Allan Hawco is a Canadian acting renaissance man. What else do you call a guy who started his own theatre production company and then went on to develop, write and star in his own hit CBC TV series-The Republic Of Doyle? Even more impressive is that he is doing all this from Newfoundland, a beautiful place yet far removed from the Canadian tv and film hubs of Toronto and Montreal. His show is seen in close to 100 countries worldwide AND that this season attracted no less than Russell Crowe who starred in the opening episode. With the finale of season 3 tonight, we had a chance to interview Allan about how he got started, what having Russell Crowe in the show meant to him and bringing Canada to the world.
Real Style Network: Republic Of Doyle has such a strong Canadian angle and is seen in almost 100 countries worldwide. These are people who couldn’t find Newfoundland on a map and yet they are learning something about our culture.
Allan Hawco: I love that. That is exactly what I am looking for. That is one of the things I was trying to bring to the show. I always think about it as the importance of our industry. It’s entertainment, yes, but it’s also to help us find our cultural identity. There is no country in the world that has an industry like this that doesn’t have support from public funds. The question ultimately becomes, do we want to be a part of defining our identity or do we want others to do it for us? If we don’t have an industry like this out there in 100 different countries giving people a window into our world, someone else is going to do it for us and we probably aren’t going to like what they say about us. I take that very seriously
Real Style Network: Take us back to the beginning. You are this scrappy actor with a lot going on. You call up the guys at CBC. Walk us through this meeting. Tell us what happened.
Allan Hawco: Well you’re nervous and terrified. It’s kind of like an audition. I hate auditioning. It’s one of the worst necessities of the job, but something you have to do. I had just gotten to a place in my career where I had my own theatre company and we were doing really well with that. I was starting to book the jobs I wanted to book as an actor. CBC, CTV, Movie Network and I were having a lot of different conversations about various projects I might want to do. I was in a pretty fortunate position. I just kind of pushed forward with something that I believed I wanted to do which was write and create my own show. I always felt like I was the type of person that wanted to contribute to my own story with my own two hands. I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t just sitting around waiting for other people to make decisions for me. Luckily CBC was open.
Real Style Network: Good for you. Love that you are bringing these big names ( like Russell Crowe) to the show. What a great way to build buzz.
Allan Hawco: Having big name actors come play with you, gives you an opportunity to open someone’s mind to watching the show who may not have before. I believe the success of the show comes down to the core characters and the investment the audience makes in those people. But luckily for me the formula of our show is that there is a different mystery every week which calls for a number of different guest stars. When you’ve got people like Russell Crowe who are interested in making a contribution to something that I am building just adds legitimacy to the people who are watching it and to people who may have been skeptical. It’s a total…[sighs]
Real Style Network: Win-Win?
Allan Hawco: It’s a miracle.
Real Style Network: Where do you see the show evolving?
Allan Hawco: That’s what we are doing now, we are developing and planning. Perry Chafe ( co-creator), I and the writers are all working together. Perry and I had a five year plan at the very beginning. Over the years we have borrowed, stolen and torn pieces from that five year plan and put them in the first three years. The five year plan has expanded into almost a seven year plan. When things start to become real you realize that there is more story than we can tell here. I feel like this year, the scripts we are developing are the scripts that I am most excited by.
Real Style Network: Your character, Jake Doyle is a little bit reckless. Is he going to continue or are we going to see him settle down a bit?
Allan Hawco : I can say this. Wednesday night is our season three finale. I will say that it’s like no other episode we have done before. I feel like it is going to blow a lot of people away. A lot of people are going to be surprised. I just hope that everyone tunes in. I really feel like this is a season conclusion that will be super satisfying. I’m excited by it!
There you have it folks. Don’t miss the Republic Of Doyle season finale tonight at 9 p.m on CBC. Maybe Jake falls in love and gets married like his maker did last year to a fellow Newfoundlander. Or maybe not! We are as excited as Allan to see what happens.
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