beautiful gift. How was it watching her film that moment?
DPC: She was so cute, wasn't she, Kat?
KB: She was really cute. It was a really big thing and she took a lot on with that. She really wanted to do her best and feel really great about it. It's a lot to come onto an established show with all of these other actors and you're meeting everyone for the first time, everything is new, and then it's like, "Okay, now sing." And, on top of that, it wasn't just any song, it was THE song. She really took it with grace. I hate saying I'm "proud" because "proud," to me, always seems like, "Oh, I'm so proud of you." I don't ever want it to seem condescending, but I was just very proud.
DPC: Interesting you say that because I also have a complex relationship with the word "proud," but I actually think that we need to reclaim it because, I agree with you, there's this notion of, I don't want it to come across as condescending in any way, but being proud of someone is so beautiful. Like, pride is great. There's that other side of it, but if you're saying it from the intention of, "I love being proud of my friends," it's quite beautiful. I hope that people are proud of me when I achieve something. You're sharing that moment with them of like, "You did it. This is awesome." I think that's exactly how we felt watching Martina too.
I cried a lot watching this episode, but one of the moments that really got me was when Nicole asked Nedley to walk her down the aisle. Kat, what was it like filming that scene with Greg Lawson?
KB: Oh, it was so hard. I had a good cry after that. I don't know what it is with Greg, but he gets me right in the feels every time. I have such a soft spot for him in my heart. So, having that scene between Nicole and Nedley, and knowing that it was possibly our last scene together ever, it just hit on a different level. Like, when you have a last scene with everyone it hits on a different level, but with Greg it was just different. I think it's because Nedley means so much to Nicole and it was a very beautiful moment. It was fantastic and I had a hard time getting through that one, for sure.
Dom, the scene between Wynonna and Waverly in the barn where Waverly tells Wynonna to go after Doc absolutely broke me. How was it performing that with Melanie Scrofano?
DPC: It was really special. When I read it, I was weeping my eyes out, like you say, it just totally broke me. So, I expected that energy to be really present while filming, but what I actually felt was, because Mel was so emotional, it was Waverly's time to be strong. It was her time to be the stronger sister and to really let Wynonna know that this is her time. I'm getting shivers all over just talking about this. It reminded me of when I was younger and my mom had moved because she had met my dad. Then, eventually, they broke up and stuff and there was a moment where I was like, "You need to continue traveling. You should go do that." It's that feeling of, like, you need to not only say the words, but you need to show that you're going to be okay without that person. Like, I'm an adult now and I have my life, and this is your time to go and be.
I thought it was so well-written and it just comes at such a perfect moment. It's actually a really pivotal Waverly moment that shows her growth of taking on that stronger role, rather than always being the one that needs to be looked after and needs to be saved. It was her way of telling Wynonna, "I've got this." It was so generous and beautiful and it really encapsulates their relationship and the sisterly bond that we share.
[laughing] Okay, and one quick little story. When I read the script, at the end there's this line where Waverly says, "We have phones, ding dong," and I had read it and was like, "ding dong," like ringing a doorbell. Mel literally lost it. We couldn't stop laughing and it actually ended up being the perfect thing to have because when I said it, we thought about how often I do that, where I read something totally wrong and she has to correct me. So there's also this nice Melanie and Dom moment in there when we were hugging because we are crying but also laughing. It was really beautiful.
Charlotte Sullivan's guest appearance in the Season 4 finale was amazing. How was it having her on set for this episode?
DPC: Charlotte is a beautiful human being and the joy really came from watching her and Mel interacting. They have been friends for a while and Mel has been talking about getting Charlotte on the show for a long time and wanting her to come. So, it was like finally she got to play with her friend and they just spent so much time laughing. Mel not being able to keep it together when watching Charlotte was so fun. She's just a beautiful person and it felt like she could have easily been a regular on the show. Her energy just fit really well.
KB: I never even met her. We were never in on the same day. I'm so sad about it.
Alongside Charlotte's scenes, there's also Waverly and Nicole trying to solve the wedding dress mystery, and it's just a great moment of comedy in a very emotional episode. What are your memories from filming that moment?
KB: I remember saying that we had never done a scene like that before together. Ever. We had never done a work, like break down a case, scene. That's usually something that Waverly does with Jeremy or sometimes Wynonna, and if Nicole's ever done it, it has been with Nedley. But we'd never done a scene like that together, so it was really fun and it was so new.
I remember having a lot of fun with Varun in that scene too. The pop up from the bed was really fun. It was a scene where the three of us were just having a really good time and laughing. That's what always amazes me about the show is how they can write these episodes that have so much emotional depth to them, but at the same time they slip in these hilarious little moments. I love the show for that because I think it's so unique and so rare.
Wynonna Earp has had to fight for other seasons before. There have been times, particularly after Season 3, where another season wasn't a certainty. But did filming this episode feel different? Knowing that it could really be the end of this journey.
KB: I really felt it. I really felt the change. I think it's such a beautiful episode and I'm so happy with the storylines. Emily said it in another interview, but hopefully there will be some version of this story in the future, I don't know what that looks like. I'm always trying to keep the faith alive, however, I was very conscious to say goodbye, like for my own heart, because it was really important to me that if it was the last, to put things to bed.
I was telling Dom earlier that I actually walked the blocking of that first scene I had ever shot, which is Waverly and Nicole meeting in Shorty's. So, just for myself, I re-walked that exact path, those steps, and said a little prayer, for lack of a better word. Just a little thank-you to the universe for the opportunity and for the experience. I wanted myself to be at peace no matter what happens, so that was really important for me. I'm not gonna lie, for me, this finale felt different and I really wanted to make sure that no matter what happens, that I had peace for myself, and I felt very at peace with the story. It was a way that I had not felt at the end of any other season.
DPC: I couldn't agree more, Kat. I felt exactly the same. There was an energy of...it felt final. Like you say, Kat, that's not to say that there isn't going to be more Wynonna, like that will be brilliant if there is, but I remember we spoke about this when we were on set, how it would be better to treat it as if it is the end and then have a little extra bonus, rather than holding on to hope and then feeling the disappointment of not having said goodbye. Truly living moment by moment and the moment that was presented really did feel like a finale. Maybe it's just the end of a chapter, but I wanted to live that fully and accept it because it possibly being the end was really present [on set].
But there's no part of us that can complain, because it really was a perfect episode. Like Kat said, if it had been another season, I think it would have felt incomplete, whereas this really just felt like surrendering to this beautiful story that got told and tied up in a bow. Like, what more could we really want for both ourselves and for the fans if this really is the end?
BuzzFeed: As a fan, it felt so complete, and if this is the end, it ended on a perfect episode.
KB: Exactly. I remember sitting in my apartment and reading the script, and having a cry and being like, "Wow, okay." It was so perfectly done and so beautifully handled.
The finale comes after some intense episodes, with dark Waverly and Nicole making the decision to become the guardian of the Ghost River Triangle. How was it going from filming such intense episodes to then switch gears to the wedding?
DPC: It was, honestly, the weirdest, craziest, just completely bananas situation. I still can't quite believe it. When we watched Episode 10, like oh my god, it was so intense.
BuzzFeed: Wait, Dom, had you not seen Episode 10 before it aired and we were all live tweeting?
DPC: That was the first time I'd seen it! What I really liked about [Episode 10] was seeing the transformation from light Waverly to dark Waverly. It really made me think about the shadows that are in all of us. You know, we all have darkness and we all have light. They both exist in all of us, and in this situation, we were really seeing the extremes of it. I really loved the fact that we were able to see that and allow that to fully come through in Waverly, even if it was really, really, really intense.
It was a really intense couple of episodes to film. It wasn't all fun and games doing that stuff. You kind of have to tap into that part of yourself and just accessing those pieces is tough. So, it was a nice relief to then go to the wedding and not have to be in that intensity. I got to go back to just lovey dovey, happiness, and find the light again.
KB: Yeah, because living with that intensity for so long is tough. Like you said, you have to go to a place you aren't used to. I do remember having a laugh when we were shooting the stuff on the stairs for Episode 11. It was just so heightened and so intense, but the thing with that stuff that I find so challenging is you have to, in your mind, be like, "Okay, there's gonna be special effects. There's gonna be epic music." You know what I mean? Because in the moment, I feel ridiculous. Like, we were having this huge moment and I'm looking at you—
DPC: "I'm the angel shield!"
KB: Yes, that exact moment! I've got this big speech and you've got these big wings and you're getting blown back. I just remember us laughing and being like, "This is so intense." It's such a funny thing with working in a fantasy realm, especially because there's so much you have to imagine. But, in my memory, Dom, we shot the wedding at the beginning of the block. We had this celebratory thing, and I remember being like, "Oh, now we have to film [Episode] 11."
DPC: Oh, yeah!
BuzzFeed: So you really filmed out of order.
KB: Yeah, because I wished that we had done the wedding last.
DPC: Yes, because it felt like the end before the end.
KB: I remember we had a week of some of the heavier stuff left.
Do you remember what the last scene you filmed was?
DPC: I just remember the last day [filming] on the Homestead was that beautiful day where we were putting Mel in the car. Was that my last scene?
KB: The last scene that I shot was in studio. It was in Shorty's with the four of us. It was the ending of [Episode] 11. It was mine, and I'm pretty sure it was also Varun's last scene. And then, you, Tim [Rozon], and Mel had one more day where you were doing wedding stuff with the dressmaker.
DPC: Yes, yes, yes, yes. Thank you for jogging my memory. We were out in that beautiful location. It feels like a lifetime ago.
And finally, looking back on your Wynonna Earp journey, is there a moment you're most proud of?
DPC: There are a few different moments. One of them, for me, would be the Jolene stuff. So, the "I'm here and I stay" scene and then also seeing Waverly in [Season 4] Episode 10 and seeing how she interacted with Jolene and seeing the difference. I felt like there was a strength the second time, and what I really tried to embody in that round two with Zoie [Palmer] and I, was like, "I know you now, and you're not going to fuck with me." When thinking about the representation of mental health, it's like, "You're not going to get me. You're not gonna get in my head in the same way." There was a real resistance the second time. Waverly's been through this before and she was like, "I'm not going to allow you to affect me in the same way." Seeing that episode, I was like...I'm not sure pride is necessarily the word, but just a sense of knowing my intention came through in some way. It felt really nice and felt really good. Just being with Zoie is such an honor. She's such a good actress and playing that character was such a big thing for her. So, as an actress and an artist, just being like, "Oh, that was really cool," that I did those scenes and it meant something. I feel like it meant a lot to me because of the representation of mental health and the journey that I have been on with that and with Waverly.
The second thing, I would say, is just the queer representation that Kat and I have really been on such a journey with. It has been amazing, and the scenes that stand out are like the first scene that you filmed, Kat. I'm really proud of that scene because we were just little babies.
KB: We were little babies!
DPC: We just went all in, straight away. Like, I remember filming it and your energy was affecting my energy. It was this really magical moment of coming together. Then, of course, the Nedley's couch scene and then the wedding. All of these WayHaught moments felt really important. Just being able to represent this relationship on screen for the queer community is huge. I feel so lucky that we got to experience their relationship together.
KB: I think, just to echo exactly what you said about the queer representation, I think about all the little moments that will stand out and will hopefully be inspirations for other creators in the future. Like, I'm really proud to have been a part of certain scenes with Dom. I think they were really important and will be held up as beacons of inspiration for years to come.
And, I think for me, I really learned how to trust myself on Wynonna Earp. Just letting stuff go if it wasn't perfect or exactly the way I wanted to do it. I learned a lot of that from Mel. Just learning from Mel about the beautiful power of spontaneity, being present, and leaving room to be brave enough to surprise yourself in your work as an artist. I think I really struggled for many, many years of feeling like everything had to be polished because that's the training that I grew in and letting that go was a journey for me over the course of Wynonna Earp. Just being inspired by my colleagues every single day on this show and leaving room for play was a really big thing that I'm proud of personally. The growth that I've seen in myself, both as a human being with my work and on a personal level, is huge.