Tag Archives: Karine Vanasse

Cardinal: Writer Noelle Carbone reviews “Roman & Irena”

After a stellar beginning to this cycle of Cardinal, Thursday’s latest, “Roman & Irena,” vaulted the A-story forward while exploring the life of Noelle Dyson (Kristen Thomson) in a shocking way.

While Cardinal (Billy Campbell) was able to confirm his suspicions that Catherine didn’t commit suicide, Dyson was plunged into an awful situation when a young man walked into a local laundromat with a gun. Despite her best efforts to stop him, he killed himself there. The scene between Dyson and Cardinal, two people wracked with guilt and confusion, was stunning. Meanwhile, the discovery of Roman and Irena’s bodies was just plain gross. And, as it turns out, wasn’t the way it was originally written in the script.

We spoke to the episode’s writer, Noelle Carbone—whose resumé includes co-executive producing credits on Wynonna Earp, Rookie Blue, Coroner and Saving Hope—about this week’s episode.

Congratulations on being part of Season 3 of Cardinal.
Noelle Carbone: Thanks! It’s really exciting to finally get to show people what we made so long ago.

You’ve worked with Patrick Tarr before on Saving Hope. Was that the key to you signing on? How did you become part of the Cardinal franchise?
NC: Patrick was definitely the reason I signed on. We worked really well together on Saving Hope even though our creative instincts differed. And this was his first time out as a showrunner so I really wanted to be there to support him for that. But he also warned me that the tone of the show was much darker than what I’m used to writing. So he sent me a sneak peak of Season 1 and as soon as I saw the pilot I was completely invested in these characters, which sealed the deal. I did have a slight worry coming in that I might not be the best writer to capture the tone of the show. But Patrick seemed to have complete confidence in me. And he’s the boss so … [Laughs.]

What excited you about being on the writing team?
NC: There were so many things I was excited about. One, I’d never adapted anything for TV before so that was a cool prospect. Two, I’d never done a show where the audience spends time outside the point of view of the main characters—like in the bad guys’ POV, or in the victim’s POV—so that interested me.

What is Patrick like as a showrunner?
NC: He’s a wonderful showrunner. And not just because he bought me a hot dog toaster (you heard me) as a wrap gift. He’s that rare balance of super creative but also impeccably organized. He knew what he wanted and knew how to organize the workflow to make the most of our short time together. At one point we had, like, five charts going at once tracking all the different timelines and POVs that were in play. He also made a decision early on that I think the entire success of the season hinges on: combining two of Giles Blunt’s books to make one season. There was a great crime story in one of the books and a great personal story for Cardinal in the other book. So Patrick pitched the producers on combining them, which gave us so much rich material to draw from when we were breaking the season. It gave Cardinal this compelling personal story, which allowed Delorme to take command of the compelling case.

Aubrey Nealon created this world and Sarah Dodd expanded it. What did the Season 3 team do to leave their mark on the franchise?
NC: We tried not to screw it up? (laughs) I think Aubrey—and Russ [Cochrane]— did extraordinary work in Season 1. Aubrey took a lot of risks with pacing and tone and character development. And the audience, myself included, really responded to it.

I thought it was really cool how Sarah and Patrick worked together to make sure the seasons flowed nicely together and that we weren’t repeating or missing anything, or using anything that would be better in Season 2 and vice versa. It’s rare that you get an opportunity to collaborate that much with the person showrunning the season before you. I think they really made the most of it and helped and supported each other.

In terms of Season 3, I think the biggest thing was calibrating the Cardinal and Delorme dynamic. In Season 1 she’s investigating him and that was a great dynamic and super compelling. Then in Season 2 they’re working together and learning to trust and respect each other immensely. So for Season 3, we had to figure out what the third point on that arc was—to find a new and fresh dynamic for them, but stay true to the first two seasons and how far they’ve come individually and as partners. That’s the heart of the show right there. Hopefully, we did it right.

I’ve read all of the John Cardinal books. Now I can ONLY picture Billy Campbell and Karine Vanasse in these roles. They are that good. What was it like writing for and working with them?
NC: I remember hearing an anecdote from the House of Cards showrunner, Beau Willimon. He said that any time there was a scene with Robin Wright, she would ask to cut 90 per cent of her lines because she knew she could act the rest. That’s how I feel about Billy and Karine. They can communicate all the emotion and intensity of a scene without ever talking about what they’re feeling. That’s a gift for the writers and the actors. But you have to trust that the audience will go along for the (silent) ride. So as I was writing a scene I was kind of thinking, ‘What’s the least amount of dialogue I can get away with here,’ and pushing myself to make sure that the stage directions were precise—where and when people sit or stand, what they do in their hands, their furtive glances. All of that stuff matters. I know a lot of shows where the stage directions are glazed over and rarely followed because all that matters is the talking. And here it matters so much, so you have to write it like it matters. That was a lot of fun as a writer. But also kind of scary when you’re first getting used to it. But really rewarding. There’s a scene in Episode 2 that I’m particularly proud of. It’s between Cardinal and Dyson at a café and it’s a great example of what I’m talking about. And of course, any scene between Cardinal and Delorme is gonna give you that.

