Everything about Pure, eh?

Pure’s Alex Paxton-Beesley: “It feels so special”

You can hear the enthusiasm in Alex Paxton-Beesley’s voice when she talks about Pure. She was crushed when CBC pulled the plug on the show after one season and thrilled when it was resurrected on Super Channel Fuse. Paxton-Beesley uses one word to describe Michael Amo’s creation: special.

With Episode 3 headed our way on Tuesday night at 10 p.m. ET on Super Channel Fuse, we spoke to her about hers and Anna Funk’s journey.

What were your initial thoughts after Pure was cancelled after Season 1?
Alex Paxton-Beesley: I was devastated because I felt like it was such a great world. I knew from talking to Michael Amo about it that there was a ton of story left to tell. I was excited for the story arc that he had planned for Season 2. And then the rumours started. There was rumbling around in the fall a year later. ‘What do you mean, stand by? What does that mean?’ It felt really surreal, even into shooting Season 2. We would look around and say, ‘Are we actually here? The dream came true?’ It’s one of those projects that feels so special.

What did Michael Amo tell you about Season 2 that got you excited?
APB: How different life was going to be at the beginning of Season 2. The Funks have been cast out of everything that they were fighting for, really, the first time around. I thought that was a very interesting place to start from because they’re sort of in purgatory. Anna has one foot in the Auslander world and she doesn’t to be there. She’s desperately trying to keep a foot in the Mennonite world but they don’t want her there. And she’s also trying to protect her kids and give them some semblance of a life. Dylan Everett, Jessica Clement and I had some conversations about what we thought had happened in that year or so since the end of Season 1 because Noah walks away and all of a sudden it’s the three of us.

That was a very satisfying and fun conversation because we went all over the place with our imagining.

How has the tone changed for Season 2?
APB: I think it’s gotten much, much darker. Part of that is afforded by the plot. We’re not so much within the Mennonite colony. There is so much more going on in the outsider world. It’s been a very satisfying element, to push the envelope story-wise.

Christopher Heyerdahl is a new addition to the cast and plays Augustus Nickel. What can you say about Augustus?
APB: I think people are going to be pretty darn surprised at the kind of man Augustus Nickel is going to turn out to be. [Laughs.] He is the most incredible human being and actor and at times made my life very difficult because he is so delightful as Augustus and in character, Anna is not always delighted. He made it really, really hard to stay in character.

The shock for me was Gord Rand returning as the not-so-dead Abel.
APB: Gord Rand is one of the most amazing actors we have in Canada. He is the most inspirational person I’ve ever seen and I want to eat his brain and absorb his knowledge. When he was killed, we all knew he wasn’t really dead because he’s too good of a character and his journey is really rich, especially now. The conversation he has with Noah in the first episode about seeing God and maybe God just wants us to be happy. I think that’s going to be a very powerful perspective for Noah to have to contend with.

Alyson Hannigan was announced as a cast member but nothing else has been revealed. Can you say anything?
APB: I’m not allowed to say much. She is going to be appearing later on in the season. She’s playing a very fun character. The day I was on set watching her, I was just losing my mind laughing. She is so funny. The character she plays is super-feisty, mouthy and integral to the plot.

Pure airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on Super Channel Fuse.

Images courtesy of Super Channel.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail

Pure: Creator Michael Amo on the return of Season 2 and a favourite character

Spoiler alert: Do not continue reading unless you have watched the first episode of Pure, Season 2.

Pure‘s second season premiere was notable for a few reasons. It introduced Hector Estrada (Victor Gomez), the drug dealer who demanded Anna Funk re-start the Mennonite cocaine pipeline. And, just to give her the little push Anna needed to do that, took Isaak (Dylan Everett) as collateral. When we last saw Isaak, he was naked, caged and (rightfully) screaming for his mother. Last Tuesday’s return also brought a favourite character back from the grave. It turns out Noah’s (Ryan Robbins) brother, Abel (Gord Rand), suffered merely a flesh wound when Eli Voss shot him; the siblings shared an emotional reunion.

With so much going on not just with the characters but the show itself, we got Michael Amo on the phone to discuss it.

What were your thoughts when you were told by CBC that the second season of Pure wasn’t going to be happening with them?
Michael Amo: [Laughs.] I remember being surprised because I think we averaged over 700,000 viewers per episode which, for a freshman drama on CBC, is pretty good. But, I guess it wasn’t on brand for them. I did move on to other things and developed some other shows. It was really Cineflix. It was Brett Burlock and Peter Emerson, who are our Ontario production partners, were the ones who said, ‘You know what? It’s not going to die so easily.’ They’re the ones who engineered the deal between WGN America and Super Channel and put their own kind of equity into it as well.

Three people, dressed in black, stand next to each other.Was there a phone call to you to say it had been greenlit?
MA: For me, it was me talking to Brett about some things I was working on and him saying, ‘Not so fast, Pure isn’t dead yet.’ But I’ve got a family to feed and said, ‘I welcome the opportunity to do more of Pure.’ I hung up the phone and went about my business. Months went by and, behind the scenes, Brett and Peter were working feverishly to make it happen. So, when you get the call and are told your baby has been brought back to life, it’s a happy day indeed.

You’ve spent at least one full episode keeping Noah away from his family. What was the thinking behind that?
MA: Actually, we keep Noah away from Anna until Episode 3 because I don’t want to make it easy. [Laughs.] The audience should be rooting for this family to get back together and they can’t do that if they’re together from the get-go. It was challenging to keep them apart for so long, but I did put them on a collision course to tie in with the law enforcement angle of the show. It was a challenge to do that. Season 1 was all about their fall from grace and expulsion from paradise and Season 2 is about them, all in their own way, trying to get back to paradise and the innocence they lose along the way.

How has being on Super Channel Fuse changed the tone of the show? What have you been able to do that you couldn’t on CBC?
MA: There were fans of the show, to begin with, so when they took it on, they said, ‘We’re a premium cable network, so feel free to play in that space.’ I didn’t go too crazy because I, personally, am not a huge fan of vulgarity and the show really never had the creative bandwidth for sex. But we could push the elements that were already in the show a little harder.

Hector Estrada is, literally, taking no prisoners. What’s it been like to create this guy?
MA: In Season 1 we had Eli Voss, who had very specific spiritual views that were in opposition to Noah’s. In Season 2, I really wanted to do something different, from a character point of view for the villain, so Hector is all about the here and now. He does not believe in an afterlife, he does not believe there are any consequences for his actions in this world whatsoever. He is all about the material pleasures, but he’s sort of lonely too. So, he bonds with Isaak and that’s his Achilles heel in a way. [Actor] Victor Gomez is both extremely charming and when he wants to be, ice cold.

I was surprised to see Gord Rand returned to Pure. In Season 1, Abel was shot by Eli and left for dead. Were you always intending to bring the character of Abel back?
MA: [Laughs.] I’m going to be honest and say perhaps not. What happens is, you fall in love with these characters, and the actors who play them, and you say, ‘Oh my goodness, I have to find a way to keep Gord in the picture.’ I’m glad I did.

Pure airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on Super Channel Fuse.

Images courtesy of Super Channel.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail

Links: Pure, Season 2

From John Doyle of The Globe and Mail:

Link: Pure: A grim, good cerebral drama we don’t see often in Canada
Pure is a dense drama, grimly beautiful, and it threads a fine line between cops-and-criminal storyline and an examination of stifled religious moralism. (The first season is available on Super Channel for a good binge-watch.) The manner of its melodrama isn’t an easy sell. But it’s fiercely good, a rare Canadian TV foray into new territory. Continue reading.

From Bridget Liszewski of The TV Junkies:

Link: Pure’s Alex Paxton-Beesley on Anna’s isolation in Season 2
“My character was so isolated, but it was also so strange to be without Ryan, my partner in the show. It was especially hard preparing for all the Low German that I had to speak for this season. Laura Kohoot, our advisor on the show, is just the most invaluable member on our team and we spent a lot of time together working on that.” Continue reading. 

From Bill Brioux of Brioux.tv:

Link: Alex Paxton-Beesley goes Medieval on your hynie in S2 of Pure
“She is so different this season and she’s going to places I wasn’t sure of. Then again, all these things are happening to her for the first time, too, so as much as it was unknown to me, it was absolutely unknown to her.” Continue reading.

From Debra Yeo of the Toronto Star:

Link: Drugs, desperation and Mennonites all back on TV’s Pure
It’s not usually a good thing when an actor cancels an interview, but when Ryan Robbins had to bail on a chat with the Star, leaving Alex Paxton-Beesley on her own, it seemed a bit like life imitating art. Continue reading.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail

Preview: Pure deals a second season on Super Channel Fuse

When we last left Pure, its characters—and the show itself—were in disarray.

