Tag Archives: Catherine Reitman

Workin’ Moms: Dani Kind and Ryan Belleville discuss Anne and Lionel’s Season 2 journey

If fans thought Season 2 of Workin’ Moms was going to ride on cruise control, they were in for a surprise.

Catherine Reitman and her writing team have headed into bold new directions for the show’s sophomore season on CBC, putting Kate (Reitman) through the death of her father and having her take on a new job. Frankie (Juno Rinaldi) is seeking wellness for herself and Ian (Dennis Andres) finds himself in a whole new world. Anne (Dani Kind) and Lionel (Ryan Belleville) are treading new ground as well, dealing with the after-effects of his vasectomy by having sex everywhere and anytime they can. That will, of course, be tempered by someone from Anne’s past surfacing in this week’s episode, “The Holy Hole.” We spoke to Kind and Belleville about the couple’s journey during a break in filming Season 2 late last year.

I just watched you film a pretty heavy scene in there.
Dani Kind: There are some heavy scenes this season.

I told Catherine Reitman that I sometimes feel Workin’ Moms is being erroneously billed as a comedy. There are some downright heartbreaking moments.
DK: I like that, though, because then we’re not all ‘yukka yukka yukka’ like a lot of comedies are.

I was telling Ryan Belleville that he’s usually that guy going for the laughs, but he gets to play such a sensitive character in Lionel.
DK: I think so too. He’s so great. He’s amazing. He just had a vasectomy so there is a whole bunch of sex. They’re humping everywhere and for no reason. They’re just so different after the abortion. Anne is softer. She is still hard, but they really went through something together. That couple has changed. The writers are so smart because the abortion changed them. There is an intimacy and a passion between them that wasn’t there last season.

Viewers met Anne’s ex, Brad, in the “2005” episode. Are you allowed to say whether or not Brad shows up later this season?
DK: Well … Anne is forced to get her own office …

There are more scenes with Anne and Kate this season?
DK: We go on a retreat this year. Val plans this retreat that we all go on, which is great because there are two new additions to Mommy & Me and we get paired up with different characters at the retreat which is comedy in itself.

I love that Ian is now part of the mommy group.
DK: He is so sweet, it’s literally like throwing a piece of meat into a lion’s pen.

I really like seeing this side to your acting. Lionel is a great character.
Ryan Belleville: It’s been nice to come in and bring some humanity to the comedy and not just be Mr. Punch-Up or Mr. Zany.

Did you view this as an opportunity to show another facet to your acting?
RB: There have been a few people who have given me shots to be more dramatic over the years, like Martin Gero on The L.A. Complex and Emily Andras on Wynonna Earp. I’m still learning the craft of dramatic acting but I love it. My parents are both actors. Like, real actors.

At what point in your career will you think of yourself as a real actor?
RB: I don’t think I ever will! I think I have too much respect for the craft to ever think I’ll be good at it.

I really enjoyed the honesty in Anne and Lionel’s relationship in Season 1.
RB: That’s the thing about this show. It’s not cliché. The husbands on the show are good dads, they’re not like in commercials where you have bumbling dads. In Anne and Lionel’s relationship, I’m the more sweet, docile character but it’s still a relationship and a partnership. Anne is super-angry and I’m super-soft, but when real-life stuff starts happening you see them functioning as a couple.

Lionel has had a vasectomy, and that leads to a whole new level of relationship for Lionel and Anne.
RB: It was kind of funny because I was only three or four weeks out from my own vasectomy. Most of the vasectomy scenes are very method. [Laughs.] There is a lot of doing it this season. It’s funny because in my career I’ve done far more sex scenes than a guy that looks like me should ever do on camera. [Laughs.] And the only reason I can think of is it’s because I look hilarious.

Workin’ Moms airs Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.

 

 

 

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Workin’ Moms: Catherine Reitman previews drama-filled Season 2

What I hope for Catherine Reitman in 2018 is that she have continued success. And a much-deserved nap.

Reitman has plenty on her plate as creator, executive producer, writer, star and showrunner of Workin’ Moms, returning Tuesday at 9:30 p.m. on CBC. Throw in the fact she’s really a workin’ mom of two kids, wife to fellow Moms executive producer/actor Philip Sternberg, and directing three episodes this season? She’s got a lot going on. And yet she makes it seem effortless, taking 30 minutes out of production on an episode of the show to sit down at talk shop with me.

