Cameron is currently the showrunner and executive producer on Global’s upcoming six-part series, Mary Kills People (under her new production company, Cameron Pictures, in partnership with eOne). She is also an executive producer on Global’s Private Eyes, Jason Priestley’s new hit P.I. series. Cameron was the co-creator, executive producer, and showrunner on the hit series, Rookie Blue which ran for seven seasons on Global and ABC.
Co-executive producer on the first season of Flashpoint, Cameron’s other credits include The Robber Bride, Would Be Kings, The Eleventh Hour, Degrassi: The Next Generation and Tom Stone.
Tara Armstrong is a recent graduate from UBC’s Creative Writing Program and the Canadian Film Centre Prime Time TV Program. Since graduating, Tara has written for Global’s television series Private Eyes which premiered on Global in summer of 2016, and Showcase’s Travelers.
A graduate of the Canadian Film Centre Prime Time Television program, Marsha Greene also has an Honours BA in Creative Writing from York University, and a graduate certificate from Humber College’s TV Writing and Producing program, where she was won the Brian Linehan Award for Outstanding Artistic Promise.
Marsha has lent her skills to scripted and unscripted productions for Global, CBC, Discovery Channel and Food Network. She was the Interactive Writer for the YTV/Teen Nick mystery-drama Open Heart. Marsha was a story editor on Global’s Remedy and Private Eyes, and a co-producer on Mary Kills People.
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X Company‘s Krystina Breeland has been itching to leave the confines of Camp X and become a field agent since the show began. Now, in the third and final season of the World War II spy drama, Sinclair’s (Hugh Dillon) most-trusted intelligence officer may finally get her wish.
“Back in Canada there’s a lot you can do, but I think she feels quite impotent and really wants to make a contribution overseas after the death of Tom (Dustin Milligan),” says actress Lara Jean Chorostecki.
But Krystina’s new path won’t be easy on her boss.
“She thinks that Sinclair is going to grant this wish, and I think we’re going to see a bit of tension between the two of them as he tries to battle with whether or not he could do well without her back at home, back in Canada,” she previews.
Like her character, Chorostecki also hoped to prove her abilities when she first signed onto the series–and showrunners Mark Ellis and Stephanie Morgenstern took notice.
“They always say when writers get to know you, that they realize what they have,” she says. “I feel really grateful that Mark and Stephanie realized that I was capable of a lot more and started to write some interesting stuff, and I’m grateful that it fit into their storyline.”
Chorostecki, a native of Brampton, Ontario, joins us by phone from Toronto to share her thoughts on Krystina’s Season 3 journey, the end of X Company, and the current state of Canadian television.
Krystina’s storyline has expanded every season. Did you have any idea what her story arc was going to be when you landed the gig?
No, not really, actually. That role came about while I was in contention for another role that I ended up walking away from. So I was really, really excited to sign on, because I was excited to do Budapest, I really liked Mark and Stephanie’s work, and also World War II. That particular time period is something that has great importance in our lives and something that has great fascination for me, and a lot of my family is military. So there were a lot of reasons to want to sign up for it.
My mentor always used to say to me that when you sign on for something, that you always sign on for the good of the story and not to be selfish as an actor and always look to the bigger picture, and I’m just happy that Krystina’s storyline, especially this season, has been able to find some room for growth within the greater story, which has always been about the team overseas.
How is Krystina coping with the loss of Tom as Season 3 begins?
I think the best line at the end of Season 2–one I really connected to–was when she was reading a letter in Sinclair’s office and when he started to kind of console her, and I think he just says, “I’m so sorry,” and she says, “Just give me something to do. I just need something to do.” So how she’s coping with this is she’s one of those people — and especially in that time period I think it really fits in–people didn’t have time to mourn. They just had time to move forward. So you bury the anger and you bury the grief and you put it into trying to actively do something, and that is the impetus for why she goes after Scubaman back at home.
Speaking of Scubaman, when we last saw Krystina in the season premiere, she was about to begin interrogating him after his capture. What can you tease about their interaction in Episode 302?
I think it was already previewed at the end of Episode 301, where she said, “My boss is not here, so it’s only me and you.” So you see a lot of this battle of wits between Scubaman and her to try to get him to reveal what he knows. She is left to have to torture someone, I think, for the first time in her life and figure out how to manipulate this character to give up what she needs. So I think it’s really intriguing, and I think the story continues and concludes very well.
It sounds like things will get pretty intense. What was it like filming the interrogation scenes with Trevor White?
Trevor is one of the loveliest men you’ll ever meet. He’s Canadian–well English, too, but Canadian bred–and really, really kind and lovely and just whip-smart as well and vicious in his portrayal. It’s really great to meet someone who can really bury themselves, because he is so kind underneath this veneer. His acting is just so fantastic and very collaborative, which is wonderful.
So they were good. They were hard. It was different because it was a very different side of Krystina, but it was certainly something I enjoyed. She’s been so witty and soft and caring and kind, and [there were] little moments with Klaus last year of seeing that she is capable of being something else, but she’s someone who always brings herself into her work no matter what, so you get in the interrogation that anger that she’s trying to repress and also her skill.
What else is coming up for Krystina in Season 3?
After this particular mission, you’re going to see her request to Sinclair that she gets to go out into the field. I think she feels very impotent back in Canada and just wants to get out there and do something physically with the rest of the team and do something that she feels is contributing in a larger way — even though what’s she’s doing back at home is actually extremely important — but contributing, I guess, in a physical, visceral way. And putting her skill set, because she is one of the most skilled people back at the camp, to good use. She thinks that Sinclair is going to grant this wish, and I think we’re going to see a bit of tension between the two of them as he tries to battle with whether or not he could do well without her back at home, back in Canada. Because he really relies on her friendship a lot, so you really see that friendship strained.
You’ve worked with Hugh Dillon a lot throughout the series. What’s he like as an acting partner?
Wonderful. We get along extremely well. It was great. I didn’t know, three years ago, what to expect when I arrived, and he’s just a really, really hard-working individual and wants to do good work and wants to get things done, and it’s a really great personality for me to be on set with, because we just kind of figure it out together, and figure out how to get it done in way that is best for the characters and best for us as actors and for the world. We’ve been fortunate to have a friendship from this, and I’m very grateful for that.
Season 3 is X Company’s final season. What do you think you’ll remember most from your time on the show?
Delving into this world, which, as I said, means a lot to this human race and also means a lot to me, personally. Exploring this character in the military. I think scene-wise, the stuff with Dustin [Milligan] was a lot of fun, because we really had some freedom and opportunity to explore those characters, and because there wasn’t much of a buildup in Season 1 to us being together. It was just a lot of fun and hard work to discover what our relationship would be. And then, of course, having a friendship with Hugh, I think was huge.
And above anything, which is not particularly linked to the show or the characters, being able to be in Budapest for that long was wonderful. It was wonderful to explore that city and get to know the crews out there, who are really great.
Did you take anything home from the set?
I don’t think I did. I usually do! I couldn’t really, because all she had — well, this season she got to wear other outfits — but all she had was her uniform. I didn’t really have anything to take home. Oh, I’m so boring. I took a lot of pictures. I took a lot of pictures of the set in general, and I got to do my last clap, the last take, I got to do the clapper, which was a lot of fun, and I have a little video of that that I’ll put up on our series finale.
You also play Beth MacLeish on Designated Survivor, which had a huge midseason finale cliffhanger. Can you tease anything about the second half of the season?
It’s hard to say, because there was a shot that happened, so we’ll have to wait and see on March 8th, when it comes back. All I can say is there was a shot, and people are speculating on who was shot, and I don’t really want to ruin people’s speculation.
I think that people can look forward to deepening that mystery and figuring out more about who was behind the attack on the Capitol. I think that’s safe to say. It’s so hard when they end on a cliffhanger. I’m literally tongue-tied. [laughs]
A lot of people still pick on Canadian TV, despite the fact that many top-quality dramas, including X Company, Orphan Black, and 19-2, have come out of Canada in recent years. As someone who frequently works in both American and Canadian productions, what’s your impression of the Canadian industry right now?
I just think we’re finding really interesting voices these days, and that Canada is not exempt from the Golden Age of TV. I think we’ve been putting in our own entries that could fall under that category of Golden Age of TV. Certainly 19-2 and Orphan Black–and I think X Company is excellent, of course. I also think we have some great comedies. The Baroness Von Sketch Show is so fantastic. It’s so good. So across the board we’re challenging ourselves. And Baroness Von Sketch, in particular, and Orphan Black are really bringing female voices front and center. . . We have diversity. We’re really building on what we had before. I’m really encouraged. I do split my time, but I haven’t officially made the move out of Canada yet, and that’s because there’s so much interesting work happening here. It’s not just because there are American shows that are shooting here–and I happen to be grateful to be a part of it–but it’s because the Canadian shows are so fantastic. There’s no need to move, which is really encouraging.
