- For a long time, Adam Beach says he regarded the television industry
as a great place to visit – but his real home was film.
After scoring meaty roles in Hollywood features including “Flags of Our Fathers” and “Windtalkers,” the Winnipeg-bred actor says he swore off joining a small-screen cast, even though much of his career had been dominated by TV parts.
But Beach says his new series, CBC-TV’s “Arctic Air,” came along just as he felt ready to take on the rigours of a lead TV role.
years ago I wouldn’t have taken a TV show. I’d play a guest spot but
(I’d think), ‘I’m just a movie guy,”‘ says Beach, who most recently
appeared in the Daniel Craig sci-fi western “Cowboys and Aliens.”
don’t think I would be as good as I feel that I am now – comfortable
with being a lead, comfortable with showing up at work everyday …
comfortable with just the interview process. This is something I don’t
do and I committed myself to saying, ‘I’m going to do all of what it
takes to make this show work.”‘
In “Arctic Air,” Beach stars as
hotshot businessman Bobby Martin, the son of a legendary Dene bush
pilot. Bobby left his Yellowknife home years ago to become a venture
capitalist in Vancouver but is lured back by the prospect of a diamond
exploration deal. It’s not long before he finds himself drawn to the
maverick airline Arctic Air where he spent his youth.
ensemble cast includes Kevin McNulty as the airline’s cantankerous
co-owner Mel; Pascale Hutton as Mel’s pilot daughter Krista; and Tim
Webber as Cece, the mechanic responsible for keeping the aging fleet
Beach says he was drawn to the series for several
reasons, especially because it is set in the North and that the lead
character is Dene.
“He’s very charming, he’s witty, he challenges
himself all the time to further or better his situation and I get to
smile a lot,” he says of Bobby Martin, noting he’s one of the more
well-rounded roles he’s been offered.
“Everybody wants me to be
the stoic Indian. That’s the kind of formality that you get in film and
television when it comes to playing Indian. Smiling is just not part of
Beach’s new CBC series, shot in Vancouver and
Yellowknife, follows a string of high-profile U.S. gigs including “Law
and Order: Special Victims Unit,” where he played Det. Chester Lake, and
the HBO drama “Big Love,” where he appeared as casino manager Tommy
Beach recalls struggling over his decision to take the
“Law and Order” job, noting it took a heart-to-heart talk with co-star
Ice-T to convince him to join the cast.
“(Show creator) Dick Wolf
offered me a lead and I said, ‘I don’t want to do television but I’ll
do a guest spot for the character,”‘ says Beach, who was a regular on
Canada’s short-lived “Moose TV” and the ’90s series “North of 60.”
was talking to Ice-T and he said, ‘I hear you don’t want to be on the
show.’ I said, ‘I just want to do a guest spot.’ And he said, ‘Well,
Adam, you talk so highly about your people and that you want to do
something to change a perspective, this is the show to do it on. It’s a
top show in the world, you would do yourself a favour and it would help
you with your community.”‘
The L.A.-based Beach said he hesitated
only because he wanted to ensure he’d have a life aside from work and
enough time to spend with his family.
“You do a movie and you can
take a year off. (With) television you’ve got to do four or five months
and then, if you’re lucky, you have to do it again. And then again. And
then again,” he says.
If “Arctic Air” takes off, that’s exactly the position Beach could be in very soon.
“But I’m ready for it,” he says.
Arctic Air” debuts Tuesday on CBC-TV.