Allan Hawco talks Republic of Doyle

Okay so who is Canada’s fastest rising TV mogul? Triple threat Newfoundlander, director, writer and star of Republic of Doyle, Allan Hawco His show is shooting its third season for viewers across Canada and around the world. 

This theatrically trained show runner, the brains behind the outfit and face of the internationally renowned series, Hawco’s down to earth manner continues to charm three years in; the energy, passion and optimism are sky high, as ever.

Hawco took time from a busy shooting day in St. John’s Newfoundland to speak with about the new season, a certain Playmate, taming the beast and what giants will continue to be slain.  There are rumours that Russell Crowe may make an appearance, but if there is one thing Hawco’s absolutely brilliant at, it’s staying mum!

M&C: Well the show keeps getting better and better.  I think I love the diversity of the stories most of all. 

Hawco: I’d say when we start breaking stories from the get go we embrace in Seasons Two and Three to take on the world we’re going to live in for the episode, and see where that goes.

M&C: You got Shannon Tweed, a fellow Newfoundlander, to appear in Season Three.  How did that happen?

Hawco: The minute I met her! This is how it happened. The genesis is that Brent Wilson introduced us at the Geminis and within two minutes she was on the show.   The funny thing is we wrote the episode with her in mind after I met her, I had the part ready. 

And this is perfect, we got our shooting schedule, and KISS announces they’re going to play Grand Falls and they would be and fall right in our schedule, I love it!  I don’t think the stars are aligning to get Shannon Tweed on the show, but I won’t disrespect them!

M&C: You choose your guest stars well [Victor Garber, Gordon Pinsent, Emily Hampshire,  Kristin Booth, Paul Gross,  Martha Burns],mostly theatrically trained, well known, hardworking actors.

Hawco: Acting is the first of my loves in this business is theatre actors.  I come from it and I like to work with people who like to tell the truth and like having a good time and who take the work seriously.  The best and most famous ones always have that same approach. 

They take their work seriously, not themselves and let their guard down, we’d like you to come to your little place show up.

M&C: You’re not afraid to get into “girly” stories which I think is crucial.  The Bridesmaids episode comes to mind, that was fun!   We are a big part of your audience.

Hawco: It’s important for me to women on our show have a strength and their own identify and aren’t just plain wives and girlfriends and mothers.  It’s important to me that the guest stars and the leads have their own voice and specific and drive and action.  And it’s not just for women audiences.

I have a certain responsibility to tell within a certain amount of time and within the crime element.  There has to be a realm of suspension of disbelief and I try to ground characters in truth as much as possible.  The number one objective is to have people tune in and know they’re going to have an hour of enjoyment.

M&C: You have that naturalism that expresses inner thoughts easily.  There is a look in your eye when you’re trying not to give away a reaction, a muscle twitch.  They tell their own story naturally.  Is that technique?

Hawco: First of all, I appreciate you saying that.  You try not to be technical; I’m mostly concerned with hitting my marks and keeping things simple.  Past that you just try to listen to the characters.  When we’re in the writing room, the backstory is done for me as prep.  It’s the best prep; all you have to do is listen. 

Sean McGinley [who plays Jake’s father Malachy Doyle] has a big massive bulls**t meter.  He stands there and tells the truth and searches for truth.  I can tell when he’s not believing. We had a great time working together and I miss working with him.

M&C: You’re so passionate about the series.  Is your life Doyle all day, every day?

Hawco: Yes, it is, and that’s just fine with me.  Its 24/7 Republic of Doyle.  We do break in January we keep writing and I’m doing post production till March and full scale writing mode until we start shooting.  When I’m off the phone from you, I’ll go and do two more takes, then finish the next script. 

We have to submit it this week and one of my writers in the Doyle office is up there to go over changes for the next script.  It’s awesome, we’re executing at an efficient level, and the crew is fantastic.

M&C: Do you miss lying in the hammock?

Hawco: I do miss being on other people’s sets.   I do long for a time between seasons where I can do other gigs, but I haven’t made myself available. I long for a time to do what other people tell me, when I don’t have to write.  Some people might worry that I will need to do this on every movie, but it’s unequivocally no! 

I will be happy to do something I’m passionate about with someone I want to work with.  With Doyle, I’m producing and writing and they think for everything I need to do this. Only for my project, not theirs. 

Now that I have my own project, I’ve exorcised that demon.  It’s fully fed for the next several years.  Doyle has given me the chance to do that, to tame the beast.

M&C: You’ve always been a pioneer, creating your own theatre troupe, creating this show, not content to stick with status quo.  It’s served you well. 

Hawco: It’s being tuned in with your heart.  I’m the youngest of four kids, I have a super strong older sisters who beat common sense – well, not really –  into me and lent a hand in the wisdom category and I had a super supportive family.  I was always allowed to pursue things I believe I had to pursue without judgement.  They always had my back.

It’s important to have older women in your life.  They have experience that they deserve to be listened to.   It’s a common theme but women are better than men, stronger, generic ally, not stupid. Every time men think they’re tough, I’ve never seen a woman complain about childbirth.

M&C: How is the show doing overseas?

Hawco: Well I don’t monitor in terms of other countries, stresses me out but I do know that in the UK it’s in the top ten shows.  And I know that in terms of fan base it’s popular around the world super encouraging and most importantly, for me as a Canadian to have other Canadians share our identify across the country, that the show is worthy of their attention, and I feel extremely grateful for that.  This is where it starts and ends for me, at home.

M&C: It may be a crime series but it’s also terrific escapism.

Hawco: Crime in St John’s is a bit of a stretch and we treat it with tongue in cheek attitude. We’re doing a crime show in St Johns Newfoundland. There’s a certain suspension of disbelief. It’s not your show if you won’t go on the ride with us!

M&C: So please tell me more about Season Three!

Hawco: I’ll tell you about season three. I think it’s a great idea to buy the DVD and see what happened in Season Two!

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