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Allan Hawco Previews Shudder’s Quicksand and a Very Busy 2023 

Allan Hawco Previews Shudder’s Quicksand and a Very Busy 2023

[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]

It’s always a funny thing when projects are filmed over a matter of years and then land in close proximity to each other. Such is the case with Allan Hawco, one of my Canadian faves. I’ve yelled before about his delightful series Republic of Doyle, which you can stream in its entirety now on Freevee, and in recent years, he’s popped up in series as varied Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, Caught, Frontier, and now Moonshine, which just began its US run on The CW – he arrives in the first season finale and appears all through Season 2.

Over the next little while, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to find him – in three films: Quicksand premiering July 14th on AMC+/Shudder, The Breach, premiering July 11th on VOD, and Midnight at the Paradise, premiering July 18th on VOD, and in a second CW import, Sullivan’s Crossing, when it premieres this fall. I recently chatted with him about some of the projects.


Quicksand, written by Matt Pitts and directed by Andrés Beltrán, is a taut relationship drama disguised as a thriller. In the film, Hawco and Carolina Gaitàn (Encanto) are Josh and Sofia, a pair of doctors in the waning days of their marriage who travel to Colombia at the behest of their colleague and friend Marcos (Sebastian Eslava) to give a lecture at a conference. 

Already on eggshells around each other, a planned hike to get them out of their head for a while goes dangerously wrong and soon the couple are trapped in the titular quicksand. Forced to work with each other for the first time in a long while, their cooperation and collaboration against the landscape and the wildlife will either doom them or save them.

The film was an opportunity for Hawco to return to Colombia, where he filmed Season 2 of Jack Ryan, and he immediately gravitated to the story. “First and foremost, it was the script. It was really an interesting challenge to take on [a story] where it’s quite suspenseful and has a great impact in terms of what we are going through. It really read as a drama and an interesting challenge for two actors to be able to live in that world, go through those physical challenges and production, and then still be able to find that root and true emotion with each other in a relationship.”

“And Andrés, our director made it very clear to me … we had one real meeting, and it wasn’t very long, and we were on the same page in 30 seconds where he said, ‘We’re not trying to create some sort of formulaic action film. This is a drama and it has to work as a drama and it has to be about these two people in the relationship,'” Hawco recalls.

“What drew me was the idea of this couple being put in the worst of circumstances when they’re going through something so brutal together already in terms of marital dispute. Like deep, deep, deep end of a marriage. That’s what they’re facing. And then they get stuck in this situation together. And I just thought that would be really fun to play with.”


“I come from the theater. That’s my background and it felt like a two-hander. Even though there are a number of other wonderful actors who are part of this. It did feel like it’s kind of like a play. And if it works, it works. I love a good challenge and the role was a really interesting challenge.”

“We had about nine days in the pit. It’s probably one of the most physically challenging things. And the overall shoot was 20-odd days. But I never felt like we were stressed for time. Andrés really knew, and his team really knew, how to run the day. And we always felt like we had enough time to really focus on the things that were important.”

“Nothing really got in the way because the team was so tight. I worked with some of the same crew that I had worked with [on Jack Ryan]. They’re really such a wonderful group. They work super hard, they’re really passionate about the work they’re doing.”

Hawco enjoyed delving into the emotional elements of the story.  “Carolina and I had never met, and I really like that way of working where we both went and did our own prep without having even had a Zoom together. I went really early and prepped for a few weeks myself just to get to understand him and think about what that backstory was. But we never discussed any of that. We didn’t waste any time on any of that because we both did our own work,” he shares. 

“And it doesn’t matter really, because at the end of the day, whatever your story is and whatever your co-star’s story is, the audience never really gets the [full] story. [Once] you start making decisions for other people’s characters in your own mind and you start talking about it, then you’re really kind of breaking a rule. That’s not your place to do that, but you can do it for yourself. That’s your secret and it’s for you to hold and you don’t need to talk about it.”

“It’s about acting, it’s about action and it’s about feeling it and living it and trying to find who these people are. And I felt like this movie wouldn’t work unless that was there. Even when we finished, we’ve still never talked about what we thought happened in our marriage. It doesn’t matter.”


