Tag Archives: Alex-Paxton Beesley

Cardinal: Alex Paxton-Beesley on Red’s mysterious journey

I’m a big fan of Alex Paxton-Beesley. Not only did she portray kick-butt Mennonite housewife Anna Funk in CBC’s awesome Pure but she’s the spunky Freddie Pink on Murdoch Mysteries.

Now Paxton-Beesley is featured in Cardinal: Blackfly Season in another memorable role as Red. At least, that’s what she’s called on account of her red hair. In truth, we don’t know her real name yet because Red was discovered in an Algonquin Bay bar suffering from a gunshot wound to the head. Det. John Cardinal (Billy Campbell) and Det. Lise Delorme (Karine Vanasse) spent last week’s first episode of Blackfly Season investigating who Red is, who shot her and what ties she has to a headless body found hanging in a cave.

We spoke to Paxton-Beesley about the role and Red’s journey as we head into Thursday’s new episode.

It’s been fascinating to see how Giles Blunt’s books have been translated to the screen.
Alex Paxton-Beelsey: Yes. I’ve read the first three books and the adaptations have been so interesting. They’ve done such a good job of visualizing what those stories are.

How did you get the role of Red? Did you audition in the traditional way or did the producers have you in mind?
It was mostly traditional in that I only auditioned for it once because I think their original interpretation for the character was different. I had worked with [director] Jeff [Renfroe] and almost worked with the producers before on another project that didn’t end up going forward. We all knew each other in the way that everyone does in the Canadian television industry. I went in and auditioned and it was really fun. I didn’t get a full script and the audition came so quickly that I didn’t get to read the whole book so I had to fill in a lot of those gaps myself. Sometimes that’s frustrating but because this was so well-written it was fun to put my imagination in there.

It was pretty fascinating, and creepy, to see your portrayal of Red when she’s discovered. She’s been lobotomized by the bullet and has this childlike innocence about her. Then, during the surgery to remove the bullet, she starts to sing. That was a little disturbing.
The Internet can be a terrible place, but also a font of information. There are some pretty incredible videos on YouTube of awake brain surgery that are just stunning. The is one in particular of this opera singer—you stay awake during some of these surgeries because they need to know if they are affecting something—and he starts singing … and then forgets all of the words. [We think we found the video she’s talking about.] It’s devastating and fascinating. Those scenes, in particular, were really interesting because those were my benchmarks. I got to assign meaning to all of these things that were randomly coming out of her brain. I talked to [showrunner] Sarah [Dodd] and Jeff about it and had conversations about what that could be.

It reminded me of that Heritage Minute…
Yes! ‘Dr. Penfield, I smell burnt toast!’

Yes! I wondered if perhaps you ad-libbed that line during a take or two.
That was definitely a reference. I’m pretty sure I said that between takes but that nobody got it. It’s like, ‘Come on guys, it’s Canadian history!’

There is a reference in this week’s episode that I want to ask about. A nurse walks into Red’s room and Red is looking out the window, recalling something. Can you comment on that scene?
I think that’s something that I would rather leave ambiguous. It’s something left open to interpretation and will be a part of how you read Red as a character.

What was it like working with Billy Campbell?
I love him so much. He and Karine are the most delightful people to work with. Billy is just fantastic. This was a real dream. The first season of Cardinal is one of my favourite TV shows of all time and one of the best things Canada has ever made and I never dreamed I’d get to be a part of it. So, to not only be a part of Season 2 but to show up and have Billy be the most ridiculous, hilarious person and Karine also be the most ridiculous person … they are both so funny and so strange.

This world of Algonquin Bay is a twisted one. We have biker gangs and strange voodoo and an interesting fellow named Ray Northwind, played by Bruce Ramsay.
Bruce plays him so gentle it makes him even more horrifying. The lightest touch of power has the deepest weight.

What can fans expect from this season of Cardinal?
I think Red kind of mirrors the fan experience this season. What she knows and doesn’t know and that feeling of being lost and really trying to be found. I hope people like it. I’m really proud of what we made. It’s beautiful and I’m so glad it’s a Canadian show.

Cardinal airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CTV.

Image courtesy of Bell Media.

 

 

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Link: A Conversation with ‘Pure’ Star Alex Paxton-Beesley

From Melissa Girimonte of The Televixen:

Link: A Conversation with ‘Pure’ Star Alex Paxton-Beesley
“If it was about keeping the children alive, Anna would leave. She’d leave if it was life or death. She would fight pretty hard for her community at large, but at the end of the day, her number one priority is her children and her husband, and that family unit. She would do whatever it takes to keep them safe.” Continue reading. 

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Mennonite mafia adds Pure drama to CBC’s midseason

St. Jacobs, Ont., is a mere 90-minute drive from Toronto, but it can feel like a world away. It’s where a large community of Mennonites live surrounded by small towns and rolling farmer’s fields. It’s also the setting of CBC’s new—and unique—drama, Pure.

Created by Michael Amo (The Listener) and debuting Monday, Jan. 9, at 9 p.m., the premise sounds laughingly outrageous: Mennonite communities in Mexico use communities in Canada to transport drugs over the border into the United States and vice versa, as a way to keep their farms going. The reality is, it’s happening.

