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Interview: Burden of Truth’s Kristin Kreuk

by Charles Trapunski

At Brief Take, we don’t usually do interviews with the same talent in recent succession. However, we made a major exception for the remarkable Kristin Kreuk. We enjoyed speaking to her, alongside co-stars Peter Mooney and Star Slade for season 1 of Burden of Truth, so much that we aimed to do so again for season 2. We immensely appreciated gathering some insight from the multi-talented Kreuk and can’t wait to hear more about her creative pursuits.

The following is a condensed and edited version of our phone conversation with the compelling and fascinating Kristin Kreuk.

Brief Take: How was the the reaction to season one of Burden of Truth?

Kristin Kreuk: Particularly when we went Stateside with the show, people were really positive, and that was great to hear. It’s nice to see an appreciation for stories that are particularly located in Canada, and Canadian stories. We were really excited to have another shot with it because we had a difficult start last year with the changing of showrunners and things like that. So we got to take our time without interruption in the prep for season 2, and that was really exciting for us. In season 2, we really made an effort to give it a distinct visual style.

BT: In the episodes that I’ve seen from season 2, it feels like three stories at the beginning. But will they converge at some point?

KK: Three stories collide pretty intensely. I mean you watched through episode 3, so that incident [laughs] is pretty impactful for all of the characters and kind of pulls them all back together in Millwood.

BT: You’ve been so integral to this series as producer, what has your producing journey been like?

KK: It’s been interesting. We have a lot of producers on the show who are incredibly capable and have been very successful in Canada, so I get to learn from those guys. I think going into season 2, things were more set, so when I come into the writer’s room everybody knows me now. We feel like we gel together and that felt really comfortable for me to contribute my thoughts and my ideas, and also to let them do their thing because they’re all very capable and skilled. It’s been really great. I look forward to a project in the future in which I can come on board and not be in front of the camera and put all my energy towards producing.

BT: Having producers like Ilana Frank as guides and mentors, does that reflect the place in which Joanna finds herself?

KK: Interesting. I don’t know if it reflects in the character, necessarily. But for all of us, all of the producers on our show have been instrumental in making sure that the story survives and moves forward. They are fierce and really persuasive [laughs] so that really helps for us. People in Canada, especially, really believe in Ilana.

BT: Your character definitely has a specific feel this season.

KK: For Joanna, it’s a really crazy transition because everything she believes she was is a lie. She’s going into this massive change, through trying to present some sort of bravado, but she’s really struggling underneath all of that. And then the new job is quite similar to her old job [laughs], which is not that different, except that her boss is a lot more personable. So she’s being encouraged to be a human being but she doesn’t know how to be a human being, but she wants to be. And there’s this underlying pain and unhealed trauma with her father and with her past that she needs to confront before moving forward. I think that Joanna being more open helps (guide the viewer), having been pushed so hard that her shell is not as hard any more, so you can see inside more easily, which I think is easier for people to relate to and go along with her and see her foibles. It’s kind of funny some of the stuff that happens, particularly in the first episode in terms of her trying to be a human being.

BT: What does it mean to have Peter Mooney and this cast working with you on Burden of Truth?

KK: It is a great group of people. It feels like a truly tension-less environment in which to work and yet people still feel like they can do great work, they’re supported. It helps to have younger actors on set who want to be great. It kind of forces you to be your best self. [laughs] That’s wonderful, and Peter’s a great co-leader on this show–he’s easy on set, he’s kind to everybody, he’s funny, and he’s done his homework. [laughs] He’s ready to go, constantly. It’s nice to have a teammate who has a similar work ethic. So yeah, it’s been wonderful. I couldn’t be more happy! And a part of it, too, is that we’re not together nine months out of the year. Sometimes tensions arise among cast and crew, but I think on this show it’s kind of perfect, and that’s part of why I love doing it.

BT: Your show is very female-driven, from directors to writers to producers to its star. Was this intentional?

KK: It’s probably intentional. Between Bradley’s vision, which was itself very female-focused, and my own desires as a creator and as a person, and the CBC also has been very strongly supportive of female participation, especially in the director role and in the producer roles. We have some amazing directors this year–Michelle Latimer is fantastic, and I think you will be really thrilled.

BT: What is something that has surprised you about season 2?

KK: Honestly, this sounds really shallow [laughs], but I thought that shooting in Winnipeg would be really hard. I didn’t anticipate the city itself to be such a major player in our show and offer so much. I love it there, and I love what we get to explore in the story because we shoot in Winnipeg.

BT: The theme of parental conflict carries over into season 2 as well.

KK: I think reconciling with your past is a big part of our show and a lot has to do with ‘Are you your parents? Is there a way to overcome generational trauma or struggle or issues?’. We all grapple with that I think, to a degree, like is this what I am fated to? Especially if we had difficult upbringings, and our characters certainly struggle and fight against that and I believe that’s relatable for a lot of people.

BT: There are many social media accounts dedicated to this series. Tell me about the fan reactions that you’ve received. 

KK: We have the loveliest fans for this show as the people who love the show, love the show, they’re very passionate about it. [laughs] I went to go see a psychic in Winnipeg and it kind of got buggered because she was like “Oh my God! You’re on that show Burden of Truth. I love it!” and she would just go on and on about how meaningful it was for her to see stories about real people that felt like it could happen in her community and has happened in her community.

Season 2 of Burden of Truth premieres at 8 p.m.on  January 9th on CBC and streaming on CBC Gem

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