Canadian born actress Pascale Hutton is definitely carving out her place in Hollywood. The Gemini and Leo award winning actress has spent the last several years building an impressive resume in film and television. She’s had memorable roles on hit shows such as Sanctuary, Flashpoint and Intelligence. She has also had guest appearances on series such as Supernatural, Fringe and Royal Pains.
Pascale starred as Krista Ivarson on the hit Canadian series Arctic Air which ran three seasons on the CBC network. On the big screen she’s starred in films such as Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed, A Simple Curve and The Art of War II: Betrayal.
A graduate of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, she currently stars on the hit Hallmark series When Calls The Heart playing the somewhat misunderstood Rosemary LeVeaux. Pascale was kind enough to sit down with us to talk about her current series, playing strong, independent characters and what she likes to do to relax.
Pop Culture Principle – You recently worked on When Calls the Heart. How was that experience?
Pascale Hutton – It was great. I love that character so much. It’s very different from what I normally play. I had just wrapped season three of Arctic Air where I play a very strong, forthright female character. She is very confident, very decisive and keeps her emotions very close to her heart. So, to go from that to When Calls The Heart which is so light and full and the character is larger than life was such a welcome change. You know, you play the same types of characters for a while it’s fun to shake things up and that is what this character was for me on When Calls the Heart.
Pop Culture Principle – Do you consider your character to be a villain?
Pascale Hutton – I don’t think she’s a villain. I think people perceive her as a villain only in the sense that they ultimately want Elizabeth and Jack together and anyone who might be trying to split them up is considered a villain. I don’t think she is setting out to be evil, I think she honestly just wants to be back with Jack, but that isn’t what any of the audience members want.
The fans are very vocal with sending me messages on Twitter saying that they like me as a person, but can’t stand my character. I take that as a compliment because Rosemary is supposed to be a polarizing figure and make the fans feel even more strongly about the love affair between Elizabeth and Jack. So, it’s all good and I feel like my character is doing exactly what she is supposed to do.
Pop Culture Principle – Your character has several scenes where she sings and plays piano. Is that you and do you have a music background?
Pascale Hutton – It is me singing and I do have a singing background. I studied musical theater and opera for many years, but once I started acting in film and television, the opportunity didn’t come along that often. I am always thrilled when the opportunity does present itself because I love it so much. I did a science fiction show several years ago called Sanctuary and they did a musical episode that revolved around my character and I got to sing these beautiful original songs that were created for the show. I just thought that was the best thing ever. I did study piano, but it’s me pretending to play piano in the episode.
Pop Culture Principle – The sets and costumes are amazing on the series. As an actor, how do those two things enhance your performance?
Pascale Hutton – The biggest thing is the corset. We all are wearing real corsets which is really intense. It seems like a silly thing to make note of, but after twelve hours in one of them, you would take it off and it felt like your bones were stretching. It’s really important to your performance because women were faced with that discomfort all the time. No matter how good your posture is in real life, once you put that corset on it’s just different how you hold yourself. Also, wearing the skirts and dresses changes the way you move and it was great to see how much detail they put into that.
Pop Culture Principle – At the end of Season 1, Rosemary stated she would be starting a theater group. Is it safe to assume your will be back for Season 2 as a series regular?
Pascale Hutton – I don’t know. I’ve heard a bunch of different ideas of what that would look like in Season 2, but I haven’t seen any scripts yet. We start filming at the end of July, so we’ll see what happens.
Pop Culture Principle – You had a three year run on the series Arctic Air. What can you tell us about working on that series?
Pascale Hutton – I really loved that series. We went for three seasons and it was basically the same cast and crew the entire time and we became a family. It’s a Canadian show and there is a certain camaraderie and collaboration that happens on shows that are entirely Canadian. It was exciting to be a part of it and I loved every second. It was a challenging show to shoot. We were in two locations; our sets where in Vancouver but then we would fly up to Yellowknife to shoot exteriors because the show takes place in Yellowknife. It’s such a unique environment and landscape that you really can’t simulate it anywhere else. There is also this huge action adventure component to the show. We were going up in helicopters, rapelling down cliffs, jumping out of helicopters and shooting on glaciers. We did so many adventurous things that I wouldn’t normally have had the opportunity to do, especially the stuff we did in Yellowknife which isn’t easy to get too.
Pop Culture Principle – The show was unfortunately cancelled. When did the cast find out about the cancellation and what will you miss most about Arctic Air?
Pascale Hutton – We found out a few weeks before it was officially announced. The thing I will miss most is that TV family that we created. It was so tight and we all got along so well. I think not only because we worked so well together, but also because we travelled together. That created a real closeness amongst us and I will definitely miss that.
Pop Culture Principle – You’ve had roles on series such as Continuum, The 4400, Fringe, Sanctuary and Stargate Atlantis. Do you enjoy working in the science fiction genre?
Pascale Hutton – I wouldn’t say science fiction is the genre I naturally gravitate towards, but fortunately Vancouver has been home to a lot of really amazing shows that happen to be science fiction. I like to be on shows that have interesting and challenging characters to play along with well written dialogue and stories. Fortunately, I’ve been able to be a part of a number of shows that fill that requirement. So, whether it’s science fiction or When Calls the Heart, I just like to work on shows that are well done with interesting characters.
Pop Culture Principle – Have you ever attended a science fiction convention and if so, how was that experience?
Pascale Hutton – Yes I have. I went to a convention in London and it was really fun. I had never been to one before and I’ll be honest, I didn’t think anyone would know who I was and I would just be sitting there twiddling my thumbs. Surprisingly, there were lots of people who were huge fans of my work and the shows that I have been on. I always really enjoy having that direct contact with the fans of the shows. It’s great to get that direct feedback of what they liked and didn’t like. That’s why I really love Twitter because people can tweet me real questions, thoughts, ideas and comments about my work and I love that. It’s great to get rid of all the filters and just have that direct conversation.
Pop Culture Principle – Another great series you had a major arc on was Intelligence. What was it like working on that show?
Pascale Hutton – That show was just a dream to work on, truly a dream. That character was so much deeper and so much more complex than I had ever played before. The wonderful thing about working with Chris Haddock is that he is so hands on with every aspect of the show and the creation of the show. Some creators of shows stay more in the writing world, but he didn’t. I don’t know when that man slept because he would be on set with us all day and then at night he would be writing scripts. Every day he would watch what you were creating and allowing that to inform and inspire what he was writing and it felt very symbiotic. The character started out as a pawn in the bigger picture and then she just started to grow and you saw this woman trying to take control of her life. It was a dream to play a role as complex and dynamic as that.
Pop Culture Principle – You had some great scenes with Klea Scott on Intelligence. What was it like working with her?
Pascale Hutton – She’s such a force on camera and behind. She is so present; almost like a laser. It’s good and it keeps you on your toes and yet there is this underlying warmth to it as well.
Pop Culture Principle – You have such diversity in your roles, is that something you look for before taking on a project?
Pascale Hutton – Absolutely and as I get older, more and more so. The longer you are in the business, the more you are looking for things to keep you sharp, engaged and challenged. So, I do look for roles that are going to be challenging and diverse.
Pop Culture Principle – You have this way of making the audience forget other characters you have portrayed and focus solely on your current character. Is that important as an actor?
Pascale Hutton – That is such a huge compliment. I think that is what every actor is striving for and it’s really nice to hear. The ultimate goal is to create these characters that are so full that people forget that it’s you or forget the other characters you’ve played and they just get totally swept up in that character’s journey.
Pop Culture Principle – You also play many strong, independent characters. Is that important to you as an actor?
Pascale Hutton – I think it’s really important to be represented on television. I think we need to see strong women on television. The challenge is that often when people think they are creating a strong role, they create a man but give it a woman’s name and I think that is a misrepresentation. I don’t think a strong woman necessarily means being masculine, I think it means being able to speak your mind and make your own decisions and at the same time, have that vulnerability, softness and femininity. I think we should be celebrating the full spectrum of a woman, not just one element. For me, a strong woman isn’t someone who is unwavering. I think real strength comes from vulnerability, so I want to look for characters that have both.
Pop Culture Principle – You’ve done guest star roles on several shows. As an actor, what is it like coming on to a show that is a well-oiled machine?
Pascale Hutton – Every show is its own family and so each family has its own dynamic. When I first came onto Sanctuary, it was already a well-oiled machine. It was so welcoming and such a warm set that it felt effortless stepping into that family. Other shows, not so much. They have other things going on and it’s not as easy to slide into that family and that world. It really depends on each show and the show’s dynamic. It can also depend on what season you are stepping into. If you come on in season three, then the kinks have already been worked out and people are a little less pre-occupied with trying to define what their show is and who their characters are. If you come in as a guest star on season one of a show, everything is still being tinkered with so people can be pre-occupied with that, as they should be because they are trying to perfect their show.
Pop Culture Principle – What advice would you give to up and coming actors?
Pascale Hutton – I guess I would say don’t take it personally. You need to believe in yourself and you need to believe in the work you create. Beyond that, nothing else is in your control, so don’t take it personally. If you are unable to do that, you are in the wrong business. If you are constantly taking it personally, it’s too emotional of a roller coaster ride to be on. I think that if you can do your work and keep yourself challenged and engaged and let everything else play out as it’s going to play out, then that is all you can do.
Pop Culture Principle – What hobbies do you have if any or how do you like to relax?
Pascale Hutton – Well, I am a mom of a young child. He’s three years old, so all of my down time is spent with him and my husband. The sole focus in my life outside of work is my family.
Pop Culture Principle – Any upcoming projects you can tell us about?
Pascale Hutton – I think I am heading back to When Calls the Heart fairly soon and beyond that who knows. I’ve been reading a lot of really cool projects, but nothing has been confirmed, so we will see!
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