Arctic Air's Adam Beach and Pascale Hutton gear up for Season 2
Without any prompting,Arctic Air's Adam Beach answers the burning question that's been on everyone's mind: "I wear briefs."
Not that anyone was really asking. But as a contender in CBC's unofficial Battle of the Babes: Male Edition, Beach would inevitably outpace the likes of Republic of Doyle's Allan Hawco or Murdoch Mysteries' Yannick Bisson. Well, at least in his own mind.
"You can't deny when I took off my shirt, now everyone was ga-ga-goo-goo," he says.
He's kidding around, of course. And there's plenty of that between himself, and his costars Pascale Hutton and Leah Gibson (who Beach developed a real-life relationship with) when they sit down with the Georgia Straight at the CBC's 2012-2013 Season Preview at the CBC Vancouver studios.
It's no wonder they're in a jovial mood. The TV series, about a family-run Yellowknife-based maverick airline company, completed its first season by becoming a smash-hit success.
Beach (Flags of Our Fathers, Smoke Signals) stars as Bobby Martin, a charismatic, smooth-talking venture capitalist who returned to Yellowknife from Vancouver while Hutton (Fringe, A Simple Curve) plays Krista Ivarson, a headstrong pilot and daughter of Mel (Kevin McNulty), who cofounded the airline with Bobby's father. Their eclectic team is rounded out by a number of diverse characters, ranging from the sultry Candi Lussier (Gibson) and former U.S. Air Force pilot Shontal Hicks (Kandyse McClure) to Swedish pilot Astrid Poulsen (Emilie Ullerup) and Indian flight school grad Dev Panwar (Stephen Lobo).
According to the CBC, season two promises to reveal the fallout, both physical and emotional, of the deadly plane crash that made up the season finale cliffhanger. And the risks will be ramped up; there'll be everything from forest fires and bomb threats to hired killers to contend with.
"We'll be filming in three different seasons up north: summer, fall, and winter," Hutton says. "So that should be some interesting cinematography that we'll be able to include in the show that we weren't able to have last time because last time it was pretty much just fall and winter but this time we'll have the summer element."
Unfortunately, that means that there will also be new conditions to face on set.
"The one thing that we kinda escaped in the first season were the black flies that I guess are rampant in the summer," she says. "So we'll be in the thick of that for filming."
(Beach says that they'll have electric fly swatters. "No, we won't," Hutton interjects. "David Suzuki's right over there. Are you kidding?")
All of them were pleased with the support they received from both audiences and the national public broadcaster itself.
"The thing that blew me away was how supportive and confident CBC was in our show," Hutton says. "I don't think anyone has ever really seen that kind of a promotional push for a Canadian show that we had for Arctic Air. So that was amazing. And I think that really was a jumping off point in terms of raising Canadians' awareness of our show and put it on peoples' radar."
Both Hutton and Beach participated in helping to promote the show though social media like Facebook and Twitter. Hutton says she resisted heavily but eventually relented and created accounts just for the show.
"I have to say, I'm a convert," she says. "I like it because it is that immediate response from the people who are ultimately making the show. They get to give us direct feedback of what they're liking….I think season two will have fewer toques. That seems to be the consensus. People want more hair, fewer toques."
Joking aside, the two leads have a lot of hopes of where their characters and storylines will go in the upcoming season.
Hutton says she likes how Krista evolved over the first season.
"I think for my character, what happened through season one is that the character was introduced as really a kind of strong-willed, hard, independent woman, and what I liked is that throughout the season we saw her vulnerability come out," Hutton says. "And especially I think Bobby's reintegration into her life really shakes her foundation and allows you to see that vulnerability and the cracks to the veneer, which makes it a much more interesting character to play. And more accessible to audiences too."
Hutton often travels a fine line portraying Krista as both assertive and likeable.
"I think quite often, people are quick to write off female characters if they are hard and strong," Hutton says. "People are quicker to go to labelling her a bitch, as opposed to if it was a man, like a male character. [shifts to joking tone] But I think my own likability just shines through so it just kinda softens though edges naturally. I can't even stop it. [laughs]"
(Hmm, with egos like that after one season, imagine what they'll be like in a few years...)
Meanwhile, Beach wants to see Bobby's relationships deepen.
"I'd like to see Bobby Martin become a real father to his child and be there for him, and hopefully that something builds up there," Beach says. "And I think Bobby should make out with Krista a lot more [laughs]."
On a more serious note, he does hope the show can tackle some of the challenging realities of northern life that most Canadians don't see.
"I'd love a storyline that connects with a lot of the communities that Leah and I go to, where they have to face poverty and struggle with this lack of hope and I see CBC is that adventure-drama that connects with these northern communities that lack a connection to any urban centre…and I hope they connect with those stories a little bit more so Canadians could better understand that a lot of these communities, their lifeline is Arctic Air. Without that distribution of goods in these communities, they have nothing. So I hope we could venture into those housing crises, food crises, lack of nutrition, all that stuff."
Hutton could not agree more.
"It is the gift of CBC that CBC reaches every community across Canada, and I think that the poverty that is experienced by some Canadians in these remote communities is something that a lot of Canadians from urban centres have no awareness that that is actually a part of our country and a part of what's happening right now. And that would be a great thing for our show to explore and shine a light on and raise awareness of….We live in an incredibly diverse country and I think it's important to know that and celebrate that."
Of course, one of the dramatic hooks of the show is the ongoing, multilayered romantic tension between Bobby and Krista.
Beach explains that part of the reason that Bobby and Krista have such a "conflicting relationship" is because the pair grew up together as best friends and Krista's family took care of Bobby when his parents died. Beach says that has left the two confused about how to relate to one another. "Do I keep the best friend? Is she really my sister? My lover?"
Things became even more complicated by the season finale after Blake (played by John Reardon) raised the stakes in their love triangle by proposing to Krista.
"It's hard to move forward in a relationship that has so much history already defining it, I think," Hutton says. "I feel like the underlying factor for both of them is that they both really love each other."
But what will happen to Krista's engagement to Blake? Will Krista and Bobby come to terms with their true feelings toward one another? Will the plane crash victims recover from their injuries?
Unfortunately, there's quite a wait. Season two won't air until January 2013. In the meantime, viewers can catch up on or review episodes from season one of Arctic Air online at the CBC website.
You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at twitter.com/cinecraig.