Tag Archives: James Tupper

The Hardy Boys: Jason Stone previews YTV’s darker interpretation

I distinctly remember where I was when I read my first Hardy Boys book. It was The Tower Treasure, the first in the series, and I consumed it during a visit to my grandparent’s home in Cochrane, Ont. I was hooked and blew through a pile of others. Just in time for my TV-loving late 70s youth came The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries on ABC with Parker Stevenson and Shaun Cassidy. So, when YTV announced it had picked up Season 1 of the Canadian co-production, I was excited.

Debuting Friday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on YTV, this interpretation of The Hardy Boys is dark and wonderful. Set against the backdrop of the 80s and all of its music and fashion, Frank Hardy (Rohan Campbell), 16, and his brother Joe (Alexander Elliot), 12, move from the big city to their parent’s hometown of Bridgeport. There, the brothers’ quiet summer quickly comes to a halt when they discover their dad, detective Fenton Hardy (James Tupper) has taken on a secret investigation, leading Frank and Joe to take it upon themselves to start an investigation of their own.

We spoke to executive producer and lead director Jason Stone about how this classic was updated for TV, and how it sets itself apart from the sleuthing brothers before it.

How did you end up getting involved in The Hardy Boys?
Jason Stone: The Hardy Boys was actually my first book report I ever wrote as a kid in Grade 2. I wrote my first book report on The Tower Treasure. I still have it in some box at my parents’ house. Cut to 25 years later and I was in Toronto over the winter. I had gone on a general meeting with Kathleen Meek [Manager, Original Content, Drama and Factual] at Corus and we hit it off. She had mentioned at the end of the conversation that they were working on this adaptation of The Hardy Boys and my ears perked up.

I was like, ‘What kind of adaptation?’ She’s like, ‘We’re still figuring it out. Would that be something of interest to you?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, I love The Hardy Boys.’ It’s such an iconic brand with such a deep history. I remember hearing stories about how the books were all ghostwritten by other writers, some of them Canadian even, and that it was all kind of put under the Stratemeyer Syndicate. And it was all just fascinating intrigue both behind the scenes of the books and how they were written and the stories I remember reading.

Kathleen connected me with Joan Lambur, who was working with Nelvana in putting the pieces together to make the show. Joan and I met in her office on a crazy, snowy, frozen January, and totally hit it off. She asked if I would be interested in coming aboard and I jumped at the opportunity. At the time, they had just been developing it as a 30-minute episodic show. Soon after that, we pivoted to a longer format of a one-hour, slightly older leaning, but more serialized as a slightly darker, more adventure, little bit less case of the week and more of a larger one big mystery as the smaller mysteries sort of throw us into each episode each week.

Why the decision to set it in the 80s?
JS: The biggest reason was that it just felt like if we’re going to have stories about teenagers and young adults sleuthing and solving mysteries, we wanted to remove the crutch of being able to just do it all on the Internet. Getting rid of Google and cell phones was just going to make for a more exciting story, because nobody wants to watch a bunch of kids sit on their computers all day long, solving mysteries.

And just reminiscing to the time when myself and the writers and a lot of the crew were in our formative years, in our teens. We used to talk about getting on your bikes and going out for the day and basically, your parents would just wave on your way out and you’d see them after dark. Who knows what you got up to, and the amount of trust and adventure. That freedom when you’re a kid was really palpable and potent to me as memory and something that I really thought would be a good sort of touchstone for the show and really giving that sense of empowerment that these teenagers would be able to take their own fate and their own destiny into their own hands and be the masters of their own domain. It felt really like a good way to do it. And, the less technological influence there is the better, at least for storytelling.

It appears as though the series deals with one case through the arc through the season. Why did you do that instead of doing a different case every week?
JS: We wanted to do something that had a little more scope to it. At the end of the day, what the networks were looking for started to evolve and move into something that was less episodic. So when we moved from the 30-minute to the one-hour, it felt like a natural sort of pivot in terms of the storytelling. When you move into one hour, it really does allow you to do a different kind of thing. You get to spend more time in kind of mining the characters in a different way, and also letting each thing build to a climactic conclusion. If it’s episodic, it’s like standalone. So whether it’s like Law & Order or CSI, which is an adult mystery show, there would have been that version, but it would have been like we’re just watching little cases break, and maybe there’s some character development, but it’s hard to show a larger arc of characters.

We wanted to really push our characters into situations that allowed them to stretch themselves, who they were, discovering who each other were, and learning lessons about themselves and the world around them, and really getting to feel like the scope and the world and the stakes were growing as the season progressed.

A question about the colour palette. There’s that kind of hazy, brownish, 80s kind of look. I guess that was the intention?
JS: Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. Me and Fraser [Brown], the cinematographer, and Brian [Verhoog], the production designer, and the colourist, Mark [Driver], we all are a part of that conversation. I had a very specific aesthetic that I was aiming for at the beginning. That always evolves and develops as you bring new collaborators in and new eyes in and getting the feedback from Joan and the network, everybody has input that they lean towards. But it didn’t really change all that much. The references that we were doing and the colour palettes were based on look books and photos, paintings that I would pull and work with the designers and cinematographers to dial in the look, and the costume designer, for that matter as well, Judith [Ann Clancy].

Whether it’s about renting furniture or building clothes or the way the lighting comes through the windows, or the kinds of props that are used, we all had a very cohesive plan that we wanted to stick to, to keep the look really specific without being overly stylized. We wanted it to feel very natural and not in your face that it was being handled unless you’re looking for it. It still gives you a sense of time and place, even though both of those were deliberately ambiguous.

The Hardy Boys airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on YTV.

Images courtesy of Corus Entertainment.


Heche and Tupper save the world in Space’s Aftermath

I’m a massive Stephen King fan; two of my favourite works are The Stand and The Mist. In the former, the world is brought down by a plague and the Americans that survive make their way across the nation to Boulder, Colo., recreating society out of a country with no power and no law. In The Mist, a cataclysmic thunderstorm tears a hole into another dimension, unleashing awful beasts that claim our planet as their own.

There’s plenty of both scenarios going on in Space and Syfy’s new series, Aftermath, and that’s just fine with me. Created and run by William Laurin and Glenn Davis (The Pinkertons, Missing), the 13-parter debuts Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET on Space, with Joshua (James Tupper) and Karen Copeland (Anne Heche) trying to keep their family safe from an approaching hurricane. A hurricane on its own isn’t a big deal, except the Copelands live in Washington state, nowhere near warm water where those storms spin. Battery-powered radios crackle alternately of the end times and science and … horrors … cell service is nonexistent. If no texting wasn’t bad enough, some folks have gone nuts and are skinning each other alive.


It’s with this as the backdrop that Tuesday’s debut, “RVL 6768,” sets up one hell of a ride. (Keep an eye out for the episode title to show up in one memorable scene.) With so much going on in the first 10 minutes, I worried I’d be overwhelmed with information. Sci-fi series can do that as the world, the characters and parameters are set up, but that wasn’t the case with Aftermath. I credit that to Tupper and Heche’s characters who are islands of calm as the world goes to shit. Josh is a university professor who studies world cultures and beliefs, so he picks up on the significance of fish and snakes dropping out of the sky. Karen is a former Air Force pilot whose no-nonsense attitude and survival training will keep her family—son Matt (Levi Meaden) and twin sisters Briana (Taylor Hickson) and Dana (Julia Sarah Stone)—safe.

Her skills are called upon early and often as increasingly violent and odd folks begin popping up. Incredible CGI and effects turn merely scary situations into horrifying ones and one such scene causes the Copelands to leave their home in the rearview mirror and explore what America has become. And what it’s become is a terrifying place.

Aftermath airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on Space.

Images courtesy of Bell Media. Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Calamities collide in the all-new disaster series Aftermath, premiering Sept. 27 on Space

From a media release:

This month, the end of the world is just the beginning with the debut of the Canadian action thriller AFTERMATH, premiering Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 10 p.m. ET on Space. Starring real-life couple, James Tupper (Revenge, Men In Trees) and Anne Heche (Hung, Men In Trees) as Joshua and Karen Copeland, the one-hour, 13-episode series follows their family’s struggle through a possible Armageddon. Shot in Vancouver, AFTERMATH is created by William Laurin and Glenn Davis, and produced by Halfire Entertainment in association with Space and Syfy.

In AFTERMATH, Joshua Copeland (Tupper) is a university professor whose study of world cultures and beliefs gives him unique abilities to decode the end times and help his family to survive. Karen Copeland (Heche) is a fierce protector of her family, drawing on the combat skills and survival training she received as an Air Force pilot to keep her husband and children safe.

In the premiere episode, “RVL 6768” (Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 10 p.m. ET), faced with natural disasters, supernatural creatures, and a horrifying plague, the Copeland family fights to survive the end of the world.

Related: Bid on an Aftermath prize pack that includes an Episode 1 script signed by Anne Heche and James Tupper. Proceeds go to Kids Help Phone

AFTERMATH also stars Levi Meaden (The Killing, Olympus) as the Copeland’s eldest son, Matt. As a student, Matt was a fierce athlete whose physical prowess becomes an attribute as the family faces the end of the world, until the brutality of what he must do to survive begins to push his character into the darkness. Taylor Hickson (Deadpool) and Julia Sarah Stone (The Killing, Falling Skies) star as his twin sisters Brianna and Dana Copeland. Brianna is the outlier of the family who’s an emotional, romantic, and rebellious young woman anxious to live her own life, until the shocks and tragedies of the end of times put her on a new path. Dana is nothing like her fraternal twin – she’s practical, sardonic, and quick-witted with a keen analytical mind and a thorough knowledge of science.

AFTERMATH creators/showrunners are William Laurin and Glenn Davis (Missing, Power Play, John Woo’s Once a Thief). Jason Stone (This is the End, The Calling), directs the first two episodes. Laurin and Davis executive produce along with Craig Merritt. Suzanne Berger and Connie Dolphin also produce. In addition to his lead role on the series, James Tupper is also co-producer. Jason Stone is consulting producer.Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

James Tupper and Anne Heche star in Space’s Aftermath

From a media release:

May 3, 2016 – Halfire Entertainment, Syfy, and Space announced today that real life couple James Tupper (“Revenge”, “Men in Trees”, “Big Little Lies” – David E. Kelley’s upcoming limited-series on HBO) and Anne Heche (“Hung”, “Men in Trees”) will star as husband and wife in the new post-apocalyptic thriller AFTERMATH. Created by William Laurin and Glenn Davis, and produced by Halfire Entertainment in association with Syfy and Bell Media’s Space, the 13-episode series will premiere on Syfy in the United States and Space in Canada this summer. Production begins May 9 in Vancouver.

Tupper and Heche will play Joshua and Karen Copeland who, along with their three teenagers, must battle for survival after civilization comes to an apocalyptic end, triggered by devastating natural disasters – and the rise of supernatural creatures.

James Tupper portrays Joshua Copeland, a university professor whose study of world cultures gives him unique abilities and insights that may help him decode the events of the apocalypse. Anne Heche plays his wife Karen Copeland, a fierce protector who, in her quest to keep her family safe, draws on the combat skills and survival training she received as an Air Force pilot.

Tupper and Heche join co-stars Julia Sarah Stone (“The Killing”, “Falling Skies”) and Taylor Hickson (“Deadpool”) who play their twin daughters Dana and Brianna, as well as Levi Meaden (“The Killing”, “Olympus”) who portrays their eldest son Matt.

AFTERMATH will feature guest stars throughout the season, including Leslie Hope (“Tyrant”, “24”) who will also direct two episodes of the series.

AFTERMATH creators/showrunners will be William Laurin and Glenn Davis (“Missing”, “Power Play”, “John Woo’s Once a Thief”). Jason Stone (“This is the End”, “The Calling”), will direct the first two episodes. Laurin and Davis will executive produce along with Julie Hope. Suzanne Berger and Connie Dolphin will produce. In addition to his lead role on the series, James Tupper will also co-produce. Jason Stone is consulting producer.

Also set to direct this season are Stefan Pleszczinski (“Being Human”, “Supernatural”), Kaare Andrews (“Altitude”, “Cabin Fever 3: Patient Zero”), April Mullen (“Killjoys”) and James Marshall (“Smallville”, “The Shannara Chronicles”).Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail