Tag Archives: Aaron Ashmore

Preview: Private Eyes eyes big names for Season 4

Like with everything else, there’s been a lot of uncertainty surrounding network television, from when a series is premiering or returning, if at all.

Well, Private Eyes fans, fear not. Matt (Jason Priestley) and Angie (Cindy Sampson) are back and in fine form—Monday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Global—so much so that if you close your eyes, things almost seem normal again.

Fresh off its Golden Screen Award win for Canada’s most-watched comedy or drama, your favourite detective duo is on the case for a fourth season. Also fresh? Angie’s new haircut. Just saying.

Monday’s premiere picks up pretty much where it left off, with Shade grappling with that paternity bombshell. A half-sister for Jules, played by the always awesome Jordyn Negri, not to mention being a grandfather for the second time for Barry Flatman’s wary Don? Sure! Angie, of course, wants to help (a.k.a. stick her nose in where it doesn’t really belong) but it’s what she does best. Thankfully, for everyone, a case becomes the distraction Matt and Angie need. This time, it’s a murder mystery, complete with the paranoid claims of a wealthy, ailing patriarch, a power struggle over business and inheritance, a Great Gatsby-themed soirée, and a handful of suspects that will keep you guessing.

Back to that distraction, though. Sabrina (Katie Boland) simply wants to connect with her newfound dad—until things take a turn when guest star Erica Durance (Saving Hope) turns up. And if her appearance wasn’t enough, it gets even more complicated as Shade and Angie continue to cast not-so-subtle longing glances at one another—especially since Tex (Brett Donahue) is still in the picture.

Private Eyes has once again lined up a slew of Canadian favourites. Keshia Chanté and Supinder Wraich join in recurring roles, as Angie’s pal, Mia, and Danica’s girlfriend, Kate, respectively. And Aaron Ashmore (Killjoys), Stefan Brogen (Degrassi), and Eric Peterson (Corner Gas) guest-star.

But it’s the seventh episode that’ll have you reaching for the popcorn, thanks to appearances from Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse, the prettiest star on HGTV Canada, Scott McGillivray, and golf pro Mike Weir. Priestley directs that star-studded hour, while Episode 3 marks Sampson’s directorial debut. It’s safe to say the rest of the season (and the upcoming fifth instalment) looks bright. Shade(s) optional.

Private Eyes airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Global.

Images courtesy of Corus.

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Cardinal: New showrunner Patrick Tarr previews Season 3 of CTV’s miniseries

For Season 3 of Cardinal, Patrick Tarr had a, perhaps, unenviable task ahead of him. After Aubrey Nealon created the world of John Cardinal for TV from that made by author Giles Blunt, Sarah Dodd followed up with the second season. Now Tarr unveils his interpretation of the source material—and Algonquin Bay—in Cardinal.

Returning Thursday at 9 p.m. ET on CTV, Tarr has done a magnificent job of furthering Blunt’s vision while picking up the ball from Nealon and Dodd and running with it. Combining the novels By the Time You Read This and Crime Machine, viewers rejoin John Cardinal (Billy Campbell) and Lise Delorme (Karine Vanasse) moments after the Season 2 finale, when Cardinal arrived at the scene of a suicide to discover it was his wife, Catherine (Deborah Hay), who was dead. Reeling from her death, Cardinal nonetheless plunges back into work when a double murder occurs, shattering the quiet of Algonquin Bay in autumn.

We spoke to Tarr, who most recently served as a writer and executive producer on Saving Hope, during a set visit to Cardinal in North Bay, Ont., last year.

How did you come on board? Did the fact that you’re already in the Bell Media family and your relationship with them via Saving Hope have anything to do with it? 
Patrick Tarr: I think that helps a lot, yeah, that they knew my work from three seasons of Saving Hope. I’m someone who hasn’t done this job before. I think they were looking for some fresh eyes. Sarah [Dodd] was in the same situation, someone who worked on Motive and is about at the level where she would do this.

