Link: BriouxTV: The Podcast – Hamza Haq When he was nine years old, Hamza Haq’s parents immigrated from Saudi Arabia to Ottawa. The young lad quickly acclimatized to Canadian culture. He turned on the TV and started rooting for WWE heroes such as The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin and many others. Continue reading.
To say Season 1 of Transplant was a success would be an understatement. Critics and viewers lauded the CTV medical drama with high ratings and Canadian Screen Award nominations and wins. The love extended to the U.S., where Transplant aired on NBC and around the world in the UK, Spain, Australia and the Netherlands.
Now Transplant is back and, judging by the season premiere—kicking off Monday at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CTV—that success will grow even more.
We spoke to Joseph Kay, Transplant‘s creator—showrunner, executive producer and writer—about what’s next for Bash (Hamza Haq), Jed (John Hannah), Mags (Laurence Leboeuf), June (Ayisha Issa), Theo (Jim Watson) and recurring characters Dr. Mark Novak (Gord Rand) and Rania (Nora Guerch).
What was it like to see the love that the show was getting as the first season rolled out across North America? Joseph Kay: I was and am really, really proud that people responded to the work. Really thrilled by that. There’s a team of people who work unbelievably hard to make the show on every level, and we care a lot about what we do and put all of ourselves into it. You work hard and sometimes audiences respond and sometimes they don’t, but you work hard either way. So to see people like it, to see audiences respond to it is just very humbling and exciting and thrilling. I always did feel that there was something at the core of the show that would connect with audiences. It tells someone’s individual experience that people are interested in, but it also has some resonance and accessible themes.
We always did our best to deliver them in a warm, engaging, fast-paced, page-turney sort of way. We are excited for people to see the work we’ve been doing the last year as well.
I immediately fell in love with the characters and cared about what happened to them. And that continues in Season 2 with the first episode, “Guardrail.” What is it that makes a show succeed in this connection with an audience like Transplant does? JK: I wish I could articulate the answer to that well. I totally hear where you’re coming from, and as an avid viewer of things, sometimes you just connect and sometimes you don’t. I think on the level of Transplant, I’d say two things. One, I would first say that, man, we do have such a great ensemble, starting with Hamza, to Laurence, John, Jim, and then even expanding from there, our actors are very, very good. And I think that they deal with the emotion in a really real accessible, funny way. They’re just warm people that you want to spend time with and they convey that. So I think that’s a very huge part of it.
And in terms of the storytelling, one thing I’m proud of about the show is that we’re telling a very specific story for Bash that I think audiences are interested in, but I feel like we’re also trying to tell this kind of thematic story for everyone. Our stories are always about moving forward or starting over or reconciling old versions of ourselves with new versions of ourselves. We locate a theme and variations on the theme that allow audiences to connect with the show. And that that’s why audiences are interested in following those characters on their journeys. And finally, Transplant is a medical procedural, yes, but it’s very much about the main characters. Some of these shows have a balance that skews towards the guest stars, the patients, whereas our show is really, really firmly grounded in the doctors and the main characters. So we try really hard to get you engaged on that level as well.
Was there anything that you changed between seasons? Anything you felt needed tweaking? JK: We did some tweaking. From a narrative perspective, we feel like we’re going through stages of Bash’s journey, so we’re digging into a different side of it now. He’s kind of grasping onto job security and we get to open up deeper and wider emotional stories to tell, and that changes things, I’d say, just in terms of how we address the storytelling overall. From my perspective as a writer and producer and of all people who make the show, the directors, the editors, the people on set, we’ve gotten better at all sides of it, so it allows us some more freedom.
When we last left the group, Jed had collapsed from a stroke. Did you always know that would be the Season 1 cliffhanger? JK: In the first season I actually had intended to kill John’s character in the finale. I had always been really fascinated by the death of the mentor part of a hero’s journey. And that’s what we started off kind of thinking that Bash would’ve saved him in the pilot and there’d be lingering effects from what had happened that just kind of come out of nowhere and kill him and then Bash would’ve had to move forward without him. By around Episode 4 of production in Season 1 we realized, ‘We can’t do that.’ He’s too good. He makes everything around him better, as an actor, as a human being, as a person to collaborate with. He’s just a wonderful presence and performer.
In Monday’s episode, we are introduced to Dr. Mark Novak, who shakes up the department. I love Gord Rand and was thrilled to see him play this character. JK: I like to think of [Mark] as a little bit puckish, because he’s an agent of chaos and that’s a really fun thing to write, too, and Gord really delivered.
