Former Creston resident Pascale Hutton flying high in CBC’s Arctic Air

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  • Sep. 10, 2012 12:00 p.m.
Pascale Hutton in a scene from the first episode of Arctic Air’s second season

Pascale Hutton in a scene from the first episode of Arctic Air’s second season

“So, who’s cuter — you or Adam Beach?”

“Uh, what?”

“Who’s cuter — you or Adam Beach?”

Pascale Hutton bursts into laugher on her Vancouver end of the phone line.

“Oh, I don’t have a chance against that man! When he smiles everyone around him just melts!” she said of Beach, a popular and handsome young First Nations actor who stars on Arctic Air.

Hutton, a Prince Charles Secondary School grad who also has a starring role in the hit CBC TV series, Arctic Air, not surprisingly, is gracious with her answer. The wife and mother is drop-dead gorgeous and has a smile that lights up every room she enters.

Hutton plays Krista Ivarson, an airplane pilot and daughter of the airline owner (played by Kevin McNulty). Beach co-stars as Bobby Martin, a former venture capitalist who returned to his northern roots in season one.

When Hutton was last interviewed by the Advance (part 1 here and part 2 here), CBC had just telecast the first two episodes of Arctic Air and filming had ended months earlier. Initial ratings were high, with each show averaging more than a million viewers, and Canada’s national broadcaster was promoting the series with more enthusiasm than viewers had seen in years, or perhaps ever. But everyone involved with the series — 10 episodes in the first season — was waiting on pins and needles to hear if the series would be renewed.

“I found out about the renewal before it was officially announced and it was hard because I really couldn’t tell anyone,” she confides. “But it took away from the excitement because I couldn’t really celebrate when the news came out!”

Since that story appeared, life has been very good for the University of Edmonton-trained actor who cut her acting teeth in PCSS drama presentations. Arctic Air was renewed for a second, 13-episode season, she won a Leo award for one of her recurring guest spots on the sci-fi series, Sanctuary, her son Ryu is a happy, healthy 19-month-old and her husband, Danny Dorosh, has joined the Vancouver Police Department.

With Dorosh now back to work after taking a parental leave to care for Ryu, the door has opened for the baby’s maternal grandma, Elizabeth, to spend the fall in Vancouver. Both Elizabeth and Ian, Pascale’s parents, were popular teachers in Creston schools before they retired.

“Life is the same old juggling act, so it’s really nice to have Mom here,” she says.

Not that there hasn’t been a little yin to Hutton’s mostly yang year. After four seasons, Sanctuary, which started out as an Internet series and ended up on the Syfy network, was cancelled.

“Everyone was kind of prepared for [the cancellation] so it was not entirely a surprise,” Hutton says. “I don’t think it had run its course and it had a devout fan base, but it always had challenges in terms of funding.”

For her performance in the Sanctuary episode “Fugue”, she won a Leo Award for best guest performance by a female in a dramatic series.

“I was especially thrilled because I got to sing on that episode,” she said. “I’m always open to singing, but there aren’t a lot of opportunities. I would love to have the opportunity to sing more.”

Shooting for Arctic Air’s second season is now in full swing. While most of the production happens in a Vancouver studio, location footage is filmed in and around Yellowknife, the setting for a series that centres around a small regional airline.

“The biggest difference between the seasons is that last year the show was trying to find its legs — to understand what works and what doesn’t work,” she says. “The characters and their relationships needed a chance to develop.

“By last season’s final episode, everything started to gel. So in season two, everyone was really excited to get going because we have figured out what works. That has added a level of confidence and everything seems more streamlined.”

What makes Arctic Air distinct is that it strikes a balance between comedy and drama, and each episode focuses on an adventure that is concluded within the 60-minute format.

“The challenge for any show nowadays is that networks are going away from continuing storylines.”

Hutton says she is pleased at the balance Arctic Air has struck, giving viewers the thrill of an adventure in each episode while allowing the characters and their relationships to grow as the season move along.

The experience of shooting scenes in Yellowknife has been different in season two, she says.

“Last year we didn’t have a summer shoot so the series couldn’t feature all of the seasons in the North.”

The 10-day shoot in July had its challenges though.

“The flies and mosquitoes were literally mouth-filling,” she laughs. “They would throw netted bags over our heads whenever the camera wasn’t rolling. We weren’t crazy about being sprayed with repellants but there wasn’t really any choice.

“One funny story is the day we were filming scenes with a helicopter. They are usually crazy — noisy and smelling of fuel fumes — but that rotor blowing for hours on end felt wonderful! It was a very expensive insect repellant.”

Not surprisingly, Hutton wasn’t able to reveal plot lines for season two, which will be broadcast starting in January.

“But I can say that right off the bat there are some really great action episodes. The season kicks off with a big bang!”

Fans will be glad to learn that the helicopter and pilot added to the series in episode 9 are both staying on this season, adding to the already endless possibilities for storylines.

“When I took the Arctic Air role I made a conscious decision to be at home with my family after we finished shooting,” she said in her last Advance interview. “Danny and I sat down and worked it all out. I’m really committed to making the best of our family time.”

Now, eight months later, it is apparent that things really have worked out. Danny is in what Pascale describes as “his dream job — I think he has a calling for it,” CBC continues to promote one of its most successful series in recent years, Grandma is spending time with Ryu and the Hutton-Dorosh nuclear family is able to remain settled in Vancouver.

Sometimes real life works out as well as it can on television or in the movies.