Tag Archives: Noah Reid

Sarah Levy says goodbye to Schitt’s Creek

It’s the beginning of the end for Schitt’s Creek. The CBC series, which has garnered acclaim in Canada and the U.S.—where it airs on Pop TV—bows its final episodes beginning Tuesday at 9 p.m. on CBC.

To say Schitt’s Creek, co-created by and starring Daniel and Eugene Levy, has been groundbreaking is an understatement. What began as a snicker-worthy word gag because of its title has evolved into a truly wonderfully heartfelt series about acceptance, love and family. And, the characters have evolved with it, including Twyla. When we were first introduced to Twyla, she was friendly, but a little dim. Now, she and fellow supporting characters like Patrick, Ted and Ronnie have become fan favourites, equal to main characters David, Johnny, Moira (Catherine O’Hara), Alexis (Annie Murphy), Roland (Chris Elliott) and Stevie (Emily Hampshire).

We spoke to Sarah Levy about how she scored the role of Twyla, playing a beloved character, saying goodbye to the series and what her future holds.

I’m sorry that Schitt’s Creek is ending, but I respect Daniel deciding this would be the final season and concluding the series the way he wants to.
Sarah Levy: I think that’s exactly it. I mean, so often we see shows really just go for as long as they can. I admire that but on the other hand, I think that it’s necessary that when you’re telling a story, there is an ending to that story. And quality does decrease when you just kind of keep it going for the sake of keeping it going. So I give a lot of credit to Daniel and dad for ending a good thing while we’re on top.

Let’s go back to the beginning. In the first season, Twyla was introduced as a well-intentioned waitress who seemed a bit dim. How did you end up on the show in the first place? Did you have to audition or was it assumed you’d be a part of it?
SL: It was kind of insane. I had majored in theatre at university. I studied it and then I moved out to L.A. to pursue acting. So I had been here for a couple of years and then Daniel moved here once he finished up with MTV. [He and my dad] had this idea and they asked if I wanted to be a part of it if it was even something that I want it to be a part of. And of course, it was. The opportunity to work with my family seemed a really wonderful thing. And we obviously had no idea where it would go, but I went along for the ride gladly.

Twyla has grown over the last five seasons and become very much a beloved character, alongside Ronnie and Patrick. What has it been like seeing these characters evolve?
SL: I think it’s incredible and it’s a testament to the writing as well, that these characters aren’t getting lost. They’re all so well crafted and unique and well written and we have wonderful people playing those characters, Noah Reid and Karen Robinson. So it’s been incredible the support that we’ve gotten from fans when it comes to our characters because they aren’t necessarily onscreen all the time, but they make their mark and I think that’s the most important fan part.

The other thing that has been amazing is how the writing room has introduced LGBTQ storylines. Very often that can be done very heavy-handed in primetime television. I’ve loved the way that it’s just been subtle; this is just the way the people are.
SL: That was something, again, that Daniel had been very strategic about. We’re so used to seeing these relationships on television being made a huge deal out of it and drawing attention to it, and is it good or is it bad and everybody kind of has a say in it. He was so adamant about it just being another relationship on television. We’re not trying to make it anything more than just a beautiful love story between two people.

We saw Patrick and David the proposal happened and the acceptance. Is it safe to assume that there’s a wedding in this final season?
SL: I think it’s safe to assume that there’s something of a wedding.

Are you happy with the way that the show ends? Do you think that fans will be happy?
SL: I’m more than happy with how it ended. I still love watching it like everybody else, all the fans, I don’t like to see anything really before it airs and I watch each episode as it airs. I think everyone is going to be so satisfied with this ending. I think that’s the beauty of being able to end it when you want that you can craft it in a way that ties everything up in a beautiful bow without cutting anything short before its time. And of course, it’s bittersweet, it was a sad day but we can’t deny that is a beautiful ending and I really think that everyone’s going to just cry some happy tears.

What can you say about Twyla’s storylines for the sixth season?
SL: It’s more of advice-giving. One of my favourite things about Twyla and Alexis is they’ve developed this really wonderful friendship where they give each other advice … more Twyla giving Alexis advice on things that she should probably do or not do. We get into a couple of those scenarios. I think everyone is going to be thrilled and excited and so pleased with her future.

You’ve signed on to a new series. Tell me about it.
SL: It’s called Best Intentions and it’s for Pop TV. We don’t know exact dates of when that starts, but sometime in the spring and it has a great cast and it’s written by Adam Herz who actually wrote American Pie. So we’re in wonderful hands and it’s very full circle for me actually because we shot the pilot last year, which marked the 20th anniversary of American Pie. And it was very surreal to now have my own working relationship with Adam because he works so closely with my dad. So it was a really fun shoot and hopefully, we can continue that.

Finally, you released a Christmas song just before the holidays. How did ‘Big Christmas’ come about?
SL: I’ve been writing music for as long as I can remember and I play piano and guitar and music has always been a huge part of my life growing up. My grandmother was a great singer, my mom is a great singer, songwriter and dad won a Grammy for songwriting. So maybe it’s this subcategory of our family dynamic that not many people know about. I’ve been working with a writing partner, a woman named Shevy Smith, who’s a fantastic writer and producer and singer. We’ve been working through the fall just writing some stuff. And I went to her and said, ‘Should we really be writing a Christmas song?’ I’ve always thought it was a really daunting challenge because Christmas is so saturated.

We just tried to write something that we loved, and that was really the point of it. Something that had a positive message and was about being together with the people you love, whoever those people are, whether it be family or friends or someone you love. And we just wrote it in about a session and a half and then it took no longer than a week before we recorded it and put it out. So it all happened very quickly but we’re so thrilled, it’s so exciting.

Download Sarah’s single, “Big Christmas” on Spotify or iTunes.

Schitt’s Creek airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.

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Schitt’s Creek: Annie Murphy promises more heart and Ew, David’s in Season 5

It was almost a year ago that Schitt’s Creek jumped from a show slowly growing in popularity to an overnight smash. It was last winter, during Season 4, when Patrick—played by Noah Reid—sang “Simply the Best” to David Rose (Daniel Levy), publicly professing his love during an open mic night, bringing worldwide attention to the comedy and donations to LGBT Youth Line in Canada and The Trevor Project in the U.S.  via iTunes and Spotify downloads.

Since then, Schitt’s Creek—which airs on Pop in the U.S.—was nominated for Best Comedy at the Critic’s Choice Awards. The cast will be attending the January 13 event. A special Christmas episode brought further attention to the program, ensuring it remains a holiday staple. Next, a theatre tour through February, culminating with a stop in Toronto.

But while awards shows and tours beckon, Annie Murphy says the focus of the series remains the same.

“Each season peels back a layer on the family and the people of Schitt’s Creek,” she says over the phone. “This season is no different. There is a lot of love, a lot of heart and lot of the goofy, wonderful laughs that we’re used to. And a lot of ‘Ew, Davids.’”

When viewers tune in on Tuesday at 9 p.m. on CBC, they’ll see a family that has truly become a part of the community. David and Patrick’s store, Rose Apothecary, is still in business, Alexis (Murphy) and Ted (Dustin Milligan) are still together and the Rosebud Motel is still standing thanks to Stevie (Emily Hampshire), Roland (Chris Elliott) and Johnny (Eugene Levy). Only Moira (Catherine O’Hara) is absent but that’s because she’s in Bosnia filming a movie. David, worried things are getting stale between he and Patrick, agrees to accompany Alexis and Ted on a double date that involves nature and heights, two things surely on David’s Must Avoid list.

“[We filmed] in a ropes course that I never knew existed,” Murphy says with a laugh. “I was feeling very confident going into it because I’m not afraid of heights. But once they strapped us in and we were up there on the platform with no barrier around it, we all had a bit of a moment up there. It was way higher than it looked, I can assure you of that.”

