Interviews

Interview with Tahmoh Penikett and Erin Karpluk about their new online series Riftworld: Chronicles

RIFTWORLD: CHRONICLES follows Alar of Caer Caladh (Tahmoh Penikett), who is stuck in Toronto after one of his spells goes awry. He teams up with struggling journalist Kim (Erin Karpluk) to help get him back home. Hunted by a fantastical foe, they try to solve the mystery of what binds their worlds – and their fates – together.

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The series begins with a portal opening in a desolate alley in downtown Toronto, where Alar steps out to a foreign world – Earth. Clearly lost, he tries to use his powers to cast a teleport spell, to no avail. Fascinated by this new dimension, he seeks out a palace only to meet Kim, a savvy up-and-coming journalist, who is pretty sure he is just another homeless man off his meds. It’ll take more than a necklace, a dimension-travelling monster, and possible imprisonment for Kim to realize Alar is the real deal.

Riftworld: Chronicles is created by Jonathan Williams and produced by First Love & Sienna Films.

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Riftworld: Chronicles is now available to watch online at http://www.riftworldchronicles.com and at http://www.cbc.ca/punchline/

We had a chance to ask Tahmoh Penikett and Erin Karpluk some questions about their new online series Riftworld: Chronicles.

The first season ended on cliffhanger and we are left wondering what Kim will decide to do. Is there plans for a second season?

Tahmoh: Think it’s safe to say there’s definitely plans for a second. Honestly I haven’t even been filled in to the longer story line arcs, but I can guarantee that Jonathan has most of the episodes written and much more. I think he did a fantastic job with this first season and I can only imagine he’s done the same with planned future episodes.
Erin: We originally had 10 webisodes but for budgeting purposes only shot 8… there was a big fancy fight sequence in the last two eps, so hopefully one day we can bring those to life! No plans this far, but I think this is just the beginning for Kim & poor Alar 😉

Do you think there might be a magical connection in Kim’s ancestry since the family heirloom is a pendant that is similar to one of Alar’s coins?

Tahmoh: We’re definitely led to think that. How and what exactly that connection is something we’ll only discover if we get more Riftworld. It’s pretty interesting to think that Kim may indeed be more connected to Alar and his world. Maybe that is why he ended up in the Riftworld instead of where he was trying to go. Maybe it is fate for them, and the universe or greater powers intended their meeting.

Erin: Good question. I never know what genius plan is brewing in Jonathan’s mind, but I think there is some sort of connection for sure. Makes me excited to have Kim in the fantasy world again, because then I might wear the dress from the original short film (The Portal). I loved that dress (sigh)!

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Creator Jonathan Williams mentioned in an interview that he has a five season arc mapped out should Riftworld Chronicles become a TV series with full one hour episodes, what would you like to see happen to your characters in the future?

Erin: Oh goodness. I am so happy that I am the actor & he is there writer!! I love sitting back and letting them do the hard stuff & then I just get to play make-believe. I usually just like to be surprised by what they write … but if I had to answer … I ‘d like Kim and her brother to go with Alar to his home-world for at least an episode. I think Wes & Alar have a funny bromance going on, I love their scenes & Tahmoh and Munro are both so great to work with.

Tahmoh: Haha! Seems you know more than I do regarding the potential future of the show!? I would like to see more of Alar adjusting to this new world. Comedy aside, there’s also an opportunity here for Alar to make us reflect on a lot of the not so positive things in our world. Jonathan’s done that some already, but I look forward to more of it in the future. I think the fans are so curious about Alar’s world and the other characters in it that are mentioned. When we hear Alar speak of it, It sounds like such a fantastical and fascinating world with different cultures, magic and unfortunately on the brink of war. I know personally if we do get more of Riftworld, I want to see him show his martial skills in action packed fight sequences.

Do you have any funny stories from set and the filming of the series, did anybody get pranked?

Tahmoh: Other than Erin and I cracking each other up every day on set, I can’t think of any specific prank. Erin and I quickly became experts at the ten, or even five minute nap wherever and whenever we could. I think we both have less than flattering pictures of each other sleeping in the make up chairs or on the floor. My favourite was the floor nap with a scarf and chair over my head to block out the light. Erin will probably be pissed with me for sharing this, but one morning we got up and I felt a flu coming on rapidly. I couldn’t really stomach food, was exhausted and I was napping between scenes trying to beat it. By late afternoon Erin unfortuantely started to feel it coming on also and then spent the evening suffering a lot more than I did. She barely slept a wink and being the champ she is, she insisted on coming to work and putting in a full day. Let’s just say that there was many bathroom breaks between the two of us over that two days.

Erin: It’s a funny story now, but at the time was horrible! Both Tahmoh and I got the worst flu imaginable. He seemed to weather it better than I did, and would prop me up between takes so I wouldn’t fall over. On the plus side we both lost a lot of weight, haha. It was the hardest day of shooting I’ve ever had … I didn’t ever stray far from a garbage can – but we made it! Thanks to the cast & crew & producers for being so supportive. Because we didn’t have trailers to rest in at lunch, Tahmoh and I would curl up on a winter jacket on the lunchroom floors (very classy) … some of the crew made little trailer signs to tape above us on the wall when we slept. Everyone was so much fun to work with! (I attached a picture of the ‘signs’ and T sleeping, the stuffed animal was our mascot.

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Which was your favourite scene to film in the first season?

Erin: Probably the one when Tahmoh took off his cloths. Joking! Sort of. I really loved my scenes with Munro, and pretty much any scene that was shot indoors … the outside ones were super chilly to shoot as it was December in Toronto! One of my favorites to watch was the scene in the subway… Tahmoh cracks me up … and our make-up artist is playing a background performer in it & she was terrified to be one camera.

Tahmoh: There were many, but all the scenes we did in the hospital were hilarious to shoot. Erin and I were cracking up so much that day and we had some fantastic actors to work with. Specifically, we had a hard time keeping a straight face when Alar and Kim are dealing with the obstinate nurse at the desk.

If magic did exist, what magical powers would you have and what would you do with them?

Tahmoh: Magic does exist my friend! If there was one power in particular that would be amazing to have it would have to be the ability to travel long distances in little or no time. As Alar does, only without the whole getting lost in other dimensions part.
Erin: I just want to be able to fly!!! To be able to breathe under water would be cool too. No desire to know the future or go back in time tho, I’m happy in the present moment. Being invisible would be cool but I think it would eventually just lead to no good!

If you could change just one thing about the tv/film industry with the wave of a magic wand, what would it be?
Erin: More (exceptional) parts for females over 30!

Tahmoh: I would make it more inclusive of woman and minorities. There’s an unfortunate norm in the industry that woman are sometimes paid less or have a very short window where they can ‘make it’. Movies and TV shows more representative of the diverse and rich cultures and world we live in today is reality I hope we see soon and fortunately, just recently that change seems to be starting.

Any final words you would like to say to all those who helped fund Riftworld Chronicles by pledging through Kickstarter?

Tahmoh: I’d just love to thank them again for their generosity. This show wouldn’t be a reality without the fans who supported us. It’s pretty amazing that with social media and the times we live in, a community of fans can come together to basically finance and bring a show they want to see to reality.
Erin: We cannot thank all those who contributed financially, & via social media enough for making this possible! Can’t wait for you to see it and hope you enjoy – we had an absolute blast shooting it.

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