Interviewing Producer Paul Pope for “Hudson and Rex”

hudson and rex

“Hudson and Rex” is a crime drama airing on CityTV, currently in its second season. The show follows detective Charlie Hudson, a Major Crimes detective working in St. John’s. He is partnered with Rex, a multi-scent trained German Shepherd whose human partner has passed away. Rex’s keen nose and ears are instrumental in helping Detective Hudson solve kidnappings and murders.

The series is filmed primarily in St. John’s, with Memorial University’s Bruneau Center acting as the St. John’s Police Department. I recently sat down with producer Paul Pope to discuss the challenges and uniqueness of filming in Newfoundland.

Usually when a show or movie is filmed in Canada, filming will take place in a large city like Toronto or Vancouver. Why was it decided to film the show in St. John’s?
I think it’s safe to say the streaming programs have changed that perception There’s a lot of shows takeing place in small towns. It’s been really well-received in our market. We [are] in prime time in Italy and we’ll soon be prime time Germany. They love the look of St. John’s.; audiences like more variety in locations.

Is there anything that makes filming in Newfoundland unique from other filming locations in Canada?
Yeah, being on an island and off the beaten track, it’s a balance. The fact that we’re smaller [crew-wise], it’s easier to shoot on location. If we were in a big city, like the equivalent of Signal Hill or Bannerman Park, that’s a four-hour unit move in Montreal, here it’s 45 minutes. There are benefits to being small. We figured out that the excess travel and living is made easier since we can shoot more efficiently.

Did you film in other communities in Newfoundland or Labrador?
Yes, everywhere around St John’s like Conception Bay, Mount Pearl, Torbay. We went to Bell Island and St. Pierre for an episode, we hope to do more traveling around.

How do you find Memorial University as a filming location?
We have a fabulous relationship with Memorial, we’ve used many of their resources for the last two seasons. When we shoot at the Bruneau center, we put up all the set stuff, the police sign and entrance desk. In our studio in Donovan, we have the same architectural design of the Bruneau Center in a studio. The bull pen, interrogation room, Sarah’s lab, holding cells, they’re all over the Bruneau Center, but those rooms are what we call a standing set, a set we use every episode. At the university, we shoot everywhere, like the Signal Hill complex often, the Geocenter, we shoot in the marine lab, in the swimming pool of the Phys-Ed and many classrooms. The university has really helped make the show better, they’re a great partner and easy to work with.

How did the idea for Hudson and Rex come up?
My company, Pope Production works with Shaftebury Films, who do Murdoch mysteries. we’ve had a long relationship. This show has been done in many European countries, we’re the first to do it in English. Christina contacted me about 4 years ago, we started figuring it out, and we started production about 2 years ago.

If you could get any actor to make a guest appearance on the show, who would it be?
Gordon Pinsent, without a question.

Apart from Hudson and Rex, the only well known show that takes place in St. John’s follows a certain private investigator. Might we see a Republic of Doyle crossover, or maybe an Allan Hawco appearance?
It funny because Allan and I have talked about it, but we want the right situation to do it. We don’t want to blow it. It’s a possibility, and we’ve spoken about it.

Is Rex a good boy?
Yes, awesome. I’ve been on set with him for over 200 days, we works every day. It’s frightening what he knows, because I talk to him and I forget he’s a dog. I’m barely exaggerating. His handler has an incredible rapport with him. You can find the last episode on the website, Rex walks into a house, down a hallway, grabs a case, brings it outside, opens it, and finds evidence. His intelligence and demeanor is incredible.

You can catch Hudson and Rex Tuesday nights at 9:30NL Time on CityTv, or you can watch all released epsodes on demand at citytv.com.