CAST INSIDER: Peter MacNeill

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Q: What is Ken up to in the second season?

A: I wish I had the story arc more than two weeks ahead of shooting sometimes, but that's the nature of this beast ... you have to be ready for just about anything! As it turns out, Ken’s arc is more like running a zig zag of desperation in his never ending search for some control over his life. As Ken is usually the author of his own failures, this quest is the source of some pretty funny stuff. I think the audience can't help but feel some empathy for him in the long run because he does display an unquenchable determination to try to come out on top.

Q: What’s it like living in the rural Annapolis Valley during principal photography?

A: I love that we shoot this series in the Annapolis Valley – what better place to spend a day off? The Farmers’ Market in Wolfville is a real joy on Saturday morning, and driving through the valley to pick blueberries or apples on a crisp sunny day is just spectacular! While this is not Toronto or New York, the cast enjoys visiting the theatre, the bowling alley, and dining at some of the great local restaurants. Jason, who has no downtime at all, is very happy to have the weekend to spend with his family. My wife, Maggi, has come down to visit a number of times, so we are never really out of touch!

Q: Can you talk about the chemistry that the Fitz family has both on and off camera?

A: The "Fitz" family dynamic is chaotic. But it is a real family dynamic; it’s just condensed for comic effect. Things that happen over a lifetime in a so-called "real" family are just as wacky as the family we portray in "Call Me Fitz". We try to work out of a real place with emotional responses appropriate to a real situation, and the result is hilarious. Without sounding too technical about the work, actors must stay connected to reality while ensuring the comedic timing clicks, and simply not bumping into the furniture and crew becomes part of the job. We cannot let these characters "take over" - can you imagine the disaster? Off screen it’s like any other group of people working together: we laugh, we play, and we are moody! But we respect each other's needs most of the time.

Q: Can you talk a bit about Ken’s love interests this season?

A: Ken’s love life takes the form of his ex-wife Elaine, the mysterious Dot, a hooker or two thrown in, and hours of watching porn this season. Some love life! But Ken is nothing if not determined. He takes it where and when he can get it because he needs it like the rest of us. Mostly he wants it all, and that's the problem. But don't we all want it all? Ken, like a lot of people, can't seem to find it in one person. The question of whether Ken would like to end up with either, Elaine or someone like Dot, is moot. The question of will he ever be satisfied is more to the point. Ken's grass is always greener just across the street, but it’s the voyage that the show dwells on rather than the destination.

Q: What is your inspiration for Ken Fitzpatrick?

A: My inspiration mostly comes from trying to "get it right” - trying to fully portray the script’s potential. Our writer's room is buzzing morning 'til night - full of some really funny, but "bent" people. They will put your character out there nude in a snowstorm with one wet match if you are not careful.

I also count money and do wrist flexes to get in character!

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