So, I think they were looking at both of us, and then there was the realization, well rather than have one person do two seasons, we could two different people do a season. I think it gives it its own real flavour. Because they are technically miniseries, they have different writing styles, where each marry to the season that we’re in. So Cycle 1 is very much about the winter, and that frosty inhospitable landscape. Two is about summer, and about the bugs, and it’s beautiful, but there’s decay and there’s things behind it. And then fall, I have. It’s really woven into what the season’s about and the theme of the season.

I was finishing up Saving Hope. Sarah and I got together before we started down this road, and we had both read all of the books, and just talked about what her season was going to be, and what my season was going to be. So from very early on, we were collaborating on what these two seasons would be and she read everything of mine, and I read everything of hers. I was thrilled that they thought of me, and took a chance on me. This is great.

Did you look at Season 1, and what director Podz and Aubrey had done, and then say, ‘I want to keep the flavour of what they did?’ Or do you try and make it your own, within the confines of the books?
PT: Both. I mean, I’ve watched those Season 1 episodes probably five or six times each. And sometimes when I’m writing, I like to have just images in the … so I’ll just put it on with the volume down and you see these people in this town … it inspires a little bit. But at the same time, I’m adapting different material, and it takes place at a different time. Who your villains are really define the flavour of your season so much too. So there’s a big element of that. It’s taking I think, largely just the great character work, and the great relationship between Cardinal and Delorme. I think that’s the spine really. And to a certain extent, the character of the town, and Dyson, and all of these people that you keep. But then you bring in all of these other elements, and it’s like chemistry. Well, how does it react with that?

One of the things that’s been really interesting about the first season, and going back to the books again, is that so much of the story is in Cardinal’s head.
PT: You let the images tell the story.

Has that been a bit of a change for you? Saving Hope, where there’s so much dialogue.
PT: It’s night and day. It’s a wonderful change. You’re about to write a line and then you’re like, ‘No, I don’t need that line. I don’t need that line either.’ It’s a show where it’s like the writing is the tip of the iceberg, and there’s so much underneath in both of those actors. And in the way that the stylistic template for the show that [director] Daniel [Grou] set up, that you can feel things, and you don’t need to spell them out. Because Saving Hope is more of a soap, and so people talk, and they say what they’re thinking, and that’s a really fun way. There’s a lot of humour in that show. It’s a fun one to write. But it’s about doing the opposite thing. It’s about less, less, less, less, all the time less.

Who did you have in the writer’s room beside yourself?
PT: Noelle Carbone from Saving Hope. A writer named Shannon Masters, who is an old, old friend of mine from the Canadian Film Centre who wrote was on Mohawk Girls, and she wrote a movie called Empire of Dirt. And Aaron Bala, who also came over from Saving Hope. We wrote an episode of that together. And then Matt Doyle is helping me with some of the revisions.

Cardinal airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on CTV.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

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Killjoys: Hannah John-Kamen and Luke Macfarlane look forward to Seasons 4 and 5

All hail Team Awesome Force.

Sure, there has been a lot of drama so far on this season on Killjoys, what with Hullen Johnny, Dutch and Aneela in the Green and a baby on the way for D’avin. But there’s also been a lot of fun too. A lot of swagger. I think a lot of that comes from a cast, writers, showrunner and crew who all get what they’re doing and are having a blast doing it.

With that in mind, here are our interviews with Hannah John-Kamen and Luke Macfarlane, conducted during a set visit earlier this year.

Hannah John-Kamen
I’ve already asked a couple of people about this. Obviously, as an actor, it’s good to know that you’ve got a couple of seasons still to go. Why is it important to you to be able to close this out?
Hannah John-Kamen: It’s a real soothing feeling, to be honest, just to know that we can close it out and we can do it properly. We know the time that we can do it in. There’s the story of the Killjoys and of Dutch, also introducing Aneela last season. Knowing that we’ve got two seasons to continue and know when it ends means that we can have a hell of an ending.

