INTERVIEW: My Car: Unique and quirky, just like his car

My Car: Unique and quirky, just like his car
Story By: Petrina Gentile
Photos By: Jeff Vinnick/The Globe and Mail
Date: May 18, 2010
Source: The Globe and Mail


Canadian actor Aaron Douglas's Volvo 'likes the limelight'


Aaron Douglas plays Frank Leo, a cop battling corruption on and off the force in the CTV/CBS drama, The Bridge. But he’s probably best known for his role as Chief Tyrol in the sci-fi series Battlestar Galactica. 

As chief mechanic he was tech savvy on set, but off set it’s a different story, especially when it comes to his car – a 2007 Volvo S80 3.2 sedan. 

“When it comes to real life I can sharpen a pencil and that’s about it,” says Douglas, one of Canada’s rising TV stars. “I do know it’s a 3.2 and its all-wheel drive. It’s got enough juice to get up and go. And it drives like a sports car, but it feels like a tank. If I smacked into anything, the other thing would lose out.” 


Aaron Douglas inside his Volvo S80


Douglas adores the gadgets in his S80 – although it took him a while to figure them out. 

“It’s got so many cool things. I love the [adaptive] cruise control. I didn’t even figure it out until I was driving on the highway and somebody cut me off and all of a sudden the car started to slow down. What happened? It was like, ‘Oh no, my car is broken’ and then that car got out of the way and it just started speeding up again. The car’s a genius,” he laughs. 

“You set the cruise control and you tell the car how many car lengths you want to stay behind the car in front of you. You let it go and it constantly sends out sensors front and back and if the car is set to 120 and you come up behind a car that’s doing 110 the car will automatically slow down. If it speeds up, it’ll speed up. You can literally drive for hours without touching the gas and brake.” 

His S80 also has a back-up camera, a built-in navigation system, Bluetooth, and a blind spot monitor system. 

“The only thing it doesn’t have which drives me crazy is an iPod dock and it doesn’t have satellite radio,” says Douglas who is working on a new TV pilot called Betwixt. His film credits include X-Men 2, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, White Noise, Catwoman, and I, Robot. 

“I like Volvos because not many people have them. I drive all over western Canada and western U.S. and it is very rare that you see the make and model of my car. So many people have BMWs and Mercedes. I like the fact that this is unique and that aren’t many like it, which is probably how I see myself. It’s quirky that’s for sure,” he says. “It likes to be clean. It likes the limelight. It likes when everybody goes, ‘Hey what is that?’ 

“The last car I had was the S40 T5 and I loved that car. I came back to get another car and I was looking at Volvo, Lexus, Mercedes, and Infiniti. I went to the Mercedes dealership and nobody would talk to me. I get frustrated when it’s poor service,” he says. “I went to Volvo and the guy was great. I wanted something a little bigger and a little sportier than the S40 because I’m dragging around hockey bags and golf clubs. I took the S80 for a spin and I loved it, so I went with that.” 

His first car was a 1978 Ford Fairmont. “My grandfather worked at the Oakville Ford plant for 35 years and so it was sacrilege to buy anything but a Ford. I remember when I was 11 or 12, my dad bought a Nissan Sentra and my grandfather didn’t speak to him for two weeks. ‘We didn’t fight those guys in the war for you to …’ He was so serious. I swore when I bought my first car it was going to be a Ford – I didn’t care what it was. So I got this Ford Fairmont for $1,200 and I drove that thing into the ground, literally.” 


The Bridge star Aaron Douglas and his Volvo S80


He had some close calls with it, too. “My most terrifying memory is falling asleep driving back from Calgary in my Fairmont and waking up upside down and a bunch of people, ambulance, and cops peeling me away from my car. That wasn’t good.” 

Later, he bought a 1981 Volkswagen Cabriolet. “I loaded four of my friends in, we put the top down and we drove from Kelowna to Vancouver to see a B.C. Lions game. It took us about six hours there and back. We laughed hysterically the entire time,” says the 38-year-old actor. 

He also owned a 1990 Ford Mustang, followed by a Ford Taurus. “You can’t compare the cars built in Europe with the cars built in North America. North American cars are big and they drive like boats. They don’t feel tight. My car is a big car, but it feels like a small car. It’s very tight, compact and handles very well. A lot of the components are probably made out of plastic but it doesn’t feel plastic. Whereas American cars are big, noisy, and cheap – that’s what I’Ve experienced in the past.” 

Douglas changes cars every two-three years, but he hasn’t thought about replacing his Volvo yet. 

“There’s nothing else out there that I see and go I want that. I still get in it and say, ‘Wow, that’s my car’.”

INTERVIEW: WV actor lays down the law on The Bridge

WV actor lays down the law on The Bridge
By: Jerome Turner
Date: April 16, 2010
Source: North Shore News


Aaron Douglas keeps it real in post Battlestar Galactica world 

North Vancouver actor Aaron Douglas stars as Frank Leo in the new CTV series The Bridge. Photograph by : NEWS photo Mike Wakefield

Aaron Douglas, currently playing street-wise cop Frank Leo in the new CTV series The Bridge, in real life enjoys his home on the North Shore and getting fired up about hockey. 

Best known in science-fiction circles for his role as Chief Gaylen Tyrol in the Battlestar Galactica series, Douglas likes to play Canada’s game in his ever-shrinking spare time. 

Growing up admiring players like Richard Brodeur, Kirk McLean and Ron Hextall solidified his choice to be a goalie, and also illustrates his pull toward the spotlight. 

“I think I like the fact that I am always on the ice,” says Douglas. “I can be the hero or the goat.” 

Douglas compares his style of goaltending to Ron Hextall, especially when protecting the sanctity of the sacred blue ice. 

“If you got near (Hextall’s) crease, he’d chop you down like a big oak. I like that guy,” says Douglas. “I don’t know if I’ve broken any ankles, but I’ve chopped a lot of people down that’s for sure.” 

His netminding skills and celebrity status got him into this year’s Gordie Howe Pro-Am in Edmonton April 10-11, where he faced shots from former NHL stars like Lanny McDonald, Glen Anderson, Wendel Clark and Paul Coffee. The event raised $1 million for Alzheimer’s research. 

Having played an event like this before, he did what he could to recover from an injury sustained four years ago. 

“I tore my groin playing in Whistler,” says Douglas. “I’ve been scrambling to try and get back in playing weight so I can stand up and make a save.” 

For rest and relaxation he likes to head to the North Shore. 

“Whenever I get a chance, I come home.” said Douglas. “It’s my favorite place to be in the world. It’s nice and quiet.” 

While filming season one of The Bridge in Toronto Douglas swapped houses with Canucks back-up goalie Andrew Raycroft, but this does not mean he has any kinship with the Maple Leafs. 

“I would never cheer for the Leafs. I am an unabashed Leaf-hater,” he says. “The Canucks will always be my boys.” 

When he is not stopping Hall of Famers, filming or at home; he is fulfilling the needs of his loyal fan base from his former role in BSG at comic conventions around the world. 

Last month he was in Seattle, earlier this month he was in San Fancisco and will be in Chicago from April 19-22. 

He attends functions regularly and because of his openness his followers may have crossed over to The Bridge. 

“Everybody that watched BSG will watch at least one episode of whatever show former BSG actors move on to just to see if it’s their kind of thing,” says Douglas. 

The Bridge posted the largest audience for a Canadian drama when it drew more than a million viewers for the two-hour premiere March 5. 

Leo, Douglas’ character, is the centre of the fast-paced show that is loosely based on former Metro Toronto policeman Craig Bromell, who is also a writer and producer of The Bridge. 

Douglas received tips on how a cop moves and where his equipment goes from Bromell and everything else is from the script. 

“My character follows Craig’s ascension,” says Douglas. “But I don’t play Craig. I play, Frank Leo, the character as I see him.” 

Leo is voted union representative after suggesting a lock-in strike in support of two colleagues being wrongfully accused. After most cops in the city support the cause the two cops have their charges dropped. 

Corruption has infiltrated the Metro force and Leo becomes a target because of his ability to do the right thing as union rep. 

No mention is ever made to what city The Bridge occurs. 

“It’s big city cops in anytown U.S.A.” says Douglas. 


CBS is partner in producing the show, but no date has been set for release on American television. 
The Bridge runs every Friday night at 10 p.m. PST.

INTERVIEW: Crossing The Bridge from sci-fi to cop drama

Crossing The Bridge from sci-fi to cop drama
By: Ian Johnston
Date: March 8th, 2010
Interviewees: Aaron Douglas and Craig Bromell
Source: Metro Canada


Aaron Douglas’ face may be splashed all over subway stations and bus stops these days, but it hasn’t changed who he is in the minds of fans.

Douglas – who is currently starring in the new CTV cop series The Bridge – says he still gets recognized for that other role – as Galen Tyrol on Battlestar Galactica.

“It’s funny because I’ll be in the street and here’s my face everywhere (for The Bridge) but people still come up and want to talk about Battlestar Galactica.”

That wasn’t always so. When Battlestar premiered in 2003, it didn’t exactly earn immediate respect.

“It was scoffed at by critics when it came out. But viewers loved it. Now I feel it’s transformed a little how people look at science fiction,” says Douglas.

The Bridge is sure to help change people’s image of the actor. In the series he plays Frank Leo, a tough-as-nails beat cop who is driven by his own anger at the system to become the head of the police union.

That act puts him right between the police brass and the cops he works with. It’s a balancing act that Leo must negotiate on a daily basis.

“It’s not a pro-cop show, which I think maybe people might expect. But it’s a pretty factual, truthful one,” says The Bridge creator Craig Bromell, a former Toronto police union head, who serves as executive producer on the series.

“I think he (Douglas) really nailed the part. He got it.”

Still, being realistic can get pretty dark at times. Bad cops, drug deals, corruption, blackmail, suicide — it’s all in The Bridge and more.

“I showed it to a couple of cop friends and they liked it, though they wished there were less bad cops,” says Douglas.

“So I asked them if they knew any bad cops. And they said of course. I think what it (The Bridge) plays on is that cops are just human beings.”


INTERVIEW: ‘Bridge’ not biography

‘Bridge’ not biography – Former union head says Canadian cop series fictional
By: Victoria Ahearn
Date: March 3, 2010
Interviewees: Craig Bromell, Aaron Douglas and Paul Popowich
Source: Telegraph-Journal


TV: Former union head says Canadian cop series fictional

TORONTO – In the new cop series The Bridge, debuting Friday on CTV and CBS, Aaron Douglas plays a tough police officer turned union head battling top brass and an “old boys’ network” as he cleans up the force.

Though the storylines are inspired by the insights of outspoken former Toronto police union head Craig Bromell, the events and characters are purely fictional, he insists.

“My life with the union is very well documented – it’s in the public, there’s no way around it – so I wanted … a fictional side to this primarily because it’s an international story,” Bromell, an executive producer and adviser on the show, said in a recent interview.

“That’s what I was trying to get out more than anything is: ‘Yeah, I’ve lived a certain situation, I was quite prominent in law enforcement in this country, but these stories could happen anywhere.'”

Bromell became president of the Toronto Police Association in 1997 at age 37, after a lengthy career on the force. He left his post in 2003 and went on to do a radio show in the city.

Several years ago, when Bromell heard someone was writing an unauthorized book on him, he thought of the idea for the series. “I really wanted to try to set the record straight on what goes on behind the scenes of any police service anywhere in the world,” he said.

He joined forces with Adam J. Shully to form 990 Multi Media Entertainment, and asked five-time Gemini Award-winning writer Alan Di Fiore (Da Vinci’s Inquest) to write a drama that showed the personal side of law enforcement.

The series title is inspired by a bridge that separates two Toronto neighbourhoods – one wealthy and one low-income – that Bromell’s unit patrolled when he was an officer.

He also says some on the force were worried that the series would spill secrets. When the pilot was being shot for CTV in Toronto in 2008 (CTV later picked it up as a series, followed by CBS), Bromell says some of his friends were offered money (he wouldn’t say who made such offers) to visit the set and find out what revelations were in the plot.

“They were being offered large sums of money to come up to me and say, ‘Listen, what story did you use in there?'”

“It happened several times … I think the highest offer was three-thousand bucks.”

Douglas, a Vancouver native, signed on as the lead, Frank Leo, right after the conclusion of his last series, the heralded sci-fi drama Battlestar Galactica.

He said he was drawn to the script because it shows the “real gritty, grimy stuff” in law enforcement.

“So many of the cop shows are that real glorious, glamorous: cops run in and save the day and the bad guys lose.

“It’s so refreshing to have a real human drama. I’m coming off Battlestar which did for sci-fi kind of what I hope this show does for cop shows,” said Douglas.

Added Hamilton’s Paul Popowich, who plays Frank’s partner, Tommy Dunn: “We’re trying to capture what it is about the (police) experience, what it is about the day-to-day that hasn’t really been seen in other shows of the genre.”

The police force in the 13-part series isn’t set in a particular city.

From a procedural point of view, the show is authentic, but it does have a “Hollywood spin,” said Bromell.

Any comparisons between him and Frank Leo stop at their job title, he added.

“The crime reporters that covered me for six years might think there are some comparisons … but the truth of the matter is with my character, with all the other characters that are around Frank Leo, it’s just not there.”


An abbreviated version of this article appeared in the MetroNews on March 5th, 2010.


Photo credit: Jo (canadiangirl_86)

INTERVIEW: The Bridge leads to grey areas behind the thin blue line

The Bridge leads to grey areas behind the thin blue line
By: Joshua Ostroff
Date: March 3rd, 2010
Interviewees: Alan Di Fiore and Aaron Douglas
Source: Eye Weekly



There’s no lack of cop shows on TV. Never has been. They fill too many essential criteria to become passé — workplace drama, mystery solving, random violence — and police officers make easy heroes because, ideally, they protect the public. Except, of course, when they don’t.

That’s the territory into which The Bridge crosses. Inspired by the controversial career of former Toronto police union boss Craig Bromell — who serves as executive producer — the new CTV series revolves around beat-cop-turned-union-rabble-rouser Frank Leo (Battlestar Galactica’s “Chief” Aaron Douglas).

“Anybody in the public domain is going to be controversial,” Douglas says recently during a break from shooting at a Toronto waterfront parking garage. “JFK, there were people who didn’t like him. Obviously. But there are a lot of warts. [Bromell] has no problem showing his faults, his foibles, the mistakes he’s made. The show will be very balanced.”

Few cop serials have delved into union politics. Police unions don’t exist to protect the public but to protect the police, even when they harm the public. The Bridge’s two-hour pilot doesn’t pussyfoot around this notion — there’s no politically correct crackdown on arguably excessive force. Instead, Leo’s concerned with protecting some cops who accidentally kill a teenage boy.

In another incident that occurs before he becomes union boss, Leo is among a group of officers who fire 68 bullets into a grandma who, though involved in some nefariousness, is still a grandma. The first time we meet Leo he’s blustering to a young kid: “don’t fight me little man, I’ll throw you into traffic, I swear I will.”

Those words came from Alan Di Fiore, an award-winning writer who had previously worked on the series Da Vinci’s Inquest, inspired by Vancouver coroner-turned-mayor Larry Campbell. But while Campbell was a consultant, Bromell has actual creative control.

“Craig is a very smart guy and he knows that there are going to be various takes on his life, so we’re basically trying to show his perspective,” Di Fiore says, acknowledging the Rashômon-like danger of showing differing points of view. “We also want to honestly show how other people felt about it, too. Obviously, we’re telling his story to a certain extent, but I want to emphasize it’s inspired by his life. Frank Leo isn’t Craig Bromell. He is, and he isn’t.”

Given CTV’s co-production deal with CBS, who bought Flashpoint but have yet to put The Bridge on their prime-time sked, obvious Toronto references have been scrubbed. Still, the “Bridge” is basically Bromell’s old 51 Division, incorporating both Rosedale and Regent Park.

The wildcat strike that Bromell led in real life, precipitating his election as union boss, does makes it into the show and seems shockingly unheroic to a civilian eye. There’s corruption shown at all levels, including the self-serving police brass and sleazy politicians, but ultimately The Bridge seems to sell Bromell’s line that Internal Affairs and the civilian-run Police Board are detrimental to policing.

When someone asks Leo if he thinks cops should be held to a higher standard, his response is “not when it is being used to screw with them.” Later, a prosecutor is disparaged as a dangerous “zealot” because “he really believes he is protecting the public from bad cops,” as if that weren’t admirable. Certainly, Leo doesn’t seem admirable when smirking that the “contagious fire” shooting spree at grandma’s truck was necessary because, “it was a really big pickup.”

“Many cop shows are watered down and pure-hero and it all wraps up at the end and the bad guy gets caught,” says Douglas. “The [real-life]cops aren’t always the ‘good guys.’ They make mistakes. They’re doing it with the best of intentions, but they’re real people.”

Watching the rank and file grumble about use-of-force restrictions as their union leader rages against oversight makes it hard to root for the beat cops, even in the face of dangerous streets and corrupt management, because they seem to be fighting for a freer hand to beat people down.

By showing what Di Fiore calls “the things that happen to cops between the things that happen to cops,” The Bridge removes the police force’s perennial white hat to reveal the many shades of grey behind that thin blue line.



INTERVIEW: ‘It has to be the most authentic cop series going’

‘It has to be the most authentic cop series going’
By: Michael Posner
Date: March 3rd, 2010
Interviewees: Craig Bromell, Alan Di Fiore and Aaron Douglas
Source: The Globe and Mail


Former officer and Toronto police union leader Craig Bromell says The Bridge captures the complicated nuances of a cop’s life


[From left, Frank Cassini, Paul Popowich and Theresa Joy in character from The Bridge]


It’s hard to think of a new Canadian TV series that has generated as much preliminary buzz as CTV’s The Bridge.

Billed as a hard-hitting take on life inside a major urban police force, it comes with an impressive creative pedigree, including lead actor Aaron Douglas (Battlestar Galactica), five-time Gemini Award-winning writer Alan Di Fiore (Da Vinci’s Inquest) and producer Laszlo Barna.

But everyone associated with the production –- it premieres with a two-hour pilot on Friday night and continues for another 11 episodes – knows that its soul belongs to former Toronto police officer Craig Bromell, who is executive producer for the series.

A constant thorn in the side of the force’s leadership, Bromell led a brief wildcat strike in 1995, protesting a decision to charge two constables with mistreating black citizens. Later, as president of the 7,500-man Toronto police union (1997-2003), he spearheaded a campaign to tackle crime and corruption – not just on the street, but inside higher command. He became a powerful and polarizing figure, adored by much of the rank-and-file, feared and detested by many senior officers and local politicians.

It’s that internecine element Bromell and his team are trying to inject into the popular, but crowded, genre of cop drama. The show’s central character, Frank Leo (Douglas), is largely based on Bromell. The title comes from the actual bridge that separates the verdant lawns of Toronto’s upper-crust Rosedale neighbourhood from its hard-core crime zones south of Bloor Street – an area Bromell patrolled for part of his 26 years on the force.In the series, the physical bridge becomes a metaphor for other dualities, including the gulf separating commanding officers from the rank and file.


[Aaron Douglas as Frank Leo in The Bridge. The character is based on former police-union head Craig Bromell]


“Few institutions are as political as a major metropolitan police force,” says Bromell. “Cops hate drug dealers, that’s true. But they hate brass even more. The tough part of the job is inside the building. And it’s the same everywhere.”

As a TV project, The Bridge was born shortly after Bromell left the police force in 2003. He made a segue into radio, hosting a talk-show on Toronto radio station AM640 (where he still serves as a part-time consultant on police issues).

One day, at his favourite watering hole, Toronto’s upscale Bistro 990 – “all of my important union decisions were made there, over fish,” says Bromell – he met TV producer Adam Shully (Blood Ties, Odyssey 5). Both thought the Bromell story had series potential and took the concept initially to Barna and, with him, to CHUM, which commissioned 10 episodes. When CTV acquired CHUM in 2006, the project was temporarily shelved, but later revived. CTV ordered a two-hour pilot, shot in the summer of 2008. Later, they ordered the rest of the series and sold it to CBS. The U.S. network has yet to announce an American launch date.

“It’s actually better that we had that delay,” Bromell explained in an interview on the set. “It needed more time. And it gave us a chance to get Alan Di Fiore on board. The key thing is it has to be real – every little detail. You have to really believe that you’re with the cops out there. It has to be the most authentic cop series going, because everyone will be coming after us. Because of my background, this thing will be picked at, picked at, picked at.”


[A scene from The Bridge’s premiere episode, Red Door / Paint It Black. Star Aaron Douglas is shown standing on the right]


Bromell grew up in Oshawa, the son of a city employee. Influenced by the writing of Joseph Wambaugh, the former Los Angeles policeman turned novelist, and by TV cop shows, which he consumed voraciously as a teenager (The Rockford Files, The Mod Squad, Police Story, Dragnet), he joined the force at 18.

Di Fiore was an obvious candidate for the writing assignment, having been a key part of the team responsible for Da Vinci’s Inquest, CBC’s long-running series about a cop turned crusading coroner, and CBS’s short-lived FBI series The Handler.

He’d always wanted to write and, convinced that writers should write what they know, hit the road after college to gain life experience. He worked as a union organizer among Mexican-Americans, and then came to Canada, employed variously as a fish-packer, as a herring fisherman, in a dog food factory, as a log salvager and finally as part-owner of a jazz club, Pagliacci’s in Victoria.

It was a visit to the club by actor-director Stuart Margolin that led to Di Fiore’s first TV credit – Vendetta, a miniseries shot in Rome.

When The Bridge was in development, Barna, who produced Da Vinci, recommended him to Bromell. “I’d never met him or even known about him,” says Di Fiore. “But when Craig told me the bones of his story, I was riveted. Except for Wambaugh, in prose, no one has ever done the story of the ordinary street cop.”

Approaching the pilot script, Di Fiore said he had a brief chat with Bromell, but cut him off at a certain point. “I felt if I knew too much about his particular story, it would limit me creatively. So most of the storyline and most of the other characters are invented.”

He wrote the first draft in 21 days. “I wanted to contemporize the story, because the truth is, rank and file cops today are still battling the brass as much as they’re battling the drug dealers on the street.”

Lead actor Douglas, a Vancouver native, didn’t try to model the character directly on Bromell. “I just wanted to make Frank Leo a real guy. It’s a fictional character based on Craig’s life. I don’t put a lot of forethought into the scene. My approach is to say the words as simply as you can. Don’t try to act. Just be naturalistic.”

Ultimately, naturalism is also Bromell’s ambition – to accurately depict the true, hugely complicated nature of a cop’s life.

“No one,” he promises, “will be able to come back to us and say: ‘That’s not how it is. It’s not that way.’ No, I’m sorry. It is that way and that’s how we’re going to show it.”


The Bridge premieres Friday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CTV, then moves to a regular Friday, 10 p.m. ET/PT timeslot on March 12.

INTERVIEW: The Bridge cop show is real deal

The Bridge cop show is real deal
By: Glen Schaefer
Date: February 27, 2010
Interviewees: Aaron Douglas, Ona Grauer and Frank Cassini 
Source: The Province


Series about police officer’s life on the mean streets of Toronto set to air 

A scene in the first episode of the new Toronto-set TV drama The Bridge (9 p.m. Friday, CTV) has a group of police officers emptying their guns into a fleeing pickup truck, after which one of them jokes blackly with investigators probing the shooting. 

“Americans love that,” says Vancouver actor Aaron Douglas, who stars in the show as that scene’s joker, a uniformed cop and police union leader named Frank Leo. “I’ve shown the pilot to friends, a couple of cops, and they think that’s just the best scene in the show.” 

The Bridge is inspired by the life of ex-policeman and former Toronto police union leader Craig Bromell, who is one of the show’s producers. Douglas, who was previously one of the regulars on the Vancouver-shot series Battlestar Galactica, spent time with Bromell before filming to soak up a street-level policeman’s point of view. 

“Bad guys are bad guys — if you’re going to act like a dirt bag, expect to be treated like a dirt bag,” says Douglas. “In life, I have no problem with that.” 

Another scene in the two-hour series premiere deals with amateur video footage of a fatal police beating on a suburban street. 

The premiere was filmed in the summer of 2008, clearly evoking memories of the real-life 2007 video footage of Robert Dziekanski’s death at Vancouver’s airport. 

“Absolutely,” says Douglas. “I think that’s what art is supposed to do, evoke emotion and get a dialogue happening. We certainly did that on Battlestar and I think we’re doing it on this show. A few people can see both sides of the fence, but the show is very polarizing, a lot of it. It’s going to be interesting to see the reactions, because these are events that happen every day to police officers around the world,” he adds. 

Douglas’ fictional union leader isn’t played as a straight-up good guy, nor are his police colleagues, with a busy story that includes a rogue cop robbing drug dealers and another disturbed officer who shoots his wife. 

“It makes it so much more interesting when people are on both sides of the line,” says Douglas. “That’s exactly what this guy is . . . It’s a really interesting character, he is a womanizer and sometimes he drinks too much, a bit of a hard-ass but his humanity shows through.” 

The show, which filmed the rest of its 13 episodes over four months last year, features two other Vancouver faces in lead roles. Ona Grauer, who plays a union lawyer romantically involved with Douglas’ character, was part of the ensemble on the much-missed Vancouver-shot crime drama Intelligence. Frank Cassini, playing a well-connected police sergeant in the new show, has been a familiar face in Vancouver-shot TV and film going back to the The X-Files. 

Also on the producing-writing team is Toronto’s Alan Di Fiore, who was a writer-producer on Da Vinci’s Inquest in Vancouver. 

