When Season 9 of When Calls the Heart premiered last Sunday on Hallmark Channel, fans noticed a new look for the character Nathan Grant (played by Kevin McGarry). Fresh off a Season 8 heartbreak at the hands of widow Elizabeth Thornton (Erin Krakow), he appeared in the first episode, sporting a new mustache.
In a recent interview with ET, the actor said fans had already started speculating about his new look.
“I saw something on social media that was like, ‘I guess when a girl gets broken up with, she gets bangs. When a guy gets broken up with, he gets a mustache,’” he said.
Though he appreciates the theory, McGarry said he actually started growing facial hair at the request of producer John Tinker. He had asked several of the male actors on the show to grow beards in preparation for shooting on Season 9, but eventually decided to let the actors keep their clean-shaven looks. McGarry got rid of most of the beard, leaving a small patch and a mustache. He took a selfie and sent it to Tinker, along with a photo of Timothy Olyphant from the series Deadwood.
“He was like, ‘Yeah, I love this,’” he said.
Though the mustache was a lark, McGarry said he did study up on mounties — short for Royal Canadian Mounted Police — last year. During a trip to Saskatchewan, he visited the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Heritage Centre in Regina.
“I was looking at all the mounties from the early 1900s, and a lot of them did have mustaches,” McGarry said.
According to McGarry, whether the mustache stays or goes, Nathan still has a lot of healing to do. He is happy that Elizabeth is happy, but he is still hurt.
Nathan is also facing new challenges on the job. He has been ordered to learn how to drive a car, something he doesn’t want to do.
“Nathan in a way represents the old world with the horse and the mustache,” McGarry said.
According to McGarry, Nathan is finally enjoying a sense of belonging in Hope Valley. His character joined the series in Season 6, after Jack Thornton (played by Daniel Lissing) was killed during a training exercise at the end of Season 5. It took him a while to become accepted by the residents of Hope Valley, but he finally belongs, McGarry said.
Season 9, Episode 2 of When Calls the Heart will air on Hallmark Channel on Sunday, March 13 at 8/7c.More: Hallmark Channel, Kevin McGarry, When Calls the Heart