Tag Archives: Brandon Jay McLaren

Set visit: Global’s crisis negotiation drama puts Toronto up for Ransom

Living in Toronto, seeing orange traffic cones signify one of two things: road work or a film or television production. I’ve seen plenty of the former and latter over the past 15 years, but never a full-on road closure for a television production. Until earlier this summer.

The reason? Global’s crisis negotiation drama, Ransom. The co-production between the Canadian network, CBS in the U.S. and TF1 in France (Toronto’s Sienna Films and eOne are among the production partners) closed down a block near the Eaton Centre, filming a bank heist scene taking place during one of 13 episodes. Yellow barriers and Toronto police redirected traffic while black SUVs and cop cars emblazoned with the NYPD logo sat staggered in front of an old office building standing in for a bank. A phalanx of actors portraying SWAT police trooped down the street during several takes as a drone buzzed loudly overhead, capturing the action.

Ransom stars Luke Roberts (Black Sails) as Eric Beaumont, a hostage negotiator who jets to locales around the world talking criminals out of dire situations. The hook? Eric doesn’t carry a gun, preferring to use his gift of patter to disarm the bad guys. Based on the real-life experiences of negotiator Laurent Combalbert, executive producer Frank Spotnitz (The X-Files) says this is the biggest international show he’s done.

“I was told about Laurent about two and a half years ago,” Spotnitz says. “It already makes a great TV show, because, in the case of Laurent, every case is 24 to 48 hours. They are naturally adrenaline and suspense-filled. And he doesn’t carry a gun. That’s crazy. I’ve done lots of shows, including The X-Files, where people solved their problems with guns. To have a guy who says, ‘No guns. I’ll solve this with my mind,’ is a challenge but I wanted to do a show like that.”


Rounding out Ransom‘s cast is Sarah Greene (Penny Dreadful) as Maxine Carlson, a girl with a secret; Brandon Jay McLaren (Slasher) as Oliver Yates, a psychological profiler; and Nazneen Contractor (Covert Affairs) as ex-cop Zara Hallam. After filming in Toronto for several months—the city stood in for North American locations—the series decamped for the south of France, with the area representing European spots.

Spotnitz, who lives in London, full-time says he fell into the current production model where several countries toss production money into a hat and share costs but sees it as the way of the world now, where viewers are watching programs both traditionally and non-traditionally (like his The Man in the High Castle on Amazon).

“When I moved to London, I sort of fell into this model,” he says. “It’s an amazing time to be in Europe. There is a real awakening of television and a new ambition to do shows in the English language that compete with the best shows in North America. It’s challenging to do a show for two or three broadcasters but I enjoy it, travelling and getting to know all of these different cultures.”

Ransom airs during the 2016-17 broadcast season on Global and CBS. Look for more Ransom coverage on TV, Eh? as we get closer to a broadcast date.


Slasher’s latest suspect/victim: Brandon Jay McLaren’s Dylan Bennett

If Sarah Bennett would seem an unlikely suspect, her husband Dylan would make for the perfect killer. With all of the secrets around Waterbury, it’s more likely to suspect someone from there than outside the town. And, let’s be honest, dead folks can make a man’s newspaper career, something the industrious Dylan is certainly looking to do.

In our second instalment of interview with the cast of Slasher, the Vancouver native talks Dylan, his friendship with showrunner Aaron Martin and Harper’s Island.

Congratulations on Slasher. Before we talk about that, though, you were fantastic on Harper’s Island.
Brandon Jay McLaren: Thanks. I feel like Harper’s Island was a little ahead of its time. Now that show would kill. It’s the perfect binge-watch. We were just a little premature. That was on CBS back when live ratings numbers meant something. I think our premiere was 10 million, and then we got 7 million for the second episode and they moved us to Saturday nights.

Talk to me about Dylan and his relationship with Sarah.
We met under a very strange circumstance, and she wants to come back to her hometown where her parents were murdered and she was pulled out of her mom’s womb. It’s very gruesome. She’s grown up with this about where she’s from and her past and we decide to move back to her hometown and move back to her parent’s house and fight her fears. Let’s move back and move on, because it’s been a debilitating thing in her life. We move back and the murders start happening again in a very similar fashion.

I play a journalist from the city and I move to this small town and take over the paper. These murders are terrible, but they’re good for me because I have this huge international story on my hands, so I’m pushed and pulled. Dylan’s career is skyrocketing, we have a Nancy Grace-type character come up and I’m put on TV. That’s why I took the role, because it’s different from what I’ve done on Graceland.

What are Aaron Martin’s scripts like?
They’re different. I worked with Aaron on The Best Years and a couple of seasons of Being Erica, just in and out, and this is a complete departure from anything I’ve ever read of his. I didn’t know that he was this sick in his head and I told him that. [Laughs.] He’s very good with relationships and you have that, but it’s gruesome and terrible. It makes for some really good reading.

Because you’ve known him for so long, are you more apt to read something Aaron has written?
Oh sure. He’ll contact me. He’ll be like, ‘Hey man, I’m doing this thing up here. When are you wrapped on Graceland? I’d love for you to take a look at this.’ Anytime he calls I’m fair game if I’m available. He always lets me play something that I haven’t played before, so this was another opportunity.

Slasher airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on Super Channel.


Link: Brandon Jay McLaren Chats ‘Slasher’

From Melissa Girimonte of The Televixen:

Brandon Jay McLaren Chats ‘Slasher’
“We come back and the murders start happening again. It’s almost like a copycat situation. The story gets huge, and [since] I’m journalist and run the town paper, it turns into a conflict of interest because these murders are taking my career to another level. I’m getting all this exposure now because I’m covering the stories happening in my town. They’re also tearing the town apart, and my wife is affected by them, so it’s interesting.” Continue reading.