As a long time fan of BBC’s PRIMEVAL, which had a team of Brits searching the world for anomalies through which ancient dinosaurs came to modern England, I was so excited to find out about the North American off-shoot of the show, PRIMEVAL: NEW WORLD, which premieres tonight on Space Canada (10PM). Starring Niall Matter (EUREKA) and Sarah Canning (THE VAMPIRE DIARIES), the show isn’t just a retread of the old series – it looks to be a brand new take on monster hunting and time travel. Series star Miranda Frigon (you’ll recognize her from HEARTLAND, SANCTUARY, and JAKE 2.0) gave us a call to chat about the new series – what to expect from the show, why she thinks you’ll like, and just what exactly the team might be up to!
I have to say, I’m very excited for this new PRIMEVAL! I’ve been a fan for years so it’s nice to see it come to our side of the Atlantic!
Awesome! We’re excited for the show, too!
Talk to me about how you got involved in this version?
I actually have been in LA, been living there for about 8 years. I had worked with Martin Wood, the director and executive producer on SANCTUARY. And he and I really, we hit it off, we had a blast, we have the same sense of humor. Cut to 5 years later, he did a search for the characters in LA, and I went in the room, saw him, and it was like “oh my god, how’s it going!” I found out I was on the shortlist – I ended up flying to Vancouver and I tested for both of the roles, for the Dylan character and for Ange, and I got the offer for Ange a tortured week later [laughs].
Talk a bit about your character and what she’s like – what we can expect in the premiere and beyond that?
Ange is the CFO of Cross Photonics, which is the company that her and Evan Cross built together after his wife had died 6 years previous. She has a certain subdivision of the company that is devoted to hunting dinosaurs and finding more out about these anomalies, so I’ve been sort of left to deal with the company, and trying to manage all the departments and the finances, and he’s been MIA, out chasing dinosaurs. My character is reigning him back in from doing all of this, and there is also a love connection between her and Evan that she’s suppressed all these years, but it starts to come out as the series goes on. First, you see Ange, as the ball buster boss whose telling everybody what to do, and then you start to see her vulnerable side come out, and sort of, the intentions behind what she’s doing. She starts to discover more about herself that she didn’t know, along with the other characters also. The first two episodes kind of establish the formula of the show, and then we break out and start to see more the lives of these characters and the relationships of the characters. It’s really cool.
Watching the trailer, you get the sense that there is comedy, drama, guest stars from the original – what can you say about the feel of the show, and what we’ll see on a regular basis, humor/emotion wise?
What’s so great about this show is that it’s everything. It’s considered an action sci-fi CGI show, but the characters and the relationships and the drama and the comedy, action-adventure, fantasy. It’s got pretty much everything in it. They’ve really incorporated so many genres into one. I think it will appeal to a wide target.
It’s not a show that’s re-inventing the wheel, meaning it won’t be completely separate from the PRIMEVAL we know, seeing that Andrew Lee Potts (Connor) will at least be moderately involved, from the trailer. How does your team relate to what we’d seen from the ARC / UK Version?
The thing about our team is that we don’t really have any knowledge of what’s gone on before, so it’s kind of happening in these, it’s so cool, when you have these anomalies, these portals that are being opened, you start to see that really anything is possible. This has been going on in the UK version, and then they start opening up in Vancouver, and it allows for us to connect with the other characters from the other PRIMEVAL, so it’s kind of a new team, that are rediscovering what they discovered in the UK version, and Connor comes in, and we get little seeds planted of the dangers of what might happen! He sort of comes in to warn us, but we still don’t know what’s really happening and we’re discovering it for ourselves. It’s really cool that they were able to incorporate the UK stuff, because it was a great show, and hopefully people give ours a chance. I know they love the characters of the original PRIMEVAL. We’re not trying to be them, and we’re not trying to copy it. It’s a whole new thing, and really anything is possible. It’s our first season, so we can do everything!
Exactly – you can establish yourself as something completely different. Why do you think that this is a show that will appeal to everybody?
