Tag Archives: Omni

Blood and Water: Fire & Ice’s Sean Baek: “It’s fun to explore that dark side of humanity”

Sean Baek entered my television viewing world through Killjoys, that most excellent space adventure created by Michelle Lovretta. His character, Fancy Lee, made an immediate impact with fans and, by the show’s end, he was just one of many fan faves on that fine program.

Since then, Baek has turned in memorable roles on The Expanse, Coroner, Private Eyes, Nurses and Utopia Falls. His latest gig? On Omni’s Sunday night drama, Blood & Water: Fire & Ice, as villain Norris Pang.

Airing Sundays at 10:30 p.m. ET, this season follows disgraced former Vancouver cop Michelle Chang (Selena Lee)—now a Toronto-based private detective—as she hunts down Norris Pang (Baek), the man who has kidnapped her daughter. Pang is also the mastermind behind a money-laundering scheme happening at the Xie family’s casino, where Anna Xie (Elfina Luk) is attempting to expand the family business.

We spoke to Sean Baek about his acting origin story, playing a baddie and, well, his facial hair.

Before we get into Blood and Water: Fire & Ice, I was going through your bio and saw that you were part of the Stratford Festival. Did you always want to be an actor? 
Sean Baek: Yes. My parents took me and my older brother and sister to a movie theatre. My formative years were spent in South Korea and I can’t remember if I was four or five or six. We all went to the movie theatre and there was this film about a family that gets separated due to poverty. I didn’t understand the entire movie, but I remember just being glued to the screen, obviously, because it was a young family, there were young kids in the cast. I was mesmerized.

Fast forward a few years, and I actually auditioned for a training program [at Stratford] called the Birmingham Conservatory. For five months, six days a week from 10 to 6 every day, you delve into classical theatre and classical theatre performance. You would have teachers from the UK, the Royal Shakespeare Company, people who’ve worked with Orlando Bloom, Ian McKellen and all the legends as well. The first time I auditioned for it, I didn’t get in, but the second time was back in 2005 and I got in. I was one of 10 actors that got selected from across Canada.

Those five months were the best time of one of the best times of my life personally because I’ve met a lot of great friends, but also professionally because I learned so much. I already had nine years of acting under my belt, small to medium-sized theatres and film and TV credits here and there. But, I’ve always loved Shakespeare and I wanted to expand my knowledge. A little bit of luck had something to do with it too, but I put in a lot of hard work.

Let’s go from the stage to the screen. Let’s talk about Blood and Water: Fire & Ice. Creator Diane Boehme told me how COVID-19 messed up the production schedule. Can you give me the backstory of how you became involved? It sounds like your character was one person in one iteration of the show and then ended up being the Norris Pang who we’re seeing now.  
SB: We were filming in February of 2020 and into March. I was cast as this one character at the time named Norris Morris, and it was more of a hands-on sort of bad guy, this henchman type. Before we knew anything, production was shutting down. I was playing this character, and then the actor playing the main character in the first block—because he was from elsewhere—due to travel restrictions [could not return]. 

It was a hair-pulling experience for everybody involved, to say the least. During the hiatus—we had to stop filming from the middle to the end of March until the producers figured out, ‘OK, we’re going to block out these days and weeks to finish filming’—they had to rejig. They amalgamated my original character and the other character, so it became Norris Pang. He became this dude who does everything and anything possible to fulfill his goals. 

As an actor, I’m assuming you like to play a variety of characters, but I love it when you’re sinister and Norris is a sinister guy. 
SB: Thank you. My wife said after she saw it, ‘Oh wow, the creep factor is high.’ I was like, ‘Well, I get paid to do what I have to do.’ It’s fun to explore that dark side of humanity. That’s the fun part because you get to explore the psyche of this fictional character. 

How do the hair and the facial hair play into the building of a character like Norris? 
SB: The reason why I tend to have my beard is that when I shave I look a lot younger than my actual age. There was a period of my career, between the early to mid-thirties until my early forties when I was old enough to play young dads just like other colleagues. But I couldn’t because clean-shaven I was too old-looking to be in college, but I was too young-looking to be a dad.

I went through a lot of frustrating time periods like that. Now I go out for dad roles and characters who have kids a lot. That’s the reason why I tend to have that beard, just so that I can look the age that I am.

Blood and Water: Fire & Ice airs Sundays at 10:30 p.m. ET on Omni.

Images courtesy of Breakthrough Entertainment.

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Second Jen ends after three seasons on Omni

Jen and Mo have said goodbye. After three seasons on Omni, Second Jen will not be back for a fourth.

“It is bittersweet for us to announce that this has been the last season of Second Jen,” co-creators, co-executive producers and stars Amanda Joy and Samantha Wan, and showrunner Carly Heffernan posted on social media following the show’s Sunday season finale. “Thank you to everyone who has supported us. Thank you for the love and laughter over the years.”

“We leave Jen and Mo in a place that feels good; where they’ve grown, and learned, and come into their own,” the post continued. “We are so happy to have shared their journey with all of you. In many ways, their story has echoed our own.”

Read the rest of the post.

Over the course of three seasons, Second Jen centred on best friends Jen (Wan) and Mo (Joy) who banded together to tackle life’s ups-and-downs in Toronto.

Nominated for Best Comedy at the 2019 Canadian Screen Awards, the Season 3 cast included Nile Séguin, Janet Lo, Timothy Lai, Richard Tse, Tina Jung, Isabel Kanaan and Andrew Bushell. Guest stars included Andrew Phung, Ken Hall, Deb McGrath, Kathryn Greenwood, Ann Pornel, Rodrigo Fernandez-Stoll and Kathleen Phillips.

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Links: Second Jen, Season 3

From Agnes Constante of Inquirer.net:

Link: ‘Second Jen’ sitcom homes in on Asian Canadian life
Amanda Joy remembers being on stage in front of an audience during a live pitch contest several years ago. She and her friend had an idea for a show centred around people of colour that they wanted to bring to life. But they were told that nobody would want to watch it. Continue reading.

From Janis Cleugh of Tricity News:

Link: ‘Second Jen’ returns Sunday for Port Moody grad
Samantha Wan remembers her first year at Heritage Woods secondary. She was one of hundreds of students in the inaugural Grade 9 cohort at the Port Moody high school, a new building that also included a 325-seat professional theatre. Continue reading.

From Nikki Gill of TRNTO:

Link: Amanda Joy on her road to creating TV series Second Jen
Here we look back at a profile on Joy from 2016 just before she launched the series. Continue reading.

From Mike Adler of Toronto.com:

Link: Scarborough sitcom star Amanda Joy tries the Home of Empanada and Hopia
Here we look back at a profile on Joy from 2016 just before she launched the series. Continue reading.

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Second Jen Season 3 premieres February 14 on OMNI TV

From a media release:

Produced by Don Ferguson Productions in association with Rogers Sports & Media, Second Jen Season 3 premieres Sunday, Feb. 14 at 8:30 p.m. local time on OMNI Television with six all-new episodes. Co-created, co-executive produced, and starring Amanda Joy and Samantha Wan, Second Jen centres on best friends Jen and Mo who band together to tackle life’s ups-and-downs in Toronto. Whether it’s “yellow fever” or internet trolls, these heroines fight life’s dumpster fires together.

Nominated for Best Comedy at the 2019 Canadian Screen Awards, Second Jen jumps back into the frenzied friendship of Jennifer “Jen” Wu (played by Samantha Wan) and Jennifer “Mo” Monteloyola (played by Amanda Joy) to prove that the third time is most definitely the charm. Season 3 ups the stakes by exploring hot-button subjects, in stories that only Second Jen can tell. Topics this season include female empowerment, corporate diversity initiatives, intimacy and relationships, and family therapy from an authentic and hilarious point-of-view.

Second Jen once again features an all-female creative team, and a diverse crew behind the camera. Amanda Joy continues to serve as writer/story editor, penning three of six episodes this season. Samantha Wan continues as a writer and directs three episodes this season. Carly Heffernan returns as showrunner, head writer, and directs three episodes this season. Kathleen Phillips serves as story editor.

Returning this season are Alister (Nile Séguin, The Beaverton), Bunny (Janet Lo, Pay The Ghost), Eric (Timothy Lai, Beauty & the Beast), and Harold (Richard Tse, Baroness Von Sketch), who are joined by new characters including Jen’s glamorous influencer cousin Vicky (Tina Jung, Make It Pop), and love interests Scout (Isabel Kanaan, Tita Collective) for Mo, and Riley (Andrew Bushell, The Wedding Planners) for Jen. Guest stars this season include Canadian comedy legends Andrew Phung (Kim’s Convenience), Ken Hall (The Umbrella Academy), Deb McGrath (The Second City), Kathryn Greenwood (Women Fully Clothed), Ann Pornel (The Great Canadian Baking Show), Rodrigo Fernandez-Stoll (Hudson & Rex, Baroness Von Sketch) and Kathleen Phillips (Sunnyside, Mr. D).

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OMNI goes kosher with new Jewish late night talk show

From a media release:

Canada’s newest late night talk show, CANADIAN JEWISH TV (CJTV) kicks off Thursday October 1st, 2020 at 11:30 PM on OMNI 1. Hosted by Canadian poet Ieden Wall, the show will feature interviews and performances from some of Canada’s most notable Jewish figures.

In keeping with Wall’s background, CJTV will also feature a spoken-word short-film series based on new poems from Wall’s upcoming book, The Wisdom of the Wall 2. His first book of poetry, Wisdom of the Wall has sold over 30,000 copies and continues to impress.

With the loss of established Jewish media like The Canadian Jewish News, CJTV is aiming to fill the void with a “traditional” style Jewish show that avoids getting hung up on extreme sides of the political spectrum.

The guest lineup for season 1 is a “who’s who” of the Canadian media and entertainment industry, including Robert Lantos, Paul Godfrey, Mark Breslin, Dan Shulman, Libby Znaimer, Heather Reisman, and an appearance from former Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
CJTV will make its season debut on Thursday Oct 1st @ 11:30 PM on OMNI 1 across Ontario.

About Host Ieden Wall
Ieden Wall is a poet, journalist, host and media producer, living in Toronto. Wall burst onto the scene in the 90’s with his reality/comedy series called The Dream Chaser. Mayor David Miller called his show a brilliant mix of humour and humanity. Since then, he has kept busy producing docs, medical marketing videos and commercials for his own production company. In 2016, Wall self-published a book of lyrical poems entitled The Wisdom of Wall. The book sold over 30K copies and caught the attention of several luminaries, including Robert Lantos and Valerie Pringle. In 2018, he started taking poems from his book and turning them into spoken-word short films. His first collection of spoken-word films aired in Australia and The UK. Wall is set to host and produce Canadian Jewish TV for Omni TV, making its debut on October 1, 2020.Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail