Tag Archives: Anna Paquin

Bellevue: Producers and stars Anna Paquin and Shawn Doyle talk CBC’s darkest drama

Let’s get this out of the way right now. Bellevue isn’t a feel-good drama. You won’t walk away from it whistling and snapping your fingers. You may very well want to retreat to a corner, curl up and rock slightly. It’s CBC’s darkest drama, akin to fantastic shows from the UK and Netherlands like Hinterland, Shetland, Broadchurch, The Fall and Wallander. And that’s exactly why you should be tuning in.

The eight-part Bellevue, debuting Monday at 9 p.m. on CBC, seems like it should be a traditional whodunit: Det. Annie Ryder (Anna Paquin) is called in to investigate when a teenager goes missing in her small town of Bellevue. She and police chief Peter Welland (Shawn Doyle) dig for clues and uncover plenty of secrets. But the secret teen Jesse Sweetland (Sadie O’Neil) is keeping—that he wants to transition to female—is just the beginning. Annie’s past is fraught with tragedy. Her father killed himself when she was a girl and, soon after, she started receiving mysterious notes signed by him. Now her past is intersecting with the present because notes addressed to her are starting to show up again.

Filmed partly in Thetford Mines, Que., the blackened hills—the area used to be an asbestos mine—night scenes and blue filter exude a sense of dread that crosses the line into the downright scary. Bellevue is a town struggling to survive and not everyone living there is nice.

We spoke to series creators and executive producers Jane Maggs and Adrienne Mitchell, and stars Anna Paquin and Shawn Doyle about Bellevue:

Jane, I understand Bellevue was a little different before you brought it to Adrienne. How was it different?
Jane Maggs: It was a little smaller. There was still a mystery and a disappearance, Annie and her relationship with her family was a very strong part of the series, and a mysterious person from her past that comes back. That was the kernel of the story. What we did with Adrienne was make the world bigger and, in some ways, more relevant. We brought a lot more of the town into it and making it more complex.

Adrienne Mitchell: Together we also probed what it would be like to have the character that was missing be the hockey hero and also struggling with gender identity. I read Jane’s initial pilot while I was on a flight and what Jane brought to it was that these characters were all there and had this authenticity and specificity that leapt off the page and felt real. I read a lot of scripts and don’t often see that kind of sophistication.

Aside from the eerie moments and scariness, Bellevue asks some serious questions about sexual identity and religion.
Jane Maggs: The questions around identity came about because we wanted to explore what it was like to be different in a small town. It’s not the same as being different in a big city. We explore that through Jesse and other people in the town, including Annie herself. As for religion, in Bellevue the church has a bit of an archaic form there. The people have their checklist of values they believe in and live by and those don’t alway line up with what it means to be a good person.

How is Annie viewed by the townspeople? Is she seen as damaged goods after everything she’s been through?
Jane Maggs: It depends on who you ask, but I think to the masses there is an element of damaged goods to her. Everybody knows her history and she grew up there and flailed in front of people. She was wild and made a lot of mistakes in front of people; they have their view of her and it goes back years. I think Peter, her superior, and Eddie [Allen Leech], her partner, have different views of her.

What was it about the scripts that you read that attracted you to Bellevue?
Anna Paquin: The scripts are very, very well-written. Jane is a wonderful writer. They’re complex, rich, smart and detailed and like most things, I was sent a script for the pilot. I read it and was like, ‘Well, what happens next!?’ Literally, over the course of a few hours, I was emailing, asking for the next one and the next one. I got to Episode 4 and there were no more scripts left. Then I asked, ‘OK, when can I meet with these people?!’ [Laughs.] It’s not just that the plot kept me engaged, it’s a very rich and complicated character. She occupies a world that is seemingly a nice, small town. But, like any town, there are dark things that happen. She lives life on the edge and is passionate in a way that is reckless, but it all comes from a very good place.

What about you Shawn?
Shawn Doyle: I wasn’t that interested, to be honest. I’ve played a lot of cops, as you know. With cops, you have to go through all of the procedural stuff because it’s part of the story but it’s only engaging to an actor to a certain extent. But then I read the scripts and they were very good. I had faith in what they told me. The didn’t tell me exactly what was going to happen. And, in fact, once Anna and I started working together, based on our connection they started to extrapolate the storyline based on that and created back story and a way forward based on what they were seeing from us, which was exciting. My character grew very complex and presented an interesting challenge.

What can you say about the relationship between Peter and Annie?
Anna Paquin: Peter was a young cop and sort of mentored by Annie’s dad. As we get further into the mystery surrounding this missing teenager in present-day, there are aspects and elements of the circumstances surrounding the death of my dad that come to light that are challenging to our relationship. He has taken on looking after Annie’s well-being in a bigger sense.

