Outlander fans have welcomed Wil Johnson into the family as he stepped into the role of loyal friend and confidant, Dr. Joe Abernathy.
In the books, I loved Joe’s smooth and confident character. He was an equal to Claire that is rarely portrayed in the era they met. In my mind, he was a butter voiced Sydney Poitier. Without sounding too sucky-uppy – Wil Johnson fit the mold perfectly. I anticipated seeing him on-screen more than other supporting characters because of my perception of him as Claire’s partner in crime in the 20th century. We all need our “person”. The one we can lean on, hold up, share the tough stuff with and Joe, was Claire’s person.
When I started following Wil Johnson on twitter I noticed his genuine humour and positive outlook about being enveloped into the Outlander Universe. I am sure it can be daunting to all of a sudden be “loved” by so many random strangers – however, he handled it with grace. Sharing his kindness with no strings attached.
I wanted to know more about this man who earned the role as Dr. Joe so I asked if he would do a Q&A…he graciously agreed. We tweeted ridiculously funny GIFs at each other – this is a contract in the world of social media.
Sit back and enjoy “THE” Wil Johnson brought to you by “THE” ABOotlanders
You don’t even have to look closely to see that Wil is not a one trick pony. I am not sure how this man finds the time but his list of awesome is a long one.
He sings, dances, acts and DJs – I mean I am tired thinking about it all. When you present it all together for him, Wil sounds surprised he does so much.
WIL: WOW! That is a lot! lol…To be honest, I get enjoyment from all of them in equal measure. They all require a different skill set and each area has to be mastered with time, consistently and discipline. When you get it right, that feeling of satisfaction is unfathomable. But if I was to pick one that slightly edges the others out…it would have to be DJing! I say DJing because it’s the only discipline in which it’s all about you..two decks and a mixer. What you do directly in terms of manipulating the music, how you mix the tracks, directly affects how people will respond immediately. INSTANT GRATIFICATION!!! LOOOOL!!!
Want to hear some of 1LWil’s mixes? CLICK HERE FOR THE SICK BEATS I’m trying to be cool obviously, Wil on the other hand just is. Where Dr. Joe is calm and cool, Wil…just cool.
WIL: Right now I’m putting together a playlist for a new Mix I’ll be bringing out on MIXCLOUD which will be Deep House & Soulful House combined…Two of my favourite genres of music!
We all have that favourite band – Wil’s is Earth, Wind & Fire – you know, in case you didn’t think he was cool already.
As if all of the previously mentioned talents weren’t good enough for you, the man cooks as well. His favourite meal to put on the table?
WIL: As the Son of Jamaican parents, my favourite signature dish is ‘Stew Chicken with Rice & Peas!!!’
We can’t give away his recipe but if you thought to yourself…damn…that sounds good. HERE you go. Gotta love the YouTube.
I think it is a prerequisite for any friend of Claire to be good behind the bar. Dr. Joe makes a mean martini Wil on the other hand…
WIL:I serve a mean Rum & Coke on the rocks!!!! LOOOOOL!!!!
Wil is a dad. That might not seem too unusual – however, he is the dad of 7…count ’em…7 children. I see a recurring theme in Wil’s life. If you are going to do something – you might as well knock it outta the park!
WIL: The most important aspect of being a Father for me is ‘being there’ for your children and encouraging them in all their endeavours. Always telling them you love them and as much as you can, do things with them. Children must feel that you are their ‘ROCK’ that safe place of peace, truth and balance…
We either parent how we were parented or go rogue. Considering what he is most proud of overcoming, I will say, Wil’s mom was his role model.
WIL:Living without my Mother who died 26 years ago. We were extremely close and she was my biggest fan and supporter of my work.
Wil is quite popular in the UK, having worked on many TV shows. Waking the Dead, Babyfather and Emmerdale– to name a few. Joe Abernathy is Wil’s first american role. I was curious just how long he had to wait before hearing that he earned his role.
WIL:It was around a month before I heard I’d been booked to play Joe Abernathy….A LOOOOONG MONTH!!! LOOOOL!!!!
I wasn’t surprised to learn Wil hadn’t read the Outlander books. I mean, come on, you saw a glimpse in the day of Wil Johnsons life…I would say there wasn’t time to read the tomes. “I work off the script and what eventually ends up there.” This shows us how dedicated the writers are to keeping the soul of the book alive in the characters being portrayed on-screen. Oh, and how well the casting department has done their homework.
We know Joe Abernathy wasn’t the most popular guy in medical school – like Claire, he was pushing through preconceived notions and boundaries that had been placed in his way. The era itself was well represented, even if it was uncomfortable for us to watch. Wil lets us know how important it is to break down those boundaries.
WIL: It was an honour. When one has the opportunity to play such a role as Joe Abernathy, you feel like an Ambassador…meaning, this role portrays positive aspects of our human nature and can be looked upon as a beacon or symbol of what is good, fair and decent in human beings. Joe for me ticks all those boxes and I felt a duty to live up to that.
Wil is a very dedicated actor, you can tell, his favourite book being Year of the King by Antony Sher. It is a glimpse into the world of an actor honing his craft.
Outlander is a huge production. Fans are constantly in awe of the what is put in front of them on-screen. I have always wondered how the actors respond to this “world”.
WIL: The attention to detail in every aspect of production. When I was on set, I felt I WAS in the world of Outlander… for real…..
Joe Abernathy isn’t seen regularly in the books, however he is one of the characters that has a regular presence. Popping up throughout the books as a touch stone for Claire’s life in Boston. I was curious if we will be seeing Joe again, once Claire heads back into the past.
WIL: I don’t know what the future holds in store for Joe. If they continue with this character in some shape or form I would be very happy about that.
Joe is one of the very few people who knows Claire well. What do you think Joe thinks of this woman he befriended?
WIL: Joe truly admires Claire and is in awe of her strength. Joe draws inspiration from Claire in that respect.
I envision Caitriona Balfe having some of Claire’s traits. I have a hard time imagining actors can play roles with such conviction and believability unless they have some sort of relationship with the character they are portraying. I asked Wil what he saw in both of these incredible women? (one real, one fictional)
Speaking of relating to the character, what does Wil say he and Joe might have in common?
WIL: Joe Abernathy and Wil Johnson are TRAIL BLAZERS!!! We both strive to change perception by our actions….
We all have shows we love, our readers wouldn’t be here if they didn’t. I am always curious as to what others are watching. I love shows from the UK and feel us Canadians miss out on some great ones because of that silly Atlantic thing.
WIL: G.O.T!!!! GAME OF THRONES!!!!!!!!! THAT IS MY SHOW!!!! Not sure what you might have missed out on….hmmmmm…Emmerdale???????
The following video was made during Wils 2 year stint as Dom Andrews on long running British soap opera, Emmerdale. (This may or may not be the video I watched to see if he had the “Joe” voice I imagined. It was and he did)
Us ABOotlanders always love to know of Canadian connections. So, I asked.
WIL:Canada is on the list of places to visit for my Wife and I. Also I have family who live there so it would be nice to see them.
Let me suggest Alberta to the Johnsons. They now know they have a tour guide if needed.
If you have read any of the chats here on the ABOotlander Blog, you know our Signature question. Wil was not left out.
“If you were to visit us ABOotlanders in Alberta, Canada and someone offered you the following:
Which would you choose…and why?”
WIL: I don’t know any of them but I would say Moose Droppings!!!! Sounds the most interesting…..Loooooool!!!!!!!!!
Interesting is right Wil. Moose Droppings are delicious!
The exciting Wil Johnson/ Joe Abernathy news is we’ll get to see more of Dr. Joe Abernathy is Episode 5 “Freedom & Whisky” HERE is a sneak peek of Joe…showing you exactly why I think Joe is kick ass.
SherryLynn aka Sher (ABOotlander Founder)
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