Tag Archives: Jessica Matten

Jessica Matten heads into a new Frontier for Discovery

Jessica Matten is grateful for the chance to co-star on APTN’s Blackstone, Ron E. Scott’s gritty series spotlighting the issues First Nations people face on a reservation. Though Blackstone is a fictional reservation, stories of alcohol and physical abuse, and land rights are certainly based on fact.

“It was awesome to be a part of a show alongside a lot of people from my childhood,” Matten says of her character, Gina. “It was a full-circle thing. And to talk about issues that really matter to me and are close to my heart was really cool to be a part of.” Blackstone was one of her first major acting roles for the actor and Aboriginal fitness company owner and paved the way to her biggest gig to date in Discovery’s Frontier.

Debuting Sunday at 9 p.m. ET, Matten plays Sokanon, a skilled warrior, hunter and tracker in Declan Harp’s (Jason Momoa) Black Wolf Company, a small fur trade outfit taking business from the faltering Hudson’s Bay Company in 1700s Canada. Co-created by Rob and Peter Blackie, Frontier‘s six-episode first season (it’s since been picked up for a sophomore go-round) is a sprawling, violent adventure outlining the founding of Canada. As Matten describes it, it truly was an ordeal to work next to Momoa as his right-hand. Not.

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(l-r) Momoa and Matten

“It was gruelling,” she says with a laugh. “All my girlfriends were like, ‘Did he take off his shirt?'” She wouldn’t confirm whether her co-star doffed his top, but does say he’s one of the most down-to-earth people she’s met and has nothing but good things to say about production and everyone involved. Sokanon is an Ojibway character alongside Momoa’s Declan, a Métis, and the Black Wolf Company consists of First Nations’ members coming together under his rule. A situation that occurs in Sokanon’s life causes her to join the gang, who are as much out to protect the land from Lord Benton (Alun Armstrong) and the HBC as they are to make money trading pelts. Matten likens Frontier to a Canadian Game of Thrones in that everyone is fighting for land rather than a throne.

While her fellow co-star, Shawn Doyle—he plays fur trader Samuel Grant in Frontier—is used to being part of period pieces (he assumed the role of John A. Macdonald in CBC’s 2011 TV-movie John A.: Birth of a Country), Matten never thought she’d perform in a historical project because of what she calls a “contemporary First Nations look,” and recalls the irony in being cast because of her lineage.

“I’m actually a direct descendant of the first Métis leader, Cuthbert Grant and Louis Riel, the nephew of Cuthbert Grant,” she says. “In a lot of ways, I feel as though I’m honouring my ancestors and this is a full-circle experience for my family. Things happen for a reason, and I really believe in that.” The battle over land rights has been an issue since the days in which Frontier is set and continue today, and Matten uses that in her portrayal of Sokanon.

“As much as Sokanon is a warrior, she struggles with what Harp is doing and what is right and what is wrong,” she says.

Frontier airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on Discovery.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

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Discovery Reveals First Look at Original Canadian Drama FRONTIER, Starring Jason Momoa

From a media release:

Today, Discovery released the first-look photos from its first original Canadian drama series FRONTIER, starring Jason Momoa (GAME OF THRONES, Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice), Landon Liboiron (HEMLOCK GROVE, DEGRASSI), Alun Armstrong (NEW TRICKS, Braveheart), Zoe Boyle (DOWNTON ABBEY, SONS OF ANARCHY), and Allan Hawco (REPUBLIC OF DOYLE). The series, set to make its worldwide debut later this year on Discovery in Canada, also introduces Canadian newcomer, Jessica Matten. Created by Rob Blackie and Peter Blackie, FRONTIER is directed by Brad Peyton (San Andreas). Production is now underway in St. John’s, N.L.

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Rooted in Canadian history and explored for the first time on television, the action-packed and authentic fiction series follows the chaotic and violent struggle to control wealth and power in the North American fur trade of the late 18th century. Told from multiple perspectives, FRONTIER takes place in a world where business negotiations might be resolved with close-quarter hatchet fights, and where delicate relations between Aboriginal tribes and Europeans can spark bloody conflicts.

Frontier3FRONTIER is produced by Take The Shot Productions and Factory Backwards, in association with Discovery, the exclusive Canadian broadcaster. Netflix is the international broadcast partner. Edwina Follows is Executive Producer for Discovery, and Ken MacDonald is Vice-President and General Manager, Discovery. Tracey Pearce is Senior Vice-President, Specialty and Pay, Bell Media. Randy Lennoxis President, Entertainment Production and Broadcasting, Bell Media. For Take The Shot Productions, Alex PatrickJohn VatcherRob BlackiePeter BlackieAllan HawcoPerry Chafe, and Michael Levine are Executive Producers. For Factory Backwards, Brad Peytonand Jeff Fierson (This Is Not A Robbery) are Executive Producers.

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