You’ve never met anyone as driven as Allan Hawco. The star of The Republic of Doyle also created, writes and produces the CBC’s newest drama, which premieres on Wednesday night. So how did he do it? Surprisingly, he didn’t have to sleep with a single person at CBC. Seriously. I asked.

“I feel like the luckiest freaking guy in the world. My lawyer and co-executive producer of the show Michael Levine played a huge part,” said the rising Canadian star. “We pitched CBC a number of shows to them and this was the one. I dusted it off before the meeting. I loved it and I pitched after the other ones bombed.”

The show, about a father-and-son private investigating firm, was filmed entirely in Saint John’s. Allan’s character (and series namesake) Jake Doyle is as Newfoundland as they come. But don’t expect the series to play into any Newfie stereotypes. “When it came to stereotypes, I had a notion of what I didn’t want to do. But for the most part, I just try to tell the story from an authentic place for me. Let’s find the comedy from places that are authentic scenarios, from places that anyone in the world would find funny.”

As with many Canadian stars, Hawco has been working long and hard. Having graduated from the prestigious and impossible-to-get-into (believe me, I know) National Theatre School, Allan moved to Toronto only to discover that the theatre wasn’t exactly for him. At the behest of his agent he tried doing film and television work, and he hasn’t looked back since. And at the same time, he hasn’t completely turned his back on theatre, either. “I wanted to be the master of my own destiny. So we started our own theatre company too.”
When talking with Allan, you get the sense that he knows he didn’t get to where he is on his own. He is quick to name his good friend Shamus O’Reagan (Canada AM), who introduced Hawco to his lawyer. And he also makes sure to give everyone credit for the work they’ve done on the show. But what about his old buddies on the island? “Yeah everyone says they want work, but they are just fooling around. What’s the old expression? ‘It is show business, it is not friend-business.’ But everyone knows what is going on–they are great supporters.”

Since beginning production back in July, the show has been building its own buzz. Thanks to CBC’s relentless promotion of, Republic of Doyle is poised to make a big debut on Wednesday.

So far one of the highest compliments he’s received came from his own provincial government, whose funding allowed the show to be made. “After the funding was decided, the finance minister said to me, ‘We’re making this decision because we believe in it culturally.’ That’s pretty sweet; that is something I never thought I would hear. When I was younger, I was very skeptical about politics. And I never thought I would in the position to hear that from my government.”

With the hours ticking down to his show’s debut, Hawco is reflective about what it took him to get here. “All I can do is focus on what I want to do. You go after what you think is going to be a good TV show and hope that it works out the way you want it to.” Like many Canadian actors, his path hasn’t always been clear. “There was a time when I was sitting in bars complaining about shit all the time. But I get really depressed; when I’m not happy, I get really sad. So I have to push myself and I have a lot of great support.”

I’ll have a full review of Republic of Doyle tomorrow. I can assure you, however, that Allan Hawco has nothing to be depressed about.

Mike Morrison