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Pretty Hard Cases: Meredith MacNeill and Adrienne C. Moore talk Season 3 and being ‘naughty children’ on set

The relationship between Pretty Hard Cases’ Sam Wazowski (Meredith MacNeill) and Kelly Duff (Adrienne C. Moore) has faced some major challenges over the past two seasons. During Season 1, the detective duo had to learn how to work together despite their odd couple dynamic. In Season 2, they overcame a series of personal misunderstandings to forge a true friendship—even though it resulted in them being separated on the job.   

At the start of Season 3—kicking off Wednesday at 9 p.m. on CBC and CBC Gem—Sam, demoted to street cop, and Kelly, working undercover, have been apart for eight months. But worry not. Just a few minutes into the premiere episode, “Always A Bridesmaid,” written by series creators Tassie Cameron and Sherry White, the pair enjoys a glorious reunion that showcases the fabulous chemistry between series leads MacNeill and Moore. There is screaming and jumping. There are secret handshakes and goofy butt pats. And, of course, there is banter. 

But while Sam and Kelly are back together and stronger than ever, they still have to prove themselves to new Unit Commander Gloria Ballard (Wendy Crewson) before they’ll regain access to the OCE’s top cases—such as discovering the source of a deadly new drug that’s hit the streets of Toronto, or tracking down last season’s still at large villain Adeline French (Charlotte Sullivan). They also have to navigate their new romantic relationships, with Sam making another go of things with ex-husband Steve (Trevor Hayes) and Kelly testing the waters with fellow detective Nathan (Daren A. Herbert). 

During a recent chat with MacNeill and Moore, we found out more about Sam and Kelly’s upcoming adventures and why the actors sometimes feel like “naughty children” on set. 

Sam and Kelly’s friendship has grown a lot over the past two seasons. How will it evolve in Season 3?
Adrienne C. Moore: I think like any friendship, in Season 2, we had that tension that I think long-standing and long-term relationships must have in order to kind of jump that hurdle that they can get to a point where they know each other’s thoughts, they know what each other is thinking before they even say. And I think that was one of the balances that we tried to strike and establish this theory that they had a hard time getting to know each other, they went through the thick of it, and now they’re just like, they can read each other’s thoughts. They know how to support each other as friends, and they know what they need from each other in friendship.

Meredith MacNeill: Yeah, and then because of that, because that friendship has taken the next layer, they tend to add other things into their life. You see them involve each other in the other aspects of their life, which was interesting. So like, when we got the scripts, I was like, ‘Oh, this is your family.’

Both of your characters are in very different places with their personal lives than they were in previous seasons. Kelly is making a go of it with Nathan, and Sam is back with her ex-husband Steve, which may or may not be a good thing. 
MM: I feel that for Sam—and for Meredith MacNeill—there’s something about being in your 40s and admitting what it’s truly like to start over and all the mess and glory that comes with that. So I love the way Tassie and Sherry write. Yes, I’m back with my ex-husband,  but it takes it to this level that I think will be extremely relatable, that just because you’ve made a decision and you’re like, ‘I’m gonna go for this,’ it doesn’t automatically mean that once you make the decision, everything’s fine. When the scripts would come in, and we work on scenes. I was like, ‘Oh gosh, I really know this relationship. I know these people. These are people I have in my life.’

ACM: I think for Kelly, she’s shown a lot with being vulnerable and open in relationships. And not to give any spoilers, but there’s already some physical tension in the beginning between her and Nathan, and so through the course of the season, you discover how Kelly is really embracing being vulnerable. She knows she has a good thing with Nathan, but she’s still scared. And I think a lot of people when they get in relationships, become afraid of losing their own identity and their own individuality. And so she learned how to balance that, how to be in a relationship with a partner but yet still have her own identity. And I’ve loved that Nathan supports that for her.

You’ve got a new unit commander this season, played by Wendy Crewson.
MM and ACM: Woo!

How was it working with her?
MM: She’s it. That’s it. She comes on set, you know you’re lucky, and you just stand there and hope you can keep up. That’s what you do. 

ACM: Wendy was working on another show also at the same time. She came in every day, on point, knew these chunky, chunky dialogue lines and was killing it. I was like, ‘OK, I can learn from her.’

Pretty Hard Cases effortlessly blends comedy and drama, and many scenes can be played either way. How do you decide which way you’re going to take a scene? Are you given a lot of freedom to improvise, or is it all on the page?
MM: I think because we’re both theatre-based, we’re pretty comfortable with both. I respect the work completely and the author of scripts, that’s just standard. And then also with theatre, you’ll learn really quickly to play in the moment, be in the moment, throw all your work away, and what’s happening isn’t to me, it’s what’s happening between the two characters. So I find what happens in the show is—because we get along and we want to have so much fun—sometimes I feel like we’re naughty children, but professional naughty children. We adore the writing by Sherry and Tassie, we’re respectful to that. But as soon as we can, we’re like, ‘Can we play? Can we go, can we go?’ And then they’ll give us some goes, and so it kind of balances out and then, in the end, it’s really great. 

As you said, you get along well and love working together. What have you learned from each other as actors over the last three seasons?
MM: I know that we get [each other] pumped. Like, if it’s a 16-hour day, we kind of look at each other, kind of give each other a soft high-five, and go in and kill it. We know we got it. 

ACM: I know that if she has a lot of dialogue to carry, or I have a lot of dialogue, what I love is that we can just kind of look at each other and I know where she’s at, she knows where I’m at, and I know what she needs, she knows what I need. 

MM: And we get there really quick. 

ACM: Yeah, we provide that for each other, and it’s like when you have those days, when you work every day and you’re doing 12-16 hour days like that, it’s good to look over and see your partner in crime. You’re going through it with someone that you trust. 

Pretty Hard Cases airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CBC and CBC Gem.

Images courtesy of CBC.

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Production now underway on Pretty Hard Cases Season 3

From a media release:

On the heels of its Season 2 launch on Amazon Freevee (formerly IMDb TV), Cameron Pictures, CBC, and Universal International Studios, a division of Universal Studio Group, proudly announce the start of production for the critically acclaimed 11-time Canadian Screen Award-nominated, CBC Original comedy-drama series, PRETTY HARD CASES Season 3. Filming continues in and around Toronto for 10 one-hour episodes with season 3 set to air on CBC in winter 2023.

This season, PRETTY HARD CASES finds a miserably demoted Samantha Wazowski (Meredith MacNeill) and a deeply undercover Kelly Duff (Adrienne C. Moore) reuniting to win their way back into the OCE after eight long months apart. Although their professional relationship has never been stronger, Sam and Kelly need to prove they’re worthy of the department’s top cases to the new and exacting Unit Commander, Gloria Ballard, played by world-renowned and award-winning actor Wendy Crewson (Departure, Good Sam). Gloria has high standards, excellent clothes, spiky hair and is intimidating AF. She doesn’t quite throw a “Welcome Back” party in Kelly and Sam’s honour, but our favourite pair of detectresses have each other’s backs as they navigate big changes.

Cast members reprising their roles include Karen Robinson (Schitt’s Creek) as tough, sardonic and newly-promoted Superintendent Edwina Shanks; Al Mukadam (Miss Sloan) as Detective Taai Nazeer, reliable and responsible; the affable heart of the OCE; Daren A. Herbert (Kim’s Convenience) as Detective Sergeant Nathan Greene, as charismatic as he is tech-savvy; Trevor Hayes (The Girlfriend Experience) as Sam’s ex-husband, turned boyfriend, Steve Evans; and Amanda Brugel (The Handmaid’s Tale) As Detective Karina Duff, Kelly’s overachieving half-sister and new mom. Also returning for Season 3 is Homicide Detective duo Tara Swallows, played by Tricia Black (Band Ladies) and Dustin Chase, played by Miguel Rivas (The Beaverton).

Following its broadcast and streaming debut of the first two seasons on CBC and CBC Gem, PRETTY HARD CASES also premiered on Amazon Freevee (formerly known as IMDb TV). Season 3 premieres winter 2023 on CBC.

PRETTY HARD CASES is co-created by Tassie Cameron (Mary Kills People, Ten Days in the Valley, Rookie Blue, The Robber Bride) and Sherry White (Little Dog, Frontier, Ten Days in the Valley, Rookie Blue).

A CBC original series, PRETTY HARD CASES is produced by Cameron Pictures in association with CBC and Universal International Studios, a division of Universal Studio Group. Cameron and White also serve as Co-Showrunners. Sherry White, Tassie Cameron, Amy Cameron and Alex Patrick are Executive Producers. Wanda Chaffey is Producer.

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WGC Screenwriting Awards 2022 winners announced

From a media release:

In a funny, lively virtual ceremony held this evening, host Nile Séguin announced the winners of the 26th annual Writers Guild of Canada Screenwriting Awards.

Some winners of 2022’s top prizes include Bilal Baig & Fab Filippo (Sort Of), Michael McGowan (All My Puny Sorrows), Tassie Cameron & Sherry White (Pretty Hard Cases), and Amanda Joy (The Parker Andersons I Amelia Parker).

Special awards were also presented to Carolyn Saunders, winner of the Sondra Kelly Award, and Matt Huether, who was awarded the Alex Barris Mentorship Award. Anthony Q. Farrell, creator and showrunner of Overlord and the Underwoods and The Parker Andersons I Amelia Parker, received the night’s final prize, the Showrunner Award. The Denis McGrath Award for Service to the WGC was also presented to Michael Amo, who has served the Guild for the past 12 years as a member of Council, representing the Atlantic region.

Please see below for the complete list of winning scripts and screenwriters.

The 27th Annual WGC Screenwriting Awards are now being planned and hopefully, we will be celebrating live once again. In the meantime, 2022’s presentation will be posted to the WGC YouTube Channel.

A digital program, listing all nominations, nominees and special awards winners, is also available here for download.

2022 WGC SCREENWRITING AWARDS WINNERS

CHILDREN’S
Odd Squad Mobile Unit, “H2 Oh No” I Written by Lakna Edilima

COMEDY SERIES
Sort Of, “Sort of Gone” I Written by Bilal Baig & Fab Filippo

DRAMA SERIES
Pretty Hard Cases, “Bananas” I Written by Tassie Cameron & Sherry White

FEATURE FILM
All My Puny Sorrows I Written by Michael McGowan

MOW & MINISERIES
As Gouda As It Gets I Written by James Phillips

PRESCHOOL
Elinor Wonders Why, “Olive’s Tree” I Written by Michael Foulke

SHORTS & WEBSERIES
My Pride: The Series “Fire” I Written by Maddi Patton

TWEENS & TEENS
The Parker Andersons I Amelia Parker, “Joy” I Written by Amanda Joy

SONDRA KELLY AWARD
Carolyn Saunders

ALEX BARRIS MENTORSHIP AWARD
Matt Huether

DENIS MCGRATH AWARD FOR SERVICE TO THE WGC
Michael Amo

SHOWRUNNER AWARD
Anthony Q. Farrell

ABOUT THE WGC
The Writers Guild of Canada represents more than 2,500 professional English-language screenwriters across Canada, the creators of Canadian entertainment enjoyed on all screens. WGC.ca @WGCtweet

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Nominations announced for the 2022 Canadian Screen Awards

From a media release:

The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television (the Canadian Academy) announced today the nominees for the 2022 Canadian Screen Awards in 145 film, television, and digital media categories. The awards will be presented over six days during Canadian Screen Week, including the 2022 Canadian Screen Awards show, which will be broadcast on CBC and CBC Gem on Sunday, April 10 at 8:00 PM (9:00 PM AT / 9:30 PM NT).

The inaugural season of the CBC series Sort Of leads both television and overall 2022 Canadian Screen Award nominations with 13, followed by CBC’s Pretty Hard Cases and CTV Sci-Fi Channel’s Wynonna Earp with 11, and CBC’s Coroner and Kim’s Convenience with 10.

In film, Shasha Nakhai and Rich Williamson’s Scarborough and Danis Goulet’s Night Raiders top nominations with 11 per film, while Michael McGowan’s All My Puny Sorrows sees eight and both Bretten Hannam’s Wildhood and Ivan Grbovic’s Drunken Birds | Les oiseaux ivres receive six.

21 Black Futures and For the Record both lead digital media nominations with eight, followed by The Communist’s Daughter with six. 

With hosts and live acceptance speeches, the majority of the 2022 Canadian Screen Awards will be presented in a nine-part series of genre-based virtual shows throughout Canadian Screen Week 2022, all streamed live on Academy.ca — as well as the Canadian Academy Twitter and YouTube channels — from Monday, April 4, 2022, to Friday, April 8, 2022. 

The week will culminate in the 2022 Canadian Screen Awards show on CBC and CBC Gem. With a selection of prominent categories and tributes to this year’s Special Award recipients, the show will be a star-powered, creatively curated treat for fans of our homegrown entertainment, highlighting Canadian content and its notable moments that made us laugh, cry, and reflect over the past year. Featuring the talents of the multi-award-winning sketch comedy troupe TallBoyz (Guled Abdi, Vance Banzo, Tim Blair, and Franco Nguyen), this promises to be an award show like you’ve never seen before, with an eclectic variety of artists coming together for the love of storytelling and a deep appreciation for the power of our film, television, and digital media — and everyone who enjoys it. 

The full schedule for the 2022 Canadian Screen Awards is as follows:

Monday, April 4
7:00 PM ET – The Broadcast News Awards

8:30 PM ET – The Documentary & Factual Awards 

Tuesday, April 5
7:00 PM ET – The Sports Programming Awards, presented by CTV

8:30 PM ET – The Digital & Immersive Awards

Wednesday, April 6
7:00 PM ET – The Children’s & Animation Awards, presented by Shaw Rocket Fund, supported by 9 Story Media Group  

8:30 PM ET – The Lifestyle & Reality Awards, presented by CTV 

Thursday, April 7
7:00 PM ET – The Drama & Comedy Crafts Awards

8:30 PM ET – The Scripted Programs & Performance Awards, presented by CTV

Friday, April 8
8:30 PM ET – The Cinematic Arts Awards, presented by Telefilm Canada, supported by Cineplex

Sunday, April 10
8:00 PM (9:00 PM AT / 9:30 PM NT) – 2022 Canadian Screen Awards on CBC and CBC Gem

The 2022 Canadian Screen Awards will also pay tribute to the 2022 Special Award recipients, a group of eight Canadians who have had a tremendous impact on our media industry. Honourees include Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Bob Cole, Gordon Sinclair Award for Broadcast Journalism recipient Rassi Nashalik, Radius Award (presented by MADE | NOUS) recipient Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, and the inaugural recipients of the Changemaker Award: Kayla Grey, Kathleen Newman-Bremang, and Amanda Parris.

The 2022 nominations were chosen by voting members of the Canadian Academy and by nominating juries, conducted virtually with representatives from the film, television, and digital media industries. The membership will now cast their votes between Tuesday, February 15, 2022, and Friday, March 4, 2022, to determine the winners. 

For the full list of 2022 Canadian Screen Awards nominees, please visit Academy.ca/nominees; view the full schedule for Canadian Screen Week 2022 at Academy.ca/schedule.

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