Murphy hints that changes are in store for Alexis in Season 5. Aware of what she’s put Ted through over the past few seasons—including cancelled wedding engagements—the fashionista realizes she has to devote more to their relationship than before. She puts herself into a scenario we haven’t seen her in.

And though the actions by Milligan, Murphy, Reid, O’Hara and Daniel Levy are all great in Tuesday’s return, it is Eugene Levy’s scenes that grabbed my attention. Levy has made a career out of being the straight man and leaving it up to his co-stars to grab the spotlight. He turns in the most sensitive performances I’ve seen from him, making for a commanding presence. They actually carry over from “Merry Christmas, Johnny Rose,” an emotional storyline in which Johnny tried to bring his family together for the holidays. It brought a tear to my eye. Turns out I wasn’t alone.

“Eugene really, really grounds all of the characters that surround him,” Murphy says. “In the Christmas episode especially, watching him play such a sad guy. When he’s releasing the tree and when he goes off to the café by himself, I had a hard time holding it together when we were shooting. I looked over and saw Dustin wiping away a tear. He’s such a wonderful human being and that really comes across in his acting.”

Agreed.

Schitt’s Creek airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on CBC and CBC Gem.

Images courtesy of CBC.

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Schitt’s Creek: Noah Reid’s Patrick is “simply the best”

Using a song to amp up a scene is tricky business. The wrong one can lead to a disconnect and snap the viewer right out of it. But when it’s done right, it can inspire, create emotion and become something iconic.

Schitt’s Creek did the latter last Tuesday when Patrick (Noah Reid) performed “Simply the Best” to David (Daniel Levy) during an open mic night at Rose Apothecary. The stripped-down, acoustic version of the Tina Turner classic was easily the most talked about scene of Season 4 and elevated Patrick and David’s relationship to something truly special, a fact Reid is still amazed and gratified by a week later.

“It’s wild,” Noah says during a chat on the phone. “I’ve been sort of following it peripherally through family who’ve said, ‘Oh my god, it’s in the iTunes Top 10.’ When we made the song, I was super nervous about it because I knew it had the potential to be a really big moment for both the characters and the audience.” Reid, who released his debut album Songs From A Broken Chair in 2016—and snagged a Canadian Screen Award nomination for Best Original Song for his work in the feature film People Hold On—was skittish about taking Tina Turner’s 1991 smash hit and turning it into a memorable moment for Patrick and David.

“Dan said that the lyrics never get their due because it’s such a pop anthem, so you think of the instrumentation and the chorus,” Reid recalls. He struggled with nailing down the tempo of his arrangement before finding inspiration in the guitar pattern of a tune by Afie Jurvanen (a.k.a. Bahamas) that lifted the song.


Related: CBC renews Schitt’s Creek for Season 5


The tune is the capper to what has been the wonderful growth of a relationship. Rather than the mean-spirited mockery that has become a trope of primetime comedies, Levy and his team have created something special. Yes, Patrick teases David and points at his partner’s neuroses (to the delight of Stevie and viewers), but it’s done gently and out of love.

Reid is mum regarding questions about whether Patrick will perform another song for David in the coming weeks, or what’s in store for the couple as Season 4 winds down, but was quick to answer if there was a song that connected a scene the way “Simply the Best” has with Schitt’s Creek viewers.

“The benchmark for me is probably Glen Hansard in Once,” he says. “The way that the songs were woven in and were such an integral part of the story. He’s such an incredible musician and singer and Markéta Irglová, who plays the pianist in that film, they had a really amazing connection too.”

Schitt’s Creek airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on CBC.

You can purchase “Simply the Best” via iTunes or stream on Spotify. All proceeds from the downloads go directly to LGBT Youth Line in Canada and The Trevor Project in the U.S.

Image courtesy of CBC.

 

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