Like a good action hero surviving gunshots and headbutts, Transporter: The Series made it through some serious Season 2 uncertainty.
The action project, based on the film franchise created by Luc Besson, was in the midst of production in 2011 when lead Chris Vance was injured during filming in Toronto. Then U.S. network Cinemax dropped the show and there were showrunner changes. Now, with X-Files veteran Frank Spotnitz running things, the co-production between France’s Atlantique Productions, QVF Inc. and M6, along with The Movie Network and Movie Central in Canada, the show roars back to the pay channels on Sunday night with the first two back-to-back instalments of a 12-episode run.
Vance is Frank Martin, a ex-Special Forces operative who skips around the world transporting packages of various value–Sunday’s first storyline finds him protecting a 12-year-old boy who witnessed a high-profile murder–with bad guys always in pursuit. Along for the ride are Violante Placido (The American) as former French Intelligence Officer Caterina Boldieu; Charly Hübner (Unter Nachbarn) as Dieter Haussmann, Frank’s mastermind car mechanic; François Berléand as French Police Inspector Tarconi; and Canadian Mark Rendall (30 Days of Night) as computer whiz Jules Faroux.
“Jules is sort of the odd man out,” Rendall explains. “He’s not slick, he doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing most of the time, he’s not built for all the action and shit that Frank gets into. He’s the behind-the-scenes guy who does all of the computer hacking and stuff.” Jules is the opposite of Frank, a necessary break from the dark violence that is such a big part of the series.
Rendall divulges Jules is around for the back half of the season; the Toronto actor–who counts voicing Arthur the aardvark on the iconic animated kid’s series among his body of work–spent a week in Prague filming his Transporter scenes. By the end of his time shooting Rendall had come up with a pseudo-back story for Jules: he came from a military family, so he never really made any friends and rebelled against his father, who worked for government agencies, by learning to hack. As for how Jules came into Frank’s life, Rendall divulges his character was working for a rival Transporter before moving over to his current employer.
Unfortunately, other than acting like he was swaying back and forth inside the back of a tractor trailer, Rendall didn’t get a chance to partake in any of the fisticuffs that are part of Frank’s career and a stable of the Transporter franchise.
“The closest I came to any kind of stunts was standing close to something that exploded or riding a horse,” he admits. “I really wanted Jules to be in a fight scene and punch someone out accidentally or hit someone with a computer. Maybe next season. We’ll see.”
Transporter: The Series airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/MT on The Movie Network and Movie Central.