Harry James has been through a lot in Season 2 of X Company. He fell in love with a woman who revealed he and his team’s location to the Germans, putting them in mortal danger. Then the Germans attacked the camp they were using to train members of the Resistance while team leader Aurora was away on a train ride with Sabine. The result? A bitter, emotionally hardened young man who doesn’t trust Aurora and wants to slit the throats of all Nazis.
We spoke to Connor Price, the soft-voiced actor who has portrayed Harry so masterfully this season.
Before we get into this season in particular, can we go back? How did you end up playing Harry?
Connor Price: I remember getting an email from my Canadian agent for a new CBC series called Camp X. I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t know what Camp X was and did some research into it. I learned that it was spy training facility in Whitby, Ont., that was really close to me, growing up in Markham, Ont. I thought it was fake; this really cool spy story. To find out that it was real and that real people in history had trained there … Roald Dahl, directors of the CIA, Ian Fleming … there is so much history and it’s cool. From there I read the first script and was introduced to this amazing world that Mark Ellis and Stephanie Morgenstern had created. Of course, this was before the show’s name was changed to X Company.
You didn’t audition for any other roles, correct? It was always Harry?
Right. Harry appeared, right off the bat, very real to me. In the breakdown, Mark and Stephanie had described him, I think, as “a nerd or geek.” From their retelling, a lot of kids had come in to audition acting more like a geek, pushing up on their glasses. But what I got from him was a quiet intelligence. He wasn’t the typical geek or nerd. He was very smart, very mature, he knew what he wanted and how to get it, but in a very smart way. From their words, I brought in something they hadn’t seen yet and was refreshing. Luckily, I had the same idea they did when it came to how to play Harry.
Let’s talk about Harry’s journey. In the first episode on Season 1, I viewed him as somewhat innocent. He has definitely hardened over the two seasons, thanks to being betrayed by Siobhan. He’s put up some pretty firm emotional walls. It’s been tough to watch as a viewer; what’s it been like to see this evolution through the scripts?
Seeing that transition and reading the scripts between Season 1 and 2 has been something … the arc the writers have created is something they’ve done so well. In between the first and second seasons, Mark and Stephanie told me there would be a huge change. Harry would reach a breaking point and be in fits of range and commit murder. I thought to myself, “How are they going to make that work?” Of course, within five episodes they’re able to plant those ideas. Even in Episode 1 with Siobhan, this nurse he had affection for, is ripped apart by a car in front of him … that was such a great way to set the tone for Harry. This person that was somewhat naive became hardened and disturbed and angry, but in a very chilling, calm way. To see him go from not wanting to blow up a bridge of Germans because they’re fathers, brothers and sons to now saying, “We’re going to slit every Nazi’s throat and watch them bleed,” that transition is so huge.
We forget how much these people are affected by the horrible things they see almost every day in war.
It’s something that I don’t have any experience in and I hope I never do. There is pressure as an actor to portray something that millions of young people experienced the things Harry did.
Seeing Harry going against Aurora’s orders and challenging her leadership has been tough to watch too.
Tension and a contrast of emotions is always important in developing character and developing story. There is no way to advance without a problem to solve. The big problem this year has been Aurora. He’s questioning leadership on all fronts, something he never would have done in Season 1.
X Company has a large ensemble cast, yet the writers have given an interesting storyline to everyone. That doesn’t always happen on a series with many cast members.
It is great and has become a lot more evident this season. In Season 1 the way the episodes were kind of set up so that every character had their own episode. This season, there are all these timelines existing all at once so every character has an opportunity in every episode to shine or develop or show something new.
What can you tell us about X Company‘s season finale?
It’s going to be the strongest test the five spies have ever had. There will have to be a conversation or an event within the next couple of episodes that causes them to band together or not. Will they or won’t they? You’ll have to wait to find out.
The first part of X Company‘s season finale airs Wednesday at 9 p.m. on CBC. The second part airs Wednesday, April 6, at 9 p.m. on CBC.