Shawn Doyle: As the story deepens and Annie finds out more, we begin to understand the reasons why I’ve taken such care to take care of her and guide her and become almost a father figure to her. The reasons behind that become more apparent.

Thetford Mines adds another character to this story.
Adrienne Mitchell: It’s an interesting way to depict the dark shadow hanging over the town. It’s a town in transition, they don’t know how they’re going to survive. They are kind of fossilized like the asbestos mountains are. The woods are always moving, and they can be beautiful and fucked up at the same time. Those, visually, are two things playing off each other.

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

Images courtesy of CBC.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail

Production begins on CBC’s Bellevue, starring Anna Paquin

From a media release:

Muse Entertainment and Back Alley Film Productions have begun production in Montreal on the TV drama BELLEVUE, starring Academy® and Golden Globe® award-winning actress Anna Paquin (True BloodRootsMargaretAlias Grace), Allen Leech (Downton AbbeyThe Imitation GameRome) and Shawn Doyle (House of CardsBig LoveFargo). The new 8×60 series will premiere in winter 2017 on CBC.

Thrilling and eerie, BELLEVUE is a mystery set in a small blue-collar town with a lot of ‘good people’ who ‘live right’ and take it upon themselves to make sure the neighbours do too.  Driving the series is Detective Annie Ryder (Paquin), a cop whose intense and brazen personality has always been at odds with her hometown. When a transgender teen goes missing, Annie dives in to unravel the disappearance that suggests foul play, despite finding herself in a difficult position as she must cast suspicion on people she has known all her life. As the case pulls her further away from her family, she is also confronted by a mysterious person from her past with disturbing answers and a terrifying need to get inside her head. Leech stars as Annie’s on again, off again ex, Eddie, while Doyle takes on the role of Annie’s superior, Police Chief Peter Welland.

Commissioned by CBC, BELLEVUE is produced by Muse Entertainment Enterprises and Back Alley Film Productions Ltd. The series was created by Jane Maggs and Adrienne Mitchell, with Maggs serving as senior writer, executive producer and co-showrunner with Mitchell, who is pilot director and executive producer. Executive producers are Janis Lundman, Michael Prupas, Morwyn Brebner (Saving HopeRookie Blue) and Jesse Prupas.

Muse Distribution International and TMG’s world sales arm TM International are handling the series’ international distribution.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail

Cameras roll on CBC/Netflix miniseries Alias Grace

From a media release:

Halfire Entertainment, CBC, and Netflix announced that cameras are rolling on the screen adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace. Alias Grace stars award-winning actress Sarah Gadon (Indignation, 11.22.63, Enemy); Academy Award-winning® Canadian-born actress Anna Paquin (True Blood, Roots, Bellevue); Zachary Levi (Chuck, Tangled); Paul Gross (Hyena Road, Due South); Edward Holcroft (Kingsman: The Secret Service, London Spy, Wolf Hall); Kerr Logan (Game of Thrones, London Irish); Rebecca Liddiard (Houdini & Doyle); and acclaimed Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg.

The six-hour miniseries is inspired by the true story of Grace Marks who was convicted of murdering Nancy Montgomery and Thomas Kinnear. Alias Grace is written and produced by Sarah Polley (Take This Waltz, Away from Her) and directed by Mary Harron (American Psycho, I Shot Andy Warhol).

The miniseries continues production in Toronto and across Ontario until mid-November. Alias Grace will be broadcast in Canada on CBC and globally – everywhere outside of Canada – on Netflix.

Alias Grace follows Grace Marks (Sarah Gadon) a poor, young Irish immigrant and domestic servant in Upper Canada who, along with stable hand James McDermott, was convicted of the brutal murders of their employer, Thomas Kinnear (Paul Gross) and Nancy Montgomery (Anna Paquin) in 1843. Nancy is Kinnear’s housekeeper and lover, and while she initially befriends Grace, she begins to resent Grace and becomes increasingly jealous of Kinnear’s affection for her. Nancy eventually fires Grace in a fit of rage and is later found brutally murdered.

Alias Grace is co-commissioned by CBC and Netflix, produced by Halfire Entertainment and created by Sarah Polley. The executive producers are Sarah Polley, Mary Harron, and Noreen Halpern. Producing alongside Polley is D.J. Carson.

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail

Anna Paquin stars in new CBC series Bellevue

From a media release:

CBC, Muse Entertainment and Back Alley Film Productions today announced that Academy Award® and Golden Globe® award-winning actress Anna Paquin (True Blood, Roots, Margaret, Alias Grace) will star in BELLEVUE, a new 8 x one-hour drama series premiering on CBC in winter 2017. Actors Allen Leech (Downton Abbey, The Imitation Game, Rome) and Shawn Doyle (House of Cards, Big Love, Fargo) will star alongside Paquin in the series. Created by exciting new voice Jane Maggs and veteran producer/director Adrienne Mitchell, BELLEVUE is commissioned by CBC and produced by Muse Entertainment (The Kennedys, Tut) and Back Alley Film Productions (Durham County, Bomb Girls). Filming begins September 19 in and around Montreal.

