Mena Massoud realizes the Canadian television industry is difficult. Often, you have to pay your dues over a period of years before snagging your first gig. But that didn’t happen for the Ryerson Theatre School grad, who scored his first acting role on Open Heart straight out of school.
“I had my first audition and then about a month later I got a call back and then a few weeks after that I got a screen test with Karis,” Massoud explains. “And then it all came together.” He laughs and quickly notes his story is one of extreme luck and timing. It’s also the story of a memorable character. The Markham, Ont., native portrays Jared Malik, the snarky and in-your-face head of the Youth Volunteer Program at Open Heart Memorial. Those under his supervision are Dylan Blake (Karis Cameron)—currently investigating the disappearance of her father—Mikayla Walker (Cristine Prosperi) and Wes Silver (Justin Kelly). Massoud’s role is a tough one: be too snarky and fans of Dylan’s will label you a villain. It’s a label the basketball fan is quick to dismiss.
“The one thing I want to do with all of my roles is make the characters real,” he says. “[Creator/executive producer] Ramona Barckert and [executive producer] Stefan Brogren and I sat down and really worked on him. As the show goes on it becomes more of a balancing act because he starts to open up and you see another side of him. That was journey in itself. I think that even when you meet jerks, there is a human side to them.”
Viewers have already gotten a chance to see that more human side of Jared; Open Heart’s lockdown a few weeks ago found Mikayla and Jared sharing some personal space—and a kiss— before the all-clear was called by security. How that smooch affects their working relationship has yet to be seen, though Wes made his feelings known by gagging when Mikayla confessed what had happened. Massoud had a lot of fun during production, reading scripts and observing how Jared evolved and interacted with the other characters and utilizing his comedic side. Who can forget that scene in the hospital supply closet when Dylan spilled cleaner all over Jared and he had to strip down to his skivvies?
“That’s the amazing thing about Jared and about this show,” Massoud says with a laugh recalling that scene. “It’s has a mystery and a thriller element to it, but it has some very funny moments. I think Justin and I have the most moments like that in the series. It’s very much like real life. Some days are really lousy and dramatic and other days are fun and funny.”
Open Heart airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on YTV.
Well, I certainly didn’t see that coming. I was pretty sure that things were going to go Nick and Ben’s way with regard to outing the mole in 19. After all, they’d ruled out Nick and had arrested Antony Tremblay, the man they’d seen in the motel with an underage girl. When his phone call was a request for their friend in 19 to get him out of there, I figured it was only a matter of time until the mole was revealed.
By the end of “Property Line,” Nick and Ben were back at the beginning after Kaz killed Tremblay. I’ve been waiting for Kaz to show his violent side ever since he was introduced, but it still surprised me when he shot Tremblay in the head and made it look like a suicide. If Nick had anything to do with the cover-up he should be ashamed; the SQ knew Tremblay had been murdered right away. I’m pretty sure Nick didn’t literally get his hands dirty because that would have made him an accessory or something. Now Nick has a secret from Ben: the real circumstances surrounding Tremblay’s death.
Raise your hand if you thought Tyler was going to end up with a butcher’s knife in his abdomen? Yeah, me too. I was sure the big man was going to be torn open when he tackled that emotionally disturbed woman; he was lucky even though she wasn’t. That sad conclusion served to spotlight some of the more awful jobs cops are ordered to do, like arresting people who have been ordered to vacate their homes because the city is razing old buildings. Rather than ridding the streets of criminals, they were forced to be the bad guys in a no-win situation. Of those evicted, keep your eye on Paul (Michael Therriault) the husband of the woman who suffered a stroke. He’s in next week’s episode so that likely won’t end well.
Meanwhile, Mary-Louise is clearly having an affect on Bear. Though she opted out of another back tattoo in Montreal, her comment to ML about going to Thailand to have it done hints her firm work and life plans are crumbling. I’m hoping she goes for it.
Notes and quotes
- “You can sleep when you’re in jail.” J.M. is always so caring when handling junkies.
- “Ma,am, let go of the wall.” I’m not sure I could be as calm as Ben evicting a yelling pregnant woman from her apartment.
- Laugh out loud scene of the night: J.M. being swarmed by wasps and running right at Audrey so she was stung too.
19-2 airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on Bravo.
From the Canadian Press:
CBC-TV’s edgy drama ‘Strange Empire’ cancelled after single season
CBC’s dark western “Strange Empire” has been cancelled. The public broadcaster says the rookie series, which premiered last October, is ending, but gave no further details. The network is set to announce future programming plans later this week. Continue reading.
The Book of Negroes was a stunning success for CBC, getting 1.4 million viewers to tune in to the mini-series adaptation of Lawrence Hill’s critically acclaimed novel. Last year’s Best Laid Plans, based on Terry Fallis’ book, was less of a ratings winner, but did just earn star Jonas Chernick a Canadian Screen Award. Some of my favourite television memories involve Anne of Green Gables and other shows based on Lucy Maud Montgomery’s imagination.
Since The Book of Negroes 2 is unlikely, and the Canadian industry was scooped on Life of Pi, what work of Canadian literature do you think CBC should adapt next? There’s too much to choose from for a multiple choice poll, so put your suggestions in the comments … and may the best book win.
19-2, Bravo – “Property Line”
Housing evictions pit the squad against a community in crisis.
Murdoch Mysteries, CBC – “High Voltage”
The electrocution of a man leads Murdoch back to inventor Thomas Edison.
Ascension, CBC – Episode 4
Christa becomes the focus on mysterious happenings on Ascension and Krueger gets closer to the truth about the project.
Gangland Undercover, History
Chronicles infiltrator Charles Falco’s mission inside one of America’s most notoriously violent outlaw motorcycle gangs and gives a rare look inside this historically infamous organized crime gang through the eyes of an undercover investigator