The Bridge is also set to air in July on the U.S. CBS network. 

Grauer says the cast and crew on The Bridge’s Toronto sets talked about the pioneering 1980s U.S. drama Hill Street Blues, in terms of stories, conspiracies and characters in the moral grey area. 

“That was one of the shows that was mentioned on set a few times,” Grauer says. “Some of the scripts I couldn’t turn the page — ‘Oh my God, what’s waiting for me?’ It’s what goes on behind it at the job.” 

The show’s title refers to a Toronto bridge that links a well-to-do neighbourhood with a poor district. Cassini, who grew up in Toronto before making his career in Vancouver, says the many exterior scenes brought back childhood memories for him. 

“It was a special summer shooting that pilot, and the rest of the series going back to areas where I grew up, in little Italy and the Annex,” says Cassini, who left Toronto nearly 30 years ago. 

His character, nicknamed the Rabbi, does a bit of the Hill Street Blues thing of briefing the troops, but as well is a facilitator, bringing competing parties together in the story’s various subplots. 

“He’s the go-to guy, maybe a little bit of an advice guy,” says Cassini, who has been based in Vancouver since the 1990s after leaving Toronto in the early 1980s to work in New York and L.A. 

CTV has been giving the new show a heavy promotional push during the Olympics. Cast and crew will know in a few weeks whether they’re heading back to Toronto this summer for a second season.

INTERVIEW: Battlestars in his eyes

Battlestars in his eyes
By: John O’Brien
Date: April 14, 2007
Source: The Courier-Mail


IF YOU ever wanted evidence that remakes don’t have to suck, look no further than Battlestar Galactica.

The original 1970s series was a huge hit, following on the heels of the first Star Wars movie. It starred Richard Hatch, Dirk Benedict and Lorne Greene as leaders of the last colony of mankind fleeing the evil robotic Cylons and searching for the fabled planet Earth.

So when the idea of a reimagined Battlestar Galactica was first mooted several years back, fans of the classic series were up in arms – they didn’t want anyone tinkering with the show they remembered so fondly. And those who had loved Benedict’s portrayal of the gambling, womanising, cigar-chomping Lt Starbuck were unimpressed to learn the space cowboy would be a cowgirl this time out (played by Katee Sackhoff).

Star of the new series Aaron Douglas knows exactly where the fans were coming from. “Absolutely, and I was in complete agreement, because I’m not a big fan of remakes,” he says. “Things that have been done well before, why would you do it again? If somebody decided to remake Jaws I would be really offended. I think that great pieces of art should be left alone and people should come up with their own ideas, so I completely sympathise with the fans.”

However the new series has been so impressive that it has largely won over the sceptics, and drawn in a new audience besides those fans of the classic series.

Despite only the hardware bearing any real resemblance to the classic series, the new show’s dark feel and flawed characters have made for compelling viewing.

“I think the view I’ve taken now is that you need to really see them both for their own merits,” Douglas says. “Nothing that the new one’s done has taken away the greatness of the old show and the memories and the nostalgia of it. And there’s nothing that the old show has that will take away from the new one.”

“I see them as two separate entities that are great for their own reasons and stand alone on their own merits.”

As for his character of Chief Petty Officer Galen Tyrol, Douglas sees a simple man with a heart of gold in a complicated galaxy.

“The Chief is sort of the everyman on the ship,” he explains.

“He’s someone the fans really relate to because he’s just a very hard-working blue-collar guy who makes mistakes and owns up to them, and nothing’s done out of malice, he’s doing the best he can with the situation that he has.”

“He’s confused and he’s tortured by his demons and all of those great things, which makes him a very interesting character because he’s just a really ‘human’ person.”

Despite having made the role of Tyrol his own, Douglas actually landed it by default.

“I had originally auditioned for the part of Apollo, which Jamie (Bamber) got, which is great, because Jamie has to go to the gym and be thin, and I certainly don’t wanna have to do that,” he jokes.

“I got a call back for the part of (Lt Alex) Gaeta, and didn’t get that, and they just wanted to put me somewhere and didn’t know where, and the Chief was the last role that was cast and they didn’t have anybody for it, so they just offered it to me, and it’s grown into what it’s become.”

“He was pretty small in the mini-series, but the writers have given me a lot more to do, so it’s great.”

Douglas, a Vancouver native, has the luxury of living and working in his home city, which is home base for Battlestar Galactica, as well numerous other sci-fi and fantasy TV shows in which he’s had bit parts.

But for now the convention circuit is bringing him to Australasia.

“I love going to the conventions, I love meeting the fans, I love talking to them,” he says.

“They’re all so interesting and so passionate about the show and the character and the stories. It’s a lot of fun, it’s a great reward – you’re treated like a demi-god for a weekend, and they’re the best fans of any genre of television or film.”

“So I’m gonna get to go learn about Australian culture and New Zealand culture for the next couple of weeks, and I’m very very excited about that!”


Aaron Douglas is a special guest at the Supanova pop culture convention at Brisbane’s RNA Showgrounds today and tomorrow. Details at


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INTERVIEW: Aaron Douglas – gallactic amongst fans

Aaron Douglas – gallactic amongst fans
By: Scott Casey
Date: April 13, 2007
Source: Brisbane Times


Aaron Douglas, the star of science fiction favourite Battlestar Galactica, is taking time out of his busy schedule of fighting robots and defending the human race to visit his fans in Brisbane.

The Canadian native is best known as Chief Tyrol in Battlestar – a role which has launched him into science fiction stardom. The show won a cult following in its first incarnation in the 1970s – and the remake, in which Douglas stars, now has a massive following on the Sci-Fi Channel. Douglas has also had smaller roles in hit movies such as The Chronicles of Riddick and X-Men 2, and television shows Dark Angel and Smallville.

He spoke to entertainment reporter Scott Casey this week.


You entered acting later than most of your contemporaries – what led you into an acting career?

For four years after high school I was a floor layer – I did a lot of construction work until my knees gave out. So I went and worked for a software company doing marketing, then a sports nutrition company… and quit when I was 26 or 27. After a year at acting school, I got an agent and here I am. My mom says I used to say I wanted to be an actor but I’m sure I wanted to be a lawyer…now I’d only be a TV lawyer. If I had to sit in front of a computer for 16 hours a day I’d want to shoot myself in the head!


Battlestar was your big break – why do you think the show has been so successful?

Battlestar’s popularity really starts with it’s great writing. It’s real human drama, with real human emotion, and the writers don’t pull an punches – they really tell it like it is, hold a mirror up to the world and start discussions. It’s just top to bottom an outstanding show to work. Compared to the other shite that’s on TV, you don’t have to go far to whip them.


How intense is the filing of Battlestar?

We take eight days to film each episode. When you are in scenes that are in different locations then you’ll work a lot – they go to one set and shoot all the scenes from that set, so if you’re in multiple scenes then you’ll work a whole bunch. Battlestar starts filming on May 14, so once we start we’re going we’ll shoot until March 2008, so we don’t really have time to do much else.


So here’s the Sci-Fi geek question, how would you react if you were fleeing the Cylons?

I hope and think that I’d respond in the same way that Tyrol does. He’s a pretty courageous guy and he’s tough – everybody’s a hero sitting on their couch but once the bullets start flying it really separates the men from the boys.


The Chief has developed a stronger role in the series, what do you think of that? And where is it going?

I have no idea where it’s going in season four, but I’m thrilled with what they’ve done with the Chief. He was a pretty small character in the mini-series and he wasn’t supposed to amount to much – he’s just grown and they’ve given me more to do. I identify with him in a lot of ways.


So what else is in the pipeline for you?

I just finished a film called Blood, A Butchers Tale, it’ll be out next year – it’s all green-screen like 300 or Sin City – a very stylised, comic book sort of video game look, it’ll be very cool. I play the Butcher in that, the main guy, so I’m looking forward to that.


Its been leaked on the internet that Battlestar is ending after the next season, how would you like to see it end?

I would like us to find Earth and then discover that Earth is completely populated by Cylons – that the people on the ships are the only humans left in the entire universe and the Cylons have been on Earth the entire time…


What are you looking forward too about the conference and about Brisbane?

I’m looking forward to seeing (Lord of the Rings star) Karl Urban again. I really want to see the sites, meet the locals and get a real taste for the culture, have a pint and talk sports. I’m looking forward to some sunny days…sunshine and a couple of beers, that’s all I need.


Aaron Douglas will be in Brisbane for the Supanova Pop-Culture Convention at the RNA showgrounds this Saturday and Sunday, April 14-15. Entry is $20 for a daily pass or $30 for the weekend. Children under 12 are FREE.