North of 60 Interview: Lawrence Bayne

Actor Lawrence Bayne has had recurring roles in "La Femme Nikita" and "The Famous Jett
Jackson," as well as appearances in a number of movies. He was first introduced to "North
of 60" fans in the supernatural final-season episode "Peter and the Wolf." He returns in
"Dream Storm," although this time as a different character.

(This interview contains spoilers for "Peter and The Wolf.")

"Dream Storm"

PW: Who are you playing in "Dream Storm"?

LB: The character is Chief Neil Raymond from Swan Landing, which just suddenly became a place near Lynx River. [both laugh] I don't think it ever existed in any previous episodes, but what we have now is the place Swan Landing. They are arguing--well, they are negotiating--over a new pipeline.

PW: "They" being?

LB: They being the councils, both Lynx River and Swan Landing. Teevee now being the chief of Lynx River. We are now meeting to discuss this--with, of course, various outside interests. We are basically arguing over who gets the refinery for this pipeline and who has to deal with the pipeline running through some trapline areas. There are natural cuts made in the surrounding forest, and we're saying that because Lynx River has these cuts, it would be better for them to have the pipeline and for us to have the refinery.

(Click on photo for larger image.)

PW: I imagine Chief Tenia has another idea about that!

LB: Yes, yes. There's opposing views about the whole deal. On top of that, we have a murder that has occurred on a disputed trapline where people from both sides have been hunting. It's long been a disputed trapline. And there's bad blood between Lynx River and Swan River over various events in the past--a murder that occurred in the 50s, where traps were vandalized and houses were burned down. So we're trying to negotiate through that. So we come up against of course the elders who won't approve it probably ever. And the young people who are probably too young to remember some of the bad things that occurred in the past. Whereas the elders are not, and they realize we haven't been the best of neighbors.

PW: So you and Chief Tenia are vying with the refinery company to get their business.

LB: Yes. Also, in one of the other stories in this particular movie, as the name implies, they are going more into the Dene culture of reading dreams and interpreting them.

"Peter and the Wolf"

PW: Talking about dreams, the one series episode of "North of 60" you were in, "Peter and the Wolf," was quite bizarre.

LB: Yes, very "Twilight Zone," what with the lighting and the camera angles.

PW: Did you realize how weird it was when you read the script?

LB: No, and I think it was very important that I didn't play it weird. I played myself as a real character. But because I knew that I was a trickster spirit, I was allowed to play it a little more broad than perhaps somebody who was a visiting MLA [member of the legislative assembly] or a person helping Peter in the election, which was what ostensibly my character was there to do. He was allowed to be a little more broad, and he was allowed to stir things up. Yeah, I very much enjoyed playing that character.

(Click on photo for larger image.)

PW: What did the director tell you about the character beforehand? Did they say that Peter is going to be seeing you in essentially an altered state?

LB: Yes, but what was very important to them and to me was that it was never played in a dreamy, spooky way. Certainly, the camera made up for anything that we weren't doing. We wanted the audience to be totally surprised when [John] Wolf actually showed up and they went, "Aha! Well, who was the weirdo?" It was very well written in that sense, because although the camera angle was telling you there was something amiss, something a little askew about it, we never played it that way. It would have been just wrong.

PW: So when you see the weird camera angle, those are the altered-state scenes. But then there are other scenes where Peter is talking to people that seem quite normal. Maybe those were the ones you weren't in?

LB: There were some I wasn't in that were just a tad off. Like he would walk into the cafe, but outside the cafe windows it was just a blank wall of light. So there was still some indication that Peter was wandering around in the dreamscape.

PW: Do you think the whole episode up to the very end was in an altered state, or was he going in and out?

LB: I believe there was another concurrent story running where that wasn't happening. You know, selfish actors--they only pay attention to the scenes they're in! [both laugh] But I think overall, the whole thing was a dream sequence.

PW: It was definitely a departure for the show, and interesting.

LB: Yeah, I rather enjoyed being...I mean, these are the characters I get anyway. I'm generally the weirdo or the guy stepping out of the fourth dimension! But it was fun to do it in such a nice setting.

PW: Well, now, not all your characters have been weirdos! You played Russell Means.

LB: I played a young Russell Means.

Crewperson: Sorry to interrupt you. We need you on set, sir.

LB: There we go.

PW: Thank you for your time.

LB: Thank you. Take care.

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Text and photos (c) 2000-2001 Patricia F. Winter

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