As one of the three main characters or actors on the show, you were doing heavy lifting anyway. Then you had another character for you to play. Was it a daunting feeling in the beginning? Is it still daunting?
HJK: No. Actually, to be honest with you I embraced her with open arms. It was just like, ‘OK. This is exciting.’ ‘Cause it’s just the creating of a character is the fun part. That’s the real fun part. I remember doing that with Dutch and figuring out who she is. Then introducing this new character which I suppose is a villainous character, but actually, she’s not and is actually finding when you play a villain, you actually play yourself like you’re the good guy. That was really fun to do, and I absolutely adored that. It was amazing to have such a juxtaposition of Dutch and to find her. That was fun creating.

How do you tap into Aneela?
HJK: It was amazing to see with the writers and actually figure out, what is her backstory? It’s all Khlyen. It’s all linked in with Khlyen. As Dutch, as an actor, Hannah working with Rob Stewart as Dutch and having that history with Khlyen it was amazing to use that history with Khlyen and create this one with Aneela which actually goes back way, way, way further and actually is more damaged.

Near the end of that season where we just found her backstory, and she’s just such a damaged individual. You had to feel bad for her. She’d been propped on this pedestal as being this villain and it was Khlyen all along.
HJK: It was Khlyen. Also, it wasn’t her fault. She didn’t ask to be that. Also what’s amazing is what Michelle [Lovretta] does which is amazing is, there’s no such thing as good and bad. Actually at some point, what was so fun was it flipped. You’re kind of going, ‘Dutch, you’re the bad guy and Aneela is the good guy.’ It was amazing to have that flip of the two characters and that, as an audience to go, ‘Oh god, I’m feeling confused. I’m feeling conflicted here.’

Obviously, you can’t give too much away but what’s the elevator pitch for Season 4?
HJK: Well, now we know that there’s a bigger force than the both of them. We’re gonna definitely, definitely try and destroy the greater evil.

Luke Macfarlane
What does it mean for you as an actor to have two seasons to wrap this up, aside from getting to know you got a gig for job stability?
Luke Macfarlane: Twenty episodes, yeah. Well, especially in this genre you are constantly making these really intricate things and you kind of hope it all goes somewhere. It feels like there’s satisfaction to the conclusion. What does it really mean to me? I mean, you always wonder about these characters. You wonder where they go off to in your mind so I think, I’m hoping there’s some sort of peace and rest for that because like I said, I’ve never been able to do that with a character on a television show. I imagine it’ll be sort of like a beautiful funeral. I don’t know if I’m going to die or not.

Even if you die in genre you can still come back. You never know what’s going to happen.
LM: This is true. As we found out in this show specifically.

D’avin is going to be a father. That must’ve messed with your mind a little bit when you read the script in Season 3 that that was going to happen.
LM: Totally, absolutely. It’s an amazing thing too where you just have to, the given circumstances are you are a dad now and we do this amazing sci-fi thing. He’s become somebody different as it’s gone on. I think he had the most to shuck off and he’s in a way having run away from a family, the guy who’s now building his own family. So it’s really interesting, really connecting with this part of the storyline for him. And hopefully, that will carry on to Season 5.

This character has grown because in Season 1, Episode 1 when we first met him it was almost immediately a pissing contest with Johnny. There’s just an ease between these characters now. It’s so much fun to just sit back and watch their adventures and not worry about squabbling between them.
LM: Totally. There’s always little disagreements and stuff but we’ve moved beyond squabbling for sure. I also think what’s interesting about the show is we’re so used to these kinds of tropes in television like two guys fight over the girl. We’re kind of past those tropes. So as an actor it’s funny to have to reinvent what we are. It’s a little bit more complicated than just your typical two brothers who like the girl and want the girl. So it always keeps you on your toes a little bit.

Killjoys airs Fridays at 10 p.m. ET on Space.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

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Killjoys: Showrunner Adam Barken discusses Season 4

When we last left Team Awesome Force, things were in a bit of a disarray. Dutch and Aneela (Hannah John-Kamen) had entered the green to do battle against The Lady, leaving Johnny (Aaron Ashmore) and D’Avin (Luke McFarlane) stunned.

Killjoys roars back on Friday at 10 p.m. ET on Space with one heck of a fun ride in “The Warrior Princess Bride.” Creator Michelle Lovretta bridges the current timeline with the past, mixing the trio of Dutch, Aneela and Khlyen (Rob Stewart) with the Dutch-Johnny origin story. It has everything Killjoys fans have come to love over the last three seasons: humour, snark, action and heart.

With two final seasons of Killjoys to look forward to, we sat down with new showrunner Adam Barken—who has been a writer and producer with the series since Season 1—to get the scoop on the adventure ahead.

Congratulations on becoming showrunner for Seasons 4 and 5 of Killjoys. What does that mean for you? Is that just more meetings?
Adam Barken: It’s more of everything. When we were done with Season 3, Michelle was feeling like, ‘All right, I kind of need to take a break and step back,’ and didn’t want to leave the show completely, so when she and I talked, we discussed how we would go forward. I still loved the show and had been her No. 2 for the last two seasons and had been on since the first, so she basically said, ‘I would still like to be involved if you were running it,’ and I said, ‘I’d only run it if you were still involved,’ so that worked out. So what it basically means is I’m here every day. I am vetting all the scripts, I’m breaking all the stories. Michelle’s involved to basically watch that process, to help me kind of shepherd them.

As both of the people who have been writing the show the longest, we kind of take a pass on everybody’s scripts and then yeah, a lot of meetings. A lot of meetings, which is just how you make television.

When I spoke to her in Season 2, she was already saying, ‘I would love to do this for a certain number of seasons and then step away because I’m always about the world building.’ She really loves that part that.
AB: Loves it. She’s great at it.

What about you? Do you like the world building as well?
AB: I love the world building as well. Not that she doesn’t, but I really like making TV. I like the meetings to a certain degree. I like the production stuff, and I love being in a writing room. I’m happy to go in and out of the room more so that I can kind of keep an eye on all the different departments and keep track of everything that’s going. Thankfully we’ve got the whole writing team back from last season.

How important is it to keep that writer’s room intact? I mean, so many writer’s room people that I talk to like yourself, there tends to be a couple of new faces every year. Other people rotate out. Why is it important to have everybody, this same group?
AB: It’s great because you just have an institutional memory, right? Everybody is …

You’ve got a shorthand already.
AB: Yeah, everybody knows everyone. We’ve kind of worked out all the personality kinks. We all know each other. We all know when to leave each other alone and when to bug each other. Then it also just means that everybody … any time a new person comes in a room, it can be a great experience because they bring fresh eyes but you also spend a lot of time going, ‘Yeah, we did that story already. Yeah, we’ve already done that beat.’ In this one, with this, you’ve always got a team going, ‘Oh, we already did that. All right, let’s do something new. Let’s do something different.’

What do you look for in a writer?
AB: Personally, what I love in a writer, especially in a writing room like this is you want ideas people. The job of a showrunner is to say no and so it’s very similar to a director in that what you want are people coming to you with five options and you being able to go ‘Yes, no, no, no, no,’ and you say no more than you say yes, so you’re looking for writers who have lots of ideas, throw them out constantly and then at the same time move on when an idea has been ‘No, we’re not gonna do that,’ and not take it personally and understand this is part of the job.

As I learned when I started in a writing room and was that person is first you’re like, ‘Oh, but that was a good idea,’ but then I get to save that for my show, which is nice, and what you’re trying to do is basically you’re all pulling together but you are pulling together towards one person’s vision, or in the case of this season, I would say two people’s, because Michelle and I are both intimately connected in terms of what the vision of the season is going forward.

