Adam Beach has plenty of things to be happy about these days. He got to work with Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig in last summer's blockbuster "Cowboys & Aliens." He enjoyed a stint as a popular guest star on "Combat Hospital." And now he's starring in "Arctic Air," a show that he's passionate about and also happened to lead him to his current girlfriend, co-star Leah Gibson.
"Arctic Air" follows the lives of a group of bush pilots in Yellowknife who work at a company called, well, Arctic Air. Beach stars as Bobby Martin, the son of one of Arctic Air's co-founders who moved to Vancouver to become a venture capitalist after his father died. The show chronicles Bobby's return to Yellowknife, and his relationships with Arctic Air's other co-founder Mel Ivarson (Kevin McNulty), and Mel's ace-pilot daughter Krista (Pascale Hutton).
We spoke with Beach from his Vancouver base (where he was joking around with his gal Leah -- awwww) to learn more about what to expect from this unique new show.
Tell us a bit about Bobby...
He's successful, he desires to come back home. He speaks his language (Dene). Everybody likes him. As an actor I'm always being pushed to the limits, whether it's flying a plane, rescuing someone, rescuing the business, trying to flirt with the ladies. There's a whole process to Bobby's madness.
What's your favourite part about 'Arctic Air'?
My favourite part is I met Leah Gibson, who's now my girlfriend. She plays Candi on the show. [Laughs] I'm laughing at her, she's right in front of me!
Well that's a nice little bonus for you!
It's a little perk of the biz!
Who do you think the show will appeal to? Do you think families will watch it together?
Oh, most definitely. A lot of people are really going to like it as a family. All of the characters are tied into each other as a family because everybody working in Arctic Air grew up with each other. There's a comedic scene where Mel has to hire a new pilot, and this new pilot comes in and he's really suave and arrogant, and he says something like 'Go get me a coffee!' to our desk manager. And that's where Mel fires him. It's that dynamic, where it's like 'Don't talk to her like that, that's my niece's brother's family's sister's daughter!' It truly is a family business.
What kind of stuff did you do to prepare for the role? Did you learn how to actually fly planes?
I learned the mechanics of how to fly a plane, but I never lifted a plane off the ground.
What's it like shooting in the cold weather?
[Laughs] I dislike working in the cold weather! There's an episode where I'm dealing with the issue of my Dad's death when I was a kid, and I'm in the snow the whole time. That was the toughest episode because I was frozen the whole time. I come from Winterpeg.
But you've been living in LA!
I know, I'm a little spoiled. [Laughs]
What's it like working on a Canadian show again after being in Hollywood so long?
We've been pretty lucky! Doing Canadian television, there isn't enough finances to really push it the way "Law & Order SVU" does their shooting. So instead of 10 days to shoot an episode, we have seven days, which is ridiculous! And we're shooting 11 pages a day, so we're quickly moving on to the next to the next to the next. It's really fast and furious. It's all "Let's get out of here so we can at least go sit in a hot tub to warm up before tomorrow's wonderful day!"
Any run-ins with wildlife while filming in some of the more remote locations?
There was a moment I had in Yellowknife where we were shooting a scene about the death of my father on the show. A lot of people realized that my own father died when I was a kid at 8. We were about to shoot a scene and I saw this huge raven sitting and making these funny clicking sounds I've never heard before. So I went over to the raven and dropped it some tobacco and said a prayer, thanking it for allowing us to be here and keeping weather beautiful. And then it flew away, and for me that moment really helped me connect with my emotions and with Bobby and I knew the show was going to be good.
I get the sense that Bobby's a bit of a ladies' man... Yes, Bobby is a ladies' man, and is very much distracted by the blinking of eyes. Hopefully it doesn't distract him too much from his business that he has to attend to.
Can you give some hints about what we can expect to see from his love life throughout the season?
You can expect his love life to be chaotic and tangled. After 10 episodes, he does untangle those knots. He gets a clearer idea of what he wants.
'Arctic Air' premieres Tuesday, January 10 at 9 p.m. on CBC.