‘Private Eyes’: Jason Priestley Reveals the 1 Thing That Makes Shangie a Different Kind of TV Duo
The Canadian show, Private Eyes, is making its way to American television. Jason Priestley plays an ex-hockey player named Matt Shade who teams up with a private investigator named Angie Everett (played by Cindy Sampson) to solve mysteries. The two are very different, which makes for a funny team.
The Cheat Sheet caught up with Jason Priestley and Cindy Sampson at the PaleyCenter on Feb. 7, 2018, to talk about their character’s differences, suffering injuries while filming, and more. Here are eight things to know about what makes “Shangie,” as they’re known, a different kind of TV duo.
1. Priestley says the Canadian show tells a universal story
Q: How does it feel to be able to bring your show to the United States?
Jason Priestley: It’s great. We’re really excited to have a partner like ION Television to finally bring the show to American audiences. We’re really proud of the show. Me, personally, I’m very proud of this show. I’ve been involved in this show since it was a series of books, and I worked with the other producers to develop this show into the show that it is today. So certainly for me to have this opportunity now, it’s very very exciting.
Q: Do you have any nervousness around American audiences watching it?
Priestley: No, no not at all. I mean, I think this show is a great show, and I think it’s a show that deals with the universal themes and very universal problems. Family and romance and mystery and comedy and drama are all things that seem to not know any borders. So I think American audiences will respond to this show the same way that audiences have everywhere.
Next: Priestly sustained this unexpected injury on set.
2. Priestley suffered a concussion on set
Q: So you got a concussion from riding a horse for the show?
Jason Priestley: Yes, I certainly did.
Q: What was it getting back from that and back into acting?
Jason Priestley: What was it like getting back on the horse as it were? It was fine. It was fine. I certainly suffered numerous concussions in my life and in my career, and unfortunately, I suffered another one. It was pretty early on the show. I think we were only on episode four or was it six? I can’t really remember, I had a concussion [laughs.]
But it was alright. We only had to shut down production for about four days, so it wasn’t too bad. But I’m an actor like Tom Cruise and I feel like we owe it to audiences to do as many of the stunts ourselves because I feel like the audience can tell.
Q: What did you love most about filming Season 1?
Jason Priestley: Season 1 was fun because we really explored a lot of different territory in making the season. There was an art heist, and there was a — we investigated a case in the literary world, and we had famous writers on the show. There was an episode where a horse got stolen. We had to go into the horse world. There was an episode where a boxer died and we had to go into the boxing world.
So the episodes are all very different and each week, Cindy and I have to delve into a new world and so not only for us. but also for the audience. It’s a whole new world we get to explore every week, and it keeps the show really fresh and really exciting.
Next: This is why Shangie is like fire and ice.
3. Priestley teases Matt and Angie have a fire and ice relationship
Q: How would you describe Matt and Angie’s relationship?
Priestley: Well, they say it’s a fire and ice relationship which I think is very funny. I think that they are two people that approach problems very differently. I think they’re two people who approach things in their lives very differently, and I think as they get to know each other and as they work together, they discover that their differences — although they seem like a problem early in their relationship — as they get to know each other, those differences, they discover are actually an asset to the two of them if they work together. And I think that’s where the magic happens between the two of them.
Q: We’ve seen a lot male-female crime-fighting duos over the years. What do you think set them apart?
Priestley: What I think sets #Shangie apart? I think what sets them apart is just how different they are and the fact that Angie is so buttoned up and so by the book and such a straight arrow and Matt is so not that way. And I think it’s their absolute diametric opposition to approaching every problem that really makes it sets them apart from crime-fighting duos.
Next: What Priestley had to say about his altercation with Harvey Weinstein.
4. Priestley explains why he cleared up his story about punching Weinstein
Q: You’ve come forward about your altercation with Harvey Weinstein when everyone was also talking about this. Do you think anything has changed in the culture in the industry since then? Or maybe within yourself? How did that feel afterward of being able to speak your truth?
Priestley: Well, for me, it wasn’t a big deal to speak my truth. I mean, that wasn’t a story I was hiding. I wrote about that story in my book. That wasn’t a story I was hiding. I really posted that story on social media as a — I got looped into something by some other people who were talking about it, and I wanted to set the story straight because they were getting some of the facts wrong in that.