The press release that Space sent out when they announced that they were going be the two final seasons, I think you were quoted, certainly, Michelle was, about the importance of being able to tell the story and having two seasons that do that. Why is it important? I mean, I think I know the answer, but why is it important to know that you’ve got two 10 episode seasons to finish with?
AB: Well, I mean, look. If we had known that we were only getting one season, we would have made that work as well. The idea that it was important was just knowing we had an endpoint, because when you know you have an endpoint, then you can build your stories to go towards it. With two seasons, it was great because even before we had gotten the order, Michelle and I had been talking, and we said, ‘You know, there’s a way to do what we were talking about,’ because we had some general ideas and tent poles, as if we had two seasons, we kind of know exactly how this would break out, so when they ended up saying, ‘How about two?’ We were like, ‘Great, we’ve already kind of thought that would be the way to do it.’

I think five is a good and a round number for television regardless of how many episodes. It’s five seasons, so with four we can kind of do some interesting stuff. We can mess around with our convention, but end on a cliffhanger that points to specific things. You know, Season 3 obviously ended on some pretty big cliffhangers, but they were pretty open-ended because we didn’t know if we were coming back, so our feeling was, ‘OK, if we don’t come back, then basically we’ve given the audience a sense of, like, the adventure continues.’ With this, we’re able to end it in a way that feels like … put a bit more of a bow on it.

Do you already know what the end scenes are? The final lines are at the end?
AB: We’ve definitely got some strong ideas about what those moments are and what the feeling is that we want people to come away from, and we’re just kind of still … as we’re figuring out season five, we’re … you know, making TV is definitely building a bridge from both sides and hoping they meet in the middle.

How often do things change, where you think, ‘Well, this will be what the end is,’ and then you’re getting there. You’re like, ‘Well, no, that isn’t going be the end, because things have changed.’
AB: Constantly.

Tony Nappo is playing Big Joe, what can you say about Big Joe?
AB: Joe was a character we introduced back in Season 1 and so he was Dutch’s mentor who, by then, had gone to seed and obviously we killed them, so how are we having them back? So what we’re doing is we got to do something really fun at the beginning of this season because we wanted to shake things up a bit and actually tell basically an origin story and we wanted to do a story of what happens when Dutch and Johnny first came to the quad.

Because we loved Tony and I remember doing the read through of 106 and I remember him reading it and getting really good and then he gets to the end and goes, ‘Ah, fuck, I’m dead?’ I was like, ‘That’s why you should always read the script before you do the read through, Tony.’ But it also … we felt the same way. We were like, ‘Goddammit, we got this great actor, this great character,’ so we get a chance to see him in action and see what he was like as a Killjoy, which was a lot of fun, so yeah, I’m very excited about that one.

Killjoys is one of those shows where no line is ever a throwaway line, no scene can just be like, ‘Oh, I can just rest because this won’t matter.’ Everything matters on this show.
AB: We want you guys to watch it many times. We hope that, yeah, the stuff that we work on … because that’s, you know, from our perspective, if we’re gonna get people’s eyeballs for 44 minutes, we want to be able to give them not only something that is a fun, hopefully fun diversion, that if they feel by the end, ‘OK, I got what I wanted,’ but if they’re gonna go back, hopefully, they’ll see that, you know, we’re trying to make sure everything feels like it matters.

Stephanie Morgenstern will direct this season. How did that come about?
AB: Because as we were looking for directors, we knew that Stephanie had stepped up and been directing in X Company. I’d been working with Stephanie since she and Mark [Ellis] created Flashpoint, so it just seemed like a no-brainer. We knew we wanted to have somebody in that was good, smart, and Stephanie just fit the bill. And Temple Street had worked with her on X Company, of course, so it just seemed like a no-brainer.

Killjoys airs Fridays at 10 p.m. ET on Space.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

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