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Interview: Erin Krakow

When Calls the Heart returns to our television screens with its Season 8 premiere this Sunday, February 21st at 9/8c!

The big question that fans of the long-running series want to be answered is who Elizabeth will choose. Will it be Lucas or Nathan?

Well, before we find out this season who the lucky man is, we had the chance to sit down with series star Erin Krakow and talk about the upcoming eight season.

We discuss the big change behind the scenes, the friendships with Rosemary and Henry Gowen and most importantly, when will we find out who Elizabeth picks!

Pop Culture Principle – One of the biggest changes for Season 8 of When Calls the Heart was having John Tinker as the new showrunner. What was it like working with him and what new energy did he bring to the season?

Erin Krakow – A great question straight out of the gate. I have to say, working with John was a dream. He was incredibly collaborative and he was very respectful of the fact that this show has been going pretty strong for as many years as it has. He wanted to honor all of the stories that we have already told and help expand that world a bit more. He breathed new life into the show and he really allowed us to get to know more of our ensemble cast in ways that we haven’t had the opportunity to get to know them before. We are getting to see some of our regulars stretched in ways we haven’t seen before.

I think, typically for me, Elizabeth is generally on the right side of most decisions. But, there are situations this season where she might not be in the right and maybe she’s responding to friends in a way that isn’t very Elizabeth. Sometimes that happens when people are stressed out. For me, it was a great new challenge to get to play some new things and John really gave us all many gifts in that way.

Pop Culture Principle – I know time is a relative thing when it comes to Hope Valley, but does the show pick up right after the end of Season 7 or will there be any sort of time jump?

Erin Krakow – So, there is a bit of a time jump. I would say a few months have passed. As far as Elizabeth is concerned, it hasn’t really affected the relationships or the dynamic that she has with Nathan and with Lucas for example because both of them have spent some time way from Hope Valley. So, she hasn’t had the opportunity to reconnect with either one of them after the events at the end of Season 7. It’s a bit of a cheat and we kind of get away with time passed so we can honor things like Baby Jack turning into Little Jack. So, we do get to pick back up where things left off in many ways.

Pop Culture Principle – You’ve said in previous interviews that Elizabeth will make her decision between Lucas and Nathan this season, but will it be early in the season or will the fans have to wait until the end of the season to find out who she picks?

Erin Krakow – You know, I think there has understandably been a lot of passionate feedback from the Hearties who are ready to wrap up the triangle and find out who Elizabeth picks and I can appreciate that. I will say that Elizabeth will make the decision before the end of the season, so there will be satisfaction beyond the sense of triangle limbo sooner than later.  I just want the Hearties to know that we hear them and that we care about them.

Pop Culture Principle – Obviously, one of the guys is not going to be picked by Elizabeth. What can you tell us about their reaction to the bad news if anything?

Erin Krakow – We got to see both guys play that disappointed sad puppy thing. Nathan at the end of Season 6 when Lucas got the dance and with Lucas at the end of Season 7 when Elizabeth finds herself in Nathan’s arms. It’s not fun to see their sad little faces. So, I can understand it and I agree with it, but all I will say is that we want happy endings for everyone in Hope Valley.

Pop Culture Principle – Rosemary gave Elizabeth some advice about her current situation with Lucas and Nathan. We are wondering, what advice would Erin Krakow give to Elizabeth?

Erin Krakow – I would tell her to take a little vacation with her son. Just go off to a beach somewhere and really just think about what makes her happiest in life. Get quiet and listen to her heart and her gut and make a decision based on that. Obviously, also factor in who she thinks will be a great dad to Little Jack. I would just tell her to look within and think about who makes her the happiest.

Pop Culture Principle – Since Season 1, the relationship between Elizabeth and Rosemary has grown. It’s had its share of bumpy roads over the seasons, but would you consider Rosemary to be Elizabeth’s most trusted friend?

Erin Krakow – Yes, I am sure she is. I mean, Abigail remains one of Elizabeth’s most trusted friends, but we haven’t gotten to see those two interact obviously. So I think Rosemary has filled those shoes in many ways. I’ve loved how we have explored the growth in their friendship. I mean, the fact that she shows up in her red pants and is coming for Elizabeth’s man, it’s just crazy to me that these two ended up being such close friends. It’s a pretty amazing, honest, supportive female friendship and I am proud that we get to showcase that on When Calls the Heart. Often times, female friendships are portrayed in a very catty way and this is a real sisterhood that we get to show.

Pop Culture Principle – We would love to see an episode were Elizabeth and Rosemary go on some sort of adventure together and how their two personalities would handle such an adventure. Would you like to see something like that?

Erin Krakow – I would love to see something like that. It would be a fun episode! I feel like the closest we got to telling that kind of story is when Elizabeth went into labor in the snow and the woods and they had to find that abandoned cabin. I am sure we can do better.

Pop Culture Principle – Another interesting friendship is the one between Elizabeth and Henry Gowen. Even though most of the Hope Valley doesn’t trust him, Elizabeth still sees the good in him. Why do you think that is the case?

Erin Krakow – I think she has followed Abagail’s lead one hundred percent. I think that even Elizabeth was wary of Gowen and there were moments where she felt judgmental of him and kind of gave him attitude. I think because Abigail saw the good in him, Elizabeth has followed suit. I feel Elizabeth is glad that she did because they are both people who are on this journey to find a way to move on with their lives.

Gowen really has some complicated baggage. He’s got perhaps a shade of gray in his backstory. It’s hard to tell what kind of person he is and he’s trying to redeem himself and gain the trust and the friendship of the people of Hope Valley and moving on and moving through that is not always easy. Obviously, Elizabeth is on a journey to move on and open up her heart again and figure out who she is without Jack in her life. I feel like they have kind of leaned on each other in a way that is unexpected, but really kind of highlights that understanding and mutual respect and care.

Pop Culture Principle – We see that any time Henry Gowen is around Elizabeth, his entire demeanor and even body language changes. Would you agree with that?

Erin Krakow – We get to see that he is a bit of a softy underneath it all and I really like that.

Pop Culture Principle – In Season 7, Elizabeth becomes an officially published author with a little help from Lucas sending the book to his mother. Will we see her continue to publish her work in Season 8?

Erin Krakow – Absolutely. The book that she gets the deal for in Season 7 is the one she will continue to work on in Season 8. We see her working away at her manuscript, taking notes and trying to make edits. She’s just a single mom on the frontier trying to balance it all, writing, teaching and being a mom. She’s got a lot on her plate!

Pop Culture Principle – In Season 8, we will be introduced to The Canfields, a new family in Hope Valley. What can you tell us about that family and their journey in Hope Valley?

Erin Krakow – I am just so thrilled beyond words that we are introducing the Canfield family. I can tell you that everyone is going to love them. They are led by Viv Leacock, who is a Hallmark favorite. He brings so much soul and depth to his character. There is a kind of spiritual side to his character Joseph.

His wife Minnie is played by Natasha Burnett, is a fierce and protective mama bear. They have a daughter and a son and their daughter is blind. We learn more and more as we peel back the onion that they are really having a hard time. They have kind of moved from town to town trying to find a place that will be accepting of them and will care for and support their daughter Angela in the way that she deserves.

Elizabeth obviously wants to welcome both children into her schoolhouse, but Minnie is very protective of her daughter and doesn’t feel like that is going to be a good fit. The last thing that she wants is for her daughter to get hurt. So, that’s a really layered story that I love getting to tell with Natasha Burnett this season.

Pop Culture Principle – In a recent interview, Brian Bird said he is “Praying that season 8 will be a huge booster shot of hope for everyone who watches — a vaccine against the frustration and loneliness of 2020.” Would you agree with that comment?

Erin Krakow – I hope that is the case. I found that even as we were posting little bits and pieces on social media over the course of filming this season, the Hearties would soak up those posts like sponges. There is always a need for feel good television and entertainment. That is always there, but I think in 2020 more than ever, there was a real acute craving for it and I am glad that we were able to reunite our sweet Hearties with the characters that they know and love. At this point, it’s kind of like comfort food. Its t hose dishes that you reach for when you have a sore throat or when you are feeling down and I am glad that we can offer a little bit of chocolate cake or mac & cheese to the Hearties!

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A big thank you to the wonderful Erin Krakow for taking time out of her schedule to talk with us! The season eight premiere of When Calls the Heart airs this Sunday, February 21st at 9/8c only on the Hallmark Channel!

**All photos courtesy of Crown Media United States LLC/Photographers: Ricardo Hubbs/David Dolsen**

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