Filming and dining T.O. style
48 Jason Priestley and Cindy Sampson back with hit series Private Eyes
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.