Tag Archives: Colm Feore

21 Thunder: RJ Fetherstonhaugh talks Nolan Gallard

On 21 Thunder, RJ Fetherstonhaugh plays Nolan Gallard, a gifted soccer player whose tortured past returns to haunt him. In reality, Fetherstonhaugh is an unabashed animal lover. I caught up with Fetherstonhaugh to talk about his character on CBC’s summer hit 21 Thunder, including some key backstory not shown to viewers.

Since 21 Thunder is based on the team members of an under 21 professional soccer team. Can you tell me a bit about the chemistry in the locker room?
RJ Fetherstonhaugh: Overall it is pretty relaxed and fun. Andres [Alex] wrote a bunch of those chants and stuff. And we would all just hang out, and go about the scenes the way they were written. Sometimes the boys would create, come up with their own ideas as we went along. Overall, the chemistry was really good. We had a lot of fun and it really reminded me a lot of what it was like when I played on on my own team.

How did you get the role of Nolan Gallard?
The role was cast out of Toronto and I was in Vancouver at the time, so I sent in a tape of just dialogue for the first audition. The second round they wanted to see a video of me playing soccer so I sent in a tape of me kicking the ball and juggling and dribbling and all that. Then they flew me out to Montreal and we did the audition. It was fun and pretty unique to anything I had done before, having the lead role. I did the audition in front of about 10 people and I guess they liked it and I got the job.

You mentioned these chants that the team would do for the show. Can you tell me a bit more about how they came to be?
Well, Andres actually wrote them. He would sit in his trailer, and one day he just said, ‘Hey guys, I came up with this idea,’ and he would just teach us. We would sit outside his trailer and rehearse them, and then go in the room and do them. So that was really unique. I grew up playing soccer and we never really had that, so this was a really cool experience.

Getting to shoot in Montreal; what was that like? Was this your first experience in Montreal?
I was there when I was 18 or 19, which was a crazy experience. I went there because my sister was living there, finishing up her schooling, and I stayed with her for a week during the summer. She didn’t have air conditioning in her apartment and I remember how ridiculously hot it was. This time around I didn’t get to see too much of the city but Montreal is such a fun, cultured city.

We lived at Sainte-Laurent/St. Catherines, so it was pretty loud when you have a 5 a.m. call time and partiers were still going at four in the morning, so it was annoying at times. But genuinely I love that city. I would love to go back. I cannot wait for the next time I can go back. The food is great, there are so many great spots. As much as you want to say no to the food you can’t. They know how to cook. If there is good food in a place, then you can be sure I am happy with it.

Your character, Nolan, intersects with several different storylines: the team, Emma, Declan and Kevin. Which storyline is the most challenging for you to play?
Emma [Clark Backo] I think. Working with Clark was incredible and our chemistry was good. But I think because the show was so quick; the scenes were so fast. That was the challenge overall. You also have to remember, Nolan doesn’t speak. Like, no dialogue. There is very … very … very little. People say things to him and he just sits there. I constantly asked the writers, ‘Do you want me to say something?’ and they would reply ‘No, we want you to be quiet.’ Nolan is a just a quiet, solemn kid. So not having a lot of dialogue also made it challenging. Working a scene that is just four lines back and forth and that is it. Or, someone else speaks and you just listen. That was tough.

Working with someone as experienced as Colm Feore, were you able to glean some pointers from him during your time shooting scenes with him?
Watching him and sitting with him, I think seeing how relaxed and comfortable he is on set, being able to create without worry or nerves, I think that is the lesson I will take from Colm. He made the set so fun and so comfortable. He made everyone feel like they were at home. That was a really awesome thing to see.

Finally, there is so much tension building between your character and Kevin/“Special K.” What was that like to create?
I wish we had time to go into the history of those two. I just felt like with the show, because there are so many storylines going on, there was a lot of information that we know that is not there for viewers which is a shame really. We didn’t get to dive into the fact that in the story, when my mother died, and my father was arrested, Kevin took me in. I lived with him. He took care of me. I ran drugs for him. I did things for him but he basically sheltered me and kept me out of foster homes. Then when he went to jail, that is when I was scouted for the soccer academy and I met Emma. Then I moved in moved with Emma and her family. But none of that was talked about.

My thanks to RJ for taking a few moments out of the day. Fans can look forward to seeing him playing Agent Thomas J. Church in The Predator, due out next year.

21 Thunder airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on CBC.



21 Thunder: Could this be Heaven, or Hell?

We all have our own way of defining hell, and sometimes we cannot help making decisions that put us there, which is evident throughout this week’s episode of 21 Thunder, “Heaven or Hell.”

