Posted: April 4, 2013
Mark your calendars, plan your parties, set your PVRs - the CBS/Global TV series VEGAS makes its move to to Friday nights this week and NL's own Shawn Doyle will be part of the cast straight through to the season one finale.
Doyle plays FBI Agent Patrick Byrne... quite a character indeed and definitely one to watch as the season unfolds. The slick and shrewd Byrne is just another example of Doyle's incredible ability to become the character. Watch him on VEGAS and then compare that to his award winning roles as Canada's first Prime Minister in JOHN A.:Birth of a Country and a fisherman lost at sea in THE DISAPPEARED. You can't help but appreciate his amazing versatility. That level of talent is rare... and definitely worthy of celebration! (Buddy's some brilliant wha?!)
We wanted to get the scoop on this latest role and wouldn't you know it - we had to track him down on the set of another project. The Toronto based fella is in Vancouver for a guest starring spot on the new series KING & MAXWELL (we better ask about all his pop-up roles too!)
What follows is our Q & A with the incomparable Mr. Shawn Doyle.
SABS: First of all congratulations on all of your awards. (post/post) Two amazing performances – two incredibly different roles. I won't make you choose which one was your favourite but I'd love to know what you liked most about playing Pete in THE DISAPPEARED and the title role in JOHN A.
Shawn Doyle: Hmmmm....you're asking the deep questions right off the bat....
I think what I liked most about these roles is the fact that they WERE so completely different. Pete was pure physicality.... impulsive, volatile, coarse....used to expressing himself through his work and his body. He was a 'hard case', as we say back home...he used aggressiveness to mask his deep loneliness (I think).
On the other hand John A was very strategic, cunning and crafty. He was a leader, the bright light in any room...pure charisma. He knew how to talk with people, to reason, cajole and manipulate them into doing his bidding or following his lead. Words and intellect were his tools, his weapons. Also, wearing such refined period clothes make you move in a very different way.
In terms of the actual filming, the environments of shooting made it true 'make believe'. With THE DISAPPEARED, we were miles from land in the middle of the ocean, contending with the water and weather. On a shoestring budget. It couldn't get more immersive or real. With JOHN A., we shot on location in historic buildings and sites... I just had to look around to feel as if I was in a different time...so much better than a sound stage. Also, our background performers, who played the cabinet members, were all given separate back stories and real characters; so all the Assembly scenes where George Brown and I give these speeches were made electric by being able to look across the room and see these politicians who wanted to crush you. Again, a very immersive experience.
SABS: Both of those projects were filmed a while ago and I know you've shot 2 movies in the meantime but you've also found time to pop up on a bunch of cool shows like SAVING HOPE, FLASHPOINT and most recently LOST GIRL... as an audience it's fun to see you play so many characters – I'm guessing there's an appeal to that as an actor as well?
Shawn Doyle: I would say that I became an actor for its possibilities of 'self-expression'. In other words, I've always been less interested in being different "characters" than in being able to show different facets of who I am through these characters. I think that comes from being an overweight kid, and struggling with introversion and shyness for a long time. So I found it fun to pop into these different shows last year, being able to plug bits of me into the situations those guys were in. On SAVING HOPE, I got to play around with the extrovert parts of me... FLASHPOINT allowed me to use parts of my experience of being a father...LOST GIRL was a hoot, and I was able to be arch and villainy and a little over-the-top, the theatrical part of me, I guess. It's funny how you and others point to all these different characters I've played. I guess you're right, but to me I'm just bringing up different parts of Me.
SABS: I'm loving VEGAS the premise and the era – so great! Naturally made cooler now with the fact that you've joined the cast for the balance of the season. So let's talk about this FBI Agent Patrick Byrne – brought in to bring down Vincent Savino and the 'bad guys' but I get the sense he's going to cause a lot of trouble for Sheriff Lamb and the 'good guys' too. Anything you can share there?
Shawn Doyle: Byrne is a very ambitious man, but with the best of intentions (that's my story, and I'm sticking with it). He has come to Vegas with a very clear mission: to shut down the Mob, and he'll do whatever it takes to make it happen.
Through the rest of the season, this engenders a lot of conflict with Lamb (Dennis Quaid) because Byrne's ready to throw others under the bus if they get in the way of his goal. Also, this ambition puts him in danger of losing his only friend (and maybe more?) in Vegas, Katherine (Carrie-Anne Moss).
SABS: It's been over a decade since you first appeared on screen with Dennis Quaid - in FREQUENCY...did you pick up where you left off?
Shawn Doyle: When I worked with Dennis on that movie, I was the Baddie and spent the movie hunting him down. We had a good working relationship but we didn't get to know each other at all. Ironically, he had nothing to do with me getting this role.
When I showed up that first morning in Hair & Makeup, he was surprised to see me and hadn't known I was coming on. He was very welcoming, though, and continued to be. I love acting with him...he is 100% present, all the time. And he cares deeply about what he's doing as an actor from moment to moment. Very inspiring to watch.
Shawn Doyle: VEGAS was HANDS DOWN the best experience I've ever had shooting in Hollywood. The creator/showrunner Greg Walker is a super-talented prince of a man, who takes the time to tell everyone what they are doing RIGHT, not just what needs improvement. Trust me, this is rare on these big budget shows, where so much is at stake. As a result, the crew are happy to be there and wonderful to work with. Also, acting with Quaid, Moss and Chiklis is a dream. Aside from being really great people, acting with actors of that calibre makes it so easy and fun. Loved it.
SABS: I know with the move to Fridays the goal is 'get some solid ratings and a season 2 of VEGAS'...could we see a return of Agent Byrne when they return?
Shawn Doyle: It seems strange to me that CBS would not renew a show that has a weekly audience of 12-15,000,000 viewers...but what the hell do I know? We'll see how the move to Fridays affect viewership.
From the conversations I've had with Greg, there will be a place for Byrne in Season 2. I don't know what that means, though. It could be an appearance or two or, I dunno... we'll have to wait and see IF there is another season first. Ask me mid-May! I'd be over-the-moon to put back on those vintage suits and wear that crazy 60s FBI hair again!
YOU CAN MEET SHAWN DOYLE....when he travels back to the homeland! He'll be in St.John's on April 19th when his movie THE DISAPPEARED opens in Theatres.
For more with Shawn Doyle check out our feature interviews FRIDAY FAVOURITE FOUR #FFF, SHAWN DOYLE Pre-Premiere Chat (video) and Shawn Doyle on 'The Disappeared Et. Al (video) his INsights IN 10 (video) and his Cool People Profile, plus "John A. & Beyond Busy" and "On the 'Set' of The Disappeared"
And be sure to follow him on Twitter @ShawnDoyle
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