Tag Archives: Ryan Robbins

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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AJ Buckley, Ryan Robbins, Peter Outerbridge and Rosie Perez to star in CBC drama Pure

From a media release:

CBC, Two East Productions and Cineflix Media Inc. today announced casting details for the highly anticipated dramatic series PURE (6×60), about a Mennonite pastor battling drug trafficking within his community. Inspired by true events, the series stars Ryan Robbins (ArrowContinuumThe Killing), Alex Paxton-Beesley (Murdoch MysteriesCopper), AJ Buckley (CSI: NYJustified, Narcos), Peter Outerbridge (Orphan BlackBomb GirlsReGenesis) and Oscar® and Golden Globe® nominee Rosie Perez (White Men Can’t Jump, Fearless). Commissioned by CBC and produced by Two East Productions and Cineflix Media, PURE is shooting in Nova Scotia until mid-November and will premiere on CBC in winter 2017.

PURE tells the story of Noah Funk (Robbins), a newly-elected Mennonite pastor, who is determined to rid his community of drug traffickers by betraying a fellow Mennonite to the police. But instead of solving the problem, Noah’s actions trigger an ultimatum from mob leader Eli Voss (Outerbridge): in order to protect his family he must get involved in the illegal operation. Noah decides that if he must work for the mob, he will secretly gather enough evidence to dismantle the organization.

Noah finds his beliefs and principles challenged every step of the way. Struggling to save his soul and complete his mission, Noah receives help from an unlikely source: his high school nemesis, local cop Bronco Novak (Buckley). With his law-enforcement career hanging by a thread, Bronco sees the case as his ticket to redemption. Rounding out the cast, Perez plays DEA Agent Phoebe O’Reilly, who’s made it her personal mission to take down Voss.

Commissioned by CBC and produced by Two East Productions and Cineflix, PURE is created and written by Michael Amo (The Listener) and directed by Ken Girotti (Orphan BlackVikings). The executive producers are Amo, Brett Burlock, Peter Emerson, Girotti and David MacLeod (Call Me FitzHaven). Cineflix Rights has the exclusive worldwide distribution rights to PURE.

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