Actors enjoyed being in the Loop
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 01/04/2020 (1095 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Rebecca Hall was a new mom when she touched down in Winnipeg for the five-month shoot of the Amazon Prime series Tales from the Loop.
Accustomed to the demands of travelling to locations in the course of her career, she was equipped to deal with the challenge of moving to Winnipeg in March 2019 to work on the series.
Her daughter, not so much.
“When we got there, it was incredibly cold,” Hall, 37, recalls during a phone interview from her home in the Hudson Valley in New York State. “I had just previously been working on Godzilla Vs Kong, which shot in Hawaii and Australia, and my daughter was like six months old when we left to do that. We were in Hawaii and Australia for about two or three months, and she was born in the spring, so she had only experienced sunshine and beaches.
“And then we took her to Winnipeg and she couldn’t believe how cold it was,” Hall says, laughing. “She had no words to articulate it. Suddenly we were bundling her up and she’s like: What is going on? Because we had a literally come from one of the hottest places in the world to one of the coldest places, so that was quite a shock.”
But Hall says she felt welcomed by the city. Her daughter, who learned to walk over the course of the shoot, could be seen toddling through the halls of the Fort Garry Hotel, where they were staying. (”Everybody kept telling us it was haunted, but I never noticed anything.”)
Hall herself is the daughter of Sir Peter Hall, the founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company, which makes her theatre royalty. So the city can take some pride in the fact that Hall’s daughter was introduced to theatre at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival in July, near the end of the series shoot.
“That was the first time my daughter was inside a theatre, actually,” Hall says. “She didn’t know what was going on. It was a thing for kids. It had some singing and some dancing and she was completely rapt by the whole thing. She was astounded. I thought she would be scared when the lights went down, but she was fine.”
The role Hall plays in Tales From the Loop reflects her own change in taste over the years. Hall has appeared in a range of fare, from Woody Allen’s Vicky Christina Barcelona to the heavy 2016 drama Christine, in which she played real-life Florida TV news reporter Christine Chubbuck, who generated a cultural shockwave in 1974 when she committed suicide during a live television broadcast.
Hall suggests roles like that may now be behind her.
“I think, throughout my career, I try to work out the balance of being able to leave something on the set and then go home and live my life as me,” she says. “It’s sometimes can be quite challenging to the point you’re better off just living like a strange hermit until the job is over.
“But I don’t get to do that anymore, because I have a child, so now I think I have much more rigid boundaries,” she says. “I think it would be very hard to do a film like Christine, (which) was a tough one.”
So tough, in fact, that her husband, actor Morgan Spector bought a kitten for her to come home to, in the hope that having something to cuddle might help her deal with the emotional fallout of the role. “It did help,” she says, “and it’s now a very large cat and delightful in every respect.”
Her role in Tales as a physicist was more to her taste at the moment.
“I found it to be completely refreshing and original, which is hard to do these days,” she says. “I think there’s a trend to high-concept television to have a sort of dark twist or cynical edge.
“I have loved that in the past — Black Mirror and those kind of shows,” she says. “But I found it very refreshing. It had all the fantastic elements rooted in human emotions in a very heartfelt way.
“It’s quite poetic and quite melancholic on some level and I found that just chimes with my taste,” she says. “It’s something I would like to watch, so it was very appealing to me.”
• • •
Paul Schneider, who plays Hall’s husband in the series, was already familiar to the city, having spent three months in southern Manitoba shooting the first season of the 2016 SyFy horror series Channel Zero: Candle Cove.
Schneider, 44, was born in raised in a small North Carolina community and felt at home shooting a series here for the second time.
“My wife and I were talking last night about how much we really love shooting in Winnipeg,” he says during a phone interview from his home in New York City. “It’s kind of a small town, down to earth, with an unpretentious way about it.
Scheider also loved the Winnipeg crews, saying he still texts with members of the crew “really often — some of us have become good friends.”
“I like people that are humble and really know what they’re doing,” he says. “Some people in the world, especially in this industry, kind of have it backwards: They’re not very humble but they also don’t know what they’re doing. And that’s always a pain in the ass.”
Working with people he liked proved to be beneficial, especially since his character in the show has a robot arm, a detail that meant no small hardship on the set.
“There were visual effects that coloured and gave detail to the robot arm, but I was strapped into a version of that every day,” he says. “So every day was a shoulder brace and elbow brace, an arm that was wrapped from your bicep down to your middle finger in athletic tape.
Every day on set required an extra 30 minutes and two people to help him get dressed.
“At the end of five months… it was a challenge,” he says.
On the plus side, Schneider says, he got to work with some amazing actors; he mentions Hall, Jonathan Pryce and Jane Alexander, who plays his mother, among them.
“When you wake up knowing you’re going to work that day with people you admire so much, it just puts you in a good mood,” he says. “It sends you into work feeling lucky and feeling like not everyone gets these opportunities.
“It’s always interesting to get to work and say good morning to Jonathan Pryce and think about the movie Brazil and how that much that movie kind of changed you and blew your mind,” he says. “So you’d have a chat about Brazil and then do a scene and come back. I was really happy to be a part of that.”
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In a way, Randall King was born into the entertainment beat.