“It amazed me,” Amo says during a set visit for media in Halifax. “I was always interested in doing a story about the Mennonites and I love to use any project that I have as an excuse to do research and learn stuff.” Amo’s grandparents on his mother’s side were Mennonites, the first of their community to move into the city and stopped using low German as their language. Pure represented as much an opportunity to visit part of his family’s history as it did to tell the tale of drugs being run into the U.S. via small-town Canada. Amo first read about the Mennonite mob in a magazine article and renewed the option on it for years before writing the pilot on spec. No networks in Canada or the U.S. were interested in his six-episode one-hour drama until True Detective and Fargo came along. Pure then spent over two years in the works at Shaw before the CBC picked it up.

Pure stars Ryan Robbins (Continuum) as Noah Funk, a newly-elected Mennonite pastor who rids his community of drug traffickers … and then comes under the scrutiny of mob leader Eli Voss (Peter Outerbridge, Orphan Black). This pulls Noah and his family—wife Anna (Alex Paxton-Beesley, Murdoch Mysteries), brother Abel (Gord Rand), son Isaac (Dylan Everett) and daughter Tina (Jessica Clement)—into a dangerous web with seemingly no way to escape. That is, until Noah finds an unlikely ally in Bronco Novak (AJ Buckley, Justified), a washed-up cop whose investigation into a burned-out car leads him to Noah, and DEA agent Phoebe O’Reilly (Rosie Perez), who has been tracking Eli for years.

“The Mennonite people speak their own language, Plautdietsch or low German,” Robbins says during a break in filming. “So, even if the police were on to somebody they don’t have anybody to translate those conversations. That’s how people were able to get away with it for so long.” Noah, Robbins explains, is an old-school Mennonite, with no electricity and a horse and buggy to get around in. A pious man, he’s challenged to keep his faith while betraying members of his colony and justifying his decisions in the name of God.

“Michael writes his characters very differently,” Robbins says. “They’re not cookie-cutter archetypes. Each character has quirks and they cast accordingly so that strengths will be brought to those characters.” The Vancouver-based actor “blasted through” Season 1’s six scripts quickly and marvelled at how he’d never heard or read anything like it before.

“I think a show like Pure could change the game for the CBC and for Canadian television,” he continues. “There is nothing like this on TV. I hope this show wows people. It wows me.”

Pure airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.

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Photo gallery: First look at CBC’s Pure

CBC has unveiled its winter schedule (see our calendars for days and dates), outlining the return of X Company, Schitt’s Creek and Michael: Every Day and the debut of Workin’ Moms, Bellevue and—a show we’re particularly excited about—Pure.

Created by Michael Amo (The Listener)—and based on real events—Pure tells the story of Noah Funk (Ryan Robbins, Continuum), a Mennonite pastor whose life is upset when he attempts to drive drug dealing out of his community … and finds himself drawn into it. Along for the dramatics in the six-episode first season are Alex Paxton-Beesley (Murdoch Mysteries) as Noah’s wife, Anna; AJ Buckley (Justified) as cop Bronco Novak; Peter Outerbridge (ReGenesis) as Eli Voss; Jessica Clement as Noah and Anna’s daughter, Tina; Gord Rand (Orphan Black) as Noah’s brother, Abel; and Rosie Perez (Fearless) as DEA Agent Phoebe O’Reilly.

We were lucky enough to score a set visit to Halifax to chat with everyone involved in Pure—look for stories closer to broadcast—but in the meantime, here are a few photos to get you prepped for the series debut.

 

Pure debuts Monday, Jan. 9, at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.

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Alex Paxton-Beesley talks Freddie Pink and Murdoch Mysteries fans

Alex Paxton-Beesley has nothing but pure love for fans of Murdoch Mysteries and of Freddie Pink in particular. But, in the beginning, she was very nervous; Murdoch fans are a passionate group and make their feelings known.

“I was very nervous because the fans are incredibly loyal to the established relationships on the show,” Paxton-Beesley says. “If they [had put William and Freddie together as a couple], I would have said, ‘Guys, I’m going to be killed in real life!’ It’s so cool to see a Canadian-made show—with a Canadian cast, written by Canadians and shot in Canada—that is such a massive hit with a global audience. It’s awesome and inspiring and really fun and speaks to the quality of the show.”

The Toronto actress is days away from wrapping production on Pure, CBC’s upcoming six-episode drama about the Mennonite Mob dealing drugs out of Canada, Mexico and the United States. Paxton-Beesley plays Anna Funk, Mennonite wife to Pastor Noah Funk (Ryan Robbins) who sees her quiet life threatened after a mob leader named Eli Voss (Peter Outerbridge) gives Noah an ultimatum, forcing the Funks into the crime world.

“My character has to hold down the home front and make some pretty tough choices,” Paxton-Beesley teases. “It’s fun to play, but emotional.”

After filming wraps in Halifax, she jets back to Toronto where she’ll once again assume the role of Freddie Pink in a Murdoch Mysteries episode to air later this season.

“I don’t know if I can tell you anything,” she says. “But I can say that show is the most fun.”

Season 1 of Pure will air during the winter on CBC.

Murdoch Mysteries airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on CBC.

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