Tag Archives: Morwyn Brebner

CBC’s hit original drama Coroner begins production on Season 4

From a media release:

Muse Entertainment, Cineflix Studios, and Back Alley Films are thrilled to announce that production has started in Toronto and Ontario on season four (12×60) of the CBC original series and audience favourite CORONER, starring Serinda Swan (Inhumans, Ballers) as coroner Dr. Jenny Cooper with Roger Cross (Dark Matter, Caught) as Detective Donovan McAvoy. Inspired by the best-selling series of books by M.R. Hall and created for television by Morwyn Brebner (Saving Hope, Rookie Blue), the new season will debut on CBC and the CBC Gem streaming service in Winter 2022. 

This season, Serinda Swan will feature her talents behind the camera for her television series directorial debut. Swan joins a dynamic and acclaimed group of directors including Adrienne Mitchell (Durham County, Bellevue), Ruba Nadda (Frankie Drake Mysteries), Farhad Mann (Murdoch Mysteries), Samir Rehem (Tiny Pretty Things), Cory Bowles (Pretty Hard Cases) and Liz Farrer (Coroner). Award-winning writer/producer Adriana Maggs (Caught, Grown Up Movie Star) will lead the series as Showrunner with a celebrated and illustrious writing team including Noelle Carbone (Wynonna Earp), Shannon Masters (Cardinal), Laura Good (Burden of Truth), Nathalie Younglai (Super Zee), Seneca Aaron (Nurses), Wendy ‘Motion’ Brathwaite (Akilla’s Escape), JP Larocque (Another Life), Mazi Khalighi (Foraldraskap) and Lindsey Addawoo (Promise Me). 

CORONER stars Serinda Swan as Dr. Jenny Cooper with Roger Cross as Detective Donovan McAvoy; Ehren Kassam (Degrassi, Next Class) as Ross; Nicholas Campbell (Da Vinci’s Inquest, Bad Blood) as Gordon Cooper; Jennifer Dale (SurrealEstate) as Margaret ‘Peggy’; Andy McQueen (Station Eleven) as Malik Abed; Kiley May (It Chapter Two) as River Baitz; Shawn Ahmed (Awake) as Alphonse; and Jon de Leon (Downsizing) as Dennis Garcia. Thom Allison (Killjoys) joins the cast this season in the recurring role as the highly competitive and commanding Dr. Elijah Thompson. 

CORONER was the highest-rated new drama series premiere on CBC in 2019. Following that, NBCUniversal International Networks (NBCUIN) acquired the rights to all three seasons of the series for multiple territories from global distributor Cineflix Rights. The third season premiered across NBCUIN’s channel portfolio in Sub-Saharan Africa, France, Spain, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Latin America and Brazil. In Germany, season three premiered on 13TH Street. CORONER airs in the U.S. on The CW network and is available on their digital platforms including the CW app. Season three will premiere on Thursday, August 19th at 8pm. CORONER premiered on Sky Witness in the UK, with season three currently on air. Cineflix Rights has also sold the series to the UK’s Channel 4 for its More 4 channel. Most recently CORONER is slated to air on Nine Network (Australia), Sky (UK), Paramount+ (Nordics), SBS (Belgium), Sky Italia, Globoplay (Brazil), and Stöð 2 (Iceland). The series also launched on Netflix Canada in 2020.

A CBC original series, CORONER is produced by Muse Entertainment, Cineflix Studios, and Back Alley Films with the financial participation of the Canada Media Fund, the Bell Fund, the IPF’s COGECO Television Production Fund, TVA, the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit, and the Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit. Adrienne Mitchell is executive producer for Back Alley Films, Aren Prupas and Jonas Prupas are executive producers for Muse Entertainment with Peter Emerson and Brett Burlock as executive producers for Cineflix Studios. Serinda Swan is also Executive Producer with Showrunner Adriana Maggs, writer Noelle Carbone as well as Morwyn Brebner and Suzanne Colvin-Goulding.

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Morwyn Brebner and Andrew Akman launch Husk Media in partnership with Cineflix Media

From a media release:

Cineflix Media is teaming up with award-winning showrunner Morwyn Brebner and TV executive Andrew Akman to launch Husk Media, a new television production company.

Toronto-based Husk Media will develop and produce programming for broadcasters and streamers worldwide. With Brebner spearheading creative efforts and Akman leading commercial affairs, the company will focus on projects created by Brebner, as well as projects in partnership with emerging and established writers and showrunners.

Cineflix will provide Husk Media with start-up financing and operating support, and has a first-look to distribute the shingle’s content internationally. The new production company joins Cineflix’s growing joint venture lineup which includes Mirage producer Connect3 Media and International Emmy® Award-winning Marcella producer Buccaneer Media.

Most recently honoured as 2021 Showrunner of the Year by the Writers Guild of Canada, Morwyn Brebner has produced premium scripted television for networks and platforms around the world, and is behind some of the longest-running, most successful dramas ever produced in Canada. Brebner’s credits include creating global hit Coroner (CBC/The CW Network/NBCUniversal International Networks), as well as co-creating supernatural medical series Saving Hope (CTV/ION) and police drama Rookie Blue (ABC/Global Television).

Andrew Akman brings more than 20 years of experience in production, distribution, and broadcasting. He has held senior management positions at some of Canada’s largest media and entertainment companies and will be transitioning out of his current role as COO at Cineflix Media.

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Links: Coroner Season 3 finale

From Heather M. of The Televixen:

Link: Adrienne Mitchell and Morwyn Brebner talk Coroner Season 3 and preview the finale
“She is very powerful, as a person and as an actor and can blow people off the screen. It’s not that she wants to. It’s just that’s what she brings. So they met and just had a chemistry that worked.” Continue reading.

From Heather M. of The Televixen:

Link: Adrienne Mitchell and Morwyn Brebner talk the Coroner Season 3 finale
How’s everyone doing after that finale? We’ll have to wait until Season 4 (fingers crossed) to break down that loaded look from Jenny at the end, but to tide you over, here’s the second part of my chat with co-showrunners Adrienne Mitchell and Morwyn Brebner about the other things we can discuss. Continue reading.

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Coroner: Morwyn Brebner and Adrienne Mitchell on Season 3’s “strange, magical” vibe

From the opening moments of Coroner’s Season 3 premiere, it’s clear that COVID-19 has invaded Dr. Jenny Cooper’s (Serinda Swan) world. There are social distancing measures during her group therapy class, full-body protective suits at her workplace, and in one painfully familiar scene, raw marks on her skin when she removes her mask.

“Yeah, that was a striking image,” creator and showrunner Morwyn Brebner says during a phone interview. “And it really did just evoke all the images that we’ve seen of the health care workers and the hours and hours and hours that they had to work in those masks.”

Executive producer and lead director Adrienne Mitchell concurs, adding that the scene demonstrates “the truth of people trying to make their way through this, from doctors down to personal care workers in homes, and just the physical toll that that took.”

Since Coroner is a medical-crime drama that focuses on death, Mitchell and Brebner felt it was natural to incorporate COVID-19 into the new season, which kicks off Wednesday at 8 p.m. on CBC. However, aside from the first episode’s plot involving the death of a long-term care worker who lacked access to PPE, they say the pandemic will influence the ambience of the series more than its storylines.

“The weird thing about the pandemic is that … it proposes the possibility of different ways of living,” explains Brebner. “We can go into different worlds and go through them with a real sense of curiosity and wonder.”

Over the course of this season’s 10 episodes, up from last year’s eight, Jenny and Detective Donovan McAvoy (Roger Cross) will investigate a slew of mysterious deaths in a variety of new environments.

“Because it’s been a COVID-19 year, where time is stopped and everything is surreal and you’re put on pause, you can invite unusual things into your life and hold them in a way that is perhaps more playful,” says Mitchell. “That’s what’s fun about this season: You can go from horror to haunted houses to witches to strange magic.”

This season will also have a different vibe because Jenny faced down several personal demons—including her complex relationship with her dad, Gordon (Nicholas Campbell)—during the show’s dark and psychologically fraught second season, letting her approach Season 3 with a fresh perspective.

“[Jenny]’s decided to be open to life, and that makes her vulnerable, but it also presents an incredible opportunity,” says Brebner. “It’s like allowing things to come at her while she’s embracing her trauma a little and trying to see what it is to her, as opposed to being afraid of it.”

According to Mitchell, series lead Swan—who has always tackled Jenny’s mental health issues with fearlessness and compassion—was completely onboard with her character’s emotional shift.

“Serinda was very much interested in exploring trauma as a tool,” says Mitchell. “So instead of [Jenny] succumbing and being paralyzed by it, now that she has a bit more of an understanding of it, how can she use it and draw from it to move through the world and connect with people who have their own individual traumas? … It’s very interesting. It’s a different journey for her this season.”

Behind the camera, Mitchell used “flares of light and the magic of light” to visually represent Jenny’s newfound appreciation for life, choices that are evident during a trippy, drug-infused sequence in the first episode.

“Only Morwyn can write about a weed journey in the middle of a very hard COVID-19 case, but it works,” laughs Mitchell. “Because [the way we normally live our lives] is sort of on pause because of COVID-19, it allows for unusual, strange, and living-in-the-moment events to take place, and there are some opportunities to have what I would call ‘strange joy.’”

However, not everything will be rosy for Coroner’s characters this season.

According to Brebner, McAvoy will have a health scare that forces him to face his mortality in a new way.

“He deals with death all the time,” she says. “He’s a homicide detective, he’s an incredibly stoic person, and he’s up against something that’s a new kind of adversary for him.”

Meanwhile, Liam (Éric Bruneau)—who left Jenny in last season’s finale—will still be struggling with his war-related PTSD.

“We ended Season 2 with the decision that they needed to be apart to heal, and that being together was going to be an obstacle to their healing,” says Mitchell. “And then the question is, where does that take them? Is that going to bring them back together or not?”

As for Brebner and Mitchell, they’re both trying to recover after Season 3’s exhausting, COVID-delayed five-month shoot, which ended on Jan. 22.

“We brought in a COVID-19 health management team, so we had about three or four rotating nurses and daily screens, in terms of temperature and questionnaires. We also had weekly COVID tests and a strict regimen of mask-wearing at all times,” Mitchell says.

The cast and crew were also required to stay six feet apart as much as possible, which was hard, Brebner notes, because TV production “is really a business where we stand close together and hand each other things.”

Still, they both say it was a “privilege” to work during the pandemic and are proud of the result.

“We go to deep, emotional places, but we also go to a lot of fun places,” Brebner says. “This season has a really strange and magical integrity to it.”

Mitchell concludes, “It’s just weird, but it’s a cool weird.”

Coroner airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on CBC and CBC Gem.

Images courtesy of CBC.

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Coroner: Serinda Swan on Jenny’s Season 2 journey and the joys of creative freedom

As the second season of Coroner begins, it’s clear that Dr. Jenny Cooper—the hit CBC crime drama’s competent but anxiety-prone heroine—still has a lot of personal demons to confront. She’s overmedicating and she’s developed a disturbing sleepwalking habit.

However, according to series lead Serinda Swan, Jenny doesn’t want to deal with any of this. 

“She just suppresses and suppresses and suppresses,” Swan tells us during a phone interview from her Los Angeles home. “She is taking six Ativan a day. She’s really numbing herself.”

