Interview

“Pure” Star Alex Paxton-Beesley Discusses Her New CBC Show And Playing Anna Funk

As Anna Funk on the new CBC period drama Pure, Alex Paxton-Beesley plays a devoted yet strong Mennonite wife who must help her husband deal with drug traffickers in their Ontario community. The Toronto actress stars opposite actor Ryan Robbins, who plays leading man Noah Funk.

We spoke to Paxton-Beesley about depicting a strong female lead on the small screen, as well as her passion for acting. From bringing her character to life on Pure to her absolute favourite books, here’s everything you should know about this rising Canadian star.

Watch Pure tonight at 9 p.m. ET/9:30 p.m. NT on CBC.

Real Style: What can you tell us about your character Anna Funk in Pure?

Alex: Anna is the matriarch of her family. She’s a really strong woman. She’s consciously chosen the life that she is living, which defines a lot of her decision-making. She fiercely loves her family and wants to protect them, above all else. Something that really drew me to this role was the relationship that she has with her husband, Noah. It was so wonderful; to be part of a marriage that has such a strong, loving foundation. That was really satisfying and interesting to play.

Real Style: What to expect from the first season of Pure?

Alex: There are a lot of twists and turns. They are defending their way of life, and trying to do it as true to their beliefs system as they possibly can. There are going to be a lot of difficult things that the whole family is going to be put through. There are some phenomenal performances, both on the side of good and the side of more evil characters.

Real Style: What sets this apart from your previous roles, like Murdoch Mysteries?

Alex: There are a lot of similarities to parts that I have played before. I have gotten to play a lot of strong women, which I really appreciate. It’s rare that I’ve gotten to play someone who is in such a functional relationship. In the past, [my character] Freddie Pink on Murdoch Mysteries is very much a lone wolf. She’s a very independent woman.

One of the things that I find [with this role] is that it’s dramatic and they are incredibly challenged, but the foundation of their marriage is so strong. That’s been an incredibly interesting thing to start with.

Real Style: Tell us about your dream role.

Alex: I really like playing characters who have really demanding professions, so lawyers, police and doctors. I think that’s really interesting, because then you add all the layers of human behaviour and emotion on top of that.

Real Style: What originally inspired you to pursue acting?

Alex: I always loved storytelling; I was a very voracious reader when I was a kid.

Real Style: Speaking of which, do you have any favourite books?

Alex: I just read Do Not Say We Have Nothing, which was really good. It’s one of my favourite books that I read last year. I really love fantasy novels; I’ve been slowly working through the works of Guy Gavriel Kay. He’s a Canadian and was a professor at the University of Toronto. He writes these fantasy novels that are inspired by history, and does a phenomenal amount of research for them and creates a historical world. He’s written about a Viking culture and different dynasties in China.

Real Style: If you could work with any actors, showrunners or directors, who would be on your team?

Alex: I really adore Emma Thompson. If I could work with Emma Thompson, I’d be pretty darn thrilled. She’s such a smart lady and has such a good head on her shoulders. She talks about the craft in a way that I find really inspiring and accessible. She’s willing to talk about the work that she does, in a way that everyone can learn from. Even if she is talking about it in interviews, she is engaging in mentorship.

Real Style: Do you have a dream travel destination?

Alex: It’s funny; we got to shoot the show in Halifax. The Maritimes in general are one of my favourite places to be. I would really love to go to Iceland. Everything that I’ve heard about it is really fascinating. I’d also really like to explore the north of Canada. I have a friend who lives in the Yukon and her description of where she lives is remarkable.

Photo: CBC



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