Three main storylines played out during this episode: Lara’s (Eileen Li) involvement in the online betting ring, Junior Lolo’s (Emmanuel Kobongo) call up to the show and Nolan’s (RJ Fetherstonhaugh) existential crisis over his deadly involvement with Kevin’s gang.

First with the sports betting ring. Declan (Colm Feore)  got word about Lara and Zhen’s (Anthony Shim) game fixing success and ordered Special K (Kyle Mac) to insert himself on their little gig. However, Lara, now out of debt with her one-time involvement wanted out. Kevin and Zhen were not having any of that because let’s face it, you can’t have too much of a good thing. In some anxious moments, we watched as Lara prepared to bolt, tried to secure a refund from medical school on compassionate grounds, but apparently, once in the world of illegal betting, you are all in—and yes my heart was pounding during this sequence! Between Declan’s (Colm Feore) insistence to stay in his employ and Kevin stealing her cash, she is now trapped in the hell of her own creation. Declan, it seems, is going to use this little venture to help his son the only way he knows how: Lara is to ensure the U21’s qualify for a tournament with the Europeans, thus giving his son the exposure to make it big in footie.

There was also a good deal of turmoil surrounding Junior Lolo. The cold open saw him with his younger brother Sly (Thamela Mpumlwana) as they were evicted from their apartment, having used all of their cash to learn the whereabouts of their older brother Gregoire (Kareem Tristan Alleyne). And if being homeless wasn’t enough, it seemed Coach Rocas (Conrad Pla) had some big plans of his own. Rocas convinced  Coach Shields (Randy Thomas) of the premiere team to call up Junior instead of Nolan, Rocas hoped to ride on Junior’s naive coattails should scouts from the European League take note of his skills. Scoring the game-winning goal in New York, they did indeed take notice of Junior and presented an offer. But Coach Mike had already warned Junior of Rocas’ plot to sell Lolo to a big European club. Resolved to remain in Montreal, Junior ignored Rocas’ pleas and instead called Coach out for the dishonourable man that he is. Meanwhile, Junior’s new love interest Fatima (Gabrielle Graham) went on her own search for big brother Gregoire, and unfortunately for her, found him. He is evidently not the lovable, kind soul the boys remember from their youth. Poor Junior, here he is in the blush of early love, faced with the knowledge that his brother he so desperately wishes to find, has beaten his girlfriend.

Finally, we returned to Nolan, whose guilt was starting to get the best of him after spotting his victim’s mother canvassing for information regarding the death of her son. Distraught, Nolan turned to of all people, his father for advice: “Just bury it.” Expected for a family dinner at Emma’s (Clark Backo) to celebrate her completion of the MCATs, Nolan instead sought out his comfort zone and hung out with his team mates. Here he learned Alex (Andres Joseph) had tried to kiss Emma while tripping on some molly. Despite his anger, or because of it, the episode closed with Nolan apologizing to Emma for missing dinner, followed by a very confused yet impassioned proposal of marriage—Nolan, you did that wrong. Don’t you know you need 1,000 yellow daisies when you propose?

In other minor developments, we learned Grace Cook is in need of 24-hour rehabilitative care. Begrudgingly, she agreed to go to that “shit hole rehab” when her care proved too much for Christy (Stephanie Bennett) and Peter to manage. Additionally, Christy is faced with fending off rude comments directed at her through her contractual social media presence. As her budding friendship with Marie (Kimberly Laferriere) continued to tread lightly,  Marie asked Christy to be a bridesmaid at her wedding to first-string footballer Damien (Lucas Chartier-Dessert). We also saw Assistant Coach Davey Gunn ( Ryan Pierce) injured in the match against New York.

This week we were left wondering:

  1. What the hell is up with Gregoire?
  2. How will Lara fix the next game? Or will she?
  3. Will some good Samaritan come forward with information that will lead police to Nolan and Kevin?
  4. How will Coach Gunn’s injuries affect his contractual obligations to the club and the tax debt he is carrying?
  5. Will Emma say yes?

This was another superb installment by the cast and crew of 21 Thunder. I suppose all there is to do now is keep watching and wait to hear if CBC will renew it for Season 2!

21 Thunder airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on CBC.


21 Thunder: Freefalling

Freefalling: (verb) moving downward under the force of gravity only; fall rapidly.

This begs the question: who will survive the fall?

Last week on 21 Thunder, we were left wondering the purpose behind Nolan’s (RJ Fetherstonhaugh) prison visit to his father Declan (Colm Feore). We didn’t have to wait long to find out, but more on that in a moment.

This week, the team ventured into the world of public relations, having donated time to the “Concordia Open Door Festival,” a.k.a. the Concordia Fall Festival? Team members were required to engage with their young fans, signing autographs and assistant coaches Christy Cook (Stephanie Bennett) and Davey Gunn (Ryan Pierce) dove into the action, each leading a team of youngsters in an exhibition soccer match. Going deep, sparks flew both on and off the pitch with these two on screen.