X Company airs Wednesday at 9 p.m. on CBC.
Images courtesy of CBC.
Matt Watts had finally gotten over the cancellation of Michael: Tuesdays & Thursdays when Bob Martin called, saying CBC wanted a Season 2. Yes, five years after the events of the first season, the comedy renamed Michael: Every Day is back.
Returning Sunday, Jan. 15, at 9 p.m., the first two episodes find Michael—David’s (Martin) former patient—in full control of his life and enjoying success in a new city. The same can’t be said for David, whose home and psychiatry practice are in a shambles. It doesn’t take long, however, for Michael to call on David for help, leading to darkly comic moments over the course of six episodes. Written by Watts, Martin, Don McKellar (who also directs) and Lynn Coady, and co-starring Jennifer Irwin (Eastbound & Down) as Sammy, Tommie-Amber Pirie (Bitten) as Claire and Ed Asner as Dr. Wasserman, we spoke to Watts and Martin about the circumstances surrounding the series’ revival and what viewers can expect.
Clearly, Tuesdays and Thursdays wasn’t enough. It has to be every day now.
Bob Martin: We’re kind of embracing the idea that each season, if we do a third, is a standalone and you don’t have to have watched each previous season.
Maybe Wednesdays next season…
BM: Or maybe space! We don’t know.
Did you always, in the back of your minds, hope Michael would come back?
BM: After we completed the first season, we were working on a second season and were outlining it in great detail. And, for certain reasons, that didn’t happen. So, no, we didn’t think it would come back. We thought that was it, that was the end, and we were very happy with the first season and glad we had made a serialized show that had closed on the story beat. It didn’t feel like an open-ended show, necessarily. But then, yes, we were very surprised to be invited back.
Matt Watts: There was a lot of behind-the-scenes string-pulling that I’m not privy to. There were conversations between very important people and then a phone call to you and then you made a phone call to me.
BM: Yeah, that’s right. It was a surprise. It was out of the blue. Speaking for myself, I had booked a lot of other stuff to survive. I was like, ‘Oh my God. I love these characters and would love to revisit them.’ It was a bit of a logistical problem to get all of the creative together to do it. But, they knew we were excited about continuing to explore these characters. And you had an idea about doing a TV-movie version of Michael as a revisit.
MW: I always like this idea of one of the first lines is about the 15-year relationship. It kind of sets itself up about a relationship over a long period of time, so you could revisit these characters like what they did in the Seven Up series or Boyhood. It was always in the back of my mind that we could go that route. It took me a long time to let go of the show. We were both upset and you buried yourself in work. I got kind of depressed and anxious and spoke to the press about everything that was going on. And then I took a few more years and finally let it go, and then I get a phone call from Bob going, ‘We’re doing it again!’
BM: This feels like a bonus season.
MW: Also, a lot of the crew came back. When we wrapped the first season, I didn’t have a great last day on set. But I figured I’d see them again next season and then I didn’t get that. It was getting to revisit camp again.
When we start the season, Michael is the one that has it together and it seems David’s life is falling apart because he’s trusted someone and got burned.
BM: That’s my favourite scene of the two seasons. David finally thinks he’s found someone he can trust.
MW: The question we asked ourselves this season is, ‘Why this patient and why is he so special?’ We answer that this season. There is a revelation that comes later to explain all that.
How different is the original Season 2 from what became Every Day?
BM: We had to condense the episodes down to six.
MW: And we had to pick up five years later, so we took that into affect. The original second season picked up six months later. This was a five-year gap, so we had to make a lot of adjustments and changes. The last two episodes stay the same because we always had this idea for the season that we really wanted to do and that’s in the show. The show builds to this event in the fifth episode that carries into the sixth.
Michael: Every Day airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on CBC.
Image courtesy of CBC.
Évelyne Brochu starred in one of the most badass moments on Canadian television in 2016 when her X Company character, Aurora Luft, ran across a muddy field, hoisted herself onto a flaming tank, and coolly dispatched the German soldiers inside.
The thrilling moment, which occurred near the end of X Company‘s second season, was an impromptu collaboration between the episode’s director, rainy autumn weather in Budapest, and Brochu — who admits she surprised herself while filming the action sequence.
“I think the running on top of it just kind of happened,” she laughs. “I think it’s one of the moments I’m most proud of. Because when you do something you’ve never done before, you don’t really know how you’re going to do it, and then all the sudden you blink your eyes and you’re on top of a muddy, fiery, wet tank, you’re like, ‘My God, I managed.’ I think it’s a moment of empowerment for Évelyne Brochu, but it’s also a moment of empowerment for Aurora. It kind of doubled up.”
When the CBC World War II spy drama returns for its third and final season tonight at 9 p.m., Aurora and her team of spies will once again be in the thick of it, trying to determine if Franz Faber (Torben Liebrecht) has really turned to the Allied side and dealing with the loss of Tom (Dustin Milligan), who died at Dieppe in the Season 2 finale. But something Aurora won’t be dealing with is the crisis of confidence she suffered last season. That demon was vanquished atop that burning tank.
“Aurora is back,” Brochu assures.
And she needs to be, because Season 3 will force the spy leader to go deep undercover, where she will draw so close to the enemy she is in danger of losing herself.
“Aurora knows what she’s getting into, but she doesn’t know how far it’s going to go,” she explains.
Sitting down with TV-Eh in Toronto, Brochu tells us about Aurora’s upcoming undercover mission, her thoughts on the series drawing to a close, and her hush-hush return to Orphan Black last season.
“There were a lot of secrets I had to keep for a full year,” she says.
Season 2 ended with devastating losses at Dieppe, including the death of Tom. What is the emotional state of the team heading into Season 3?
Évelyne Brochu: Each character, I think, is grieving in their own way, and I think that’s what’s interesting about a show that focuses on a team, is how one thing can affect people very differently. But I think one thing that unites us, is that there have been a lot of sacrifices. We knew it was worth it when we went to that war, but more from the point of view of an ideal. Now that we’ve been out in the field for that long and suffered losses ourselves, I think this renewed sense of purpose and of focus and of wanting to give meanings to those sacrifices is quite present. There’s something in everybody’s eyes that’s very driven to do whatever it takes.
Aurora faced some major leadership challenges in Season 2, but she made a comeback at the end. Is she still in a strong position as the new season begins?
Aurora is back. She ran on top of a tank, she got Faber onboard, she got a hug from Neil, so I think now she’s just ready for anything. [laughs] Jokes aside, I think she has a renewed sense of leadership, but she’s also going to do something she’s never done before, which is go undercover for an extended period of time.
She’s been Helene Bauer in and out, always going back to the team and going back to Aurora, but there’s a specific mission that’s going to bring the whole team to Poland, but specifically her, and she’s going to be Helene Bauer night and day. I think that’s the difference for her this season. When you’re 24/7, constantly posing as a Nazi, you can imagine the things that you see, but at some points, if you’re going to keep your cover, there’s going to be things that you do. That’s what I was talking about in terms of sacrifice, thinking, ‘Whoa, okay, I’m going to focus on the bigger picture,’ but how far do you take it? And it’s going to go pretty far.
That sounds pretty dark.
Nobody knows this, but on every episode [script], there are quotes, and this one is about Nietzsche, and I think it was for Episode 307, and it said, “When fighting the monster, be careful of not yourself becoming a monster, for when you look long into the abyss, it also gazes into your eyes.” And I think that’s the blurred line where Aurora’s going to stand all season. We saw some of that in Season 2, too. When you spend so much time undercover, and you’re on the privileged side, when you’re on the side of those who are occupying the country and not the people who are occupied, it’s kind of peaceful on that side . . . But then there will be a huge shift point. There will be a huge thing that she’s forced to do that will shatter her. I think she will dance with the enemy to the point of rupture. The blurred line eventually starts to rip, and then the truth of what’s actually happening behind the curtain [is revealed].
In Poland, her excuse for going there is to work for a place called Race and Resettlement, so you can imagine that types of things she does there and the things that she will have to see and do.
The scenes between Aurora, Faber, and Sabine provided some of the best drama of Season 2. Where is that storyline going next?
Faber’s onboard, so what does that mean? Is he really on board? Is he an asset, or is he not? I think in a weird way, Aurora and Faber have the same journey. Both of them have done things they didn’t want to do, they’ve sacrificed loved ones they didn’t want to sacrifice, and they’re both, in Season 3, undercover. They’re both stuck lying constantly, and living with the danger of being uncovered constantly. That’s going to create a sort of mirror effect. That’s going to draw them together. Also, Aurora is going to go to Poland to befriend a high-ranking Nazi above Faber that is Sabine’s father, who we’re going to get to meet. So there will be more interaction with the Fabers, and it’s going to be good.