A question about your writer’s room. Adam Barken, Stephanie Morgenstern, Mark Ellis, Rachel Langer, Julie Puckrin … what a who’s who of a writer’s room. What was it like working with these folks in the writer’s room for Season 2? JK: We’ve been blessed on that level across the board. Everybody was really excited to come onto the show when the writing started for Season 2. And yeah, you absolutely nailed it, it’s kind of an all-star list of writers that you just rattled off. They’re all incredible. One thing that I think is great with Transplant is because there’s freedom in the narrative when it comes to the kinds of stories we tell it encourages great writers like that to come with stories they are really passionate about, they would love to tell that maybe it would be harder to tell in other kinds of places. And I always am like, ‘Yeah, let’s find a way to tell that story.’ I feel like it excites the writers, so we have this season all throughout, all of those people brought selflessly pieces of themselves to share and pour into the show. And I’m really proud of the results that are great. We’re lucky to have them.
“Guardrail” really kicks off Season 2 with incredible visuals. JK: I want to shout out to Stefan Pleszczynski, our lead director and one of the EPs this year who is a huge part of just maintaining the aesthetic consistency of the show. Beyond Stef, the whole production team is really committed to that. Our director of photography, Pierre Gill, is an unbelievably talented guy, and we sort of across the board take that really, really seriously. Directors who come to the show all want to knock it out of the park on a visual level. There’s a way that the show’s written that encourages long takes or exciting movement, and the directors all really like to play and make the production value really sing.
What types of stories are on the way in Season 2? There are stories coming up where we deal with different issues, medical issues, cultural issues. And in all of those cases, we just take the research and authenticity and truthfulness component extremely hard, because I think that something that’s inherent to the tone of the show across the board is it tries to be grounded. It tries to be human. It tries to be emotionally honest. So we always like to do that work and we challenge ourselves to do that work and be challenged all the way from idea to beyond editing, and editing is still doing that work.
You ended the first season with a cliffhanger. Is that the same with Season 2? Have you set that bar? Is there a cliffhanger at the end? JK: There is a cliffhanger at the end of Season 2. There are multiple cliffhangers.
Following a successful first season that garnered worldwide acclaim, and four Canadian Screen Award wins including Best Drama Series, CTV Original drama TRANSPLANT returns for its second season Mondays at 10 p.m. ET/PT beginning Jan. 3 on CTV, CTV.ca, and the CTV app. Season 2 of TRANSPLANT is produced by Sphere Media in association with CTV and Universal International Studios, a division of Universal Studio Group, and the translated French version, TRANSPLANTÉ, joins Noovo’s lineup in 2022.
Filmed in Montréal, Season 2 of TRANSPLANT consists of 13 one-hour episodes and is anchored by Hamza Haq (My Salinger Year) as Dr. Bashir Hamed – known to most as Bash – a talented doctor and Syrian refugee who fled to Canada and was granted a second chance to practice Emergency Medicine at York Memorial Hospital in Toronto. In advance of the Season 2 premiere, viewers can catch-up on Season 1 on CTV.ca and the CTV app.
Season 2 of TRANSPLANT picks up almost immediately where Season 1 left off, with Bash (Haq) and his fellow residents reeling after their Chief of Emergency Medicine, Dr. Jed Bishop (John Hannah, MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.), suffered a stroke. With everything at the hospital destabilized, the place Bash was starting to consider home suddenly feels precarious. As the team adjusts to new colleagues while dealing with the challenges of life, unexpected faces from the past leave Bash questioning what his ‘transplant’ into this new world really means. Bash’s hard work, compassion, and hopefulness tell a universal story about the human ability to not only survive, but ultimately thrive, when our lives suddenly change course.
Joining Season 2 in recurring roles are Gord Rand (CHAPELWAITE, ORPHAN BLACK) as Dr. Mark Novak, and Nora Guerch (TOM CLANCY’S JACK RYAN, Zoe) as a woman from Bash’s past who was reunited with him at the end of Season 1. Also appearing in Season 2 is TRANSPLANT cultural consultant and internationally produced playwright and actor Ahmad Meree, who plays a character with a gripping, defining role in Bash’s past.
Returning cast starring alongside Haq are Laurence Leboeuf (19-2) as Dr. Magalie “Mags” Leblanc; Hannah as Dr. Jed Bishop; Ayisha Issa (Polar) as Dr. June Curtis; and Jim Watson (DESIGNATED SURVIVOR) as Dr. Theo Hunter. Also back for Season 2 are Sirena Gulamgaus (ORPHAN BLACK) as Amira Hamed; Torri Higginson (DARK MATTER, THIS LIFE) as Claire Malone; Linda Smith (19-2) as Dr. Wendy Atwater; Kenny Wong (PRETTY HARD CASES) as Arnold De Luca; and Sugith Varughese (KIM’S CONVENIENCE) as Dr. Aajay Singh.
Resonating with audiences across the country, TRANSPLANT was the biggest new Canadian drama since 2015, becoming the most-watched Canadian series among total viewers, with an average audience of 1.4 million during the 2019-20 broadcast season. Following the success of the first season in Canada, the series has been embraced by U.S. viewers on NBC and across multiple territories including the UK, Australia, Spain, Germany, and the Netherlands. The critically acclaimed series also garnered six Canadian Screen Award nominations and four wins, including the coveted Best Drama Series, and Best Lead Actor, Drama Series for Hamza Haq.
On the Season 2 premiere of TRANSPLANT, titled “Guardrail” (Monday, Jan. 3 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CTV, CTV.ca, and the CTV app), a bus full of kids crashes and sends the team racing. Bash’s (Haq) life is upended when he is reunited with a woman from his past. With Dr. Bishop (Hannah) still unconscious after his stroke, Mags (Leboeuf) struggles to find support in her mentor’s absence. Theo (Watson) faces repercussions from his family after taking a full-time job away from home, and June (Issa) has an important career decision to make. An encore of the Season 2 premiere airs Thursday, Jan. 6 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CTV.
Writers on Season 2 of TRANSPLANT include Joseph Kay, who is also Executive Producer and Showrunner, Adam Barken (EP), Stephanie Morgenstern (EP), Mark Ellis (EP), Rachel Langer (Co-EP), Julie Puckrin (Co-EP), Tamara Moulin, Anusree Roy, Sami Khan, and Carmine Pierre Dufour. Directors are Stefan Pleszczynski, who also serves as Executive Producer, Daniel Grou (PODZ), Chloé Robichaud, Bosedé Williams, and Kim Nguyen.
Cultural consultants on Season 2 of TRANSPLANT, providing valuable insight and feedback on scripts and character development, include Dr. Khaled Almilaji, Ahmad Meree, Manar Chabouk, Dr. Yusra Ahmad, Muzna Dureid, and Eli Shankji.
All distribution rights for TRANSPLANT are handled by NBCUniversal Global Distribution, with the series airing on NBC in the U.S. The series is produced with the participation of the Canada Media Fund, provincial and federal tax credits, SODEC, the Bell Fund, and the IPF’s Cogeco Television Production Fund.
TRANSPLANT is created by Joseph Kay who also serves as Executive Producer and Showrunner. For Sphere Media, Executive Producers are Bruno Dubé, Jocelyn Deschênes, Virginia Rankin, Josée Vallée, and Tara Woodbury.
The Banff World Media Festival (BANFF) is proud to announce highly anticipated Master Classes featuring talent and creatives from hit series Itâ€™s a Sin, David Makes Man, Transplant, Moominvalley and Sort Of as well as exclusive screenings for Family Law and Blindspotting. The virtual Festival will take place June 14 â€“ July 16, 2021, via an all-new bespoke online platform that will connect the global media industry to ignite new projects and support business development.
â€œThis yearâ€™s Master Classes and Screenings represent some of the worldâ€™s most original, impactful and exciting series,â€ said Jenn Kuzmyk, Executive Director of the Banff World Media Festival. â€œIt is a privilege to host such accomplished talent and executives as they take us through the business and creative story behind the making of each project.â€
Itâ€™s a Sin: A coming-of-age chronicle of four friends during the rise of the AIDS crisis from 1981 to 1991, the critically acclaimed mini-series drama Itâ€™s a Sin has been lauded by critics and audiences globally. Featuring an intimate conversation with the showâ€™s Creator, Executive Producer and Showrunner Russell T. Davies, Director Peter Hoar and actor Nathaniel Curtis as they discuss the journey to bringing this change-making landmark show to the screen and its impact to date. Featuring: â€¢ Russell T. Davies, Creator â€¢ Peter Hoar, Director â€¢ Nathaniel Curtis, Actor
David Makes Man: The Peabody Award-winning series produced by Warner Bros. Television also received a Criticsâ€™ Choice Award nomination for Best Drama, a prestigious Gotham Award nomination, and has been named to several criticsâ€™ 2019 year-end best-of-television lists. David Makes Man premiered to overwhelming critical acclaim in August 2019. The New York Times called the show â€œdeeply beautiful and distinctiveâ€ while The Washington Post called it â€œone of the most original and riveting TV shows this year.â€ During its first season run, the series ranked No. 2 in its time period across all cable with African-American women and reached over 4.1 million unique viewers on OWN. Season two fast-forwards and finds David in his 30s, a rising businessman facing an opportunity that will change him and his community forever; the mounting pressure forces David to choose between the instincts that helped him survive or finding a new way to truly live. Featuring: â€¢ Tarell Alvin McCraney, Creator â€¢ Tina Perry, President, OWN â€¢ Dee Harris-Lawrence, Executive Producer â€¢ Kiel Adrian Scott, Director â€¢ Kwame Patterson, Actor â€¢ Akili McDowell, Actor
Moominvalley: A deep dive journey into the magic behind the internationally celebrated and positivity-themed animated series Moominvalley, based on the stories of beloved Finnish-Swedish author Tove Jansson. Produced by Gutsy Animations from the series Creator Marika Makaroff, Executive Producer Marion Edwards, Director Jay Grace and Actor Jack Rowan (Noughts + Crosses, Peaky Blinders) who voices â€œMoomintrollâ€, as well as Jarmo Lampela, Head of Drama, at the Finnish public broadcaster YLE who was first to board the series which has been sold to more than 50 countries. Featuring: â€¢ Marika Makaroff, Creative Director Moominvalley / Chief Creative Officer Gutsy Animations â€¢ Marion Edwards, Executive Producer â€¢ Jay Grace, Director â€¢ Jarmo Lampela, Head of Drama, YLE â€¢ Jack Rowan, Actor
Sort Of: A conversation with the creative team behind CBC’s new dramatic comedy, Sort Of, premiering this fall. Creators and Showrunners Bilal Baig (Acha Bacha) and Fab Filippo (Save Me) and Sienna Films’ Jennifer Kawaja will take BANFF delegates behind the scenes of this big-hearted, coming-of-age story about Sabi Mehboob (Baig), a gender-fluid millennial in transition in every aspect of their life, from gender to love to sexuality to family to career. Featuring: â€¢ Bilal Baig, Executive Producer, Writer, Lead Performer, Co-Creator â€¢ Fab Filippo, Executive Producer, Director, Co-Creator â€¢ Jennifer Kawaja, Executive Producer
As previously announced, the creative team and cast from FXâ€™s new half-hour series Reservation Dogs will also be featured in the Master Class lineup.
Exclusive screenings featured during the Festival will include the hot new comedy-drama series Blindspotting followed by a Q&A with the cast, as well as the highly-anticipated upcoming legal drama Family Law. Presented in partnership with Lionsgate Entertainment and STARZ, Blindspotting comes from co-creators and executive producers Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs which follows Ashley (Jasmine Cephas Jones), who is enjoying a peaceful life in Oakland until her partner of 12 years and father of their son is suddenly incarcerated, leaving her to navigate a chaotic and comedic existential crisis as she is forced to move in with his family. Presented in partnership with Corus Entertainment, Family Law stars Jewel Staite (Firefly) and Victor Garber (DC’s Legends of Tomorrow) in this one-hour drama that follows lawyer and recovering alcoholic Abigail â€˜Abbyâ€™ Bianchi struggling to put her career and family back together after hitting rock bottom.
In continuing with creative discussions on more hit series, BANFFâ€™s Rockie Awards Roundtables will feature creators, executive producers and producers behind this yearâ€™s nominees including Alone, Love on the Spectrum, Filthy Rich and Homeless, The Last Ice, Noughts + Crosses, I May Destroy You, About Sex, El Presidente and more.
The full 2021 Banff World Media Festival agenda is available HERE.
Transplant and its lead actor, Hamza Haq, Schitt’s Creek and its lead actress, Catherine O’Hara, Kim’s Convenience‘s Paul Sun-Hyung Kim and Beans captured trophies during the Canadian Screen Awards gala.
Thursdayâ€™s online gala was narrated by actors Stephan James and Karine Vanasse. The Margaret Collier Award was given to David Shore, the Lifetime Achievement Award to David Suzuki, the Earle Grey Award to Tina Keeper, the Radius Award to Dan Levy and Academy Icon Award to the late Alex Trebek.
Wild Kratts tooks home the Shaw Rocket Fund Kid’s Choice Award while Wynonna Earp‘s Melanie Scrofano received the Cogeco Fund Audience Choice Award, both of which were voted on by fans.
Here are the winners in Thursday’s television and film categories:
Best Lead Actor, Drama Series Hamza Haq, Transplant
Best Lead Actress, Drama Series Crystle Lightning, Trickster
Best Drama Series Transplant
Best Feature-Length Documentary Wandering: A Rohingya Story
Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role Michael Greyeyes, Blood Quantum
Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role Michelle Pfeiffer, French Exit
Achievement in Direction Deepa Mehta, Funny Boy
Best Motion Picture Beans
Shaw Rocket Fund Kids’ Choice Award Wild Kratts
Cogeco Fund Audience Choice Award Melanie Scrofano
Best Lead Actor, Comedy Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, Kim’s Convenience
Best Lead Actress, Comedy Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek