Tag Archives: Eric Johnson

Caught: Enuka Okuma discusses the “very modern character” of K.C.

K.C. Williams (Enuka Okuma) is a take no guff kind of gal. A successful DEA agent tired of not getting the credit for taking down bad guys, she teamed with RCMP officer Roy Patterson to chase down Slaney (Allan Hawco) and Hearn (Eric Johnson) on Caught.

Okuma, who most recently starred in the web series Spiral, Season 1 of Slasher and almost 80 episodes of Rookie Blue, sat down with us last year during a break in filming Caught in downtown Hamilton, Ont., to discuss her K.C. and what it was like to play the only character who was not in the source material.

Allan told me that K.C. Williams is a character he created specifically for the TV series.
Enuka Okuma: Yes, and that’s something I was unaware of when I bought the book! [Laughs.] I was three-quarters of the way through the book and I was like, ‘There is no such woman!’ For me, this is actually really exciting because I feel like this character is speaking to something that we’re talking about in the world today: female equality and diversity. She is a very modern character. I feel very lucky that they included her.

Looking at the characters in the book from my perspective and getting to know what the other characters were thinking, going after and what their desires are … it felt like a little bit of cheating because I had more information than I would visually.

What’s her background?
She’s the DEA agent in the mix and, I think, is the only American in the story. She is coming at this case differently than the RCMP and how they are trying to catch the bad guys.

What is their relationship like? Do they get along?
Paul and I have been trying to figure out who these two people are to each other. Roy is a little curmudgeonly and I am a little acerbic, so together it could be combustion, or if we decide to work together there can be a little magic.

What did you take away from reading Caught?
With a book, you always get the layers no matter what the project is. Being immersed in the world was really interesting. And, theatrically, they needed to do some things to move the story along. It works. I feel like everything that they changed makes perfect sense. But the book really lets you know, for Slaney and especially for Patterson, what is going on in these guys’ heads. Plus, for me, just delving into what they were going through at the time just puts you in that headspace.

The wardrobe on Caught is fantastic.
Michael Ground has really knocked it out of the park with this stuff because a lot of it has been built for us. You want to get vintage stuff to make it look realistic, but if you’re doing stunts and you have doubles you need more clothing. These boys have been rocking their looks. Eric and Allan, in their flashback scenes … it’s a little Hall & Oates inspired. Eric sent me a picture of the two of them in the makeup trailer and they literally looked like Hall & Oates.

Caught airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Image courtesy of CBC.

 

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Caught: Allan Hawco’s adaptation of Lisa Moore’s novel was worth the wait

Way back in the spring of 2016, the CBC announced Caught—an adaptation of Lisa Moore’s acclaimed noverl—as part of its 2016-17 broadcast lineup. But by June of 2016, Caught‘s fate had changed. So, what was the reasoning behind the project’s delay of over a year? Timing.

“This got announced back when we were wrapping Republic of Doyle,” Allan Hawco, Caught‘s writer, showrunner, executive producer and star, says. “I took the time to go deeper into the material. The ambition of the material, the ambition of the period and because it’s an adaptation of Lisa’s book, we just needed the time to gather more resources.”

The wait has been worth it.

Debuting Monday at 9 p.m. on CBC, Caught is a five-part roller coaster caper lovingly wrapped up in the pot-fragranced, lead gas guzzling, rock anthem setting that is 1978.

Tori Anderson as Ada, Greg Bryk as Cyril Carter

Locked up after a drug deal goes wrong, David Slaney (Allan Hawco) breaks out of a New Brunswick prison to try one more caper with his former partner Brian Hearn (Eric Johnson). It’s Slaney’s last chance at freedom, but nothing is what it seems. Slings & Arrow‘s Paul Gross plays RCMP detective Roy Patterson; Open Heart‘s Tori Anderson is Ada, Brian’s gal pal; Mary Kills People‘s Charlotte Sullivan is Jennifer Baker;  Rookie Blue‘s Enuka Okuma is KC Williams, a DEA agent who teams with Roy; and Greg Bryk as Cyril Carter, a friend of Brian’s.

Eric Johnson as Brian Hearn

Monday’s debut opens to the strains of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Up Around the Bend,” as Slaney sprints through a darkened forest, prison dogs and guards at his heels. But as Slaney quickly discovers, his friend Brian may be the reason he ended up in prison in the first place. Filmed in St. John’s, Hamilton, Ont., and the Dominican Republic, Caught certainly captures the late 70s in all its glory, from pale brown leather jackets and wood panelling to the permed hair and tobacco smoke hanging over everything. And, as Slaney crosses the country attempting to evade capture at the hands of Patterson and KC, we meet colourful characters along the way.

Hawco purchased the television rights to Caught after Tecca Crosby, eOne’s senior vice-president of creative affairs, handed the book to him in 2014. Hawco was in Toronto performing Belleville at The Company Theatre and headed back to where he was staying. He and Perry Chafe—one of his partners at Take the Shot Productions and executive producer on Doyle, Frontier and Caught—bought a couple of copies of the book at a local Chapters bookstore. Hawco read Caught in three hours.

Paul Gross as Roy Patterson

“I could hear the soundtrack, I could see the show right away,” Hawco says. “The rights for the book were being sought after by a bunch of people, so I called Lisa and said, ‘I want to work with you on this.’ I think the pedigree of Doyle and that we were just starting Frontier at the time helped. The character of Slaney spoke to me.” Hawco credits Moore’s writing—the ability to craft an inner monologue on the page—with his connection to Slaney and offered the veteran performer the opportunity to play a role he’s never done. Hawco did futz with the source material a bit when crafting his adapation—creating KC Williams as a partner for Patterson, who is a lone wolf in the novel—and some plot deviations, but the novel’s DNA is still there.

Enuka Okuma as KC Williams

“For a cops and smugglers story on television, there were some plot points we had to adjust and characters’ drives that needed to be changed,” Hawco says. “But I worked really hard to anchor all that in pivotal moments in the book so that you’re not watching a completely different thing. I tried to honour the pillars that Lisa put in there.”

Caught airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.

 

 

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Canadian Eric Johnson joins Season 6 of History’s Vikings

From a media release:

HISTORY® announced today that Alberta-native Eric Johnson is set to star in season 6 of the award-winning drama series, Vikings. Johnson will play “Erik,” a formidable warrior who is an outlaw living on his wits and martial skills.

Season 6 of Vikings is currently in production in Ireland. Broadcast details will be announced at a later date. The celebrated series recently received five Canadian Screen Award nominations including Best Drama Series and Best Lead Actor, Drama Series (Alexander Ludwig).

Eric recently wrapped production on the TNT/Anonymous Content/Paramount TV series The Alienist opposite Daniel Bruhl, Luke Evans, and Dakota Fanning for director Jakob Verbruggen as well as the mini-series Caught with Paul Gross and Allan Hawco. He stars in Universal’s Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed for director James Foley, opposite Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan. He previously starred opposite Clive Owen in Cinemax’s critically acclaimed series The Knick, directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Steven Soderbergh. He recurred on Orphan Black opposite Tatiana Maslany and The Girlfriend Experience opposite Riley Keogh. Eric has also starred in Smallville, Rookie Blue, Flash Gordon and made his screen debut in the Oscar-winning film Legends of the Fall, opposite Anthony Hopkins when he was 14.

Michael Hirst serves as executive producer along with Morgan O’Sullivan of World 2000 (The Count of Monte Cristo, The Tudors), Sheila Hockin (The Tudors, The Borgias), John Weber of Take 5 Productions (The Tudors, The Borgias), Sherry Marsh, Alan Gasmer, and James Flynn (The Tudors, The Borgias).

Vikings is an international Canada/Ireland co-production by Take 5 Productions and TM Productions Limited.

 

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Photo gallery: First-look at CBC’s Caught

Sure, I’m excited about the Winter Olympics. I’ll be watching with Canadian flags in hand as our athletes compete in Pyeongchang over the next two weeks. But, honestly, a part of me views the Winter Games as just the lead-up to the debut of Caught.

Adapted from Lisa Moore’s acclaimed novel, the five-part limited-run series, debuting Monday, Feb. 26, at 9 p.m. on CBC, is set in 1978. Locked up after a drug deal goes wrong, David Slaney (Allan Hawco) breaks out of a New Brunswick prison to try one more deal with his former partner Brian Hearn (Eric Johnson). It’s Slaney’s last chance at freedom, but in this tale of bravado and betrayal—and killer soundtrack—nothing is what it seems. Caught stars Hawco, Slings & Arrow‘s Paul Gross, Open Heart‘s Tori Anderson, Johnson, Mary Kills People‘s Charlotte Sullivan and Rookie Blue‘s Enuka Okuma.

Get a glimpse of the characters in the below photo gallery and a tease with the official trailer.

 

 

Caught debuts Monday, Feb. 26, at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of Duncan De Young for CBC.

 

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Preview: CBC’s The Detectives recalls real Canadian crimes from the past

Update: After this preview was posted, CBC switched its broadcast schedule. Wednesday’s debut is “The Wells Gray Gunman”; “Project Hitchhiker” will air next week. 

I’m a true crime junkie. Podcasts like My Favorite Murder and Someone Knows Something are playing in my ears and documentary series like Making a Murderer and Manhunt: Unabomber are on my Netflix list. It was thanks to Netflix that I came across Real Detective, a two-season wonder documenting and reenacting real murders from the past and the detectives who tried to solve them. Produced by Petro Duszara, Scott Bailey and Debbie Travis—yes, that Debbie Travis—Real Detective is well-told, dramatic television that I binge-watched in a couple of days.

Why am I telling you about Real Detective? Because Duszara, Bailey and Travis have brought a Canadian version to the CBC. The Detectives, debuting Wednesday at 9 p.m., is equally as enthralling as its predecessor, even more so because its eight episodes cover exclusively Canadian crimes and boast a whos-who of Canadian acting talent.

“Project Hitchhiker,” airing next Wednesday, stars Eric Johnson—who co-stars alongside Allan Hawco in Caught next month on CBC—as Detective Herb Curwain (above), recently promoted to the Homicide Unit and given the unsolved case of a young woman named Julie Stanton who’d gone missing in Pickering, Ont. in 1990. First assumed to just be a missing person case, the file was finally passed to major crimes. Julie was popular, well-liked and had a great relationship with her parents, not the M.O. of a runaway. There was a suspect in Julie’s disappearance, a man named Peter Stark, and police were sure he was responsible but had no evidence. It was up to Curwain to find that evidence and did so recalling a decades-old case from Stark’s past.

I won’t ruin the outcome of the case here—and you shouldn’t Google Julie’s name until after you watch the episode—because what Curwain did during his investigation not only changed the way police work is done in Canada today but dovetailed with a high-profile investigation during the same time period.

What sets The Detectives apart from other true crime series is the inclusion of the actual detectives telling their stories to the producers. This awful stuff really happened and affected the investigators for the rest of their lives.

And while the stories themselves are gripping enough, the production values are top-notch as well. No expense has been spared to make the re-enactments as realistic as possible—down to wardrobe, hair and cars—and makes The Detectives truly engaging television.

The Detectives airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.

 

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