I don’t want my situation with Harvey to detract from all the women that have come forward about Harvey. Those women are brave and those women have done something that I think demands our attention. Me punching a guy at a party is not something that required any sort of anything. He was just some guy who asked me to step outside at a party, and I didn’t want to go outside with him and I figured it was smarter for me to punch him right there at the party.
And I don’t want that to ever cloudy the waters or detract from all of these brave women who have come forward and stated their truth about their situation with Harvey. One doesn’t have to be compared to the other. I think that that would be irresponsible.
Next: Sampson thinks the show can replace these two now-canceled series.
5. Sampson hopes the show will replace Castle and Bones
Q: Your show has been greenlighted for a third season already by Global.
Cindy Sampson: You know what? It just takes the edge off everything. We’re really proud of our show. We have a great time filming it and, for me, personally, it’s the first time I’ve had job security. Like knowing I’m going back to it and it’s something I love so much. I love playing Angie Everett, so it’s the best feeling ever. I hope it continues. I hope America loves the show and it just keeps going on and on for many years.
Q: Do you have anxiety for it to be now available to a new audience?
Sampson: No, no! I think we’re really excited. It’s done really well around the world, and I feel like it’s in the vein of Castle, Bones, and those aren’t on the air anymore, so I feel like we’re kind of hopefully going to slide into that category.
Next: Sampson explains why Angie is the way she is.
6. Sampson loves playing the straight arrow
Q: You have a male-female duo for this show and often the dynamic when that happens is that the woman is like the straight man, all about business, and in a way your character kind of is. She’s the PI, so how do you feel about that dynamic and that trope for female characters?
Sampson: Well, you know, female characters, we get put in a box a lot and then there’s that whole thing, don’t be too hard, don’t be too this, don’t be–soften things, be nurturing! No, I’m a boss. So it’s OK. I’m cool with that. I’m okay with being the straight man.
But mostly, I’m excited that Angie is the boss. She runs the investigations so instead of like being the sidekick — well I guess. never mind, I kind of am the sidekick ,but in reality, women are so often cast as the girlfriend, the wife, you know? And Angie is the boss, she runs the agency, so I feel like it’s OK.
Q: Also, for female characters, when they’re professionals, they’re written to be like they don’t have a balance with love and it kind of seems like that’s also what’s going on with Angie?
Sampson: I will take that away from that reasoning and put it in that her father passed away. When this show opens — I won’t equate that to emotional unavailability in a love relationship. I think she’s closed off because she’s sad about father and family and her mom and her family life. So I don’t think it’s romantic things that she’s closed off to.
Next: Sampson and Priestley did this right after meeting for the first time.
7. Sampson and Priestley laughed together right after meeting for the first time
Q: What was the most helpful thing when it came to building chemistry between you and Jason [Priestley]?
Sampson: You know everyone always asks about chemistry and I find it very — like, I don’t know. How can you explain chemistry? It’s there, it isn’t. Chemistry grows when you know someone, or you have immediate chemistry with people and then it dissipates — like where did it go? I don’t think anyone can understand it or fabricate it in any way. Literally from the moment that him and I met, we were laughing and we are, however many years later, still laughing and I — that’s really where I think it comes from.
Q: Did you hang out or anything beforehand to talk about your characters?
Sampson: Not for a minute. Like I walked in and met him. From the first time I met him, we were laughing within two minutes, and that kind of set the tone really for our whole relationship on and off screen.
Next: Sampson would love to return to this tv role.
8. Sampson would love to return to Supernatural
Q: You were on Supernatural before. Would you ever think of going back just to tap into that character a little bit?
Q: Do you still watch it?
Sampson: I don’t still watch it, but I used to watch it. I was a huge fan before I was on it, and then I don’t know, it loses the magic a little bit. When you see behind the scenes of a show, you know? You can’t fall into it the same. So no, I don’t watch it anymore, but man, I can’t believe it’s still on. That show is doing well! I had so much fun working on that show and I would absolutely go back. Also one of the female characters that didn’t get killed and is still alive! Still possible!
Follow Nicole Weaver on Twitter @nikkibernice.
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