Life is complicated for Amy Fleming. The beloved Heartland character has a lot on her plate so far in Season 8, including a rich Prince who keeps sending her presents, a fiancé who’s struggling to make ends meet in his first business venture and a girl whose vision of Amy has been shattered.
For actress Amber Marshall, having her character go through these struggles represents the natural evolution of Amy, a gifted horse trainer who isn’t without her flaws. Georgie (Alisha Newton) was crushed after viewing an online video of Prince Ahmed (Jade Hasounné) kissing Amy during a farewell party for his European Equestrian team. Now Amy is feeling the effects of tumbling off the pedestal Georgie put her on.
“The fans may not agree with it right now, but there has to be a moment when the characters that you’ve seen as heroic people need to fall,” Marshall says. “They need somewhere to climb back up to. If you just have your characters going on this nice, mellow journey where they’re the hero of the show … what is interesting in that? There is no real life. There are no lessons to be learned. I was so happy when the writers took Amy and threw her down to basically starting from scratch.”
Marshall has literally grown up on the set of CBC’s Sunday night stalwart and she’s gained an immense amount of knowledge since filming the pilot episode when she was 19. And, unlike shows such as Degrassi, where the setting is high school and the characters have to be kept in a certain age group, Heartland‘s young folks have gotten older, matured and moved on to new stages in their lives.
Marshall has evolved too, adding the title of consulting producer to her list of responsibilities on the family drama. The London, Ont., born actress explains she was already on the set and involved outside of her acting role anyway. An experienced horse person, she was there to help the show’s writers tweak scenes that dealt with those four-legged co-stars; a discussion with Heartland‘s producers led to the additional credit. When she’s not on-set filming, Marshall educates herself on all aspects of production, an easy thing to do when you’re surrounded by folks you’ve been working with for years. Can executive producing or showrunning her own project be in Marshall’s future? Not until she learns more.
In the meantime, Amy is getting an education in the dangers of the Internet and her naiveté when it comes to Prince Ahmed. His peck on her lips not only has driven a wedge between Amy and Georgie, but Amy and Lou (Michelle Morgan) too. It all comes to a head this Sunday when Amy is forced to make a tough decision that affects her relationship with not only the Prince but Ty (Graham Wardle) as well.
“There is some very interesting conflict coming up,” she teases. “It’s going to have a huge impact on the whole Heartland family, not just Amy and Ty.”
Heartland airs Sundays at 7 p.m. on CBC.