After six years, Republic of Doyle star Mark O’Brien is gearing up to say good-bye to his TV family, not to mention the city where the cast and crew shoot the critically-acclaimed and beloved show. A born and bred Newfoundlander himself, O’Brien will bid farewell once again to St. John’s when the final curtain closes after season six. With a recent nomination for a Canadian Comedy Award for Best Male Performance TV on Republic of Doyle, it’s definitely going to be a year of emotional ends and exciting new beginnings for the Canadian actor. We caught up with O’Brien to find out more…
Tell us a bit about yourself. What should people know?
I’m an actor/filmmaker. Currently I’m filming the sixth and final season of Republic of Doyle, of which I’ve been one of the lead actors since season one. I’ll also be directing an episode this year. I grew up wanting to be an accountant or NHL hockey player. My three older sisters were always involved in theatre and I had zero interest. I used to hate it when they’d ask me to go to one of their plays. Then, suddenly, I got swept up in making my own films with my buddies. It was just for a joke really, but I started to take it really seriously and then I just sort of learned by doing.
How are you and the cast of Republic of Doyle dealing with the idea that its the sixth and final season coming up? Are you saying any extended farewells to Newfoundland as a group?
It’s pretty emotional. But at the same time, we’re going out on our own terms and somehow it just feels like it’s the right time. Our cast and crew really are like a family. We hang out on all of our off days and we have dinner together once a week. So it’s definitely going to be tough, but it’s really great that we all feel the same way about it; lucky to have been a part of this show and this group.
What are some of the most memorable things you got up to as a cast and crew that wouldn’t have happened on any other set?
I think the fact that we all go out together at the end of the week, every week. That’s a very rare thing. We also have a Doyle hockey team that plays twice a week, as well as tournaments throughout the year. There’s never been any drama or conflicting personalities. It’s almost like we all live together.
Given that you’re a native of Newfoundland: Will you stay or will you go?
I actually moved to Toronto seven years ago. Doyle has brought me back for six months of the year the last 6 years. It’s been amazing to get to see my family and old friends while working. These days I’m living in Los Angeles, where I’ll be full-time when the season wraps.
What are three things you can’t live without?
My wife. My cat. Subway.
What do you hope and/or plan to do next?
I’m currently writing or developing about 10 or 11 different films/TV shows. I like to fill my time with as much creative energy as possible and I want to create my own work as opposed to waiting for the next job.