Halifax native John Reardon has a lot on his plate – the actor not only stars on the hit CBC show "Arctic Air," but he's also gearing up for season two of Showcase's "Continuum" (airing in the U.S. on Syfy). He has appeared on "The L Word" and "Hellcats" as well. In addition to acting, Reardon was an all-star football player at Mount Allison University, where he studied Marine Biology. He took a quick break to tell Crave readers about what to expect of his television projects and why he considers himself a proud Canuck.
CraveOnline: Tell us about your role on "Arctic Air" and season 2 of the show.
John Reardon: On "Arctic Air" I play Blake LaViolette, a hot-shot pilot from Winnipeg who is using his experience as a bush pilot in Northern Canada to land himself his dream job as a pilot for a major commercial airline. However, things don’t really go as planned and Blake falls in love with Krista Ivarson (played by Pascale Hutton), and discovers there is a lot more keeping him in the north than he expected. Even though it seems to take Blake awhile to get accustomed to his new surroundings, now that he’s been living in Yellowknife for a while he starts to feel quite at home. Even though he is reluctant to admit it, especially after a tough break-up with his girlfriend Krista, there is a lot more keeping him in the north than he originally thought.
And what's your work like with "Continuum?"
My work on "Continuum" is quite a bit different. I play Greg Cameron, the husband of Kiera Cameron, played by Rachel Nichols. Greg on the surface appears to be a clean-cut family man who is a respectable law-abidding member of society. The memory of Greg, along with their son Sam, is an anchor for Kiera when she is transported back in time and taken away from her family. However, as season 1 progresses, it appears that Greg may not be what he seems.
How do you balance doing the two shows?
It has been surprisingly easy. There are actually four cast members who work on both "Arctic Air" and "Continuum" – Stephen Lobo, Brian Markinson, Lexa Doig, and myself, as well as several crew. For the last few years, since both shows shoot in Vancouver, we have gone from finishing filming on "Arctic Air" to starting "Continuum" a month later. It makes the transition really smooth when you recognize and love everyone you work with on the two sets. Not to mention it is quite satisfying creatively because we all have very different characters in the two shows. I go from playing a scruffy northern bush pilot whose idea of fancy clothes is a clean, plaid button-up shirt to a slick businessman who appears to have a secret side that has not yet been fully revealed.
You studied to be a marine biologist in school…which university? Why the interest in marine biology?
I studied at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick. I absolutely loved it there! I did do some acting back then as well but my real love at the time was biology. I had learned to SCUBA dive when I was younger and Mount A offered programs to study Marine Biology in the Cayman Islands. Naturally it was not much of a stretch to consider actually collecting school credits while diving in the crystal blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico and completing school projects on the beach. Studying is a lot more fun when you’re drinking a pina colada out of a coconut by a pool bar in the Caribbean!
You have a love for football…do you still get a chance to play? What position did you play in college?
I played wide receiver at Mount Allison, and I think I may have been the skinniest person to ever play in the league until my brother Marc played for the Mounties as well five years later. I really loved my experience on the team and am still very close friends with a lot of the guys I played with. I do still play a little touch football these days but most games turn into a conversation with my buddies about all the things we used to be able to do when we were kids that wouldn’t hurt… we go through a lot of ice packs on the sidelines these days.
Who is your inspiration in the business, someone you look up to?
I really respect Paul Newman for a lot of reasons. He was a great actor, which is evidenced in so many of his iconic roles – Cool Hand Luke, Hud, and Butch Cassidy, just to name a few. But he was also a professional racecar driver well into his 70s, not to mention a great humanitarian whose foundation raised hundreds of millions of dollars for charity. You have to respect that. Not to mention “Sometimes nothin’ is a real cool hand” is one of my favourite movie quotes of all time.
You've dabbled in a lot of things – is there something you'd still like to pursue professionally that you haven't had a chance to yet?
I’ve been really excited about getting involved behind the camera these days. I wrote and produced a pilot episode of a TV series last year with my wife and a group of friends and really enjoyed the experience of creating something from the ground up. There is something very rewarding about taking a concept that just exists in your imagination, then putting it on paper and then later onto film. My writing partner (Jesse Moss) and I are now working on a screenplay about a Canadian boxer and hope to go to camera on that very soon.
We know you split your time between L.A. and Vancouver…would you consider yourself a proud Canadian?
I am very proud to be Canadian! There is no place I would rather be in the world than in my family’s cottage in Nova Scotia sitting around the fire with all my family and friends. I feel that being Canadian is a deeply ingrained part of my identity. I’m very proud to play a role on CBC’s "Arctic Air," which highlights the beauty and culture of the Canadian North, as well as to be on "Continuum," which is proudly set in Vancouver. As I begin to feel more and more of a push to work behind the camera, I feel a strong desire to tell “Canadian” stories. We are a country of great history and culture that often does not get the exposure it deserves.
What's one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I’m actually an avid bird watcher. It’s not a hobby many of my friends share but I think it is a bit of a throwback from my university days. I took a lot of zoology courses back in school and one of the classes I loved the most was ornithology. It included hours of extensive bird watching on the wetlands near my university and I really got excited about going out into the marsh early in the morning to do some of my homework. The wetlands, however, also doubled as a shortcut to get to the other side of campus so it would often be embarrassing when I would see my friends stumbling home from the pub early in the morning while I was crouched in the bush with a pair of binoculars.