Since last season’s debut of Republic of Doyle, actor Allan Hawco has been in hot demand and I’m not just talking about the legions of female fans he has across the country….but really can you blame them?  Not only is Hawco the star of the show, he is the executive producer and writer of the smash Newfoundland based detective show.  With the show regularly crossing over the million viewers mark against tough competition like American Idol, it’s no wonder ladies recently lined up around the block to spend the night (okay, evening) with Hawco in Calgary.  But before the party got start, I got the chance to sit down with the show’s star and talk about his and the Republic of Doyle’s journey so far and if we might ever see Jake Doyle on the big screen!

Since you are the writer, producer and star of Republic of Doyle, how protective are you of your baby?
It’s great because you don’t enough time to be sensitive about anything.  Because it is my baby, it does allow me to be more stern with the show than anyone else.  Creatively, the number one rule is that the show wins.  Whatever I think is a cool line or moment, if it gets in the way of a great story, then it needs to go away.

Do you ever get nervous that CBC might try to change the show?
Not really because quite honestly, from day one everyone wanted to make the same show.  I was able to articulate what I wanted the show to be and they were able to buy that. They were very hands-off creatively and they are very much a part of my team. But you have to take in everyone’s input and listen.  I don’t care who tells me anything, I’m going to listen to them. Although, your skin gets thick enough to follow through with your vision, it’s a good way to do it, right?

When you were creating Republic of Doyle, did you picture the show’s success?
The big thing for me was that I wanted a show that Canadians felt proud of.  If I hadn’t succeeded in that, I think I would be very sad.  And not just the province of  Newfoundland.  I wanted the people in Calgary to say, “Hey, that’s a great Canadian show.”  I wanted everyone to feel it.  I hire actors from all across the country to work with us, so the show feels more national.

What’s been the reaction of the show in Newfoundland?
The people of Newfoundland are definitely grateful for being portayed in a way that they haven’t really been portrayed before.  We wanted a series to show the world but I didn’t want to mock the country. I’m not saying that we don’t have a sense of humor about ourselves, but I feel like we have to mock ourselves in order for others to appreciate us.

Do you mean shows like Corner Gas and Trailer Park Boys?
Trailer Park Boys was inspired, they didn’t something in the first three seasons of that show, that I’ve never seen before.

What would the show be like creatively if the network made you take it out of Newfoundland?
It would be very different. But I think I would definitely like to write a show set in a different city.

As an actor, do you understand your fan’s positive reaction to the show and more specifically, you?
It’s different because I’m also the Executive Producer of the show, so in my head I’m able to rationalize anything in a very sensible way.  I’m able to think of it as a  product that we are making, people are interested in it, you have an obligation to serve the people who are interested in the project. I know how many people are involved in making this project but I know that this is not about me.  It really have nothing to do with me.   It’s about this character and I get to play and people are interested in talking about it and I’m interested in talking about him.   I know how hard it is to keep an audience, when you blink it’s over the minute you take any of it for granted. And I really appreciate that people give a shit.

Do you get nervous between the span of time between your seasons?
It’s completely out of my control, plus I have so many other things to worry about in the run of the day. And to be quite honest, it’s helpful for me when we have such a break.  When you’re editing, writing and acting, I like having that buffer. I need the time and I know it’s frustrating.   I love would to be doing a movie in between seasons!  Have it released in theatres as a pre-cursor to our season.  Movies would be easier because I wouldn’t be editing while I was filming.  That would be ideal.

Since you’re so involved in the show, when does the writer overrule the actor when it comes to the creative interest of the show?
I have a five-season arc. If we get to that place, then I think I would need to re-assess but there’s still a lot of things to come.  The actor in me loves playing Jake but after five years, I’m sure I’ll be ready to play someone else.  But I always have my theatre company where I can keep working on acting outside of Republic of Doyle.

For the dozens of Canadians that haven’t caught the show, what’s your pitch for them to start watching?
The show’s designed in that a way that you can become a part of the series very easily.  I feel like that show is an hour of television where they can escape with some characters and a story that you can have fun with.  I can’t speak for what people will think of it but I love it and I feel like it’s an hour well spent.

Republic of Doyle airs tonight on CBC!

Mike Morrison


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