Posted: February 18, 2017
As a site dedicated to celebrating amazing East Coast personalities it's fair to say NL fella Shawn Doyle has given us plenty of material to work with. In our 6 plus years on line we've covered everything from his award winning performances in THE DISAPPEARED and JOHN A: THE BIRTH OF A COUNTY, to his TV turns on shows like VEGAS, COVERT AFFAIRS, HOUSE OF CARDS, FARGO and REPUBLIC OF DOYLE.
And just when you thought he couldn't be busier, Mr.Doyle has added another new series his roster - CBC's eerie new mystery BELLEVUE.
Created by fellow Newfoundland & Labradorian Jane Maggs along with Adrienne Mitchell, BELLEVUE tells the tale of "a brazen cop - always at odds with her hometown - who unravels the disappearance of a transgender teen with the help of a dangerous mystery man."
Doyle plays BELLEVUE's Police Chief Peter Welland opposite Oscar™ winner Anna Paquin in the role of Detective Annie Ryder. "Welland used to be the junior partner to Annie’s father, Clarence Ryder. When Clarence dies, Peter tries to look out for Annie and oversee her life. When she begins to act out and gets into trouble, he redirects her energy and helps her become a police officer. But Peter, while competent, strong and authoritative, is also deeply conflicted with events in the past."
Now, in the spirit of full transparency - they had us at "Starring Shawn Doyle", but after having watched the first two episodes we can honestly report - we're hooked! BELLEVUE is dark and twisty, and edge of your seat great. So in the advance of this Monday's network premiere, we did our best to connect with the man in demand himself - to get the inside scoop on his amazing new project. And so we did - catching him en route to another exciting new role (stand by for news on that). For now, what follows is our Q & A (as they say) with Shawn Doyle
SABS: It's been a busy stretch for you Mr.Doyle - into the future and deep outer space with THE EXPANSE and back in history to 17th century Canada in FRONTIER - how did you land in the blue collar modern day town of BELLEVUE?
Shawn Doyle: I really only knew Jane Maggs as Adrian's sister, with whom I did the movie GROWN UP MOVIE STAR. Never even knew Jane was a writer, much less brilliant at it. Then she and Adrienne Mitchell approached me. I wasn't sold on the idea of playing yet another cop, to be honest. On police procedurals, the lead actors (cops) often play the role of observer, and it's the guest/supporting characters that are more exciting and challenging. Then I read some scripts and saw that BELLEVUE was different. The writing was very original, more akin to British police dramas, and every role would have complexity. We sat down, the three of us, and decided we would work together to flesh out the character.
SABS: There's no denying BELLEVUE is a show with plenty of layers - many mysteries to be revealed and dimensions to characters that come to light with each new episode. How far in advance were you given the scripts throughout the production?
Shawn Doyle: Jane sent the first four scripts when she approached me. She hinted at elements of Peter's storyline, teased out a compelling backstory that's a crucial piece of the series. I just trusted these elements would be exciting to play, soley based on the quality of the writing in the early scripts. We received the upcoming episodes fairly close to shooting. As Anna and I worked together, my sense is that our relationship became informed by our on-screen chemistry. That's the brilliance of Jane as a writer: she is able to transpose what she sees in performance into deeper layers of character and their relationships to one another. In terms of the mystery element, Jane and Adrienne decided not to tell us who did what, and who the 'mystery person' is, until we were given the final two scripts. So our experience of telling the story is akin to how the audience will receive it.
SABS: Speaking of multi-dimensional... why do I get the sense that there's a dark side to BELLEVUE's police chief?
Shawn Doyle: Well, turns out there are a few sides to Peter that I never would have guessed. Seriously. But darkness really is in the eye of the beholder, isn't it? 😉 there are secrets I had to carry throughout the series...THAT was fun, trying to play scenes, both on the surface and subtextually. And Peter's gradual unraveling is the stuff that makes us want to do this for a living!
SABS: Maybe it's because I celebrate Atlantic Canadians on a daily basis that I imagine having a few East Coasters on the cast and crew make it that much more delightful - despite the dramatic subject matter was it fun filming the series?
Shawn Doyle: This was truly one of the overall fave bonding experiences of my career. We all believed in the project from day one. Adrienne said at the first read-through, they made a point of only hiring team players. Billy and I became very close, partly because we could bring our east-coast humour to the party. Often in this business, the heavier it is on screen, the more fun is had on set between takes. It's a release-valve kind of thing. As a cast, we loved each other. It's rare.
SABS: Before we let you go - tell us what viewers can expect when they tune into season 1 of BELLEVUE?
Shawn Doyle: Folks can expect to see a whole new side of CBC programming. They can expect to be surprised.
Be sure to tune in to CBC on Monday, February 20, 2017 for the edge of your seat premiere of BELLEVUE.
For more info on the series visit cbc.ca/bellevue
For more features on Shawn Doyle check out... FRONTIER On Set Special, AWAY FROM EVERYWHERE, NL's SHAWN DOYLE To Star in BELLEVUE, Catch Shawn Doyle in THE EXPANSE, SABS Happy Birthday "HI 5", ONES TO WATCH 2015, THE EXPANSE, HOUSE OF CARDS ET. AL., SHAWN DOYLE Finds Himself in FARGO, SHAWN DOYLE News - THE DISAPPEARED & More..., SHAWN DOYLE Gets REIGNed IN, SHAWN DOYLE Joins the Cast of LIZZIE BORDEN, THE DISAPPEARED Held Over, What Happens in VEGAS and More, SHAWN DOYLE 1 Week Brings 2 BIG Awards, 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"
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