Joel Thomas Hynes says CBC series 'Little Dog' is about comebacks - InfoNews

Current Conditions

Mostly Cloudy
8.8°C

Joel Thomas Hynes says CBC series 'Little Dog' is about comebacks

Governor General Julie Payette presents Joel Thomas Hynes with the Governor General's Literary Award for English fiction, titled "We'll All Be Burnt in Our Beds Some Night" in Ottawa on Wednesday, November 29, 2017. Hynes says the new CBC series "Little Dog" is about comebacks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
February 27, 2018 - 12:07 PM

"Rocky" long ago proved that when it comes to boxing movies, audiences love an underdog.

The new made-in-Canada series "Little Dog" will test whether that also holds true for television. The black comedy steps into the ring Thursday on CBC.

"Little Dog" is a passion project of Newfoundland-based actor-writer-producer Joel Thomas Hynes. He describes the series as a "raunchy family comedy" about a burnt out, washed-up boxer named Tommy (Little Dog) Ross who left the ring in disgrace five years earlier and now has a shot at a rematch with his old rival.

"More than his career is at stake," says Hynes. "There's his personal pride and his relationship with his family."

While the rival he'll face is Rico (Havoc) St. George (played by Dwain Murphy), Tommy's greatest opponent may be his mother, Sylvia (Irish actress Ger Ryan). She's a failed lounge singer who will never let her son forget that he's a loser. Tommy's brother "Lowly" (Stephen Oates) works hard at making "Little Dog" feel small, too, as does his sister Ginny (Katharine Isabelle). The only family member in Tommy's corner is Ginny's bicycle-riding son, Chelsea Ross (Billy Cochrane). To him, uncle Tommy is a hero. In this messed-up family, that's pretty much right.

According to Hynes, who created the series, the character of Tommy was somewhat inspired by a real-life boxer named Andrew Golota. In a heavyweight match with Mike Tyson in 2000, Golota did the unthinkable: he quit the fight, walking out of the ring after the second round. The 32-year-old boxer had been knocked down in the first round and was later diagnosed with a concussion.

"There's extraordinary footage online of the fans smashing drinks off his chest and everything as he's walking away," says Hynes. "We just started thinking, 'Where the hell is that guy now, and do you ever come back from that, if that's your legacy?'"

Adds showrunner and executive producer Sherry White ("Rookie Blue," "Saving Hope"), "it's really about do you ever get a second chance?"

Hynes was never a professional boxer, but says he has had "my share of fights." Several of those were of the hockey variety.

"I spent seven years on the ice and I spent a lot of time just street fighting," he says, "so it's not a foreign thing to me. I eventually moved towards boxing and martial arts because you can't get away with just fighting anymore."

Before filming began in St. John's last September, Hynes trained with Newfoundland featherweight Jason Heyward. The boxer put Hynes through ring sessions "just like I had a real fight coming up."

The 41-year-old actor doesn't only use his hands for boxing. He's punched out scripts, too, including the seven episodes of this series. He's also written stage plays and novels, including "We'll All Be Burnt in Our Beds Some Night," winner of the 2017 Governor General's Literary Award for English language fiction.

His acting credits include roles on a few other Newfoundland-based projects including "Republic of Doyle," "Frontier" and "Hatching, Matching and Dispatching." He's also appeared on "Mary Kills People," "Rookie Blue" and "Orphan Black."

This isn't the first shared project for Hynes and White. They also produced a son, Percy Hynes White. The teenager is also an actor.

As Hynes says, "We've created great things together."

Hynes and White split up as a couple 10 years ago, but unlike the family in "Little Dog," they can work together — as parents as well as filmmakers.

Percy, in fact, was supposed to have a role in "Little Dog" until he landed an acting job on an American network series: the Marvel Comics' X-Men drama "The Gifted."

"We were scooped," says mom White.

— Bill Brioux is a freelance TV columnist based in Brampton, Ont.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2018
The Canadian Press

  • Popular penticton News
  • Comments
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile