Film­ing and din­ing T.O. style

48 Ja­son Pri­est­ley and Cindy Samp­son back with hit se­ries Pri­vate Eyes

Thornhill Post - - Arts - by Macken­zie Pat­ter­son

Whether they’re hit­ting up one of Toronto’s hippest brunch spots on a break from film­ing or solv­ing a mur­der to­gether, Ja­son Pri­est­ley and Cindy Samp­son are one dy­namic duo. The pair por­tray pri­vate in­ves­ti­ga­tors Matt Shade and Angie Everett on the hit show Pri­vate Eyes, a dram­edy with Toronto as the back­drop.

The duo says that one of the unique as­pects of the show is the way it reps On­tario’s cap­i­tal, men­tion­ing street names and notable ar­eas through­out the script.

“Hope­fully peo­ple can have a laugh and get caught up in the mys­tery we’re solv­ing that week, but also we do our best to show­case this city so more peo­ple will want to come here and ex­plore this place be­cause there’s a lot go­ing on here,” Pri­est­ley says.

They say they’re proud to be work­ing on a show that flaunts the city as a world-class des­ti­na­tion, and they both agree that Toronto is one of their favourite places.

“I just think Toronto is such a cos­mopoli­tan, amaz­ing city. There’s so much go­ing on,” Samp­son says. “It’s got that en­ergy I used to feel when I would go to New York. I’d get off the plane and think, ‘Man this city’s got ev­ery­thing,’ and I feel that way about Toronto.”

Pri­est­ley adds, “I al­ways look for­ward to com­ing here. It’s re­ally an ex­cit­ing place to be, and I feel very for­tu­nate to be work­ing here now. It’s a mul­ti­cul­tural city that has ev­ery­thing: great food, sports, nightlife. And that makes it a city you want to spend time in.”

So what’s on the agenda for Pri­est­ley and Samp­son dur­ing their off-hours in the city?

The duo cite eat­ing and drink­ing at hot spots such as Bar Is­abel, the Ox­ley, the Soho House and DaiLo as their main ac­tiv­ity, which they bal­ance out with plenty of Pi­lates and hot yoga ses­sions at Stu­dio La­gree, Mok­sha and Pure Yoga.

“We like to eat. We like the Chase, and pretty much once a week we’re hit­ting up Porchetta & Co.,” Samp­son says. “But we also ex­er­cise oc­ca­sion­ally. I’m a La­gree junkie.”

Pri­est­ley adds that he also of­ten finds the time to grab drinks around the city af­ter a long day of film­ing.

“We work so much that the only thing we re­ally have time for is eat­ing and drink­ing.”

The se­cond sea­son of Pri­vate Eyes pre­miered May 25, and the stars say it’s filled with even more mys­tery, sus­pense and laughs than the first.

“The show is big­ger and bad­der this sea­son: big­ger ex­plo­sions, bet­ter mu­sic, faster cars and all that,” Pri­est­ley says.

One of the high­lights of the new sea­son is the long list of note­wor­thy guest stars mak­ing ap­pear­ances through­out, like Wil­liam Shat­ner, Jeanne Beker and Ch­eryl Hickey. Both Pri­est­ley and Samp­son say that the high-pro­file guest stars serve as a tes­ta­ment to the show’s suc­cess.

“We have Jeanne Beker in the fash­ion episode, San­gita Pa­tel makes an ap­pear­ance, James Hinch­cliffe, An­thony Lemke,” Pri­est­ley says.

“We’ve had lots of good peo­ple this year, so we feel very for­tu­nate to at­tract that sort of tal­ent to our show and have the op­por­tu­nity to work with all these very tal­ented peo­ple.”

As for Pri­est­ley and Samp­son’s char­ac­ters, Matt Shade and Angie Everett, the pair says their re­la­tion­ship is more solid than ever. In the se­cond sea­son, Shade and Everett work to­gether at Everett In­ves­ti­ga­tions to solve the lat­est mys­ter­ies in the city.

“The char­ac­ters have a com­mon goal this year, which is run­ning Everett to­gether. So the ex­tremes have gone in Matt and Angie’s re­la­tion­ship be­cause they’re on the same team with a shared mo­ti­va­tion,” Samp­son says.

Pri­vate Eyes has been well­re­ceived in­ter­na­tion­ally (es­pe­cially in Italy, the U.K. and Aus­tralia), and it’s no se­cret that the show’s tal­ented ac­tors are one of its ma­jor draws.

Samp­son has been fea­tured in sev­eral Cana­dian TV se­ries, such as The Art of More, De­grassi and Rogue, and Pri­est­ley has been work­ing as an ac­tor for al­most 40 years now.

Adding to his im­pres­sive act­ing re­sume, Pri­est­ley has also gained a solid rep­u­ta­tion as a di­rec­tor, work­ing on projects such as Rookie Blue, Sav­ing Hope, Haven and the re­vamped 90210, which starred Toronto’s Shenae Grimes-Beech.

Al­though it’s been al­most 20 years since the orig­i­nal 90210 last aired, the ac­tor and di­rec­tor is still well known for his turn as Bran­don Walsh. The ex­pe­ri­ence of star­ring in a hit TV show may seem glam­orous, but Pri­est­ley says that, in re­al­ity, it was mostly early morn­ings, late nights and plenty of hard work.

He said he still keeps in touch with some of his co-stars, but at the end of the day, they were just like reg­u­lar co-work­ers at any other job.

“It was fun, but it was also a lot of hard work. It was like any other TV show with a very gru­elling sched­ule, long hours and not a lot of time for ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties,” he says.

“They call it show busi­ness, they don’t call it show fun.”

The se­cond sea­son of the show is set to wrap just in time for the sum­mer. Samp­son says she’ll be tak­ing a break to spend time with her hus­band, and Pri­est­ley will be head­ing to Van­cou­ver to di­rect a new sci-fi se­ries called Ghost Wars.

Ja­son Pri­est­ley and Cindy Samp­son star in Global TV show shot on lo­ca­tion in T.O.

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