TV star Krystin Pellerin dishes on working on one of CBC Canada’s top TV shows and how she keeps things fresh after four successful seasons.
Little did Krystin Pellerin know when she first signed on to play a hot officer in the CBC show Republic of Doyle, that not only would she would go on to play this character for four seasons, but that it would also garner her, and the show, a huge fan base.
This season, Jake Doyle’s (Allan Hawco) PI agency is back in action, solving the most dangerous cases—from ransoms to priceless art heists. But it’s all in a day’s work for the rogue PI who loves getting himself in hot water. But it’s his love for Sgt. Leslie Bennett (Krystin Pellerin) that really has his adrenaline pumping. The only thing this season is that Leslie is missing.
Taking an exciting turn, Pellerin’s Lesley ditches her good girl role by going deep undercover into St. John’s’ ruthless drug world—all while trying to keep herself together without the help of Doyle.
In a interview with Pellerin, she opens up about her first TV job, how her theatre training has helped her hone her acting chops and what it’s like to venture into the dark side on Republic of Doyle.
The show is now in its fourth season and has achieved so much success. Looking back, did you ever think you’d get such a huge fan base?
Pellerin: I don’t think any of us really had any expectations that it would be anything like this. The fact that we’ve been going for four years and the amount of support we get from the people in St. John’s, Labrador and Newfoundland and all over Canada is amazing. Plus, the fact that it’s airing in over 100 countries, I would have never imagined any of that!
Aside from TV, you are quite the theatre actress and part of The Soul Pepper Theatre Company. What’s that like?
Pellerin: I very grateful to be a part of that community. It feels like home and a place where I’ve been given the opportunity to grow up as an artist and as an actor and have the privilege to be working with the highest caliber of people. I couldn’t ask for any other place to grow.
A lot of film and TV directors love a classically trained actor because they know how to deliver tough dialogue. How do you think your theatre training has helped you as an actress?
Pellerin: I always think that acting is acting, and there are different mediums and you use a different toolbox for film and television than you do for theatre. I definitely feel like I get the best workout when I do a play as an actor. That informs what I do in film and television, in which I get a different workout and a kind of dexterity especially working long hours, and having only a few takes and deliver at a moment’s notice. It makes me appreciate having theatre training and it makes me more resilient because of it.
I’m a huge fan of The Tudors, which you had the chance to be a part of. What was that experience like working on that show?
Pellerin: That was my very first TV job! It came out of nowhere. The part was offered and I flew to Dublin and I was there for five months and it was totally surreal to be on a set like that and to be working on such a great, rich historical drama. It was the best. The crew and the cast were amazing. It was definitely first class.
Well, there are a lot of racy scenes in The Tudors and you have to be pretty gutsy to do nude scenes. For your first TV role, were you nervous doing some of these scenes?
Pellerin: One of racy scenes I did was on the very first day but I felt so well taken care of. I knew that going into the show that the environment was very safe. I was prepared so it was a great experience.
What was it like for you shooting The Republic of Doyle in your hometown?
Pellerin: It’s really the best job. My character is so complex and is such a great part to play and to be able to film that in Newfoundland, makes it sort of feel like Hollywood in Newfoundland. It doesn’t get any better.
You’ve been playing Sgt. Leslie Bennet for four years now, how do you keep things fresh?
Pellerin: The writers do a great job of doing that! They’re always throwing turns in there and story lines are always changing. We are also all growing as people, and with the characters, so that keeps things fresh. It keeps up sharp. I feel like Leslie is sort of like a best friend at this point. She’s such a strong character that going into it, I was hoping I’d be able to find that strength within myself to deliver. She’s a strong woman and it’s wonderful to see female characters like this emerging more and more in TV. We’ve grown up together and playing her has really forced me to step up.
Leslie goes through a lot of changes this season and moves into the darker side of things. Has it been more fun to play?
Pellerin: I could have stayed in that place forever! I loved exploring that side. I felt like I was given an entirely different person to play. I got to meet with real-life under cover cops and get inside scoop as to what that life is like and learning about addiction. I love it when I get the chance to learn a part about life that I would never otherwise have a reason to explore or research. I appreciated the chance to do that. Getting to dig into that raw, gritty place with her was really exciting.
How fun was it to get into costume and wearing those sexy outfits?
Pellerin: I felt really comfortable, actually! I was really at ease and it was actually very liberating. I was a little nervous at first, but it became a real collaboration between hair, makeup and wardrobe and the writers but it was great. I love transforming. That’s the ultimate and what it’s all about.
How far is Leslie going to take things with her undercover work this season?
Pellerin: She’s somebody who wants to do her absolute best at all times. It’s become tricky territory for her on where to draw the line and that’s become a dangerous game for her.
How fun is it working on set with the rest of the cast?
Pellerin: We had an instant connection from the beginning and the fact that we’ve gotten to live together and be a family for four years has been incredible. We have wonderful relationships and everyone is so comfortable and we’re all able to do our best work because we’re so at ease.
What’s it like working with Allan, who’s not just your co-star but is also one of the show’s creator and a writer?
Pellerin: I love working with Allan! I think he’s an extraordinary person. He’s just such a force and it’s really lucky for me to work opposite him and for him to have the whole picture in his mind. He’s always been open and collaborative and available at all times and we also sort of have this unspoken understanding playing these characters. We have such a special connection.
Republic of Doyle airs on Sundays at 9 p.m. on CBC.