PORTER TRAV­EL­LING BE­TWEEN TWO WORLDS

TV star set to re­lease her sec­ond al­bum of mixed pop and coun­try

Calgary Herald - - YOU - ERIC VOLMERS

At some point in Sea­son 3 of the trippy sci-fi se­ries Trav­el­ers, Marcy War­ton will be show­ing off her for­mi­da­ble skills in hand-to-hand com­bat.

Al­berta-born ac­tress and singer­song­writer Macken­zie Porter can’t go into many de­tails, of course. Sea­son 3 of the Van­cou­ver-shot se­ries be­gins stream­ing on Net­flix on Dec. 14. But it’s near the end of the sea­son and Marcy, the medic in our team of time-trav­el­ling he­roes, will be show­ing off her im­pres­sive ap­ti­tude for fist fights.

“It’s like a five-minute seg­ment,” says Porter, in an in­ter­view from her home in Nash­ville. “I don’t know what they will use in the fi­nal edit, prob­a­bly like 20 sec­onds. But we worked on it for a long time and it was like a whole dance rou­tine, and it took a whole day to film the stunts. But it was so fun. It was dif­fer­ent. There wasn’t a lot of di­a­logue and it was just all move­ment, which was re­ally cool. I like that. I do my own stunts as much as I can.”

It’s just one of the chal­lenges Porter has taken on in her three sea­sons as the enig­matic Marcy War­ton, a time trav­eller from the fu­ture whose con­scious­ness was trans­ferred to an in­tel­lec­tu­ally chal­lenged jan­i­tor in 2016. War­ton is part of the five-per­son team sent back in time from a bleak fu­ture to carry out mis­sions meant to help hu­mankind avoid an up­com­ing catas­tro­phe.

But, as fans know, it’s a lot more com­pli­cated than that and will only be­come more so now that the se­ries has switched ex­clu­sively to Net­flix. Be­gin­ning its life in Canada on Show­case, Trav­el­ers now streams ex­clu­sively on the jug­ger­naut con­tent provider. Be­ing picked up by Net­flix was a life­line for the se­ries, which was in dan­ger of be­ing can­celled out­right af­ter Show­case bowed out. It has been a good fit.

In 2017, the Cana­dian-U. S. show was among Net­flix’s most faith­fully binged se­ries. There are cer­tain free­doms Net­flix al­lows that main­stream net­works don’t of­fer, as well. Fans will likely no­tice a sud­den in­crease in f-bombs be­ing dropped in episode 1, for in­stance, since Net­flix has looser guide­lines about such things.

But, with­out giv­ing too much away, Porter can also con­firm that Trav­el­ers will go darker this sea­son and head to­ward what the ac­tress de­scribes as a “re­ally sad, shock­ing end­ing.”

Porter co-stars with Eric McCor­mack. The Cana­dian Will & Grace star plays Trav­el­ers’ head Grant MacLaren, who as­sumed the life of an FBI agent in the first episode on Sea­son 1. In Sea­son 2, the Trav­el­ers were forced to com­mit a se­ri­ous breach of pro­to­col. The group also in­cludes char­ac­ters played by Nesta Cooper, Jared Abra­ham­son and Reilly Dol­man, all of whom had to deal with per­sonal tur­moil in Sea­son 2.

For Marcy, much of her en­ergy in Sea­son 3 will be ded­i­cated to pro­tect­ing David Mailer (Patrick Gil­more), a so­cial worker who looked af­ter Marcy be­fore her con­scious­ness was taken over, or over­writ­ten as it’s known, by a trav­eler. David be­came tan­gled up in the trav­el­ers’ in­creas­ingly com­plex ad­ven­tures in Sea­son 2, although is still very much in the dark about the mind-bend­ing par­tic­u­lars.

“The main sto­ry­line for Marcy in Sea­son 3 is try­ing to pro­tect David be­cause she put him in so many hor­ri­ble sit­u­a­tions and put his life in dan­ger,” Porter says. “She is re­ally be­ing over­pro­tec­tive, which causes prob­lems it­self.”

Cre­at­ing Marcy from the ground floor was a spe­cial treat for Porter, who grew up on a ranch out­side of Medicine Hat.

Her last high-pro­file role, as teen Mor­mon bride Naomi Bo­han­non in Hell on Wheels, was orig­i­nated by an­other Al­berta ac­tress, Siob­han Williams. Porter took over in Sea­son 4 when Williams had to bow out due to sched­ul­ing con­flicts.

Among the many chal­lenges of play­ing Marcy, who is de­scribed as in­tel­lec­tu­ally chal­lenged be­fore be­ing over­writ­ten by a trav­eler, was how to play her con­vinc­ingly and with sen­si­tiv­ity in those early scenes.

“It was ex­cit­ing and it was also a lit­tle scary be­cause I wanted to make sure I was do­ing it prop­erly and that I wouldn’t of­fend any­body be­cause it’s def­i­nitely a sen­si­tive thing to play,” Porter says. “But I did a lot of re­search and then I worked on it with Brad, our pro­ducer and writ­ers, and also the di­rec­tor of Sea­son 1. They re­ally did leave it open to me. They didn’t say specif­i­cally how she sounded or what her dis­abil­ity was. I was able to come up with that on my own. The re­search, I think, re­ally helped me come up with some­thing I feel con­fi­dent in.”

An­other chal­lenge for Porter has been main­tain­ing two sep­a­rate ca­reers since she be­gan act­ing as a teenager in the Al­berta-shot ad­ven­ture se­ries Di­nos­apien.

Her first love was mu­sic. She showed an early tal­ent for pi­ano and vi­o­lin and even played in a fam­ily band along­side older brother and for­mer Cana­dian Idol win­ner Kalan Porter.

She re­leased her de­but, self-ti­tled al­bum in the sum­mer of 2014 but waited un­til last month to re­lease fol­lowup new sin­gles. About You and Drive Thru, which she recorded in Nash­ville, are the re­sults of a mu­si­cal re­boot for Porter. The two sin­gles show­case Porter’s im­pres­sive vo­cal chops and her abil­ity to mix tra­di­tional coun­try with main­stream pop, and will even­tu­ally be part of an up­com­ing al­bum. They were pro­duced by fel­low ex­pat Canuck Joey Moi, known for his work with Nick­el­back, Florida Ge­or­gia Line and Jake Owen.

“I’ve def­i­nitely been run­ning on four hours sleep lately,” she says with a laugh. “At some point, I’ll prob­a­bly have to take time off of act­ing to tour. We’re tour­ing all across Canada for the first bit of the fall and then the U.S. It’s a lit­tle in­tense now be­cause they are both hap­pen­ing at the same time. I do know at some point I’m go­ing to have to re­ally fo­cus on one be­cause I can’t be ev­ery­where at the same time. My sched­ule is locked down from hour to hour, which is good. I couldn’t do it with­out that mi­cro­man­aged sched­ule.”

DE­LANEY ROYER

Al­berta-born ac­tor Macken­zie Porter is set to star in sea­son 3 of Net­flix’s Trav­el­ers se­ries.

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