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Interview: Kavan Smith

Actor Kavan Smith should be no stranger to fans of the Hallmark Channel brand. He’s played businessman Leland Coulter for several seasons on the original hit series When Calls the Heart.

In the series, Leland Coulter is married to Rosemary, who is played by Pascale Hutton. The two actors will reunite to work on a totally different project.

On Saturday, June 10th at 9/8c, Kavan stars with Pascale in the original Hallmark Channel movie The Perfect Bride.

We sit down with the Canadian born actor to talk about The Perfect Bride, what it’s like working with Pascale Hutton and what his hopes are for the upcoming fifth season of When Calls the Heart.

Pop Culture Principle - What was it about the script for The Perfect Bride that made you want to sign on to the project?

Kavan Smith - Several things about the script were appealing. It seemed to me like a decent premise to allow me to interject a lot of myself into the character. It was fun and light and there was good banter, which I love.. Also, I’m an actor and if you’re not Brad Pitt you need to take work when it’s offered to you because I like to eat. That's a line from the movie as a matter of fact.

Pop Culture Principle - Can you tell us a little about your character Nick Dyson?

Kavan Smith - Nick is a decent guy who is trying to find his way in the world. Trying to make it as an artist is never easy. Ask me I know. But he is perpetually upbeat and an optimist. However, he’s found himself in a relationship with someone who may not actually be a good match for him. Throughout the movie we see him come to terms with this. It’s a tough spot to be in to realize that you’re not a match with someone, but not wanting to hurt that person.

Pop Culture Principle - Your co-star in The Perfect Bride is Pascale Hutton whom you work with on the Hallmark series When Calls the Heart. What was it like working with her on this project?

Kavan Smith - This is really the main reason I took the job. Pascale and I have been trying to pursue something outside When Calls the Heart for a while now. We have a lot of fun working together and seem to have great chemistry on screen. Liking and trusting the person you’re working with allows you to really build depth in an onscreen relationship. Truth is we pretty much laugh all day. It’s a great way to make a living and I encourage anyone to give it a try.

Pop Culture Principle - You both have such great on-screen chemistry. Were you allowed to improvise with the script at all or did you stick to the words on the page?

Kavan Smith - Improvising is not the word I would use. There is a great script in place, but sometimes there are opportunities to really make the role(s) our own. It is also a slippery slope. You have to be very careful when improvising. It's a fine line between good improv and hamming it up. The director has to reign that in. We had Martin Wood and he was wonderful with letting us explore but then pulling us back when we went too far.

Pop Culture Principle - Were there any funny stories from the set that you can tell us about?

Kavan Smith - Here is the skinny on working with Pascale. Everyone thinks we love working with each other and that we’re always laughing and entertaining one another. The truth is she doesn’t find me funny at all. She laughs at her own jokes. She doesn’t ever hear what I say. And if I’m being truthful I have to admit I don’t listen to her either. She’s nuts.

Pop Culture Principle - Many Hallmark fans know you both as Leland and Rosemary Coulter. How would you compare Molly and Nick to that couple?

Kavan Smith - These roles are very different and that makes it so much fun for us. First of all, it’s contemporary which is really nice for a change and we get to wear normal clothes. But we still have the same rapport and we still really click-at least I hope we do. These characters are fun decent people just trying to find their way. Who can’t relate to that?

Pop Culture Principle - How do you think the When Calls the Heart fans will react to both of you playing totally different characters in The Perfect Bride?

Kavan Smith - The When Calls the Heart fans are amazing and are so supportive. I’ve been doing this for a while. All genres, television, film and there are always mixed reviews about shows and performances. Any good review is followed by a bad one or a mean one or a stupid one. But these “Hearties” only have the nicest things to say and are so supportive. I can let my kids read my twitter. Of course, I don’t, but I could. If I did they’d lose my phone.

Pop Culture Principle - What did you enjoy most about filming The Perfect Bride?

Kavan Smith - I really do love my job. It’s creative and fun and for me at least very fulfilling. But when you can go to work every day and literally laugh your way through work, that has real value to me. I really hope people watch because I think it’s a really good little movie. Pascale and I really do want to do more. I’d like to be able to continue laughing my way through the day. Is that asking too much?

Pop Culture Principle - What message, if any, would you like the viewers to take away from The Perfect Bride after seeing it?

Kavan Smith - Let's face it, the world is a mess right now, but this movie isn’t a social commentary. It’s a break from all the noise. It's a chance to sit back and breathe for a couple hours and hopefully laugh and to cheer us on. So call everyone you know and mark your calendars.

Pop Culture Principle - The fourth season of When Calls the Heart recently wrapped. Can you talk a little bit about Leland’s journey in the fourth season?

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Kavan Smith - I loved the fourth season. Leland is finally starting to round out as a full and complete character. We had some good laughs, a few tears and we learned a little bit more about his origins. I was very happy with how his story line developed. I hope we’re in for more of the same in Season 5.

Pop Culture Principle - Leland Coulter had some tremendous growth in the fourth season. As an actor, how do you enjoy playing a character that has multiple levels?

Kavan Smith - I think the real trick with bringing a character to life and making him “real” is giving him levels and layers. We’re all onions. Nobody is all good or all bad. We all have some humor and some sadness. Being given the opportunity to start infusing Lee with more and more substance allows him to be more “real”. As an actor that has always been my goal./p>

Pop Culture Principle - What was your favorite moment in the fourth season between Leland and Rosemary?

Kavan Smith - Pascale and I had a blast shooting the charades episode. So that stands out. Also when we learn a bit more about Lee’s brother, that was fun too!

Pop Culture Principle - You are a cast member of When Calls the Heart and have worked on several other projects for Hallmark. What do you enjoy most about working with Hallmark?

Kavan Smith - Hallmark makes family viewing. Being the dad of 2 young boys, I know first hand that there is a real place for that on television. The truth is I can’t watch another animated movie or I’ll drop dead. I’ve had it. No more. So that’s another thing I appreciate about Hallmark. It’s not animated. Ha. It’s not for everyone all the time. I myself love a little bit of everything, but if I want to sit down and cuddle up with my boys there’s no better place.

Pop Culture Principle - Now that the series has been renewed for a fifth season, what would you like to see happen with Leland and Rosemary?

Kavan Smith - Sticky little kids. N’uff said.

We would like to thank Kavan Smith for taking time out of his schedule to talk with us. You can catch his new Hallmark Original movie The Perfect Bride, this Saturday, June 10th at 9/8c.

Kavan will return as Leland Coulter in When Calls the Heart when the series returns for its fifth season in 2018.

If you would like to keep up with all of Kavan's latest news and projects, you can follow him on his official Twitter account @KavanjSmith.

**Photos credit: Copyright 2017 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographers: Ricardo Hubbs/Brendan Meadows**

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