Prince Charles Secondary School grad Pascale Hutton is enjoying every aspect of her starring role in CBC’s new one-hour drama series, Arctic Air.
“The cast is amazing, a really wonderful group,” she said in a telephone interview from Vancouver. “These are really strong actors and they are wonderful to work with.”
With numerous television and movie roles on her resume, Hutton admits to being surprised by the attention the series is getting.
“It really has kind of taken me aback,” she said. “Canadian series aren’t usually so heavily promoted and supported. But there seemed to be a momentum growing while we were filming and we started to get a sense that we were involved in something special.”
Arctic Air is set in the sprawling, resource-rich and sparsely populated Canadian North. Hutton plays Krista, a pilot and headstrong daughter of Mel Ivarson, co-founder of a small regional airline. Adam Beach stars as Bobby Martin, who has returned to his Yellowknife home to help save the struggling airline after making his way in the “south” as a venture capitalist.
Hutton wasn’t looking for more work when the Arctic Air opportunity came knocking. She had just completed a movie and shooting on the television series Sanctuary had wrapped up for the season shortly before she gave birth to her now 13-month-old son, Ryu.
“I wasn’t really back into the business, looking after a young baby,” she said. “Then the phone rang, asking if I was interested in this new TV series, Arctic Air. I decided to audition and take the first step. That went well and then I was asked to do a ‘chemistry reading’ with Adam Beach.”
When she was offered the role as one of the series’ three lead characters, she wondered out loud about the necessity of travelling to Yellowknife, where the exterior scenes were to be shot.
“I was one of the ones who were saying, ‘Do we really need to go to Yellowknife? Can’t we just fake it? After all, that’s what this business is about,’ ” she laughed.
She had no experience with the Canadian North.
“It’s unlike anywhere else,” she said. “Everything is different — the landscape, environment, diversity of culture. The type of people who choose to live in the North are unique individuals — there are some really eccentric characters!”
Over the months that it took to complete the 10 episodes of Arctic Air that were contracted by CBC, Hutton traveled to Yellowknife three times, once for a whole week of filming. The last exterior scenes, though, were shot in Clinton, B.C. Clinton?
“There was only about five hours of light a day in Yellowknife at that that time,” she said. “We needed to be able to shoot for full days for financial practicalities.”
The week before Arctic Air was premiered on television was hectic, she said. The final scenes were filmed in Clinton, then she had a day of publicity appointments before attending the first episode’s premiere at Vancouver’s Vogue Theatre.
With 800 people looking on, Hutton and her co-stars arrived at the theatre in limousines, and she walked the red carpet in the company of her husband, Danny Dorosh, and her parents, Elizabeth and Ian Hutton, who arrived from Creston a week early to help look after Ryu.
“It was wonderful,” she said. “It was so great to share that moment with Danny and my mom and dad. The excitement was tangible. …
“The difference between working for Canadian productions and US ones is amazing. On Arctic Air there is no hierarchy, no egos. Everybody is there for the same reason — to put their best foot forward and make the best show we can.”