Sometimes, when my busy schedule allows it, I happen to notice what the top Hallmark actors are tweeting about in reference to their upcoming movies, and this is one time I struck gold, in a sense. Canadace Cameron Bure happened to tweet about one Yannick Bisson being in her next Aurora Teagarden film. Well, I, being the good little Hallmark supporter I am, jumped on this news and headed over to see who this guy was. I asked him for an interview, and for the next two months, we played “social media tag.” Thankfully, Yannick and I finally brought this game to a fruitful conclusion and carved out some time in our frenetic schedules for him to answer some questions about his upcoming film, as well as a brief examination of his career in general.
How did you get started in the acting profession? What kind of training have you had?
I began taking a kids class, “Acting For the Camera,” when I was about thirteen. I had just moved from Tampa Bay to Toronto, and I was bored. I sold my dirt bike and found the classes. It was fun, and the people there were encouraging. They also took it seriously (many today are a cash grab, sadly). At the end of it all, they provided you with lists of agents and photographers to get you on your way. I then landed an agent and started hitting the audition circuit in Toronto soon after. I landed a Bubble Yum advertisement for my first job.
Many people fondly remember you from Sue Thomas, F.B. Eye. Please tell us about your experience working on that show. Any chance of a reunion show?
Sue Thomas was a tough job–for lots of reasons. I don’t see a reunion in my future.
I recently started watching Murdoch Mysteries. Frankly, I’m hooked now. To what do you attribute the show’s longevity and success? What have you enjoyed most about that show? How did you get involved with it?
I first read for the role in Los Angeles in 2006, I think. I was heading back to Toronto for that summer and didn’t hear a thing about it for many months. There was an actors’ strike in Canada that year that halted all production. Later that fall, I was brought in for another round of meetings and was told that the network was having a tough time deciding between a younger or older actor for the role. I asked who the older actor was and….it was me. I didn’t feel too confident about my chances at that point. But as luck would have it, I was to be William Murdoch.
To be honest, I didn’t think the show would last very long, but only because of the landscape at the time. There wasn’t a single period show at the time. The story and characters were great, so I gave it my all anyway.
Ten years later, I can’t really point to one specific thing making it a success. In fact, every person that I speak to seems to enjoy completely different aspects of the show and in different combinations. Some like the mystery, some the romance, some the history and others, the comedic parts or historical figures. Never the same.
Mouna Traore, co-star (Rebecca James) Murdoch Mysteries
“Yannick is a most gracious actor and working with him has been a delight. The fact that he is still so beloved as Detective Murdoch speaks volumes about who is both on and off screen. After 10 seasons, he’s as focused and supportive as ever and it’s been a wonderful experience being able to watch him work.”
Please tell us about the upcoming Aurora Teagarden film. What is the main premise (without giving away any spoilers), and how does your character fit into things?
The Aurora Teagarden movies are fun, light, mystery movies that star Candace Cameron Bure. I was asked by the producers to meet with them for the role while in LA this year. We had a great time shooting in Vancouver, and it looks like they’ll be doing more of them. Most often, the male role in this type of movie is a bit superfluous, but my guy is pretty cool, ex-CIA-agent-turned-businessman with a spotty record. I can work with that.
What was it like working with the Hallmark brand? What was it like working with your co-stars?
Hallmark has a good thing going. They know their audience and have a good group of people making stuff. Candace is her own established brand, of course, and so are these movies. I came in for the third one. She was very welcoming and I could tell immediately that she is a hard worker. Meeting Marilu Henner was a big thrill. It was a great atmosphere on set.
Giles Panton, co-star Aurora Teagarden
“Yannick is a really funny and charming guy.
He got along great with everyone.
Any other upcoming works that you can mention?
Look out for Wolfcop 2, a high concept horror/comedy for CineCoup. I go completely to the other side in this one as a very bad, bad guy!
I’m filming Hellmington this weekend in North Bay. This is also part of the Coup company and is more of a traditional horror/thriller. I do a cameo as a very quirky professor (slash!) taxidermist. Creepy to say the least.
As you have a family, how do you balance your entertainment career with your family time?
Getting great time with my family has always been a big priority. It helps to balance me as a person, and my girls help me keep my ego in check. My wife has always been my biggest fan and I hers. I couldn’t do what I do without her love and support. Even when times were rough (most of our time together), one of us always stayed home while the other worked. I think that is paying very good dividends in our girls now.
Any plans/interest in the future to write, direct, or produce?
I have been directing on Murdoch for about five years, but I’m focusing more on other projects now. I’m working on optioning a series of books for adaptation to television. I’m also becoming part of an exciting new production company–more news on that soon.I cannot thank Yannick enough for taking the time to answer these questions, and thanks to him, my mom and I have a favorite new show (Murdoch Mysteries). After scrutinizing his responses, I realize that though he might have a bit of mystique sometimes to his persona, that is indeed an integral part of his charm. He is one who takes his work seriously, and he never forgets his roots. This I believe unequivocally. Why? Well, in addition to everything else here, he has several charities with whom he works that focus on helping children with cancer and more (I will list those links below). I think that anyone who devotes himself not only to crafting clever, three-dimensional characters with introspective charm and personalities filled with passion–whether controlled or not–but still make time for family, charity work, and even social media interaction, is one to receive only my highest commendation. I do believe he has found (and practices) a victorious combination that will ensure the future success of his projects. But more importantly,the very way in which he has chosen to live his life will decidedly solidify his genuine triumph as a member of the human race who unswervingly believes in treating all with kindness, compassion, and respect. Do not forget to tune into the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Network on Sunday, June 12, to see him in action in the new Aurora Teagarden film!
Charities Yannick Supports
Toronto Sick Kids Hospital (Note: this links to the Canadian foundation, not just the Toronto chapter)
Sheena’s place (a resource center for people with eating disorders and their families)