In other news, it seems Mr. Bamba (Clauter Alexandre) did indeed defraud Junior Lolo (Emmanuel Kabongo) of all his money. And I think it is reasonable to assume that Mr. Bamba may still believe Junior is an easy mark. The introduction to Fatima Gossa (Gabrielle Graham) seemed innocent enough, kicking the soccer ball at Junior; it led to small chat, junk food and a bit of dancing later. But by the episode’s end, we saw her willingly(?) getting into a car with none other than Mr. Bamba. And so did Junior.

We also learned Stefan (Kevin Claydon) has fallen hard in his affair with team physiotherapist Marie Tremblay (Kimberly Laferriere), who happens to also be the fiancée of first team star Damien Lacroix (Lucas Chartier-Dessert).

Then we watched team intern Lara Yun (Eileen Yi) delve deeper into the world of illegal sports betting, convincing referee Guy Desjardins (Trevor Hayes) to toss a game in order to pay off three outstanding mortgages. And finally, team captain Alex (Andres Joseph) was accepted to Cornell. All in all, a busy episode, even without the Nolan/”Special K” action.

And that brings us to Nolan and Kevin, and of course, Declan. The cold open saw Nolan feigning sickness and ditching both practice and the team meeting. Knowing “Special K” (Kyle Mac) was upset about his missing drugs, Nolan made himself accessible to K and his crew. No doubt as planned, their meeting went south quickly for K as an unknown party pulled up in a big shiny black Escalade whose driver “encouraged” K to go for a ride. Turns out Kevin was summoned to the prison where his boss, John Mangano Jr. (Bruce Ramsay), was waiting in the conjugal visit trailer. Unbeknownst to K, Mr. Mangano had sold his substantial debt to none other than Declan Gallard. Seems Kevin is now in the employ of both Declan and Nolan, with Declan summarily ordering K to leave “Nolan alone and let him play footie.”

Nolan later made his own way to the prison, albeit voluntarily, for a status report from his mob boss father. Seems there was a significant price for his little transgression with K? And daddy wanted him to pay with weekly visits. I smell a lying, dirty stinky rat.

Following all of the festival sequences, we closed out the episode in celebration of Emma’s (Clark Backo) acceptance to medical school.  But who decided to crash the celebrations? Kevin. Clearly, he has no intention of following Declan’s orders when it comes to his buddy Nolan, but Nolan proved he still has his gangland moves. Trouble is, how much of that former life is going to spill into his new life as a footballer? We know it already is, as evidenced by tonight’s closing shot!

My Laugh-Out-Loud moment: coach Rocas (Conrad Pla) asked assistant coach Davey Gunn if he is sleeping with  assistant coach Christy Cook—before they did sleep together, and after a very, pregnant pause Davey replied: “I honestly can’t remember.” OH MY WORD, these faces! (Admittedly, the humour was lost when I crawled back and replayed this four-second scene more than 10 times to get the captures I wanted, but the first time I watched it I LOL’ed)

So we are once again left with several questions for next week:

1. Will Declan ask Nolan to get involved with some of his more nefarious goings on? And how is Kevin going to figure into those activities?

2. How is Fatima going to play out in the Junior/Mr. Mamba storyline? Is she a bad girl playing good, or a good girl in a jam?

3. Will Guy go through with it and throw a match for Lara, and will it affect her position as team intern or medical school?

4. How will Christy and Davey’s new status affect the team? Or will it? Or, is it even a status?

I loved this tightly-scripted episode. At first, I was not truly feeling the Thunder Love, however, this episode won me over. The chemistry between the actors is superb! Subtle glances, body language; it all works. Overall the writing is strong, and I for one am curious to see how the stories play out. Bravo #TeamThunder.

21 Thunder airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on CBC. (Missed an episode? You can catch up here!)

21 Thunder: Road Game

When last we met, Montreal Thunder U-21 was basking in the glory of their first home game of the new season thanks to a last-minute goal by James Tran (Jonathan Kim).

This week’s episode of 21 Thunder saw the team preparing for their first road trip to Philadelphia.

Former gang member turned pro soccer player, Nolan Gallard (RJ Fetherstonhaugh), had several hoops to jump through this episode. Having reconnected last week with his gang brother “Special K” (Kyle Mac), this week K called in past debts. He asked Nolan to mule 50k of ecstasy from a drop point he would arrange in Philadelphia. Nolan, knowing all he stood to lose, tried to back out, and deliberately lost his spot on the trip. However, using the video they captured from last week’s deal gone bad, K’s boys made it crystal clear that not going was not an option for Nolan. Nolan turned to Coach Rocas (Conrad Pla) and appealed to his “kinder and gentler” side, earning himself a second chance. Rocas’ decision proved beneficial to the team as Nolan scored the game-winning goal on the road trip. Just before returning to Montreal, Nolan took the drop but obviously had a change of heart; Nolan got smart! But how is he going to avoid K and his boys now?