Thrilling and eerie, BELLEVUE is a mystery set in a small blue-collar town with a lot of ‘good people’ who ‘live right’ and take it upon themselves to make sure the neighbours do too. Driving the series is Detective Annie Ryder (Paquin), a cop whose intense and brazen personality has always been at odds with her hometown. When a transgender teen goes missing, Annie dives in to unravel the disappearance that suggests foul play, despite finding herself in a difficult position as she must cast suspicion on people she has known all her life. As the case pulls her further away from her family, she is also confronted by a mysterious person from her past with disturbing answers and a terrifying need to get inside her head. Leech will star as Annie’s on again, off again ex, Eddie, while Doyle will take on the role of Annie’s superior, Police Chief Peter Welland.

Award-winning actress Anna Paquin is best known for her seven-season starring role as Sookie Stackhouse in the hit series True Blood. Born in Canada and raised in New Zealand, Paquin began acting at the age of 11 with her breakout role in The Piano, which earned her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, making her the second youngest winner in Oscar history. She has since had a successful career, boasting high profile roles in the X-Men film franchise, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler, The Squid and The Whale; 25th Hour; Finding Forester; Almost Famous; Amistad; Buffalo Soldiers; A Walk on the Moon; Fly Away Home; Jane Eyre; The Romantics; Margaret; Straight A’s; and HISTORY’s remake of Roots. Paquin also stars in the upcoming CBC and Netflix mini-series Alias Grace. Paquin is repped by Brillstein Entertainment Partners, WME and Sloane Offer Weber and Dern.

Allen Leech is an Irish stage, television and film actor best known for his role as chauffeur-turned-son-in-law Tom Branson on the Golden Globe and Emmy®-winning historical drama Downton Abbey. Leech is a three-time SAG award winner and has appeared in television series The Tudors and Rome. He also starred in The Imitation Game opposite Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley, which was nominated for 5 Golden Globes and 8 Academy Awards. Leech can next be seen in Jonathan Mostow’s The Hunter’s Prayer with Sam Worthington.

Canadian actor Shawn Doyle was born and raised in Wabush, Newfoundland. He has won two ACTRA awards for his performance in The Eleventh Hour and The Disappeared; a Gemini award for Eight Days to Live; and a Canadian Screen Award for John A: Birth of a Country. Other TV credits include the series Lost, CSI, Hannibal, Lie to Me, End Game, Republic of Doyle, Rookie Blue, 24, Desperate Housewives, Reign and Big Love. Doyle can currently be seen in the CBC drama series This Life; the Syfy series The Expanse; and the upcoming Netflix series Frontier.

Commissioned by CBC, Bellevue is produced by Muse Entertainment Enterprises and Back Alley Film Productions Ltd. The series was created by Jane Maggs and Adrienne Mitchell, with Maggs serving as senior writer, executive producer and co-showrunner with Mitchell, who is pilot director and executive producer. Executive producers are Janis Lundman, Michael Prupas, Morwyn Brebner (Saving Hope, Rookie Blue) and Jesse Prupas. Muse Distribution International is handling the series’ international distribution.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail

Oscar winner Anna Paquin stars in CBC’s Alias Grace

From a media release:

Halfire Entertainment, CBC and Netflix today announced that Academy Award-winning Canadian-born actress Anna Paquin (True BloodRoots) has signed on to play Nancy Montgomery in the screen adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace. The six-hour miniseries is inspired by the true story of Grace Marks, who was convicted of murdering Nancy Montgomery and Thomas Kinnear. Alias Grace is written and produced by Sarah Polley (Take This WaltzAway from Her) and directed by Mary Harron (American PsychoI Shot Andy Warhol). The mini-series began shooting in Ontario on August 15, 2016. Alias Grace will be broadcast in Canada on CBC and globally – everywhere outside of Canada – on Netflix.

Alias Grace follows Grace Marks (Sarah Gadon) a poor, young Irish immigrant and domestic servant in Upper Canada who, along with stable hand James McDermott, was convicted of the brutal murders of their employer, Thomas Kinnear and Nancy Montgomery (Anna Paquin) in 1843. Nancy is Kinnear’s housekeeper and lover, and while she initially befriends Grace, she begins to resent Grace and becomes increasingly jealous of Kinnear’s affection for her.  Nancy eventually fires Grace in a fit of rage and is later found brutally murdered.

Alias Grace is co-commissioned by CBC and Netflix, produced by Halfire Entertainment and created by Sarah Polley. The executive producers are Sarah Polley, Mary Harron and Noreen Halpern. Producing alongside Polley is D.J. Carson.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail