'Republic of Doyle' star Allan Hawco on family, Jake Doyle and not sweating the small stuff

In his multi-faceted role on the set of Republic of Doyle, the show’s creator, writer and star Allan Hawco is always one step ahead of his alter ego. We sat down with the charming Newfoundland native in Toronto, where he chatted about fitting in family time and why he wishes he was a little more like Jake Doyle. As for Republic of Doyle’s two-hour season five finale (Feb. 5, 8PM ET on CBC), the upcoming presenter at the Canadian Screen Awards (Mar. 9, CBC) wasn't revealing any clues. All he’d say? “It’s definitely a high-impact ending.” (Was it ever!)

You’re in the rare position of having an acting job that doesn’t often take you away on location. Is that still something of value?
Yes, absolutely. Since I sort of entered the industry and moved away to go to theatre school, I always pined for Newfoundland and to go back home full-time. So now I’m very fortunate. Our production company has other shows in production that’s just given me an opportunity to settle and allow my roots to firmly plant there.

Does your family visit you on set?
My mom’s been in the background a lot. It’s the only way I can see her! Truly. I never leave the set, so in order to see my mom I get her to come in and do background.

What have you learned from having guest stars like Russell Crowe on the show?
I’ve learned so much from these great actors. Having had the opportunity to sit across from Russell Crowe - working with them on the day is one thing, but then to go into post-production and edit the episode, [you] just watch how committed these people are. It’s been a master class.

What’s one thing Jake has done that you would never do?
Almost everything he does. He doesn’t ask any questions. My favourite thing about him is that he’s not afraid of anything. He just takes on controversy without hesitation. He sorts it out the best way he sees fit, sometimes he’s right and most of the time he’s wrong. But it doesn’t seem like he feels any remorse about that stuff because it’s foolish to ponder such things. Most of us I think are obsessed with – I have friends who don’t sweat the small stuff and I wish I could take a pill, the ‘Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff’ pill. I’d have a much happier life.

What are some of your favourite TV shows?
Oh man there’s so much great TV on right now. Right now I’m watching The White Queen. I just finished all of Breaking Bad. I’m watching Treme, Archer, Justified. I watch everything that you can possibly watch.

How do you make time to keep up with those?
I have to, it’s my job. I spent a lot of my childhood watching a lot of TV then when I was in theatre school, coming up through the ranks I always felt like I was an illiterate person because I spent so much time thinking about and watching television. I was almost made to feel guilty by some of my peers for spending so much time with a television. Then when the tables turned and I became a professional in the industry in that way, I realized I was an expert. I’m not an expert at many things, but I’m an expert at watching television.

Does your wife agree on those shows?
Oh yea we have almost the exact same tastes. It’s fantastic. I’m an expert TV-watcher, to be clear [Laughs]. I don’t know if I’m an expert TV-maker.

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