What’s in store for Kate (Reitman) and Nathan Foster (Sternberg) now that she’s back at Gaze? Where are Anne (Dani Kind) and Lionel Carlson (Ryan Belleville) headed now that they’ve decided not to have any more kids? How is Frankie Coyne (Juno Rinaldi) doing in rehab? And does Jenny Matthews (Jessalyn Wanlim) have regrets about blowing up her marriage to Ian (Dennis Andres)?

Reitman gave us the scoop on what’s to come in Season 2.

Was it easier to work on Season 2 because there was a shorthand developed by everyone in Season 1 and the actors now know their characters?
Catherine Reitman: In some ways, it’s easier and in others, it’s harder. The easier is that, yeah, we’ve established these characters, where they live and where they work and what the core of their character is. I’ve hired such talented actors that they all understand that, and we’ve established a tone that the show is a comedy and that it’s really, really subtle and that there is a lot of drama. Lucky for me, people have watched it and people get it and have responded in, largely, a positive way. In that way, everyone understands the essence of it. That job is done.

A lot of people who really get wine will say, ‘As soon as you actually start understanding wine you realize you know nothing about wine.’ I feel that way about showrunning. In Season 1 I came in, hot on it and super-confident. Now that I actually understand the dynamic and the responsibilities of the title I feel much more comfortable in it but I also realize that I have so much to learn. My eyes are open and I’m hoping to grow more and I feel myself growing with the show.

What have you learned about yourself as a showrunner?
I’m learning that it’s a marathon and not a sprint. I like to do things fast and trust my gut and not overthink things and make decisions. Luckily, I’m married to a man who is really methodical and understands the details. Just from being with him I’ve learned a ton about just slowing down and taking more things into consideration. It is a marathon. Right when you think the writer’s room is done and your job is done, production begins. And halfway through production, you think you pretty much have everything but the second half of production has an entirely different energy. And then when you wrap that and the crew goes away you think that’s it. No, it’s time to do post-production. And post-production carries through until the writer’s room begins again. And that’s not even taking into account that I’m a mother of two and a wife to a man who I work with. I’m also the child of two complicated, artistic, powerful people. I’m constantly checking in and saying, ‘OK, where do I put my energy now?’

It’s been very interesting to see some of the comic actors in your cast in more serious scenes. I know Ryan Belleville as being a goofball in past projects he’s been in. Seeing him play Lionel so sensitively has been great. I’ve really connected with him.
We’ve got both sides of that line. We’ve got someone like Ryan who is so talented comedically—and I’ve had the complete and utter joy of improvising with him a few times—but the other side of it, and he talks about it in his stand-up, is that he’s a working father with a working mother-wife. He actually relates to this content quite deeply and the idea that no one has asked him to play on that side of the fence astounds me because he’s so good and so relatable. The other side is that I’ve got a bunch of dramatic actors who really have pretty tremendous comedic timing. Dani Kind hasn’t done a ton of comedy prior to this and she is never going for the joke in an obnoxious, broad way. She always plays the character real and in any scene, in any take, I look at her and say, ‘Yeah, she gets it.’ And it’s always funny to me.

Where do we find Anne and Lionel when Season 2 begins?
In Season 1 we just watched, particularly her, struggle and struggle. She was sick, she was confused about her connection with her daughter, she was confused about her own pregnancy and the pressures that come with being this perfect wife and perfect mother. Society encourages us to do it all and have it all. The idea of a mother of two having an abortion … is that woman allowed to have joy? Is that woman allowed to laugh and have a fulfilling life? That’s really interesting to me. The dynamic of where Anne and Lionel are now was so fascinating to me because I wanted to see them have some fun.

We had to, in Season 1, set up the work and home life of all of these characters, which is a lot to do in 22 minutes every week. So, to now get deeper into those relationships and to show that they’re not always so perfect … and can our ambitions grow? Can we want more? Exploring the Kate and Anne friendship is something that we do a lot this season and what we demand of our friendship when we’re wives and mothers is very different from when we’re in our twenties.

What else can you say about Season 2?
The point of view of one of the core characters has shifted. There are some big surprises early in the season to which I think the audience will need a second to adjust to.

I’m not sure what you’re alluding to, but I was shocked last season by Jenny’s decision to blow up her marriage. 
The truth is, 50 per cent of marriages don’t work out, especially once you factor in the responsibilities of a working mother. To watch one woman have an incredible identity crisis like Jenny does. We’re with her, we’re with her. Are we with her? Are we with her? Why are we with her?! And then, to all of a sudden shift and root for him was something really fun to do.

Workin’ Moms airs Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.

 

 

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Link: ‘Workin’ Moms’ returns with Reitman exploring more ‘really authentic’ stories

From Bill Brioux of The Canadian Press:

Link: ‘Workin’ Moms’ returns with Reitman exploring more ‘really authentic’ stories
Catherine Reitman has it all: two children aged one-and-a-half and four; a loving husband and supportive parents; even her own TV series, CBC’s “Workin’ Moms.”

And it’s killing her. Well, not literally, but Reitman, 36, is not afraid to tell it like it is when it comes to juggling kids and a busy career. Continue reading.

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Dani Kind sounds off on her memorable Wynonna Earp and Workin’ Moms roles

Just how tight were lips on the set of Wynonna Earp during Melanie Scrofano’s pregnancy? So tight that Dani Kind read fake scripts when she was auditioning for the role of Mercedes Gardner.

“They wrote these fake sides for Mercedes … she was even named something else,” Kind tells us on the line from Toronto. “She was this character who owned a bar with her brother and her brother was this big sleaze. She ended up handing her brother his own ass.” And while we’d love to have seen that project come to light, we’re loving Kind’s real role on Wynonna, that of Mercedes Gardner. A fellow former bad girl of Purgatory, Mercedes has evolved from real estate baron to flesh-eating monster after being possessed. Now Mercedes and Beth (Meghan Heffern) have captured two of three seals, meaning the future of the world is in jeopardy.

We spoke to Kind about Wynonna Earp, the role of Anne, the wonderfully caustic, heartbreaking character she plays on CBC’s Workin’ Moms and … playing Tori Spelling’s stand-in!?

We were delayed a bit in our chat because you were going through some wig fittings. I guess that’s for Season 2 of Workin’ Moms?
Dani Kind: Yes! It’s crazy. It feels like it’s come around so fast. I got two months off working on Workin’ Moms and then I booked the Wynonna job. And then I got two months off from Wynonna and I get to go back to Workin’ Moms.

I couldn’t let our chat go by without asking you about a credit on your IMDB page. It says you were a stand-in for Tori Spelling in Mind Over Murder?
[Laughs.] I was. I grew up in Ottawa and there is a production company there that just pumps out movies of the week. That’s kind of where I started. I got some parts and some lead roles. I was kicking around in Ottawa doing jobs and one of them was to be her stand-in for two movies. She asked me to come back for the second movie that she ended up coming and doing. She’s amazing. She was the coolest chick and has the greatest sense of humour. I know she has a whole celebrity image and stuff, but I was like, ‘I could hang with her.’ She has the exact same potty humour as me.

How did you score the role of Anne on Workin’ Moms?
I did a self-tape audition and then got a call that [creator and showrunner] Catherine [Reitman] had gone back to L.A. after doing some casting in Toronto. They asked me to do a callback Skype session with them in L.A., so I did another audition with them over Skype. Then, I flew out to L.A. to do a chemistry read. There were a bunch of women all reading for several parts. Then they called a few weeks later and said I’d gotten the part.

Did Workin’ Moms open the door for you to play Mercedes on Wynonna Earp or did you still have to audition?
I still auditioned. I went in to see casting, but the sides were totally different because everything was so locked down about Melanie [Scrofano] being pregnant. They wrote these fake sides for Mercedes … she was even named something else. She was this character who owned a bar with her brother and her brother was this big sleaze. She ended up handing her brother his own ass. I reamed him out during one scene and I felt great about the audition. The sides they wrote were so great. I got a call later saying I’d gotten the part, but I had no idea I’d be on as much as I’ve been on. I thought I’d only be on a couple of episodes.

It’s so awesome that you auditioned using fake sides.
I know! I got the [real] script and I was like, ‘Whoa, whoa, what’s happening?’ Also, for the longest time, Mel didn’t look pregnant. She’s one of those women who turn around and you’d like, ‘Wait, what?! You’re pregnant?!’ She was so stunning and her body is so petite. I actually had people on-set talk to me and some of them thought she was wearing a fake belly.

How ironic is it you’re on two shows featuring pregnant women?
I know! And, when I got pregnant, I was asked what I was going to do. Everyone is so scared they’re going to lose their jobs and careers. It’s so not the case.

Before Mercedes was possessed, I really liked her attitude and not caring what people thought of her.
You don’t see men apologizing for chicks that they’ve slept with. There is so much about male characters on TV that women have had to identify with for so long and now it’s being shown that, ‘No, we’re three-dimensional human beings who also sleep around and get drunk and have fun and it’s cool.’ It’s so refreshing and so great.

Is it a bit of a challenge to play a character enrobed in black with your face obscured? You have to use body language instead of your face.
I had a lot of questions for Emily as we were shooting and she was like, ‘I don’t know, I don’t know!’ I think that, per episode, I was finding her. We all were. As wardrobe was, as hair and makeup was. Thank God for my acting coaches because they really helped me. This is super-specific work and when you’re working in sci-fi, you have to ask questions and just try stuff out.

Is it important to have answers to questions when you’re playing a role?
I do, especially for a character who is as complicated as this one. And, especially because I thought I was playing Mercedes and would be playing Mercedes all season. And then I find out I’m a different character. I grilled Emily as much as I could, and that really helped. Workin’ Moms is a little bit different because I don’t have to but up Catherine’s ass about Anne because there is so much about Anne that I understand and love. And because Catherine has been so smart about the way she writes it, I can see all of the characters in her. And then it’s just about getting really personal with myself and asking the tough questions.

Let’s close out talking a bit about Workin’ Moms. Anne is such a wonderful, galvanizing character. She made a tough decision to have an abortion last season.
You do see abortion storylines on TV, but it’s a woman who is hard done by or finds herself in this situation. They’re never portrayed as anything positive, it’s always associated with some negative thing. What I didn’t know is that one of the top percentages of women who get abortions are married women with children. I didn’t know that. Catherine was so graceful about the storyline at the beginning of the season. She asked me about it and wanted to check in and see if I could represent it. I said, ‘Absolutely.’ The way she wrote it was so beautiful but also, ‘Yes, of course, this is a decision that [Anne and Lionel] would make together as a couple.’ It just made sense and I felt really proud to tell that storyline.

Did you feel like, when you were in production on Season 1, you had something special?
There were moments when a camera woman or someone in the props department would be emotional during a scene. There was stuff happening that, especially for a comedy, that felt really grounded. Everything felt so real and Catherine was so specific in her choices about cast and crew … it really starts from the top and trickles down. I want to do everything I can to make this dream of her what she wants it to be.

You were incredibly active on social media during Season 1 of Workin’ Moms.
I just think it’s cool if somebody tweets about the show. Some people ask me stuff … why wouldn’t I respond? People are being incredibly kind and are genuinely invested in it. We put a lot of work into the show—Workin’ Moms and Wynonna Earp—and I feel like that interaction makes a lot of sense.

Wynonna Earp airs Fridays at 10 p.m. ET on Space.

Season 2 of Workin’ Moms is in production now. Season 1 is being rebroadcast on Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. on CBC.

Workin’ Moms images courtesy of CBC.

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Catherine Reitman reflects on Season 1 of Workin’ Moms

Season 1 of Workin’ Moms has been unlike any other comedy I’ve seen on CBC. As a matter of fact, to call Catherine Reitman’s creation a comedy is putting it in too small of a box. To tune into a half-hour episode on Tuesday night at 9:30 p.m. is to witness, yes, plenty of laughs, but also tears, drama and downright shock.

When we last left the ladies, Kate (Reitman) was reconsidering her decision to accept the Montreal gig; Anne (Dani Kind) had fleeting thoughts of an abortion; Frankie (Juno Rinaldi) had lost her job, and perhaps her mind; and Jenny (Jessalyn Wanlim) was juggling nipple piercings and alleyway makeout sessions.

With just one more new episode before the Season 1 finale—”Merde” on Tuesday—we spoke to Reitman about the journey she and these characters have been on.

Kate’s struggle has been awful to watch, but also very real and there were times I wanted to punch Nathan because this about her time to shine, for me anyway. But as of last week’s episode, it feels like Kate is regretting her decision. She’s being left behind and left out of her family dynamic.
Catherine Reitman: It’s not a ‘likeable’ storyline and it’s something I deal with a lot. Kate is in many ways a younger, naive version of myself. Someone who doesn’t want to compromise anything. To me, that’s very relatable but it’s also a very unrealistic way to live your life. Now that I’ve done a season of this show with a newborn, a three-year-old and a husband, something’s gotta give. To ‘have it all,’ as has been promised in this modern world, but there is not really a structure in place to achieve that. At least, not without compromise. The more I meet working women, there isn’t an affordable way to do this—daycare, etc.—trying to have it all, you lose all of your grace and relationship in the process or you lose things that have value to you and make you a unique, special individual and not just a mother.

Catherine Reitman as Kate

When I got pregnant with Liam, it was the day before I got my first-ever series greenlight. All of a sudden I realized I had an option. I could move forward and just be a mother and say no to this incredible opportunity. Or maybe, I could be an OK mother and follow this thing I’ve been dreaming about since I was a little girl. That’s sort of the route Kate takes and I think it’s really easy to lose your grace on that path and it’s something that I wanted to explore.

Nathan is played by Philip Sternberg, your real-life husband. Did you and he have discussions about whether or not you would showrun Workin’ Girls?
We absolutely had that conversation and his fears and my fears were absolutely equal. He wondered if we could do this. It doesn’t just mean, ‘Hey, you’re going to be working while you’re pregnant,’ but we were uprooting our toddler and saying, ‘Not only do you have a new baby brother to contend with, but you’re now living in a different country and Mommy’s gone all day and all night in production.’ It’s actually the cruelest to our toddler because he doesn’t know what the hell is going on. [Laughs.] Yes, it was a huge adjustment for all parties.

Dani Kind has been fantastic as Anne.
She’s been magical.

Every character is good, but Anne has been in some pretty dark places, the most recent of which secretly hoping she’d lost the baby when she fell on her stomach. I’ve never even considered that that might be a thought.
It’s funny. When you think about a woman considering an abortion or a woman being relieved at a miscarriage … if you had just told me that I would have complete judgment about her. The truth is that life is incredibly complicated. I heard a statistic where women having abortions are most likely to already have children. There was this huge wake-up call when I heard that statistic because I have absolutely thought about having an abortion before and have fainted on my child while pregnant and thought a miscarriage might be a relief for a second. That doesn’t make me a villain, it makes me a person. To watch it, and see the disconnection Anne has from the child she already has and then see them growing closer … there is something very potent to me about that.

Dani Kind as Anne, Ryan Belleville as Lionel

Anne could easily be construed as an angry woman and when you get somebody like Dani Kind … she never plays it safe. She plays it 100 per cent to the point where you become her. Every time I see her play it, I say, ‘Uh huh, I believe her and I want to be her.’ You get on board with a potentially unlikable subject matter.

This is a messy show.
Yeah man. This is a messy life.

The writers’ room must have been a real mix of laughs and tears.
It was pretty therapeutic. Everything you see on-screen is based on, if not mine, someone else’s story.

Have you gotten any negative feedback about some of the subject matter?
Not one. People put the fear of God into me. I was told that Canada would not accept this and we would have one wild season and be on our way. At first, the pushback was, ‘What kind of show is this?’ It’s not like a lot of stuff on our network. But as soon as you get on board with it and see it’s multi-faceted, then you can enjoy it.

One of the things Dani has said on social media is how caring the environment was on Workin’ Moms. That starts with you, the showrunner. How did you ensure it was a safe space?
I wasn’t afraid to fail. Because it was so real and we had been practicing fearlessness in the writers’ room for six months, but the time we got to production it was a very therapeutic environment. If someone needed to cry, they could cry. If they wanted to be angry, they could be angry. But we needed to be constructive and supportive of each other.

What are you most proud of?
That my boys still like me. I was really scared. I knew I had to go full-throttle with this and give everything I had to it with the awareness Canada might not accept it and it would be a flash in the pan for me. The fact we started to see [ratings] numbers and the fact that people wanted to watch it and stopping me at restaurants and thanking me for telling these stories and generating a conversation … that all of that happened felt really rewarding. And then, at the end of the day, my boys aren’t mad at me. They still accept me at their breakfast table! They know my features!

Workin’ Moms airs Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.

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