It’s easy to understand why Jenny isn’t eager to dwell on her emotions. After all, Season 1 began with her husband’s death and ended with the revelation that she accidentally killed her sister when they were both children, a fact that her father Gordon (Nicholas Campbell) hid from her. That sort of trauma can be messy and time-consuming to unpack, but—unlike her character—Swan has no interest in glossing over the process.  

“One of the things I find can happen in television is that we establish a big tragedy in someone’s life and deal with it in the first season, and by the second season, we are kind of like, ‘Well, we solved that!’” says Swan. “You sort of lose that fundamental, true human trauma that we all have in various different ways. And mental illness was something that, if we were going to do, for me, you really have to do it justice.”

Swan’s commitment to her character’s mental health struggles led to a key moment in last week’s Season 2 premiere, where Jenny threw her bottle of anti-anxiety pills across a vegetable garden and then started to have a panic attack.

“Those are the types of scenes where I’m like ‘Hey, guys, I need about 15 seconds here to be able to show the panic,’” Swan says. “Because in that scene, she didn’t have any of that panic. It’s just written that she throws it and says, ‘Damnit,’ and goes after it.”

Swan’s license to change scenes on the fly are a tribute to the deep trust showrunner Morwyn Brebner and executive producer/lead director Adrienne Mitchell place in their headliner’s creative instincts and acting methods.

“This is the first project where I’ve really worked on asserting myself and said, ‘You guys, this is how I really, truly feel about this character,’ and have been given the space to be able to say it,” Swan says. “Adrienne and Morwyn have been so supportive of me this season—they were, of course, last season—but this season, Adrienne came to me and said, ‘I trust your instincts and you need to do what it is that you feel is right for Jenny.’ It was this beautiful sort of symbiosis.”

To get us ready for Monday’s new episode, “Borders,” we asked Swan to tell us more about her creative approach to Season 2 and preview how Jenny’s relationships with Gordon, who is suffering from dementia, her son Ross (Ehren Kassam), and her boyfriend Liam (Éric Bruneau) might evolve in upcoming episodes. 

When we last spoke, you told us that you helped develop some of Jenny’s physical quirks, such as the crooked way she cut her bangs, in the first season. What were some of the details you wanted to emphasize in Season 2?
Serinda Swan: We started again with the physicality. Her hair has grown out, and I let it go a little bit lighter. It’s a little bit more feminine, it’s a little bit more relaxed because that where she feels like she is. It’s sort of the outward expression of ‘I’m doing great!’ Then quickly, within the very first scene [of Season 2], you see her lighting a candle for Ross and the match burns down and burns her finger, but she doesn’t react, and you start to realize that she’s numbed herself in a way and that she doesn’t have normal reactions to things. So for me, it was sort of, ‘Oh, look at Jenny, she’s so fancy! We put her in a dress!’ And then it quickly becomes clear that it’s a coping mechanism. I wanted to show the polarity between the two. 

There was one other thing that we were playing with that was really interesting for Jenny physically, which was that she is afraid of her anger and is afraid of her physical anger. At the opening of the season, we see her tackle Kelly [Nicola Correia-Damudeand]. Originally, that wasn’t written in the script, and I said, ‘We need something physical in here to trigger Jenny’s sleepwalking, because that is the next iteration of the dog [from Season 1], right? How do we trigger it?’ The last time Jenny got so mad that she touched someone, she killed them, and that was her sister. At this point, she’s so mad, that [she decides] not another person is going to die in front of her. Nobody else is going to help this woman, and she just runs and tackles her, and this odd reaction comes out, her screaming ‘No!’ at this woman.

Kelly becomes a very big part of her life this season. So this is a journey for the two of them, which is really interesting to see. 

What else can you hint about Jenny’s journey this season?
SS: I think that moment where I throw my Ativan is a great analogy for the season. Obviously, she just talked to Dr. Sharma [Saad Siddiqui], and he’s like, ‘You need to feel, Jenny,’ and I’m like, ‘Why? I understand what happened, I understand the feeling is going to be sadness and all of those things. But I know what that is, I’m getting on with my life, I don’t need to go into it.’ She’s kind of reverting into something that she did before, which was control, control, control. 

It’s this constant suppression and avoidance and eruption this season. All of a sudden she has to face her demons. She has to face what happened in the past, and she has to have some really human conversations. She has to have them with herself, she has to have them with her son, with her boyfriend, and this season, a lot of it is around the conversations she won’t have, and eventually has to have, with her father around his choice to protect her from the truth—that inevitably just ended up protecting himself—because it hurt her so badly. There is a resentment there, and think that’s a really interesting thing to see.

In the premiere, we found out that Ross didn’t graduate from high school. How is that going to go over with Jenny?
SS: At first, she acts like a parent with him, and says, ‘You are in so much trouble and you’re going to get a job,’ and the typical parent reaction, but then, there’s this just utter betrayal that he didn’t tell her the truth, so it’s something for her that hits her at a really deep level. 

But it’s also sort of an interesting dynamic as Gordon deteriorates more and more, the relationship between Ross and Jenny gets more and more strained because he doesn’t understand Jenny’s anger toward her father. It’s a really interesting thing for Ross and Jenny to deal with. They’re going through a growing spurt, you could say. 

And we found out that Liam, who continues to struggle with PTSD, is now living with Jenny. Will they be able to support each other emotionally, or will there be conflict?
SS: Again, we try to ground everything in reality as much as possible. When you have these traumas, you either share them all, and that’s how you bond or you don’t share them at all, and that’s how you bond. And it seems like, at the beginning this season, they are doing the latter. They’re both ignoring the fact that they have work to do, and doing work outwardly, instead of inwardly. So Liam takes on the house as a project and keeps renovating for her and doing acts of service for her and kindness and all that, and Jenny’s out solving crimes and they’re both doing the thing that they think they need to be doing but really not talking about it. And as you see for Jenny, that the truth starts to bubble up, the same starts happening for Liam, he starts getting faced with his demons, and that becomes a point of contention within the relationship, of “Are you going to talk to me?”

And so it’s a struggle between two people who may have gotten into a relationship a little too soon but ultimately love each other so much. The love that’s in this relationship is really beautiful and really true for both of them. It’s just the timing that’s really interesting. They both kind of come into each other’s lives as lessons instead of as true, healthy partners, and so watching them kind of navigate that this season now that they’re in such close proximity is beautiful and lovely and funny and really heartbreaking. 

What are you most excited for viewers to see this season?
SS: For me, it’s having the audience continue Jenny’s journey. I’ve had so many messages from people who deal with mental illness letting me know that they felt seen within the show and within the character, and having that kind of responsibility and then sharing that with our creators and insisting on it in every scene and moment that I possibly could is what I’m excited to share this season.  And how adamant I was in holding that we all have cracks, we all have tears, we all have points of trauma in our life, but it doesn’t mean that we’re not capable, it doesn’t mean that we’re not strong, but it also doesn’t mean that we are able to deal with them all the time in the best possible way. 

I’m excited for people to see that, and I’m so grateful that people had that reaction the first season and shared it with me. Not only does it solidify why I’m an actor, but it also makes all the tough conversations that you have to have within the production on why you need a little more time to prepare to get ready for the panic attack or why you feel that Jenny needs to tackle someone rather than sit with someone a lot easier. It makes it easier to walk into a room and take up space for a second and say what I feel. And the beautiful thing about working with a room full of women is they go, ‘Oh, yes, of course, come sit at the table and let’s hear what you have to say.’ And that’s such a rewarding job to have. 

It’s like being forced to do paint-by-numbers your whole career and then suddenly someone gives you a blank canvass and says, ‘These are the colours you have, this is the character you have, but you’re allowed to paint the picture that you want.’

Coroner airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on CBC and CBC Gem.

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