Everything about Frontier, eh?

Discovery heads into a new Frontier

Allan Hawco is up front that Frontier is not “an Allan Hawco vanity project.”

He says that a couple of times during the course of our chat about Discovery Canada’s first foray into scripted television. Yes, he’s set to co-star in the six-parter about the fight for wealth and power in the North American fur trade of the late 18th century, but he’s not the lead. That honour goes to Jason Momoa. Instead, Hawco will remain largely behind the scenes, serving as an executive producer alongside his fellow Take the Shot Production partners, two of whom—Rob (on the right in the above picture) and Peter Blackie—actually conceived of the project.

“There are so many stories to mine from history around the world, especially here in Canada, that has never fully been exploited,” Hawco says. “That’s just bizarre to me. I think there is a real appetite from Canadians to hear their stories told in an interesting and thought-provoking way.” Hawco, who starred, directed, wrote and produced Republic of Doyle for six seasons describes Frontier as being the story of the birth of capitalism in North America, and the greed, blood and power that went along with it. Frontier begins with The Hudson Bay Company, which has a monopoly on what’s happening during the fur trade in the region that will one day be Canada. Smaller factions seek out their own piece of the pie; Hawco portrays Douglas Brown, who plots alongside his brothers to steal some of the HBC’s thunder.

Rob Blackie explains the idea for Frontier came about thanks to a chance meeting at MIPCOM between business parter Alex Patrick and Discovery’s Edwina Follows. The network’s interest in having more dramatic, scripted programming lead to the brothers kicking around ideas for a time period history-based series; they presented Follows with two projects and Frontier was greenlit.

‘It’s an interesting, super-violent part of Canadian history that not a lot of people know about,” Blackie says. “As soon as we started researching it, we were shocked at how little we knew and how conflictual the time period was. The deeper we got, the more interesting it got.” Momoa plays the series’ anti-hero, a part-Irish, part-Cree man named Declan who works with a gang and becomes an unlikely host to a boy named Michael who has been living on the streets of London. Other cast includes Alun Armstrong, Landon Liboiron, Zoe Boyle and Jessica Matten.

Production just wrapped filming in England and has set up shop in St. John’s until a Christmas hiatus. Then it’s on to Louisbourg, N.S., to film at the famous fort and Morrisburg, Ont., to capture action at Fort Wellington in February.

“Winter has an inherent beauty and, if you can capture it, an amazing production value,” Blackie says. “And it’s true to the story. Winter was an important part of the fur trade.”

Frontier debuts on Discovery Canada and Netflix outside of Canada in 2016.

(Photo credit: Duncan de Young on set of Frontier.)

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Production underway on Discovery Canada’s new drama Frontier

From a media release:

Discovery Canada announced today that Jason Momoa (GAME OF THRONES, Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice) will lead the international cast for its ambitious new original Canadian scripted series, FRONTIER. Commissioned by Discovery Canada earlier this year and shooting in beautifully vivid 4K UHD, production is now underway in Canada and the U.K. on the thrilling and richly layered premium drama, the first original scriped series in Discovery Canada history. Created by Rob Blackie and Peter Blackie, the six-episode, one-hour drama is produced by leading Canadian independent producers Take the Shot Productions, and Factory Backwards, and will be seen around the world via international broadcast partner Netflix.

Alun Armstrong (NEW TRICKS, Braveheart), Landon Liboiron (HEMLOCK GROVE, DEGRASSI), Zoe Boyle (DOWNTON ABBEY, SONS OF ANARCHY), and Allan Hawco (REPUBLIC OF DOYLE), round out the international cast. The series also introduces Canadian newcomer, Jessica Matten.

Cinematic in scope, FRONTIER will be guided by celebrated filmmaker Brad Peyton (San Andreas, Incarnate, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island), who will direct the first two one-hour episodes of the series. FRONTIER will debut in 2016 exclusively in Canada on Bell Media platforms including Discovery, Discovery GO, and CraveTV, and on Netflix in other markets around the world.

Production is now underway in St. John’s, N.L., Morrisburg, Ont., Louisbourg, N.S., and Cornwall, U.K., and will see the original world of FRONTIER begin to take shape. With seeds rooted in Canadian history, and explored for the first time on television, the action-packed and authentic fiction series follows the chaotic and violent struggle to control wealth and power in the North American fur trade of the late 18th century. Told from multiple perspectives, FRONTIER takes place in a world where business negotiations might be resolved with close-quarter hatchet fights, and where delicate relations between Aboriginal tribes and Europeans can spark bloody conflicts.

FRONTIER was officially greenlit for production by Discovery Canada in April 2015, following a 14-month development process between the network and producers. The series is produced by Take The Shot Productions and Factory Backwards, in association with Discovery, the exclusive Canadian broadcaster. Netflix is the international broadcast partner. Edwina Follows is Executive Producer for Discovery, and Ken MacDonald is Vice-President and General Manager, Discovery. Tracey Pearce is Senior Vice-President, Specialty and Pay, Bell Media. Randy Lennox is President, Entertainment Production and Broadcasting, Bell Media. For Take The Shot Productions, Alex Patrick, John Vatcher, Rob Blackie, and Peter Blackie, Allan Hawco, Perry Chafe and Michael Levine are Executive Producers. For Factory Backwards, Brad Peyton and Jeff Fierson are Executive Producers.

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Link: Republic of Doyle creators to film new show in Newfoundland

From CBC:

Republic of Doyle creators to film new show on Avalon, western Newfoundland
The creators of Republic of Doyle are touting the Newfoundland landscape as an ideal place to shoot their newest series, Frontier. Alex Patrick, John Vatcher and Perry Chafe will sit as executive producers of the historical series, which will follow the rise to power of a number of individuals vying to get rich in North America’s fur trade. Six episodes will be produced. Continue reading.

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