“People have experiences. I’ve been married a long time and I’ve been around a lot of people who’ve gone through [an] experience and something that changes in their life and they’re in the middle of maybe ending a relationship and then something happens, illness, job loss, whatever. And the person who you were in this acrimonious ending of a relationship with is your only home team.”

“And in some cases I’ve seen a divorce get delayed because something happened and the other partner jumped into the driver’s seat to protect that person because that’s what you have. And I feel like that’s what happens between the two of us in this moment. Whether we make it or not, who knows.”

“It was certainly one of the better experiences of my career. There was one scene [that was] 12 pages long and we were gonna shoot it over two days and there were a lot of physical elements that had come into play, because things are constantly happening to us. But we did it and we just ran it and we ran it and we rehearsed it together.”

“We used to rehearse our lines backwards and forwards versus rehearsing [the scene itself], so we’d save the juice for the camera, and Andrés had us in a two-shot profile. And we just kept going in the rehearsal and Andrés said, ‘Let’s just shoot it.’ He said, ‘I think this is it.’ It was really heavy and cool, but neither of us had made decisions [beforehand]. That’s the best way to find the magic. And Carolina and I just happened to be the same actor that way.”

The Breach

The Breach is a genre horror film that follows Hawco as John Hawkins, the outgoing Chief of Police in the small Ontario town of Lone Crow, who’se pulled into a murder cases that defies rational explanation. The film was shot at the height of COVID back in 2020. 

“I read it and I was immediately taken by the weirdness of it. It was strangely familiar in terms of its approach, its genre. But it was also super unusual to me. I love the idea of the multiverse and fabric of time stuff. All that stuff was always really, really interesting to me. It’s very arty, and when you read Brian Greene, he talks about art and science and particularly theoretical science. And having similar threads for lack of a better word. And so I always like that kind of stuff,” he explains.

“[Plus] The Three-Body Problem, ‘What if inside this three-dimensional world, there are 12 and what are the rules that are in play? And that’s kind of what that was like, you’re opening your mind to the breach. And at the same time, it’s just a really gritty horror film. And it’s the traditional archetype of playing this cop who’s on his last job. I love that. I love that old stuff. That’s what I was brought up on. So I was really interested in working with [director] Rodrigo [Gudiño] and the rest of the cast.”

The Breach

“We filmed that movie at a Motel 8 in Parry Sound in the middle of COVID. And we were all bubbled. My agent negotiated for me to have the honeymoon suite, a bigger room with a fireplaces that was really quite comfortable. But we didn’t really get to go outside our bubble. So the crew and the cast became very close. It was disciplined because it’s such a tight shoot and when you’re filming a low-budget film like that with such a short timeframe, there’s no time to be tired in the morning. You’ve gotta be ready to go.”

“I brought a Nespresso coffee machine with me and like 3,000 pods and Emily Alatalo, my co-star, and Natalie [Brown], sometimes Rodrigo, sometimes the producer, would have coffee in my room in the morning for about an hour and not talk about the work. We talked really about ourselves and we just got to know each other so that our backstory felt authentic. We also had never met until we started shooting. I love that idea of being sequestered together as a group. It was really fun.”

Sullivan’s Crossing is from the team that brought you Virgin River and it treads some of the same territory as that series, about a doctor facing a hard reset that brings her home to her estranged father’s camp in the woods. “Sullivan’s Crossing has this pedigree and this kind of style in terms of what audiences really seem to be connecting with, which is like something out of purity, something out of just finding oneself, finding some happiness. That’s at the core of it. I represent the potential past of Maggie Sullivan’s [played by Morgan Kohan’s] life,” he says.

Sullivans Crossing

“And on Moonshine, they’re very similarly themed. Coincidentally because they’re both about outpost campgrounds in Nova Scotia and a woman coming back to find herself [and free herself] from her old life. But they’re completely different. Moonshine is like a totally shameless kind of ride, and I play this biker. I’m the guy that she finds when she goes back home that kind of mixes up her life. And then in Sullivan’s a year later, I’m playing the reverse of that,” he laughs.

Quicksand premieres July 14th on AMC+ and Shudder. Here’s a sneak peek of it and Hawco’s other upcoming projects!

Photos courtesy of Manuel Olarte/Shudder; CTV, and Hangar 18 Media; video courtesy of Shudder, The CW, Hangar 18 Media, and Billfilms.

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