Hollywood director Brad Peyton poses on the set of
When “Republic of Doyle” first aired in 2010, Allan Hawco had a personal goal: to bring in as many successful Newfoundlanders in the film and television industry for guest spots as possible.
After three seasons that have seen expatriates such as Shannon Tweed and Gordon Pinsent making cameos, the upcoming season will include one behind the camera.
Originally from Gander, Hollywood filmmaker Brad Peyton is on set in St. John’s this week to direct an episode of the show.
He was asked to guest-direct after meeting “Republic of Doyle’s” producers at a hockey game in Los Angeles.
While he couldn’t arrange to make the trip right away — since he was busy directing Michael Caine and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island,” — he found a break in his schedule that matched filming this time around.
Peyton’s filmmaking career began with the 2001 short film “Evelyn: The Cutest Evil Dead Girl,” which earned him a Genie nomination and caught the attention of Tom Hanks’ company, Playton, which hired Peyton to write and direct “Spider and the Fly,” an animated feature.
While involved in that project, he also wrote “Billy Grimm,” a feature film script that ended up being bought by Sony.
Before “Journey,” Peyton’s most recent film was the 2010 3-D comedy “Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore,” featuring Christina Applegate, Michael Clarke Duncan, Bette Midler and Nick Nolte.
First time directing live action TV
Though he’s done animation for television before — a stop-motion CBC TV series called “What It’s Like Being Alone” and an animated CBC movie called “Pirates Passage,” a project he’s working on with Donald Sutherland — this is his first foray in directing live- action TV.
He says the past two days on set have been fast and furious.
“A movie is very technical,” he told The Telegram. “Here, you do 10 pages (of a script) a day. On a movie you do one or two. It’s like being a marathon runner and being asked to do sprints.”
Peyton had seen a season of the show before arriving and had a good idea of what to expect. Yet taking over direction on a project that wasn’t his is also something he’s never done.
“I watched the full season to see what I liked and what I didn’t like, and to see what the conventions of the show were,” he explained. “I was looking mostly at direction— how the directors move the cameras, what the tone of the show was, who popped, what were the good dynamics.
“There are people I don’t recognize because they’re new this season and I’m always asking Allan, ‘What are they like?’ or ‘What’s this relationship?’ There are a couple of characters that are new and it’s been great because I can talk to Allan and say, ‘Maybe we can adjust this person over here.’ He’s very supportive about that. He tells me what he has in mind and I’m like, ‘Great, if I can bolster that and help, I’d love that.’”
Peyton said he’s a fan of the writing: the comedy between certain characters and Jake Doyle’s flawed likeability — both qualities that make the roles seem real.
That’s what brings people back to a television series week after week, he believes.
“People want to see what Jake is doing this week, who he’s falling in love with and who’s falling in love with him; what the villain is like,” he explained.
“You’re tuning in for that. A movie is like a story with these characters in it, and you’re learning to like them along the way.”
Peyton reckons the cinematic qualities in his episode might give it away to fans of the show, as well as some intense, high-action and dramatic scenes.
While Jake and father Malachy Doyle aren’t the gun-toting type, in this episode, they have no choice.
“We’ve got a villain in our episode who’s got guns, so we need guns,” Peyton said.
“When we did the (first read-through), I was like, ‘You know we have an opportunity there. If you don’t normally use guns, this guy’s got to be so nasty that it’s warranted. There’s a real opportunity for drama then, like, ‘Holy crap, we need to go get the gun.’”
Season 4 of “Republic of Doyle” is expected to air in January.
Please note that this story has been edited to correct a spelling mistake.