Meanwhile, Christy (Stephanie Bennett)—Thunder’s first female coach—was still having trouble balancing the pressures in her life. Her brother Peter (Chris Cavener), has taken full advantage of Christy’s presence and abdicated all but the bare minimum of responsibility for their difficult mother’s care. The severity of Grace Cook’s (Susan Bain) condition was driven home with her disappearance when Christy was late to take over supervision from her brother. In her effort to care for her, Christy missed the team bus to Philadelphia and needed to find her own way to the match. Once there, Christy again butted heads with Rocas and earned herself a ban from the bench.

We also learned more about new midfielder, Ivory Coast’s Junior Lolo (Emmanuel Kabongo) and his back story. Having secured a life in Montreal for himself and his younger brother, Sly (Thamela Mpumlwana), Junior contracted an agent Joseph Bamba (Clauter Alexandre) to find their other missing brother. Spotting an easy mark, the agent coerced an extra five grand out of Junior to speed up the job. Was it me or does it look like little brother Sly is on to Mr. Bamba? Junior also began to carve out a niche for himself, wagering—and winning—a hilltop run up Mont Royal against team veteran Stefan Arnaud (Kevin Claydon). Whether this proves a healthy competition, we have yet to see.

As well, this week saw the introduction of team physiotherapist/med student Lara Yun (Eileen Yi, Kim’s Convenience) and the underground world of booking. Lacking sufficient funds, and having been cut off by her father, she begins to learn her way around game fixing and international sports betting courtesy of Zhen (Anthony Shim) and her insider knowledge of the team.

We closed the episode just as Nolan finally arrived to pay a visit to his incarcerated father, Declan Gallard (Colm Feore), but we are left to wonder if Nolan is asking for his father’s assistance with “Special K.”

I have to admit, I am disappointed with how little Feore has been used thus far. Yes, it is only Episode 2, but clearly he is one of the most recognized actors on the program and we have seen next to nothing from him. I truly hope this is merely a device to build suspense and we actually get to see more than these stoic glares in weeks to come.

Despite the couple of  weaknesses I mentioned, this was overall a great episode. The story lines are moving forward at a nice clip and we are gradually learning more about additional characters.  Notwithstanding the varied storylines, I am finding most of them believable in this urban setting, and I am enjoying how they are twisting upon each other as they unfold.  I especially love what Kyle Mac is bringing to the role of “Special K” and I am looking forward to seeing how team leader Alex el Haddadi’s (Andres Joseph) thread will take shape.

What are your thoughts on the episode? Leave your comments below.

21 Thunder airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on CBC.



Sensitive Skin cancelled by HBO Canada

Sensitive Skin will not return for a third season on HBO Canada. That’s the word from the show’s official Twitter account, which posted the news on Sunday morning.

Bell Media issued a statement to TV, Eh? on Monday afternoon:

“Several months ago, we informed the SENSITIVE SKIN team that we had made the decision not to renew the series for a third season. In our view, Davina’s journey came to a moving and elegant conclusion at the end of Season 2. We are very proud to have been part of this amazing show, which won over audiences and critics around the world. We remain huge fans of the creative team behind SENSITIVE SKIN and hope to work with them again in the future.”

Starring Kim Cattrall and directed by Don McKellar, Sensitive Skin garnered a 2015 International Emmy nomination in the Best Comedy Series category and Season 1 captured four Canadian Screen Awards, including the Bell Media Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Continuing Leading Comedic Role (McKellar); Best Direction in a Comedy Program or Series (McKellar); Best Photography in a Comedy Program or Series (Douglas Koch) and Best Picture Editing in a Comedy or Variety Program or Series (Matthew Hannam).

Cattrall played Davina, a fiftysomething Toronto woman who was adjusting to her life as an older woman while married to her neurotic husband, Al (McKellar). Davina was worried she hadn’t done anything of note with her life and set out to change that. In Season 2, Davina was coping with life as a widow and moved to the Toronto Islands and attempted to make new friends. Sensitive Skin co-starred Nicolas Wright, Bob Martin, Colm Feore, Joanna Gleason, Clé Bennett, Elliott Gould and Marc-André Grondin.

Season 1 of Sensitive Skin was written by Bob Martin; Susan Coyne, Rosa Labordé and Lynne Coady wrote Season 2.

Fans were not happy to hear the news and took to Twitter to vent their frustrations.

Consider us in that group too.

How do you feel about Sensitive Skin being cancelled? Let me know in the comments section below.