Based on the Louise Penny novel, Three Pines stars Alfred Molina as Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec who, along with his team, investigates a series of perplexing murders in the mysterious Eastern Townships village.
TV Sneak caught up with Julian Bailey, who plays artist Peter Morrow, to talk about his character, the shoot, and his favorite TV offerings.
Congrats on the series! Now, where IS Three Pines on a map?
Thank you! Three Pines is set in south eastern Québec, a short drive from the U.S. border (Vermont).
For the unversed, is it a real place?
I wouldn’t say it isn’t “real”, per se, since it is very much alive in the imaginations of millions of fans! That said, it is a fictional town.
How did you get involved?
I was asked to audition. After two or three more reads, I was offered the role of Peter Morrow.
Is the role a departure for you?
Yes and no. In the sense that I haven’t had many opportunities to flesh out a character this much (in terms of arc over a full season), yes. Regarding playing a character dynamically similar to Peter Morrow, though, I’d say, no, it’s not necessarily a departure for me. I’ve been cast more than a few times as emotionally complex characters.
How long did it take to shoot the first season?
It was roughly four months of actual filming. We went from around the end of August until just before Christmas.
And was the series shot in your neck of the woods?
Some of it was, yes. I was born and raised near downtown Montreal, before moving to California at eighteen. We filmed episodes 5 & 6 at an historic property known as the J.W. McConnell House, in Montreal, a stone’s throw from the Royal Victoria Hospital, where our base camp was set up for those two episodes. I actually recently discovered that my grandfather used to work at the McConnell House in the 60’s, and I was born at the Royal Victoria Hospital, so you could definitely say my “neck of the woods”!
Tell us some of the TV series you admire?
This won’t be a short answer (not possible!). So much high quality television has been made in recent years. Homeland’, ‘Yellowstone’, ‘The Killing’, are some I’ve admired. Of course there was ‘The Wire’, and ‘Mad Men’, which I’ve been meaning to revisit. I thought the FX one a few years back about the O.J. Simpson trial (‘American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson’) was very well done, as well as being nostalgic for me as I’d moved to the L.A. area shortly before the real thing played out. There’s an A & E show called The First 48, a non-fiction reality show which deals with inner city murders, a real life murder mystery (so well done, albeit tragic- and having worked in the voice over industry most of my career, I greatly admire and appreciate Dion Graham’s narration- he’s so good). I have to throw in Seinfeld, and as far as remakes go, The Office exceeded expectations (I was first introduced to the original British version with Ricky Gervais). Going way back, I loved MacGyver. And even further back, I remember loving watching reruns of James Garner in The Rockford Files.
Would you say Three Pines is alike any of them?
In the sense that our show deals with secrets (Homeland) and Indigenous themes, as well as featuring some beautiful cinematography of breathtaking scenery (Yellowstone), definitely. The crime solving aspects of The Rockford Files, and likability of James Garner as an investigator, are reminiscent of Three Pines and Inspector Gamache. The First 48 is a real life murder mystery, which speaks for itself.
People will discover this series over the holidays on streaming platforms, since they’ll be home. Has streaming platforms given actors a lot more opportunities that weren’t previously there?
In that a greater volume of television is being produced than ever before, yes, actors have more opportunities. It’s still an extremely competitive field, but a more experienced actor once told me before I had a single tv credit to my name: “stick with it and just keep auditioning. It’s all about volume (of opportunities) and odds.” I think that was good advice.
THREE PINES streams on Amazon Prime