Was it strange not having Dustin Millgan in Budapest for Season 3?
Yes, it was hard. We were FaceTiming him a lot. It was really, really hard to not be the full cast. I don’t know, there’s something about the number five that was right and perfect. And I think four was perfect — they’re all great human beings. But I think that as a team, onscreen and offscreen, we felt that loss.
When did you learn Season 3 would be the final season?
I had no clue. We knew quite early in the season, so that’s the most important part, so you can say your goodbyes and sort of make the most of it, whereas if it happened now, I would have been thinking, ‘Oh, wait a minute, I may have done things differently.’ That’s the way humans work, stupidly. You should always be taking everything in. But, yeah, it was sad. I’m still processing nostalgia, I think.
Did your time on X Company teach you anything about your abilities or challenge you in new ways?
I think physically. I didn’t know I could [do that]. There’s a big fight scene this season, and when the director said, “We’re not even going to take any bits from your stunt doubles. We’re going to take it all from you guys because you guys rocked it,” that’s something that makes you super proud in a sort of unexpected way.
When I was in theatre school, we had fighting class–as if me, I’m going to fight, you know?–and I was thinking theatre, and I was thinking sword fights, and I was thinking that’s never going to happen, and I was thinking action movies don’t really exist in Quebec. So I was kind of like lounging around, bumming through class and sort of letting it slip, but I should have paid more attention because women do get to do those things, and you can kind of surprise yourself. Those moments when you go, ‘Yeah, girl, you can do this,’ those are important. You should cherish them.
You never know when you may be asked to jump on a tank and shoot Nazis.
Yeah! And we’re in a moment in history where we’re wanting to see female characters do more than the stuff we were used to having them do. They’re interesting in their paradoxes, in their strengths, in their weaknesses. I think we explore their worlds, their inner worlds, and you explore what it is to have a female character on a show a lot more, and I think that’s amazing.
The last time we talked, you were keeping the big secret that Delphine was coming back to Orphan Black. Was it difficult to keep such a huge spoiler under wraps?
It was hard because I’m not a good liar. There’s a thing about acting, which is on a set, and there’s cameras, and there’s, “Three, two, one, action!” There’s something that sort of puts boundaries around it that makes fiction possible. I find fiction very different than lying, because lying is real. When there’s a real person looking at you going, “Mmmmhmmm,” and you’re like, “Eeeek,” you can feel the truth coming through your skin. But I think I managed pretty well. I think I did pretty good. But I had like scripts at home with my name on it, and I’m like, “No one can find these! I’m gonna get sued!” [laughs] It was exciting, though. I couldn’t wait for people to find out.
What can you say about Delphine’s arc in Season 5?
I think we’ve seen a little glimpse of the world Cosima gets thrown in when Delphine sort of warms her up in that yurt that we don’t really know where it is. So I think we’re going to explore a lot of that, and there’s going to be a lot of answers that come from that, and she’s right in the middle of that whole world as the season starts.
Are poor Cophine going to have an easier time in the final season, or are things going to be awful for them, as usual?
You know how they are. It’s awful, but it’s great! [laughs] No, I mean, the love is real, and the struggle is, too. There’s a lot going on for all the clones, but the love is real.
You’re also in a new French-language TV series called Trop. What’s that about?
Yeah, my first comedy! I shot that in Montreal. It an amazing show by an amazing woman. I think it’s the scripts that really got me into it. It’s about my character and my sister, who is bipolar. It’s a comedy about mental health and families holding on in the midst of dealing with what it means to have a family member that suffers from that. You know, a work and friendship, sort of a very early 30s world.
I think the beauty of that show that Marie-Andrée Labbé, the author of that show, focuses on is people that you don’t necessarily put on TV. So there’s the bipolar character, there’s a transgender character, a man who is going through a transition to be a woman, there’s a lot of different characters who are fringey, but who are part of the world and not on the fringe of the world. I feel like sometimes we separate worlds when we do fiction, whereas we’re all in this together. There’s a togetherness. There’s something optimistic in the way that people deal with one another, and are there for one another in a way that I believe is kind of truthful. She spins it, and it’s kind of hilarious, and it’s a little bit feminist, and it’s really cool.
X Company airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on CBC.
Images courtesy of CBC.