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Bad Blood: Anna Hopkins on “power-hungry” Teresa and the art of playing a great villain

Bad Blood‘s Season 2 premiere wasted no time in shaking up Declan Gardiner’s (Kim Coates) carefully laid plans. While the lone wolf mob boss’ grip on Montreal had been left happily uncontested by Ontario’s Cosoleto family for years, the arrival of fraternal twins Teresa and Christian (Gianni Falcone) Langana—the children of a bigtime ‘Ndrangheta boss in Italy—quickly threw a spanner in the works. After Declan declined their offer to become partners in the drug trade, the pair retaliated, intercepting his $5 million narcotics shipment from a Mexican cartel.

Playing the part of driven and calculating Teresa is Montreal-born actress Anna Hopkins, who stepped into the role just days before shooting began.

“I think it was a long casting process, and they weren’t finding anybody,” she says. “At the last possible second, [showrunner] Michael [Konyves] suggested me.”

Konyves was familiar with Hopkins’ work because he wrote the screenplay for Barney’s Version, her 2010 feature film debut. However, if he had been binge-watching Netflix series Shadowhunters earlier this year, he also would have been compelled to hire her on the spot. Her chilling turn as Season 3’s big bad Lilith demonstrated she has the onscreen presence and sophistication to believably portray a top-shelf Mafiosa on a series that echoes The Sopranos, Breaking Bad and The Sons of Anarchy. 

We caught up with Hopkins before this Thursday’s new episode, “A Grapefruit Worth 20 Million,” written by Konyves and directed by Jeff Renfroe, to learn more about Teresa, find out what it was like squaring off with Kim Coates, and get some hints about what’s coming up next on the series.

Teresa cuts an elegant but imposing figure in the season premiere, and I suspect that’s just the tip of the iceberg as far as what’s she’s capable of. 
Anna Hopkins: Oh, yeah. She definitely keeps her cards pretty close to her chest. She’s one of those characters who is really powerful but doesn’t really need exert or show that power very often. So in the first episode, you get a sense of maybe what she can do, but her first goal is just to let the business expand. So she’s just sort of trying to be as nice and cooperative as possible, but when things don’t go her way, I think the extremes she can go to are a little further than most of us.

I love that Teresa is near the top of a traditionally male-dominated business—even if that business is organized crime. Did it excite you to get to play a mobster?
AH: I hadn’t really seen any female mobsters until I got the role, and then I was sort of researching and found a few characters that show up in film and television. But there really isn’t a lot, and so I was really excited to play the role. Sometimes with roles like this, it can be written like a male and then at the last minute, they just switch it to female. That happens a lot lately. But there’s feminity and it’s used a strength and it’s part of her unique mobster characteristics, so she’s a really strange and interesting character. Especially with her brother, with them as a duo, they’re kind of a very new, interesting type of antagonist—although, I think every character in this is an antagonist at some point.

Teresa and Christian seem to be unusually close, even for twins. What can you tell me about their dynamic?
AH: The backstory is that their father is the head of the ‘Ndrangheta in Calabria, and at this point in time, even saying that word is essentially illegal in Italy. So the leaders of these factions are in hiding. The idea was that, when we were very small, our father sent us away together at various boarding schools, always with the intention of us eventually running things. We were pretty isolated in the fact that we weren’t necessarily making any friends in college, and we were really the only people that we had. So that’s how Michael [Konyves] built that relationship. Even from our father, we were always very distant from him. We’re very loyal to him, but really the only people we have in the world are each other. So there’s a closeness there that’s not very common, I think.

They’re a very intriguing pair to watch.
AH: They’re almost monarch-like, Game-of-Thrones-like power-hungry siblings, and there’s a closeness that is born out of that, in trying to gain a goal. Hopefully, they don’t get separated or turn on each other. So we’ll see what happens.

Episode 1 ended with Teresa and Christian nabbing Declan’s massive drug shipment. Can you preview how this will shake out in Episode 2?
AH: It’s one of those things like at the end of Season 1, where that little string is the beginning of the unravelling. It’s not going to be tied up by Episode 2. It’s just going to get more and more complicated, and the stakes are going to get higher and higher. So this is totally, just as you said, the tip of the iceberg of how these characters are intertwining and trying to gain power. It’s an intricate unravelling, and it’s just getting started.

The meeting between Declan and the twins was pretty intense. Will we see more face-to-face encounters between them, and what was it like squaring off with Kim Coates?
AH: Actually, it’s funny, it doesn’t happen a ton because we’re constantly in different cities in the show, so that is really one of only a couple of scenes where we get to speak face to face. And the way we shot the show, we were block shooting, so that was actually the last scene we shot of the whole series. So by that time, I had worked with Kim for three months. And to be honest, it was very intimidating coming onto the show and being, in a sense, his enemy, because he’s Kim Coates, and he plays the ultimate villains. But by the time we did that scene, we were just so relaxed, and we played a lot, and it was just really fun. I think it was one of our favourite scenes to do.

Speaking of villains, you just ended your run as Lilith on Shadowhunters, so you also know a thing or two about playing baddies. What do you think the secret is to playing a great villain? 
AH: I think the biggest thing is always having a character who has something to do and is doing it for reasons they believe are just and right. With Shadowhunters, even though it was fantastical, Lilith was trying to bring her son back. And if you believe in that, and you’re being told whatever you need to do, you do it. And I think it’s similar with Teresa. I think her father trusts her, and she wants to make him proud and she wants to get to the top of her career, even though that’s organized crime, and she’ll do anything that she needs to do. I think if the writing allows for the character to have a justified reason for doing what they do, then you can start to believe it and do some crazy things.

What did you enjoy most about working on Bad Blood?
AH: I think one of the biggest things is I love the writing. Michael did such a fabulous job, and having a shorter series of eight episodes really allowed us to develop our characters and the storylines. And, obviously, the ensemble of actors is really incredible. So we all really got to sink our teeth into something, and we all gave it our all. The environment on set was really creative and collaborative.

You also recently wrote and directed a short film, The Give and Take. Where can people catch that?
AH: It’s doing the festival circuit. The next stop is at the Austin Film Festival on Oct. 26.

Bad Blood airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Citytv.

Images courtesy of Rogers Media.

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Kim Coates on Season 2 of Citytv’s Bad Blood: “It’s epic”

When we last left Declan Gardiner, he was alone. Everyone associated with him in Season 1—Vito Rizzuto, Bruno Bonsignori, Gio, Nicolo Rizzuto Sr. and Gio—were dead and someone was, literally, gunning for Declan. In the season finale’s final moments, a gunshot rang out. Was Declan dead?

Nope. Declan is alive and well. And, when viewers meet up with him in Season 2 of Bad Blood—returning Thursday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Citytv—he is still on his own. A lone wolf. Just the way he likes it.

Season 1 of Bad Blood was based on real life, the story on Montreal mob boss Vito Rizzuto (played by Anthony LaPaglia). It was adapted by Simon Barry (Continuum) and Michael Konyves from Business or Blood: Mafia Boss Vito Rizzuto’s Last War by Antonio Nicaso and Peter Edwards. But the sophomore eight instalments, written by Konyves, Alison Lea Bingeman and Patrick Moss, go off in a brand-new direction, following Declan’s adventures.

“There’s no book anymore,” Coates says during an interview earlier this year. “It’s our own highway. It was [Michael Konyves] who said, ‘I think we need to start present-day.’ The last thing we saw was Declan sitting at his cottage, finishing off his book. Bang! Bullet hole. Slow turn. ‘What the fuck is happening?’ You don’t know. So we start five years later. It’s epic.” (Coates has had an epic year or so himself. In addition to a Canadian Screen Award for his role as Declan Gardiner, he won rave reviews and the best actor trophy at the Dora Mavor Moore Awards for his role in Jerusalem.)

Half a decade later, Declan is running his own squad. That, of course, attracts some unwanted attention. Cue a new group of mafiosos from Calabria, Italy, to Canada in the form of twins Teresa (Anna Hopkins) and Christian Langana (Gianni Falcone). Once they arrive, the Langanas present themselves to Hamilton, Ont., brothers Domenic (Louis Ferreira) and Enzo Cosoleto (Daniel Kash) and their sons, Luca (Franco Lo Presti) and Nats (Dylan Taylor). Together, the sextet takes aim at Declan. Meanwhile, the Organized Crime Task Force gets ready to take everyone down with the help of a confidential informant. Although he prefers to work alone, Declan realizes that, in order to remain on top, he’ll need to enlist some help. To do that, he partners with Rose Sunwind (Sharon Taylor).

“My world meets their world and it comes together,” Coates says. “This is going to be bigger than the first season.”

Like Season 1, the second of Bad Blood was filmed in and around Sudbury, Ont., and Montreal. That meant a return to the cold Coates dealt the first time around. And while he hails from Saskatoon, Coates admits the years in Hollywood have had a dampening effect on his endurance with dropping mercury.

“We were in Sudbury and Montreal in November, December, a bit of October,” Coates says with a smile. “We got all kinds of different patterns. We’re all Canadian, but I’m a baby now. I don’t like the cold. I’ve become soft. Don’t tell my buddies.”

Bad Blood airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Citytv.

Images courtesy of Rogers Media.

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Links: Bad Blood, Season 2

From Bill Brownstein of the Montreal Gazette:

Link: Montreal plays principal role in aptly titled crime thriller Bad Blood
It might not have the chests of all locals swelling with civic pride, but for those who have long bemoaned the fact that our city has played everything from Moscow to the moon, they will certainly concur that Montreal takes centre-stage in the aptly titled Bad Blood. Continue reading.

From Tony Wong of the Toronto Star:

Link: “I’m friggin’ in charge now”: Kim Coates talks about Citytv’s Bad Blood Season 2
Few actors can summon that kind of menace, levied with a sense of grace that emanates from the craggy-faced Saskatoon native. It also pretty much sums of the theme of Season 2 of Bad Blood, the City TV Montreal Mafia series that he stars in as mobster Declan Gardiner. Continue reading.

From Charles Trapunski of Brief Take:

Link: Interview: Bad Blood’s Kim Coates
At times an interview can be something of a challenge. At other times, the challenge is simply sitting and listening while a pro takes over (which is to say, it’s no challenge at all but a pure delight). Continue reading.

From John Doyle of The Globe and Mail:

Link: Bad Blood’s second season is a deftly made, superior crime drama
Better and more textured, it’s about a lone-wolf criminal keeping a tight grip on his crime empire and obliged to recognize the limits of his power. The events of the book, based on the true story, are over. This narrative is new, inspired by and extrapolated from the original, but allowed to soar without sticking to the prosaic, albeit homicidal, truth. Continue reading. 

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Bad Blood welcomes new blood for Season 2 of the City original series

From a media release:

With cameras now rolling on eight all-new 60-minute episodes of the critically acclaimed original drama Bad Blood, City announced today Season 2 casting for the series’ highly anticipated return this fall. Star Kim Coates reprises his role as Canada’s favourite multifaceted mobster, Declan Gardiner, helming a dynamic new ensemble cast, featuring Louis Ferreira (Breaking Bad, S.W.A.T), Anna Hopkins (Shadow Hunters), and Melanie Scrofano (Wynonna Earp).

Season 2 picks up five years after Rizzuto’s death and his former right-hand man, Declan Gardiner (Coates), is the reigning king of the Montreal drug trade – that is, until a new breed of mafiosos arrive from Europe to wage war in an attempt to wrestle the city from his grasp. Declan comes up against rivals, both old and new, who want to start dealing more dangerous substances; meanwhile, the Organized Crime Task Force gets ready to take everyone down with the help of a confidential informant. Although he prefers to work alone, Declan soon realizes that, in order to remain on top, he’ll need to enlist some help.

Ready to go to war with Declan are his enemies, Hamilton’s Cosoleto brothers, Domenic (Ferreira) and Enzo (Daniel Kash,In Contempt, The Strain), and their sons, Luca (Franco Lo Presti, Letterkenny, Schitt’s Creek) and Nats (Dylan Taylor, Rogue, Covert Affairs).

On the opposite side of the law is a Senior Agent in the Organized Crime Task Force, Nellie Bullock (Lisa Berry, 19-2, Supernatural), who is working her confidential informant, Nats’s wife, Valentina Cosoleto (Scrofano). But things turn explosive when Declan refuses an offer to partner with the imported power duo and sultry Langana twin siblings, Teresa (Hopkins) and Christian (newcomer Gianni Falcone). Left with no other choice, Declan looks to partner with an unlikely ally, Rose Sunwind (Sharon Taylor, Bellevue, Ghost Wars), and feels obliged to take a friend from his past, Reggie Ross (Ryan McDonald, Fringe), under his wing.

Bad Blood is produced in partnership with New Metric Media and Sphère Média Plus, in association with distributors DHX Media and Skyvision, and with the financial participation of confirmed partners, Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation, the Independent Production Fund, and the Canada Media Fund. Executive producers are Mark Montefiore (Letterkenny, What Would Sal Do) for New Metric Media and Josée Vallée (19-2, This Life) for Sphère Média Plus. Michael Konyves (Barney’s Version, Last Knights), who received a CSA nomination for Best Writing, Drama or Limited Series, returns as showrunner. Kim Coates also serves as producer and received a CSA nomination for Best Lead Actor, Drama or Limited Series, for his role in Season 1. Paula J. Smith (Blood and Water, The Beaverton) is Supervising Producer. Directors include Jeff Renfroe (Cardinal, Rogue) and Molly McGlynn (Mary Goes Round, Working Moms).

Filming is taking place in both Sudbury and Montreal, and surrounding areas. Additional broadcast details will be announced at a later date.

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City renews blockbuster original drama Bad Blood for Season 2

From a media release:

“We take care of our friends… so long as you remain a friend.” Following a successful six-episode Season 1 run, City is taking care of its viewers by greenlighting eight new one-hour episodes for Season 2 of the compelling, original drama Bad Blood, starring Canadian powerhouse Kim Coates. Produced in partnership with New Metric Media and Sphère Média Plus, in association with distributors DHX Media and Skyvision, writing on the new season is currently underway with production slated to begin this summer for a Fall 2018 premiere. Additional broadcast details will be announced at a later date.

Season 1 of Bad Blood is nominated for three 2018 Canadian Screen Awards, including nods for Kim Coates and Maxim Roy for Best Lead Actor and Actress, Drama or Limited Series, respectively, and Michael Konyves for Best Writing, Drama or Limited Series. Both Coates and Roy are among the confirmed presenters for Sunday night’s CSA broadcast gala.

Reaching 3.2 million Canadians and consistently holding a spot in the Top 10 shows among all English stations during its time period (Ind. 2+), Season 1 of Bad Blood followed the true-crime saga of one of Canada’s most notorious mafia bosses, Vito Rizzuto (Anthony LaPaglia). Now, five years after Rizzuto’s death, his former right-hand man Declan Gardiner (Coates) is the reigning king of the Montreal drug trade – that is, until a new breed of mafiosos arrive to wage war in an attempt to wrestle the city from his grasp.

Michael Konyves will return as showrunner, alongside writers Patrick Moss and Alison Bingeman. Additional casting details will be announced in the coming weeks.

 

 

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