Transformation – An Interview With the Cast of Being Erica

Last Tuesday, hit Canadian series Being Erica returned to take us on another great journey, and on Thursday, CBC celebrated the kickoff to Culture Days in Toronto, where I had the chance to chat with the stars of this brilliant series – Erin Karpluk (Erica), Michael Riley (Dr. Tom), Reagan Pasternak (Julianne), Joanna Douglas (Samantha), Morgan Kelly (Brent), and newcomer Adam Fergus (Adam). A friendly note for fans outside of Canada, this does contain Season 3 spoilers!

The new season picked up right where Season 2 left off , with Erica in a hallway, having to choose a door to open. She enters into a room and discovers the next phase of her therapy with Dr Tom – group therapy – and that she’s on her way to becoming a doctor herself. There’s also conflict on the horizon between Dr. Tom and Dr. Nadia, because Nadia believes Erica should be working with her. Is there a war brewing over Erica?

Michael Riley: “I think that one of the cool things about this show is that it always gives a whole lot of answers, little clues to what’s going on, and with each clue that is given, it adds five more questions. So I love that with the new episode, and the idea that just when you think something has been tied up, suddenly at the end, we meet a new doctor, we meet Nadia’s doctor essentially. This whole hierarchy of doctors is for the first time exposed, and that she should have taken Erica and not Dr Tom. It’s not like we’re going to pick up in the second episode and it’s all going to get revealed … it’s all going to slowly percolate. That’s just one of the little pebbles dropped in the story pond that people will start to follow. I like that about the writing.”

Has the group therapy aspect changed the dynamics of the show versus Erica working one-on-one with Dr Tom?

Erin Karpluk: “It hasn’t changed the show. The show remains the same, it just goes deeper. As far as the dynamic goes, I’m certainly happy that we’re involving other people, it’s not just Erica’s journey now. Here she is with three other patients, and they’re helping each other, they’re involved in it together.”

One aspect of the show that I’ve really enjoyed is seeing Julianne’s evolution from being downright mean in the first season to this point where her and Erica are friends, colleagues and allies. Will we continue to see her change?

Reagan Pasternak: “I feel like I got so lucky getting to play this character because she’s had a complete metamorphosis, and our writers have given me so much to play with which I love as an actor, making my character more and more complex. I feel also like it’s been truthful in that nothing stays the same. Erica saved my ass last season, and did a lot of good things for me. Julianne also got her heart broken, which, as every girl knows, it changes you. So our relationship has definitely changed. Julianne is still mean to other people. I think it makes it interesting. But she loves Erica now, they’re very good friends.”

In Season 1, Erica’s family played a large role in the show, but we saw that scaled back in Season 2. Will Erica’s family play a large role in this season?

Erin: “One thing I love about this show is we go around all the spheres of Erica’s life, and time travel is just a bonus. You have her work life with Julianne and Brent, you have her relationship with her family, and her friends Judith and Jenny. What’s nice about the third season is we go back again. Season 1 was dealing with Erica’s brother, and this season, we go back again and have another episode about Leo. Certainly there will be other characters introduced, like Lenin who is going to become Sam’s love interest. Barb goes through some major life changes, and you will see Gary.”

Joanna Douglas: “I guess something that’s a little bit different as far as the family line is that Sam is moving on a parallel line to Erica now.”

Michael: “I think a testament to how great the show is and how lucky we are as actors is that the writing is so good and the characters are so dimensional that they can actually support their own life, they don’t always have to be concentric offshoots of this one protagonist. We can go over and spend time with just Samantha and Lenin, and that’s an interesting life right there.”

Reagan: “I always feel like our storylines are so much their own entity, it’s almost like its own show to me, and I love the enigmatic feel to it. I’m part of the work world, and it’s almost like a separate show when I hear about the other things. I almost get to watch it like an audience member more than like a member of the cast.”

Now Morgan, tsk tsk, I can’t say I was very happy with your character’s actions, but as slimy as Brent was in the season premiere, and during parts of Season 2, I can kind of understand where he’s coming from.

Morgan Kelly: “Thank you! ”

Well the publishing industry can be very cut throat, and your character is an accurate portrayal of that reality. How do most people react to Brent?

Morgan: “Your comment was probably the first time I actually heard anyone lean toward my point of view. Yes, he is the antagonist, and he has to be a bit darker. I think that eventually it’s going to bubble out that maybe he was a bit hasty [in the season premiere], maybe he was reacting to something beyond work related issues. Maybe he also has personal stuff to deal with.

I’ve always thought that perhaps Brent carried a torch for Julianne.

Morgan: “They definitely had a dynamic. Brent was Julianne’s ‘guy’. They stuck together, then Erica came in and did a better job.”

Reagan: “If you thought he was slimy last season, just wait!”

Morgan: “It gets worse.”

Reagan: “No, it gets better.”

We have an exciting new character that’s entered the picture, Adam, and he’s part of Dr. Tom’s therapy group.

Adam Fergus: “He appeared out of nowhere!”

Yes he did! I figured that now that the storylines with Ethan and with Kai seem to have wrapped, I expected someone new to make an appearance. Adam, we saw a bit of your character’s past in the season premiere. Will we be seeing a lot more of you during this season, or will you just be popping up here and there?

Adam: “As mentioned before, every character has their own story, but it’s still very much centred around Erica. My character has his own issues, a troubled past, and he’s in therapy as well.”

Erin: “There are two or three episodes dedicated solely to Adam, I believe the episode is actually called ‘Being Adam’, and there is also an episode dedicated to Dr. Tom. [Adam and Dr. Tom] also have a doctor/patient relationship, and there’s a lot to explore in that. Part of Erica’s angst in the first episode was dealing with the fact that she’s kind of jealous that [Dr. Tom] has these relationships with other patients. This season, the theme is all about transformations.”

A very special thanks to the cast of Being Erica for chatting with me … it was an absolute delight! Need more Being Erica? Canadian viewers can catch a new episode tonight at 9 pm EDT on CBC. US viewers, I’ll keep you posted on a Season 3 start date, likely sometime in 2011.

4 thoughts on “Transformation – An Interview With the Cast of Being Erica

  1. Really love the third season so far (all 3 episodes) and I look forward to seeing more…and maybe watching it ALL over again when it finally gets to Soapnet. Until then, I will have to just continue to watch it on the web.

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