I love that the writing and direction from Podz allows for scenes to breathe. There is no rush. That’s so rare on conventional television and I applaud CTV for allowing something like that to exist. It must be so rewarding to see the scenes acted out that way.
NC: I also applaud CTV for allowing something like this to exist! I wish we could have more of this on our screens. But I understand why that’s a scary proposition for a broadcaster. The way audiences watch TV has changed so much—people are generally doing other things while they watch a show. And a show that has minimal dialogue, and one where every silent beat and every look and every breath counts, you can’t fold your laundry or be on Tinder (that’s still a thing, right?) while you’re watching a show like that. You have to just watch otherwise you miss so much. It’s asking a lot more of an audience. But the gamble seems to have paid off for CTV and I’m really happy about that. I know a lot of Canadian writers are really happy about that.

Do you get chills when actors and actresses say the words you have written on the page?
NC: Sometimes. Like sometimes you think you know how a scene is gonna play out and then when the actors do it, they elevate it to such a height that you can’t even believe it’s the same scene you wrote. That’s an amazing feeling and really makes you realize how collaborative this job is. And yes, I’m always completely in awe when something I’ve written makes it on screen. That feeling never goes away. It’s the coolest thing in the world.

Let’s get into this episode, ‘Roman and Irena.’ You had the luxury of writing a pretty gruesome scene: the murder victims being cut from the boat seat and the autopsy in Toronto. It was pretty gross; well done!
NC: The funny thing is, the ‘discovering the bodies’ scene I wrote was completely different than what ended up in the show. But maybe equally as gruesome? You’ll have to ask Patrick. The original idea was that the victims were discovered on a burial platform in the woods, pecked to pieces by turkey vultures. Like a sky burial ritual. For story reasons—and I think production reasons—Patrick ended up changing it. When he sent me the cut of the new scene, and those bodies come up from the lake, I literally yelled ‘HOLY S**T!’ at my computer and then immediately sent Patrick a string of alternating vomit and thumbs up emojis. It was just a gorgeous sequence. But I’m with you, Greg, totally gross at the same time.

How do you approach writing a limited-run series of six episodes as opposed to a 10- or more episode season? IS there a different approach?
NC: Write faster! Seriously though, I think a story expands or contracts to fit the amount of time you have to tell it. Plus with six you have the ability to go, ‘OK. This is just a three-act structure, times two.’ And for some reason that makes writers feel better even though half of us don’t actually know what that means or how that’s helpful. With a super serialized show like Cardinal, and especially when you’re using source material, I think six is a good number because you have to keep the details of every episode in your head at all times while you’re breaking—in case you get to Episode 5 and realize things are moving too slowly and you have too much story left to tell. Or you realize nothing happens until Episode 3 so you have to pull up a bunch of story elements and re-break everything. Or you realize that some small detail in Episode 4 actually makes Episode 3 much better. I personally am not smart enough to keep 10 episodes in my head. I barely had enough brain capacity to do that with six.

The character of Noelle Dyson has gradually expanded in the last two seasons. Now she really has her own story, concerning the death of her sister and then Perry at the laundromat. Why was that decision made, to include more personal stories of the supporting characters?
NC: It’s impossible to tell everyone’s story at once, especially when you’re only doing six episodes. With those first six (Season 1) episodes you really have to focus your energy on getting to know your two leads and cementing their dynamic. You need the audience to fall in love with Cardinal and Delorme otherwise you’re sunk. Once you get into later seasons—like if the whole series was one season, we’d only be on episodes 13-19 by now—there’s room to dig deeper with the rest of the ensemble. And Dyson is such an integral part of the team that she seemed like an obvious choice for more personal stories.

The parallels between she and John are chilling. Neither of them want to go home. The scene between them in the restaurant was so sad.
NC: That’s one of my favourite scenes I’ve ever written. And Billy and Kristen made it even much better than I imagined. Apparently, the napkin ripping was a HUGE pain in the ass for the post production people but I was looking for something Cardinal could be doing with his hands since I knew he wouldn’t be doing much talking. He doesn’t want to talk about his grief so he doesn’t expect her to talk about hers. All they have to offer each other is proximity. I thought they played it beautifully.

By the end of the episode, you unveil Mama. Who is she??
NC: Let’s just say that everything you need to know about that woman is in her name.

What have you learned, as a writer or otherwise, from working on Cardinal?
NC: That less is more. Don’t overwrite. Trust your actors and director to convey and deliver what’s left unsaid — and trust your audience to pick up on the nuances. And if they don’t, have enough murdery bits to keep them invested and entertained.

Want to score the ultimate Cardinal contest? Visit CTV.ca to enter for a chance to win an on-set experience by watching the latest episode of Cardinal, Season 3, and visiting CTV.ca to submit your answer to the trivia question.

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

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

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.

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

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.

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

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!

 

[themoneytizer id=”12602-16″]

 

 

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

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.

 

[themoneytizer id=”12602-28″]

 

 

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail