Erin Krakow and Andrea Brooks Talk When Calls the Heart Season 10
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]
[Note: This interview was conducted before the SAG-AFTRA strike.]
When Calls the Heart premieres its record 10th season Sunday night on Hallmark Channel, picking up after the events of Season 9 with Elizabeth (but mostly Rosemary) looking forward to her impending nuptials while Lucas plans a surprise and Rosemary and Lee await their baby. The town has rallied together to help each other over the most recent hurdle, as Bill returns from the city after his health scare, Henry meets the terms of his agreement, and Nathan deals with a new arrival and whatever might be brewing with Faith. There’s a lot going on.
Before the SAG-AFTRA strike, I spoke with series stars Erin Krakow and Andrea Brooks about the new season. With Season 10 beginning to air and Season 11 beginning production, Krakow is appreciative of the show’s longevity. “It is a lovely luxury. I’m so grateful to Hallmark for bringing us back, and I’m so grateful to the Hearties for continuing to be so passionate about our show. It feels really good. I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve created and what we’re already creating for Season 11. And it’s just a very exciting time,” she says.
Brooks reflected on the shared history the cast and crew have from working together for so long. “Firstly, it’s just the biggest treat because there are so few actors in this world who can say they were a part of a TV series for 10-plus seasons. And I came in in season two. I was 25 years old. I had just finished grad school. I got this role and I was so elated when I heard the series was happening in Vancouver,” she recalls.
“Immediately I remember talking to my agent that I wanted to do a period show. That’s all I wanted to do. I told them, ‘Let’s find a way onto this show.’ I auditioned twice for different characters and I knew they liked me. I knew I was close to getting both of those roles. And we were told ‘Hang in there, something will come along,’ and lo and behold it happened and I’m so grateful.”
“Like so many of the characters, I was initially written in to do a few episodes and that’s what I was contracted for. And there was kind of a hope that I could come back and I knew it was a potential possibility, but never in a million years did I think I would be on this incredible journey for this wild ride. It’s just so rare that a show even goes 10 seasons and to be asked back and to be a part of it for this long has just been so fun.”
Brooks was pregnant during filming of Season 10 and having that relationship with wardrobe helped, as they had pieces ready to go. “Luckily I was in good hands. I had been through my first pregnancy in Season 7 with this same group, so Barbara, our costume designer, had even kept all of my blouses and maternity stuff,” she laughs.
“She said, ‘Just in case I figured if you ever had another kid,’ which was amazing. And we knew exactly what to do, but it got toasty under some of the outfits. [At a certain point, I felt like], ‘Give me just the lightest blouse and even if it’s November, no problem. I’ll stand out in the wind.'”
Onscreen and off, the Hope Valley community has become a family. “It has been so, so wonderful getting to see Hope Valley grow and change. There are characters who are no longer present in town who we miss greatly. But it has been beautiful to see all of these new characters, families, people of all ages come and join us in Hope Valley. And as usual see our community come together to support one another, lean on one another in in times of trial and celebration. I’m really proud to have been a part of this show from day one. And it’s been exciting to see all of the ways that that it has grown and changed since then,” says Krakow.
“There’s so much life that has been lived not only for the characters of Hope Valley, but for us as actors. When I think back over all these years, we’ve seen our friends, the people on this show, get married, divorced, have babies … we’ve seen the kids get their driver’s licenses and drive to set. We’ve seen graduations. So much life happens in a decade-long span that it’s just been such a treat getting to see everyone through that,” adds Brooks.
She continues, “We’ve all gotten to play characters that have grown up and matured and changed and lived through technological advancements and it’s just so cool. And I think one of my favorite aspects of Season 10 was having our 100th episode and celebration for that.”
“It was definitely a year of reflection where we would walk around and remember [how things used to look and when pivotal moments happened]. It just felt much more sentimental this year. There’s so much friendship. Every time we’re shooting group scenes, we’re always sitting off to the side chatting and catching up with some of the actors maybe we don’t tend to share scenes with. We’re always gonna carry this forward forever. We will all have been a part of this crazy journey. I will always cherish that.”
This season, we’ll watch BFFs Elizabeth and Rosemary navigate their mutual big life events. “These are two women who can most of the time finish each other’s sentences if need be. They’re very attuned to what the other is going through. There are moments [in the premiere] where they have to communicate in a clearer way. And luckily both of these women love to talk,” laughs Krakow.
“We have plenty of scenes this season where we see them really leaning on each other as friends, as they’re going through major challenges, like Elizabeth really being there to help encourage Rosemary when she’s doubting her herself as a mother and how wonderful that they have a friendship where they can be that vulnerable, honest, and supportive with and of each other.”
While the Elizabeth-Nathan-Lucas love triangle played out over a couple of seasons, the series took a different path with the aftermath, keeping Nathan (Kevin McGarry) on the show after Elizabeth began her relationship with Lucas (Chris McNally). Krakow says that was always the plan. “We knew from the start just how lucky we were to get Kevin and Chris. We really hit the jackpot with them. I think we always knew we would be finding a way to keep both of them,” she explains.
“This wasn’t a situation where we wanted to use them for a triangle and then send one on his way. And I really appreciate that we’ve been able to find a groove and a friendship between the three of them, and individual one-on-one friendships. Separate from that, I think that there is a weird kind of brotherly love situation happening between Lucas and Nathan, where they’ll have each other’s backs. They care about each other and they’ll be there for each other if ever needed, but they still like to poke fun.”
“And there’s still a kind of competitive nature between them. Not necessarily anything to do with Elizabeth, but that’s just the way they are. And Elizabeth and Nathan, there’s obviously some very deep care that they have for each other. They’ve shared being single parents, people who have lost important people in their lives. There forever connected, and living in a small town, everyone’s lives are kind of intertwined.”
And although Season 9 left things unsettled with Bill, Krakow shares a happier update. “That scene at the end of the season between Elizabeth and Bill, where he shares what he’s going through, it was so heartbreaking. And my goodness, Jack Wagner did such a beautiful job in that scene. It’s certainly so heartbreaking for Elizabeth to think about potentially losing Bill, who is such a special presence in her life and is Little Jack’s godfather,” she says.
“He is a pretty stubborn guy and doesn’t always look after himself as he should. He’s maybe more concerned with focusing on whatever the latest town drama is and making sure the town is safe and protected. But in this case, in the beginning of Season 10, he does find something. He follows some advice to take care of himself and he finds something that just might be the key to unlocking a healthy new chapter for him. So we’re not gonna spend too much time worrying about Bill’s health.”
Season 10 introduces a new, previously unseen location and Krakow enjoyed watching that come to life. “It’s one of my favorite things when we can find a new little corner or build a new set or something in Hope Valley that feels fresh and new and like uncharted territory,” she points out. “It’s just new geography for us to get to explore and for our viewers’ eyes to rest on. There are all sorts of little corners of Hope Valley that we have yet to explore and we get to see a few of them in Season 10.”
Finally, I asked Krakow about the Romance University merch for It Was Always You, the film she did with Tyler Hynes, and while she hadn’t recalled seeing the pieces before, she loved that fans still celebrate the movie. “That’s great. That really just says to me that Tyler and I should reunite on another project, because it seems like the passion is very much still alive,” she says. “And that’s lovely to hear.”
When Calls the Heart premieres Sunday at 9 pm/8c on Hallmark Channel, and you can catch up on earlier seasons now on Hallmark Drama, Hallmark Movies Now, or Peacock in the U.S. In Canada, it premieres at the same time Sunday on Super Channel Heart and Home, where you can also catch up on previous seasons. Here are some sneak peeks of the new season.
Photos courtesy of David Dolsen/Hallmark Media; videos courtesy of Hallmark Media.
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