VANCOUVER, B.C.–Man they get their money’s worth out of Shawn Doyle on Endgame. The Newfoundland native is in every scene as Russian chess brainiac Arkady Balagan, who goes all Howard Hughes when his fiance is murdered. Holed up in a Vancouver hotel, barefoot and unkempt, he gets drawn into a world of crime fighting, his 20-moves ahead superbrain the latest in forensic trickery. Doyle sees the character as someone “working so hard to run away from his own pain.”
Caught up with Doyle at what was for me a long day on the set of Endgame, having camped out there from 9 to 6 p.m. He still had hours left to work.
Doyle kept things keen on the set by never giving the same line read twice. Take after take, he’d find new ways to say the same thing. Cast mate Melanie Papalia (who plays Pippa, the sister of Balaban’s slain girlfriend) says this keeps everyone on their toes.
The dude still had energy left for a pleasant interview inside his camper dressing room. Doyle was weary but still passionate, into the character and the show. Endgame has a tentative mid-March start date on Showcase.
We were both shocked to figure it had been nine years since I first interviewed him on the set of CTV’s The Eleventh Hour, a series that began with plenty of promise but never quite caught up with itself. Doyle has moved to the States since then, working such shows as Big Love, Desperate Housewives and 24. The pieces all seem to be in place for chess drama Endgame, and the cast and crew all seemed happy to be part of  a resurgent Vancouver TV production community.
Doyle, who lives in LA and Toronto, plays the guy blond, bare-foot and with a pronounced Russian accent. The blond hair was Doyle’s idea. “Literally two days before I got here, I just had this image of the character as blond,” he says. Executive producer Avrum Jacobson was on the same wave length.
The 42-year-old actor worked with a dialect coach on the accent. He says its not a traditional film version of a Russian voice, saying he didn’t want to limit his range. “I do what I call my Alberto V05 accent,” he jokes.
In a few days, an actual polar bear is coming on the set, part of a storyline involving a rock star staying at the hotel. Apparently the rocker has a polar bear as a pet.
A strict memo went out to cast and crew warning everyone to keep their distance. You’d think it was a bi-polar bear. No food or snax will be allowed on the set on polar bear day. No sudden moves will be tolerated. It was one of those “keep out of Mr. Pacino’s eye line” type memos. Even the craft services truck was being moved 100 feet away from the set.
Doyle has heard the old adage never work with babies or animals but figures he’ll be fine; after all, he already works on Endgame with Patrick Gallagher.
More on  Doyle, Gallagher (a true gentleman, actually) and intriguing Endgame as this series gets closer to air.

1 Comment

  1. As I am sure you have heard, the show has been cancelled. We are looking to reach each and every fan to come on board and work together to bring Endgame back- we can be found on FB under Save Endgame.
    Please consider helping more of us come together.

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