PORTER TRAVELLING BETWEEN TWO WORLDS
TV star set to release her second album of mixed pop and country
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.”
Alberta-born actor Mackenzie Porter is set to star in season 3 of Netflix’s Travelers series.