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Interview: Pascale Hutton

It’s certainly been an interesting three seasons for the When Calls the Heart character Rosemary LaVeaux. She’s gone from one of the most disliked characters on the series to one of the most beloved.

Throughout Rosemary’s journey, there has been one constant, the incredible work of actress Pascale Hutton. She’s been able to breathe a range of emotions and depth into her character that has been an absolute privilege to watch.

With the When Calls the Heart returning for a fourth season starting on February 19th at 9/8c on the Hallmark Channel, we had the opportunity to talk with Pascale about that journey, the interesting relationship between Rosemary and Elizabeth and what fans can look forward to with the fourth season of the series.

Pop Culture Principle – With When Calls the Heart heading into its fourth season, do you think the show has found rhythm and its voice?

Pascale Hutton – I do. I actually felt like it settled last season and it’s been wonderful to have that continue into Season 4. You know, to have that grow and mature, that voice of the show and that rhythm and especially the tone of the show, I felt like we hit it last year in Season 3 and then we just expanded on that going into Season 4.

Pop Culture Principle – What do you think is the biggest difference between the first season and the upcoming fourth season?

Pascale Hutton - I felt like in Season 1 and in Season 2, the show was really working itself out and trying to figure out where it sat, what it’s tone was and what was the feel of the show. In Season 1, I think it was quite earnest and heartfelt. In Season 2 it kind of swung in a different direction and in Season 3, it really found a beautiful and happy medium. It had those heartfelt and earnest moments, but it also had some levity and comedy to it. It also had some action and intrigue that propelled the story forward, so I thought it was really good that we found that place.

Now, going into Season 4, I think all of the characters have really settled. The show is so connected to the idea of community and the town and I think that’s what people really have responded to. This small town being this pillar of strength, community and friendship and the stories need to reflect that.

So, focusing on the main characters in the town and how they come together and support each other and disagree with each other and ruffle each other’s feathers and make each other laugh, that is the heart of the show and I think that’s what people are responding to. I think it’s been really good to get to a point where we really focus on that as the core and heart of the series.

Pop Culture Principle – Rosemary and Leland get married at the end of Season 3. What was it like filming that wedding scene?

Pascale Hutton – It was fun but you know I felt like I was battling that wedding dress all day and that’s my prominent memory of that day. That dress had to be sewn on me and it required so much handy work and meddling with it all day. I’m not one of those actors that likes to be fussed over a lot and that dressed required so much fussing constantly, so that’s where my mind was focused most of the day.

Also, it’s very labor intensive shooting scenes with that many key characters, but the flip side is that it’s so much fun to be together and film for an entire day together. The cast is really close and I can say this with complete honesty that it’s a really nice group of people. I genuinely like spending time with the cast of When Calls the Heart and when we get a chance to all hang out together on set like that, it’s great.

Pop Culture Principle – One major takeaway we have from this series is the strength and resilience of women of When Calls the Heart. Would you agree?

Pascale Hutton – I would agree with that and on a broader tone, I would say that is a mandate of the Hallmark Channel. If you look at their programming across the board, I would say about ninety-five percent of the time it’s with a female hero, protagonist at the forefront of their movies and television shows.

I think we are especially lucky on When Calls the Heart that it doesn’t just stop with the character of Elizabeth Thatcher, who is really helming the show and it doesn’t stop with Abagail Stanton who is right there, but then there is my character as well and Dottie Ramsey and Florence Blakeley. So, there are a lot of really strong females who are forging their own ways and that’s amazing. It’s amazing that this series doesn’t shy away from that and it’s amazing that the females are at the forefront of the show and the storylines.

Pop Culture Principle – Rosemary and Leland prove that opposites do attract. You and Kavan work so well together. How have you enjoyed working with him on the series?

Pascale Hutton – Working with Kavan has been one of the greatest creative gifts I have ever been given in my entire life. Kavan and I just click off screen and on screen and if we didn’t get on as well as we do in real life, I don’t think people would love the characters of Rosemary and Lee as much as they do. Of course, the writers have done a beautiful job of writing the characters and they are funny, but that spark would not be there if we didn’t truly click off camera as well. We just get each other and it’s been very easy to fall into that rhythm and that relationship of Lee and Rosemary together. I love, love, love the scenes that we get to do together.

Pop Culture Principle – How long do you think it will be before Rosemary gets the itch for acting again or do you think for now, she is quite content with her life?

Pascale Hutton – Well, I think the broader theme for Rosemary this season is the itch to do something, anything. It’s finding what her purpose is now in life. I think she’s been so ambitious and self-serving, not in a bad way, but she’s really only had herself to look out for. She’s been so driven and singularly focused, that now that she has someone else in her life with different needs and different expectations in life and different obligations in life, there is this intense compromise that is going on that I think she is struggling to find.

She wants to be a good wife and I don’t mean that in any trivial or patronizing way, she really wants to be a good partner to Lee and for Lee and she wants him to be a good partner for her. I think she’s trying to figure out how to do that but at the same time be satisfied and fulfilled as an individual. I think that is a very common theme, but especially for people back then who didn’t live together until they got married. That is a pretty rocky time trying to figure that out I would imagine and you definitely see that this season with Rosemary and Lee.

Pop Culture Principle – You’ve played Rosemary LeVeaux for several seasons now. How protective have you become of the character?

Pascale Hutton – I would say that there have been very, very few moments that I have ever thought that Rosemary would never say or do something and there are two reasons for that. One is the writers have been with this character just as long as I have, so they know and love her just as much as I do. So, they are not going to write something totally crazy and out of character for Rosemary to do or say because they love her just as much as I do.

The second reason is because there is very little that they could right for Rosemary to say or do that she wouldn’t say or do. Rosemary is so outlandish as times that there are times when I Pascale read it and have to figure out how I was going to say it, but then I realize it’s not me, but it is Rosemary saying it. So, there are very few things that Rosemary wouldn’t say or do, so they can throw anything at me and I know I can make it work and I can see how Rosemary would do this or see how Rosemary would say something like this. So, those are the two reasons why I very rarely would ever think that something isn’t right for this character.

Pop Culture Principle – As an actor, how does it feel having a character be one of the most hated at the beginning of a series to becoming one of the most beloved characters?

Pascale Hutton – It is a good feeling, but I never felt bad about her being hated because she was a really polarizing character when she was introduced. If they had loved this character right from the get go, I would have thought I don’t think these fans are very loyal. She was trying to break up a couple that had an entire season of being established as a couple and a couple that should end up together. So, I always took it as a positive sign that the fans were that passionate and that they felt that passionately about the stories and the characters.

Obviously, it’s so much better know that they love Rosemary, but I never took it as that they didn’t love Rosemary, I thought that she was a piece of the show and that the fans loved the show. They love these characters and the conflicts that were arising within the town, so I thought it was a hugely positive thing always.

Pop Culture Principle – Rosemary and Elizabeth still have an interesting relationship. Rosemary has this way of saying things that may seem a bit mean, but you still love her anyway. It’s her special gift. Would you agree?

Pascale Hutton – What I’ve come to love about Rosemary is that she says these things, but she says them in such a kind of unaware way. It’s almost like it flies off the tip of her tongue without even thinking about any sort of ramifications for her actions or her speech. That’s why I think Elizabeth is still able to love Rosemary and they are able to be close friends and that’s why the audience is able to love her because there is something so delightfully unaware.

Pop Culture Principle – When Calls the Heart continues to grow each season. As an actor, how does that make you feel knowing your work and the work of the cast and crew is resonating with the viewers?

Pascale Hutton – Well, that’s why we do it right? I mean, you can do the most amazing show, but if nobody is watching it, then what is the point? If it’s not resonating and not reaching an audience, then that’s a great experience for you and it’s probably very cathartic, but it’s not going to last very long.

We do this work selfishly and to be creatively fulfilled ourselves, but on a much bigger purpose, it’s to entertain and resonate with an audience. So, I think it’s amazing and it’s something that I have truly never been a part of before. The Hearties are the most beautiful, passionate fans I think out there and it’s just wonderful.

Pop Culture Principle – When Calls the Heart has a great blend of humor, action and drama. Would you agree?

Pascale Hutton – I would hope so and that’s the aim and that is the goal. It is definitely what we are trying to achieve.

Pop Culture Principle – You recently attended the second When Calls the Heart fan convention. How did you enjoy the event this season and where the any differences compared to the first event?

Pascale Hutton – It was amazing. It was three times as many people at the event and our fans have nothing but love for the show. Part of the reason why I love Twitter is having direct contact and interaction with the fans of the show, but then to actually see them, meet them or see them again face to face is amazing. It’s amazing to see how something that we have created is touching people.

What’s really neat is that this whole community has arisen from this series. The fans are connected to the characters, the show and the actors in the show, but they are so connected to each other which is beautiful.

Pop Culture Principle – What can fans look forward to with the fourth season of When Calls the Heart?

Pascale Hutton – The one thing I will say is definitely make sure you are sitting down while you watch this season and make sure you have a box of Kleenex, maybe two. It is an emotional ride this season, so hold on!

We would like to thank the lovely Pascale Hutton for sitting down and talking with us. You can catch the Season 4 premiere of When Calls the Heart on Sunday, February 19th at 9/8c only on the Hallmark Channel. If you would like to keep tabs on all of Pascale's latest news and projects, you can follow her on Twitter @HuttonPascale or visit her official website here.

**Photos Copyright 2016 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Eike Schroter**

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