Eli Voss, the Season 1 villain who had forced Noah Funk (Ryan Robbins) and his wife, Anna (Alex Paxton-Beesley) into ferrying cocaine through Mexico into the United States, was killed by Noah. But the Funk’s actions led to them being excommunicated from their Ontario Mennonite community. Noah, despondent and feeling like he had failed his family—and gotten his brother, Abel (Gord Rand), killed—left the community altogether.

As for the show, CBC opted not to renew Michael Amo’s creation for a second season. Thankfully, Super Channel stepped in and ordered six more episodes. In the U.S., Season 1 was broadcast on Hulu and then picked up by WGN America; the American superstation will also broadcast Pure day and date with its Canadian counterpart.

A woman stands, facing two men who are walking towards her.When we catch up with the Funk family on Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET on Super Channel Fuse, Noah is nowhere to be found. It’s a year since the events of the Season 1 finale, and Anna and her children Tina (Jessica Clement) and Isaak (Dylan Everett) are still on the outs with their community. In danger of losing her home, Anna pleads to the elders for help. Of course, the colony knew what Voss was doing at the time but still blame the Funks for the sins brought among them. Anna was forced to pick up the pieces after her husband left and has shown great strength in doing that. She’s very different from the woman we first met in Season 1.

Meanwhile, Det. Gates (Cory Bowles) has been searching for Noah at Anna’s request. And it’s while he’s doing it that Gates stumbles upon a crime scene introducing viewers to Hector Estrada (Victor Gomez) and his hitman Orff (Conrad Pla), two dudes that are just as evil as Voss and intent on getting the cocaine pipeline going again. We’re also introduced to Det. Valerie Krochak (Zoie Palmer), a former hockey player turned forensic accountant who becomes embroiled in the case.

After over a year since Super Channel announced a sophomore season, it’s good to jump back into Amo’s world. For such dark subject matter, Pure is rife with humour and heart. The scenery is stunning (Nova Scotia stands in for Ontario) and while much of the dialogue amongst the Mennonite characters are spare, a lack of words is made up in facial expression, body language and eye movement. And, when they do speak, it’s to say something truly important, heartfelt and with conviction.

Pure airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on Super Channel Fuse.

Images courtesy of Super Channel.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail

Super Channel announces premiere date for Season 2 of Pure

From a media release:

Super Channel is pleased to announce that it has set a premiere date for the highly anticipated second season of the critically acclaimed Canadian Mennonite drug drama, Pure. The dramatic saga of Noah Funk’s double life will return on Tuesday, May 28 at 10 p.m. ET exclusively in Canada on Super Channel Fuse. Each episode will also be available on Super Channel On Demand, the day following its linear broadcast premiere. Subscribers can also catch up on all the drama of season one of Pure, available now on Super Channel on Demand.

The six-episode sophomore season of the Super Channel original production, which was shot on location in Nova Scotia, stars Canadians Ryan Robbins (ArrowThe Killing) and Alex Paxton-Beesley (The StrainMurdoch Mysteries), with Alyson Hannigan (How I Met Your MotherAmerican PieBuffy the Vampire Slayer) joining the cast as a recurring guest star.

Season two picks up with Anna Funk (Paxton-Beesley) going it alone after Noah (Robbins) disappeared for a year. In an attempt to shield her children from the family’s involvement with the drug cartel, Anna finds herself in the very center of the drug ring she and Noah attempted to take down.

The series takes us deep inside a closed, secretive subculture through the eyes of a conflicted, good-hearted man trying to protect his family and preserve his faith.  Inspired by true events, Pure is the journey of Noah Funk, a newly elected Mennonite pastor, who is determined to rid his community of the scourge of drugs and its nefarious ties to a trans-border smuggling alliance with ruthless Mexican cocaine cartels.  Just when he thinks he’s won, Noah and his wife Anna are thrust headlong into a desperate world of violence, greed, and betrayal.

Pure is produced by Two East Productions and Cineflix in association with Super Channel, WGN America, Hulu and the CBC.  The series is created by Michael Amo (The Listener) with Amo and director Ken Girotti (Orphan BlackVikings) serving as executive producers for the second season, along with Brett Burlock, Peter Emerson and David MacLeod (Call Me FitzHaven). Cineflix Rights has the exclusive worldwide distribution rights to Pure.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail