After a bloody and brutal first season, Discovery’s Frontier comes roaring back with its sophomore year on October 18th. Largely filmed in Newfoundland and Labrador, the explosive and gripping series has caught fire thanks largely in part to an ensemble cast which includes Newfoundlanders Shawn Doyle and Allan Hawco.
Hawco caught up with The Newfoundland Herald ahead of the second season launch to talk unfinished plotlines, cliffhangers and the currency of the business.
Warning: This article contains spoilers for the First season of Frontier.
Q: The last time we saw your character of Douglas Brown he was sitting in a jail cell, accused of a murder he did not commit. Your brother Malcolm was beaten to a bloody pulp miles away and the entire Brown monopoly was seemingly in tatters. I don’t think there have been any characters from season one who drew the short end of the stick more than the Brown brothers.
Hawco: It’s funny. The buildup for me to go from playing a character I played for seven years essentially, having my hands on every scene that show was, Republic of Doyle. To make that shift to a character that is diametrically opposed to Jake, in terms of his inability to be able to act. Any opportunity he has to try to act he falls on his face. The Browns find out their brother Cedric is killed, the business is falling apart, his brother Malcolm is a complete and utter lunatic, loose cannon and there’s nothing he can do to control him.
When I got the script, to see that I was in the room to watch Carruthers die, that I was used in fact to set up his death, because Pond and Samuel Grant summoned him to my chambers on the ruse that I wanted to meet with him, and Pond killed him, to go down for his murder by the same guy who actually pulled the trigger, it was such an amazing series of circumstances to have to play within as an actor. It was so much fun. We leave him I think in episode five, I don’t think there’s payback in six. In episode one of season two you get a taste of what Douglas Brown’s fate is and he’s much more present in the second season then he was in the first. The Brown Brothers struggle finds a whole other series of complications by how Douglas is pulled out of that fray. Samuel Grant seems to always have the Browns, to have a hold of them in a way where his grip is tight and he’ll always have that over Douglas’s head, this murder. How he gets out of that is kind of tricky and some unusual alliances play out. Throughout the whole second season everything just gets ramped up deeper and deeper for each plotline and character. It’s a lot sexier as a second season in many ways. It’s just as brutal and barbaric.
Q: It really does feel as if there are so many unresolved plotlines and the fate of many characters is up in the air. Quite a way to leave viewers wanting heading into season two.
Hawco: I feel in many ways it’s almost a continuation of season one with a large break in between. It’s six episodes and six episodes and it almost does make up one complete season of television in many ways. I feel the whole series is designed that way. It’s almost designed to be watched episode to episode, which we hope everyone does on the 18th because that determines the fate of our series in many ways, but we also have this partner in Netflix where it will eventually be laid out together as one complete series.
Q: News broke recently that the series is already green-lit for a third season, to begin filming this winter. I’d imagine yourself and the entire Frontier crew are more than thrilled with how this series has progressed?
Hawco: We’re most very grateful to Discovery for taking this leap of faith with us and believing in the show and to Bell. They’re the ones who brought us to the dance and it all started there with Discovery. We’re very grateful for that. The most important thing about it all is we’re all trying to make high quality, world class television. It’s an entertaining ride from start to finish, that’s the goal. There’s historical elements obviously, fantastical in many ways. We’re tying to make intensely compelling drama. I feel like with season two everyone is in line with who their characters are – it’s in their DNA in a deeper way –the writing is deeper in that way as well and I think it elevates it to what the expectations were laid down and I think they’re starting to be fulfilled with the second season. There’s more complications and more threads opening up with each turn and that’s the dream in terms of what you put out there, to make something compelling for people to watch.
Q: In just a few weeks your leading man Jason Momoa is going to appear as Aquaman in Justice League, one of the biggest blockbusters of the year. How much do you attribute his rising superstar status into hype for Frontier?
Hawco: It’s the currency of what our business is in many ways right? Peoples star power and what they bring to the table in terms of eyeballs and viewership. He’s about to be the biggest star in the world. Justice League is about to drop and shortly after that Aquaman. These are two massive elements to the most watched franchise on earth it feels like and he is the center of that. Also what’s interesting about Jaosn Momoa is that he is an action star, but he is a good actor. I’ve heard him articulate that doing the green screen stuff satisfies one side but Frontier is where he comes to hone his craft as an actor. He goes toe to toe with anyone out there in that series.
Frontier season two premieres Wednesday Oct.18 at 11:30 p.m. NL time on Discovery. Season one is available to stream in full on Netflix and CraveTV.