It’s a show for everyone because older audiences will like it, we’re not all teenagers, so it’s not one of those shows. The cast is young enough that it is going to attract a younger audience. It’s going to appeal to a younger crowd and also the older crowd, too. It’s a little edgier, a little sexier, so we have all those things incorporated. Who doesn’t love dinosaurs? From kids to grandparents, everybody loves to see dinosaurs! It’s something that we’ve never gotten to experience in our lifetime, to be able to see these things come to live, all we have is watching them on television. So I think, just curiosity of seeing the interaction between humans and dinosaurs will be a really cool thing. And time travel, you know? Portals and there is so little we know about what’s possible – who knows!
What is it like shooting a show like this – is there a lot of green screen or CGI?
Surprising, we don’t do a ton of stuff on green screen. A lot of stuff on location. We shoot in the woods. We’ve got a guy named Chuck, who is our dinosaur, basically. He dresses up in a green suit, and carries this mirrored silver ball so they can sort of track where the creature’s head is going. He holds it above his head and the guy moves like a dinosaur. He jumps out of the bushes, and generally, we scream, he gets a good reaction out of us, so that’s been really cool. Not just staring into nothing; we’ve got this guy committed to acting like a dinosaur and getting reactions out of us! I’ve been, for most of it, I’ve been dealing in the office and people, as opposed to a dinosaur, so there’s a lot more make believe for the other characters! But I definitely do have my experiences with it. It’s a really cool show; the cast is amazing, everybody is so talented. The crew, they came from like SANCTUARY and STARGATE so they’ve all worked together for years, so it’s a really finely-tuned machine. It’s a one of the top sets I’ve ever been on. One of the most dynamic and solid groups of people I’ve ever worked with, so that on top of it, being a good show, we hope, it adds to the experience!
I’m looking so forward to it – what else do you have besides PRIMEVAL that we can see you in?
Yeah, I just finished doing a guest starring role on ARCTIC AIR, so I’ll be doing an episode of the new season of that. I play a diamond thief, so that was really cool. I did a guest spot on EMILY OWENS, MD, the CW show, with Mamie Gummer, who is Meryl Streep’s daughter. Right now, I’m in Victoria BC, shooting a movie called STONADOS which is a disaster movie. Like a twister movie, these water spout tornadoes are digging up geodes from deep inside these volcanoes, literally spewing rocks and they’re dropping into these cities. Everyone thinks it’s asteroids, but it’s really these storms, and we’re trying to stop them. It’s pretty cool. We just had our first day of filming and I’m here for about three weeks, so that’s going on too. And then HEARTLAND. I’ve been recurring on that for three years, and I did an episode of that and it should be airing soon, as well!
Once last question – let’s talk about your music. It sounds like you have new music coming out in 2013? What can we expect, and will we see it on shows?
I’m currently working on my new album, which, the style is like, a singer songwriter style. The kind of stuff you see on GREY’S ANATOMY. Stuff we hear on TV shows, that kind of vibe – acoustic guitar or piano, that kind of thing. I’ve been really grateful for placements in the past. A lot of the shows I’ve been on have placed my music, some of it because I submitted it, some of them, where they heard my music, and found songs they loved, and used them on the show. You’ll actually hear one of my new tracks placed in PRIMEVAL, and it’s featured, and HEARTLAND plays one of my tracks as well. Hopefully that keeps continuing, and when my album comes out, it’ll be up on iTunes, and I’ll be tweeting it!
My whole iPod is filled with songs from TV shows – I love finding one song, and then an album, and then 4 albums because I heard it on one show somewhere. I’m excited to hear more from you and see where it goes!
There are so many great undiscovered wonderful artists out there! I did the whole playing live thing for a long time, I did the whole circuit in LA, playing The Viper Room and all those clubs, and when I started placing songs, I started going, okay, I like writing. I like creating instead of playing the same songs over and over again, struggling to get people out to my shows and come and pay a cover charge to hear the same songs week after week. I was always trying to write more and create more, so doing placements, especially doing searches for new artists from placements on TV, is a great way to discover really great music that people don’t know about. Hopefully, I can fit into that category and people can find my music that way!