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Celebrities among hopefuls for 'Amazing Race Canada' second season

Tim Sr. and Tim Jr. celebrate winning the first Amazing Race Canada in a photo released on Monday Sept. 16, 2013. Host Jon Montgomery is shown at left. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, CTV
December 20, 2013 - 11:53 AM

TORONTO - "Amazing Race Canada" has put out the casting call for travel-savvy hopefuls for its second season — and executive producer John Brunton says he's been stunned by some of the applicants.

"Every now and then somebody from the casting department will come up to me with something, (saying): can you believe who just entered?" he said in a telephone interview Friday.

"Even last year, there were a lot of celebrities who approached us," he added later. "Of course, with certain celebrities, they don't want to go through the typical casting process. And of course, our rule is that everybody is treated equally. So whether you're a superstar athlete or a famous comedian or actor or whomever, everybody's gotta go through the same door, everybody's gotta submit videos in the same manner. We don't treat anybody in any kind of special way."

With the deadline for submitting applications looming on Dec. 26, Brunton says producers are looking for a diverse cast of "watchable and cheerable" Canadians, people who can "hold the screen."

Brunton talked to The Canadian Press about the show's highly rated first season, which teams surprised him and what viewers can expect from season 2.

CP: Who would you identify as the breakout team in season 1, as far as being entertaining to watch?

Brunton: The one thing we decided was that we wouldn't put a team onto the show that we wouldn't have been happy if they'd won, right? And we wanted to try to put teams that we all thought had the capability of winning. Now when you looked at the two sisters (Ottawa's Vanessa Morgan and Celina Mziray) at the beginning of the show, you may not have predicted that they had the capability. But you can't underestimate charm, you can't underestimate tenacity. And when those two girls were dragging each other across the tundra in Iqaluit, I think that show was just such a breakout show for them because they realized there was nothing that was going to stop them. That even though they were small and they were feminine, that they were tough as nails. And we knew that from our interviewing process.

Even with the teams like (married Montreal doctors) Brett (Burstein) and Holly (Agostino), some people thought, well we played them as villains. Listen, they're two pediatricians who are madly in love with each other. Were they aggressive? Sure they were. But they were also very cheerable as well.

CP: Some of the contestants have been open about conflict during the show with the "Body Break" team of Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod. Did you anticipate that they would play that sort of role on the show?

Brunton: You know what was interesting about them is that they were incredibly competitive. And in addition to that, as our oldest group on the show, they were about as physically fit as anybody was. I think that the "Body Break" couple is just incredibly, incredibly intense and competitive. And we knew they would be. Hal and Joanne made it perfectly clear to me that they were signing up for the race to win the race — they weren't just using it to get their face back in front of the media. They really wanted to win desperately and that came out in the program and it pissed people off.

CP: The team that won the race (Tim Hague Jr. and Tim Hague Sr. of Winnipeg) finished last in two separate legs, but were bailed out both times because they were non-elimination rounds. Were you concerned that having a team that finished last twice go on to win would feel unsatisfying for viewers?

Brunton: There's so many twists and turns in that show, there's so much that you just cannot predict. It's like a great comeback in the fourth quarter of a football game. You could never have imagined that in a quarter of football that a team could score three touchdowns to win the game after being flat on their ass in the first half. And I think that's one of the exciting things about the program.

(It was) incredible that they just happened to fail on legs where they weren't eliminated. It was just fate and luck and whatever — depending on who you are, you can view that in different ways. Some people, in the Tims' case, probably viewed it as fate. That just speaks to the terrific unpredictability of the program.

CP: Before the show started, some wondered whether filming exclusively in Canada would take away some of the excitement of the American version of the show. Heading into season 2, are you confident there are more exciting locales to explore?

Brunton: I've been to pretty much every corner of this country and we haven't even scratched the surface. Some of the amazing feedback we got about the show was how excited people were to see Canada. There was a huge, huge, huge concern that we might be making a mistake but Canada proved to be one of the stars of the show — superstars of the show. ... We tried not to be predictable. Sometimes people want that iconic Canadian thing, but we made an effort to be contemporary.

You know, we have got the beginning of a route mapped out that's going to blow people's minds.


Answers have been edited and condensed.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2013
The Canadian Press

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