Tag Archives: Karine Vanasse

Cardinal: New showrunner Patrick Tarr previews Season 3 of CTV’s miniseries

For Season 3 of Cardinal, Patrick Tarr had a, perhaps, unenviable task ahead of him. After Aubrey Nealon created the world of John Cardinal for TV from that made by author Giles Blunt, Sarah Dodd followed up with the second season. Now Tarr unveils his interpretation of the source material—and Algonquin Bay—in Cardinal.

Returning Thursday at 9 p.m. ET on CTV, Tarr has done a magnificent job of furthering Blunt’s vision while picking up the ball from Nealon and Dodd and running with it. Combining the novels By the Time You Read This and Crime Machine, viewers rejoin John Cardinal (Billy Campbell) and Lise Delorme (Karine Vanasse) moments after the Season 2 finale, when Cardinal arrived at the scene of a suicide to discover it was his wife, Catherine (Deborah Hay), who was dead. Reeling from her death, Cardinal nonetheless plunges back into work when a double murder occurs, shattering the quiet of Algonquin Bay in autumn.

We spoke to Tarr, who most recently served as a writer and executive producer on Saving Hope, during a set visit to Cardinal in North Bay, Ont., last year.

How did you come on board? Did the fact that you’re already in the Bell Media family and your relationship with them via Saving Hope have anything to do with it? 
Patrick Tarr: I think that helps a lot, yeah, that they knew my work from three seasons of Saving Hope. I’m someone who hasn’t done this job before. I think they were looking for some fresh eyes. Sarah [Dodd] was in the same situation, someone who worked on Motive and is about at the level where she would do this.

So, I think they were looking at both of us, and then there was the realization, well rather than have one person do two seasons, we could two different people do a season. I think it gives it its own real flavour. Because they are technically miniseries, they have different writing styles, where each marry to the season that we’re in. So Cycle 1 is very much about the winter, and that frosty inhospitable landscape. Two is about summer, and about the bugs, and it’s beautiful, but there’s decay and there’s things behind it. And then fall, I have. It’s really woven into what the season’s about and the theme of the season.

I was finishing up Saving Hope. Sarah and I got together before we started down this road, and we had both read all of the books, and just talked about what her season was going to be, and what my season was going to be. So from very early on, we were collaborating on what these two seasons would be and she read everything of mine, and I read everything of hers. I was thrilled that they thought of me, and took a chance on me. This is great.

Did you look at Season 1, and what director Podz and Aubrey had done, and then say, ‘I want to keep the flavour of what they did?’ Or do you try and make it your own, within the confines of the books?
PT: Both. I mean, I’ve watched those Season 1 episodes probably five or six times each. And sometimes when I’m writing, I like to have just images in the … so I’ll just put it on with the volume down and you see these people in this town … it inspires a little bit. But at the same time, I’m adapting different material, and it takes place at a different time. Who your villains are really define the flavour of your season so much too. So there’s a big element of that. It’s taking I think, largely just the great character work, and the great relationship between Cardinal and Delorme. I think that’s the spine really. And to a certain extent, the character of the town, and Dyson, and all of these people that you keep. But then you bring in all of these other elements, and it’s like chemistry. Well, how does it react with that?

One of the things that’s been really interesting about the first season, and going back to the books again, is that so much of the story is in Cardinal’s head.
PT: You let the images tell the story.

Has that been a bit of a change for you? Saving Hope, where there’s so much dialogue.
PT: It’s night and day. It’s a wonderful change. You’re about to write a line and then you’re like, ‘No, I don’t need that line. I don’t need that line either.’ It’s a show where it’s like the writing is the tip of the iceberg, and there’s so much underneath in both of those actors. And in the way that the stylistic template for the show that [director] Daniel [Grou] set up, that you can feel things, and you don’t need to spell them out. Because Saving Hope is more of a soap, and so people talk, and they say what they’re thinking, and that’s a really fun way. There’s a lot of humour in that show. It’s a fun one to write. But it’s about doing the opposite thing. It’s about less, less, less, less, all the time less.

Who did you have in the writer’s room beside yourself?
PT: Noelle Carbone from Saving Hope. A writer named Shannon Masters, who is an old, old friend of mine from the Canadian Film Centre who wrote was on Mohawk Girls, and she wrote a movie called Empire of Dirt. And Aaron Bala, who also came over from Saving Hope. We wrote an episode of that together. And then Matt Doyle is helping me with some of the revisions.

Cardinal airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on CTV.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail

Exclusive: Season 3 of CTV’s Cardinal returns on January 24

A new year. A new season of Cardinal.

CTV announced that Season 3 of Cardinal—starring Billy Campbell and Karine Vanasse—returns Thursday, Jan. 24, at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

Cardinal: By the Time You Read This picks up following the shocking finale of Blackfly Season when John Cardinal (Campbell) arrived at the scene of a suicide and discovered the body was that of his wife, Catherine (Deborah Hay).

CTV says the latest six-episode instalment begins in autumn in Algonquin Bay. And while the leaves and changing, the fall colours can’t mask a shocking double murder. Cardinal and Lise Delorme (Vanasse) investigate and come dangerously close to a doomsday cult in the process. Returning characters include Det. Jerry Commanda (Glen Gould), Staff Sgt. Noelle Dyson (Kristen Thomson), Dr. Frederick Bell (Stephen Ouimette) and Kelly Cardinal (Alanna Bale). New faces to the story are Sharlene “Mama” Winston (Rya Kihlstedt), Randall Wishart (Aaron Ashmore), Jack (Alex Ozerov), Nikki (Sophia Lauchlin), Lemur (Nick Serino), Lloyd Kreeger (Tom Jackson), Wendy Doucette (Jennifer Podemski), Susan Bell (Susan Coyne) and Sam Doucette (Devery Jacobs).

Patrick Tarr is the head writer and executive producer on Cardinal alongside co-executive producer Noelle Carbone and story editors Shannon Masters and Aaron Bala. Executive producer Daniel Grou a.k.a. Podz directed all six episodes.

As if that isn’t all great news, Cardinal has been renewed for a fourth season with production beginning on six more instalments in Toronto and North Bay, Ont. in January.

eTalk will give viewers an exclusive peek at the making of Cardinal with eTalk Presents: Investigating Cardinal; it will be broadcast every Friday following the Thursday episode. If you missed Seasons 1 and 2 of Cardinal, you can catch up via CTV.ca, the CTV app, Crave and on demand.

Cardinal airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CTV.

How excited are you about the return of Cardinal? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Image courtesy of Bell Media.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail

Cardinal: Showrunner Sarah Dodd reflects on Blackfly Season

Spoiler alert! Do not continue reading until you have watched the season finale of Cardinal: Blackfly Season “El Brujo”!!

Well, Cardinal fans, were you shocked by the season finale of Blackfly Season? Although I’ve read the books, Thursday’s climax still left me breathless. My heart went out to John Cardinal (Billy Campbell) when he realized the person who’d jumped to their death was his beloved wife, Catherine (Deborah Hay).

That wasn’t the only stressful moment during “El Brujo.” In true, nail-biting fashion, the fates of Terri (Alex Paxton-Beesley) and Kevin Tait (Jonathan Keltz) were up in the air when it appeared Leon Rutkowsky (Dan Petronijevic) and Ray Northwood (Bruce Ramsay) would get their final sacrifice. As it was, the bad guys were arrested in time—I was secretly hoping they’d be killed—and order was restored.

We spoke to Blackfly Season showrunner Sarah Dodd—who most recently served as a co-executive producer on Motive—to talk about her experience adapting Giles Blunt’s novel for television, the challenges of filming night scenes and what’s next for John Cardinal.

Before we get into specifics about this season and the season finale, can you tell me how you became involved in Cardinal in the first place?
Sarah Dodd: I was working in London, England, on a series called Ransom. And that show has among other production partners, Sienna Films. So, when I was in their story room on Ransom, they were looking for showrunners on Season 2 and 3 of Cardinal. They called me and asked if I would be interested and I jumped at the chance. I’ve always wanted to do a limited-run murder mystery series like this. I’m a big fan of all the Scandi-noir stuff and shows like Happy Valley, Broadchurch and The Killing. So, I said, yes that I would love to. I came back to Canada at the end of the summer in 2016 and read all six books that Giles Blunt wrote and that was how it started.

Was there any nervousness on your part? Giles Blunt established this world in his book and Aubrey Nealon set the stage in Season 1.
It was both terrifying and inspiring. The books are very cinematic. Giles is very good at writing a scene and I was inspired by how much was there in the material. I was definitely daunted by the big shoes I had to fill from Aubrey’s season. I was a huge fan of Season 1, so it was a brass ring. I just had to go for it. But, always in the back of my mind was, ‘I have to be true to it and really honour Season 1 and not disappoint the fans.’ My biggest fear was that everyone who fell in love with Season 1 would be disappointed in Season 2. [Laughs.]

But, at the same time, I was working with a great advantage because I was writing for Billy Campbell, Karine Vanasse, Glen Gould and all of these actors in my head.

What did you learn about the differences between writing a six-episode season and an 18-episode one?
It is less daunting because it’s only six episodes but in other ways, it’s a completely different art form for me. It’s a miniseries, so it’s long-form and I have done so much episodic that this was very new for me to carry one case over the course of six episodes. I had never done that before so writing a new genre, basically, was exciting and scary. We also only had five weeks in the writer’s room to break all six stories and walk out of that room knowing how to write up our outline. We couldn’t have done that if we didn’t have the book. We added a lot of characters and storylines that weren’t in the book and we changed a lot of things and made some adjustments, so it was challenging in that way.

What did working on Cardinal force you to do as a television writer?
I think that Jennica Harper and Alison Lea Bingeman would agree that it was a really fantastic opportunity to dig deep into character. The other noticeable difference for me was less dialogue. The standard one-hour episodic that I’m used to writing is dialogue heavy and with Cardinal we had to find ways of cutting way back. Less was more, especially John Cardinal. He doesn’t say much. Neither does Lise Delorme, really. In their scenes together, so much of what they say passes between their faces. The other big thing is that when we were breaking the episodes we were working on index cards with a colour-coded system. We made sure that we had a specific colour that was the visual card. There was no plot, we just knew we wanted an image there. It wasn’t part of the story. The landscape of Cardinal is character in the show, so we were breaking story, plotting characters and thinking a lot about visuals.

Can you talk a little bit about working with Jeff Renfroe? He directed all six episodes and established a wonderful colour palette and look for Season 2.
I thought that Daniel Grou and Aubrey did a wonderful job in Season 1. Everybody talked about that dark, cold landscape and how much landscape was a part of the show. And my story takes place in the summer, right? The first conversation I had with Jeff was, ‘What will be our birch tree? What will be Cardinal’s mind palace, for lack of a better word? What are we going to see when we are trying to get into the emotion of the characters?’ From a writing perspective, we always thought about cottage country in the summer. Boats, beaches, campfires and going to the bar in the summer when the sun hasn’t even gone down yet. Bugs swarming you. And then I looked to Jeff and Dylan Macleod, our cinematographer to undercut that so that we always have that eerie feeling that things aren’t quite right. Our touchstone was that there was a rot behind the beauty. A decaying quality.

How did you go about choosing your writing team? 
Both Sienna and Bell were very supportive of me finding the right people for my little room. I had just worked with Jennica on Motive and we get along really well. Not only is she a very good one-hour procedural writer but I also know her as a poet so I knew she would be able to bring that lyrical, metaphorical quality to the writing and in the imagery. And she’s also got comedy chops. I had met Alison socially but I had never worked with her before, but we share an agent and Alison has had a project in development with Sienna, so they knew her and she’d done 19-2 with Bell so they knew her. And I knew from my group of writer friends that Alison was good with one-hour procedurals not only with breaking but with serialized storytelling in This Life. We had a telephone conversation and I got to know a great new writer in the process. We also had a fourth person in the room named Gemma Holdway who was our intern at first and then was upgraded to story editor.

Bruce Ramsay played a wonderful bad guy in Ray Northwind.
Casting that character was huge. When we were developing the series and writing the scripts always in the back of our minds was, ‘Who are we going to get to play Ray?’ It can’t be the moustache-twirling stock villain. It has to be someone with some pain and some layers and a bizarre, otherworldly confidence. It was a tall order and we were thrilled to get Bruce.

Terri ends up being a real bad-ass and flat-out saves Kevin in a lot of ways in the finale.
That was another conscious change that we made from the book. She gets a little forgotten about by the end of the book and we thought that because we’ve invested so much time with her and she’s really put her life on hold to come and extricate her brother from a bad situation, we didn’t see her as someone who would just give up. We think she’s a fighter and wanted to have her be active in the finale.

How long did the fight scene between Cardinal and Ray last when it came to filming it?
It was faster than you might think because we had a lot of camera coverage and we covered it from every angle. Every filming day was packed and Jeff had so much to accomplish and that day was no different because we had stunts and underwater work and working in the dark. I had a lot of discussion with Jeff and Dylan in pre-production about motivating light at the camp. In the book, the place is completely off the grid and it would have been all lanterns and candles and flashlights but because we needed some practical lighting to motivate Dylan’s lighting along the walkways and down by the shore so we could see the actors’ faces and know what was going on we said, ‘OK, they have a generator somewhere.’

If anyone has read the books they know Catherine dies at the beginning of the third novel, By the Time You Read This. Why was it decided she would die at the end of Season 2?
There were lots of conversations around that to make sure it was the best choice. For the writers, we thought that if we didn’t end Catherine’s story there that if you looked back over the six episodes of Season 2 you would say, ‘What is Catherine and Cardinal’s story?’ There is a strong beginning because she’s out of the hospital and is well and back at work. Their daughter is doing well in Toronto. But there is always this undercurrent of when is the next time and it’s inevitable there will be a next time. Cardinal is ready to hang it up so that he can be there with Catherine so that maybe there isn’t a next time. That, of course, is a dream.

What did you think of Season 2 of Cardinal? Are you excited to see Season 3? Let me know in the comments and check out the Season 3 teaser trailer!

 

 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail

Cardinal: Behind-the-scenes with Sienna Films’ Jennifer Kawaja

Are you enjoying Blackfly Season, faithful Cardinal fans? Will Lise Delorme (Karine Vanasse) and John Cardinal (Billy Campbell) keep Terri (Alex Paxton-Beesley) safe Thursday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CTV, or will Ray Northwind (Bruce Ramsay) track her down?

We’ve certainly loved the new season so far and have Julia Sereny and Jennifer Kawaja of Sienna Films to thank. The production company founders are not only responsible for executive-producing the Cardinal franchise, but the Global/CBS drama Ransom, Global’s excellent military drama Combat Hospital, web series in Riftworld Chronicles and the feature films New Waterford Girl and How She Move.

We spoke to Jennifer Kawaja last summer on the set of Blackfly Season about how the series came to be, the excitement of filming on location and working with stars Billy Campbell and Karine Vanasse.

Give me the origin story. How did Cardinal end up a Sienna Films production?
Jennifer Kawaja: CTV optioned the project and they went looking for producers to work with them. We fell in love with Giles Blunt’s books and his writing and it really felt like it was in our wheelhouse in the sense that it is Canadian, Canada playing Canada, on location—we love the specificity of the little things that happen when you’re on location shooting something—so we really tried to get the project. Once we did get it, we developed it and then [Season 1 showrunner] Aubrey Nealon came on board and wrote two scripts. That’s when CTV greenlit it.

The seasons attracted us as well. Each book is set in a different season. We love how Giles uses the physical environment in his storytelling.

Does being inside a warehouse that’s been converted into a set turn you off?
No. We did that with Combat Hospital in Etobicoke, Ont. That was fun to do. We love creating really specific worlds. Trying to get the feel of what Giles wrote and the feel of the place is important.

What are the challenges, if any, of going from Aubrey in Season 1 to Sarah Dodd as showrunner in Season 2 to Patrick Tarr in Season 3? 
It has been hard. The ice and the snow and the cold gives you a certain feeling right away. The change of season to summer, a completely different story that is much more case-heavy than the relationship between Delorme and Cardinal … but then we saw the dailies and we were excited. It’s Karine Vanasse and Billy Campbell as Delorme and Cardinal and even if the investigation into him isn’t there, there is still that chemistry. There’s simpatico between them and you just want to watch.

Is it important, as a producer, to be on-set during filming?
We’re pretty hands-on producers and always have been. We worked with [director] Podz and Aubrey very closely on Season 1. I really believe that, when you don’t have the budgets that the American shows have, every decision that you make has an effect on the show. You’re trying to create something without the money of a U.S. project so to make the right decision we feel the need to be here and be part of the team.

What can you say about Billy Campbell as John Cardinal?
CTV was very involved in that decision and was definitely encouraging in that way. We feel so lucky with Billy and Karine. Not only are they total pros and beautiful, amazing people—we’ve kept them in minus-40 weather with not enough clothing on and in the middle of bugs—they have never complained. They’ve always been game. It has been an incredible privilege. They have also connected with these characters. I think there is a part of Cardinal that is really Billy. And it’s the same with Karine and Delorme. Yes, they’re incredible actors but I feel they’ve really brought part of themselves to the roles.

Cardinal: Blackfly Season airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CTV.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

 

 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail

Cardinal: Billy Campbell and Karine Vanasse preview CTV’s Blackfly Season

Forget about catching a murderer. The real killers during the filming of Season 2 of Cardinal were the insects. As the title suggests, Cardinal: Blackfly Season—returning  Thursday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CTV—was filmed during the spring in North Bay, Ont., and boasted a horrific number of flying things that chomped on stars Billy Campbell, Karine Vanasse, and the rest of the cast and crew.

“Mosquitoes were first,” Campbell said during a break in filming last summer. “Then we had the blackflies, then the shadflies, horse flies, deer flies … a hands-worth of horrifying things. The thing about blackflies is that they have an anaesthetic they put into you first, so you don’t feel them biting and you only find out later when you get home and take off your shirt and it starts itching. And it itches for days.”

With Sarah Dodd (Motive) showrunning Blackfly Season, the Cardinal franchise once again embraces Giles Blunt’s book series to tell its twisted tale. Where Season 1 set the table for viewers by introducing Det. John Cardinal (Campbell) and Det. Lise Delorme (Vanasse) and the world they inhabit, Season 2 offers plenty for viewers to feast on. The Nordic noir theme returns with the star addition to the cast once again Northern Ontario, ruggedly beautiful and buggy as all hell. It’s against that backdrop we’re introduced to Red (Alex Paxton-Beesley) a young woman who stumbles out of the forest bug-bitten and suffering from amnesia on Thursday. Who she is and what crime she witnessed is the focus of Season 2’s six episodes.

Karine Vanasse as Lise Delorme

Along for the drama are returning characters in Det. Jerry Commanda (Glen Gould), Catherine Cardinal (Deborah Hay), Staff Sergeant Noelle Dyson (Kristen Thomson), Cpl. Malcolm Musgrave (David Richmond Peck) and Kelly Cardinal (Alanna Bale). New faces in the fictional Algonquin Bay include Ray Northwind (Bruce Ramsay), Kevin Tait (Jonathan Keltz), Det. Alan Clegg (Kevin Hanchard), Scott Lasalle (Kris Holden-Ried) and Leon Rutkowsky (Dan Petronijevic).

We spoke to Campbell and Vanasse, who gave us some Season 2 scoop.

Aubrey Nealon was the showrunner in Season 1 of Cardinal. This season it’s Sarah Dodd. What’s it been like working with her?
Billy Campbell: I’d never had the pleasure of working with Sarah before and I have now. It was as smooth a transition as you can imagine. It was different people involved but the same quality of everything. Aubrey, as you know, did the whole first season himself and it nearly broke him. [Laughs.] Sarah had a few people with her and I think it was a much easier thing all the way around for that reason.

The book this season is based on is called Blackfly season and you filmed during blackfly season. What were the bugs like?
BC: Horrifying. Horrifying. Mosquitoes were first, then we had the blackflies, then the shadflies, horse flies, deer flies … a hands-worth of horrifying things. The thing about blackflies is that they have an anaesthetic they put into you first, so you don’t feel them biting and you only find out later when you get home and take off your shirt and it starts itching. And it itches for days. I slathered myself with mosquito repellant, the DEET-free stuff, and it worked like a charm until I got home and realized they’d gotten under my shirt and had burrowed into my hair and eaten into my scalp. I saw a horse fly down by the river during one day of shooting out of the corner of my eye and I thought it was a hummingbird. I looked and it was a fricking horse fly.

Karine Vanasse: The bugs are really present. I was just really glad I wasn’t bitten around my eyes. There was one scene where they had to film me from one side of my face because the other side was all swollen. The seasons are so well-explored in the books—the beauty of the area and the atmosphere is very heavy—it’s perfect for the heaviness of the story; the weight that Cardinal is carrying compared and contrasting with how lush the landscape is.

Alex Paxton-Beesley as “Red”

Where are we at when we catch up with John Cardinal?
BC: To me, the spine of the show is what’s happening with Cardinal and Delorme. And then, of course, there are the things to support that. The crime itself is almost incidental. It’s almost symbolic of the tortured inner life in a way. Where Cardinal is when we start the second season is, what I’ve figured out, is he really wants to quit. The first time we see him this season he’s lounging in the back of a motorboat on a lake with Catherine and he takes her to see a little cabin on the lake and says, ‘I can fix it up and I can quit.’ She says, ‘Pfft, you’re never going to quit.’ He really wants to be done and, at the same time, he’s afraid of being done because he has a wife who is sick and isn’t sure what he would do if he wasn’t doing this. As far as he and Delorme are concerned, they already feel a certain way about each other.

As far as he and Delorme are concerned, they already feel a certain way about each other. For me, it’s there, it’s just that he can’t even admit it to himself. There is an intimacy between them and I’m convinced a respect for each other as detectives. There is that running under the surface and the things that happen in the second season … Sarah and the gang did a wonderful job of interweaving what will happen in the third season into Season 2.

In Season 1, Lise had a boyfriend in Josh, who was not a character in the books. What about in Season 2? No Josh, right?
KV: Oh no. We see that she’s not really sad about that. What we get from the books is that Lisa really doesn’t have much of a social life. And, by having a boyfriend and then having him leave is just a confirmation that she doesn’t have much of a social life.

What’s her journey in Season 2?
KV: She shared a secret with Cardinal in Season 1 and he didn’t want to talk about it. So, where do you go from there? She still has that feeling he’s keeping something from her and she’s confused about how she’s feeling at her job and working with him. This season we see what it means for Lise to be affected by a case when it hits home. Not because you’re closely related to that person but because you care. That’s new to her.

Cardinal airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CTV.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail