Saving Hope’s Michael Shanks is quick to laugh when asked about the rough go his character Charlie has been having on the show this season—having just been dumped by his ex-wife, recent rebound and potential baby momma after only just losing the love of his life when yet another marriage proposal went awry.
“I don’t think any season’s been particularly kind to Charlie, come to think of it,” he says. “Erica [Durance] and I make jokes all the time that it’s kind of a sport for our writers to put them through the blender and see what comes out the other side. I think if the characters were happy we wouldn’t have any drama left in the show, but this season has been another run through the grist mill for old Chuck, and he’s a little confused at the moment.”
In fact, the word Shanks keeps bringing up to describe his character’s current state is “befuddled,” especially after having things go suddenly and spectacularly south with Alex (Durance), and he expects that emotion will carry into finding out Alex has picked things up with her old flame, Joel (Daniel Gillies), again. As he says, “Given the fact he’s aware what happened between them before and aware of how Alex felt about it, to see her go down that road again is going to be a little perplexing to him.”
Added to that is his ex-wife’s series of baby bombshells, yet again teasing the possibility of Charlie becoming a dad. Shanks admits to having some misgivings when Season 1 brought up the possibility of Alex being pregnant while it wasn’t clear if Charlie would ever wake up (he jokingly suggests the thee kids he has to Charlie’s zero might be an influence), but says the writers are certain the character wants to be a dad. Just maybe not with Dawn.
Behind the scenes, Shanks is also stepping up. Season 3’s fourth episode, “Stand By Me,” marked his first time directing for the series—he previously directed an episode of Stargate SG-1 and some of Saving Hope’s webisodes last season.
“You have new people to prove yourself to, and prove your interest and prove your expertise, so I worked my way up to the point where they were going to trust me to direct one and I think it worked out well. I enjoy the artistic stance in terms of [having] a larger part of the control of the storytelling process. It’s something I want to continue to do, but we’ll take it step by step.”
Though he’s less certain whether he’d want to take up writing for the show the way he did on Stargate.
“There’s very much a structured hierarchy when it comes to writing—more than the other departments in the television world,” he explains. “There’s a protocol that goes up the food chain when you’re starting off writing, and a lot of things that come out the other end are not always yours even though they have your name attached to it. So it can be a little bit frustrating to be writing for television. I can empathize with a lot of the writers, especially the ones that are further down the trough.”
Still, he goes on, “That being said, if I do get the time over the hiatus, I wouldn’t mind taking a crack at writing a story.”
Saving Hope airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on CTV.