A man with a very eccentric family who also has the ability to relate to raccoons? Yes, you read that correctly and it’s exactly the premise of the new CBC comedy series Crawford. If you’re thinking that sounds more than a little strange, well you’re not alone. “I’m sure when people see the trailer or hear about it, they say ‘I don’t know about that.’ But I hope they give it a shot and dig it,” star Kyle Mac (Miss Sloane, 21 Thunder) tells The TV Junkies. Crawford, which will premiere all episodes online on Friday, February 2 on CBC, is the unconventional family comedy from Mike Clattenburg of Trailer Park Boys fame.
Mac stars as Don, a young man who has moved back in with his parents after a run of bad luck. When he gets home, Don turns his natural ability to relate to raccoons into a successful business. Jill Hennessy (Shots Fired, Crossing Jordan) and John Carroll Lynch (The Founder, American Horror Story) star as Don’s mother and mute father. We recently caught up with Mac to discuss the series, as well as why he was so thrilled to get the opportunity to star opposite Hennessy, Lynch and yes, even those raccoons!
The TV Junkies: The premise of this show sounds pretty crazy. What did you first think when you read it, and what drew you to the project?
Kyle Mac: Even after reading the scripts, performing them on the day and seeing the show I didn’t really know what to expect. I was super stoked to get this part, but I thought the script was super weird. I dig weird things, but I also know Mike Clattenburg is a brilliant man so I was optimistic.
TTVJ: There’s definitely parts that shock you — the raccoons, the fact John’s character doesn’t talk — but at the end of the day at the core its a family comedy.
KM: As wacky and tricked out show that it is, there’s a real emotional core with the family. I’m proud of that part of the show. I mean some of the emotion that comes out of John’s face towards his kids is just extraordinary.
TTVJ: Don has a pretty strained relationship with his parents, but now he’s back home living with them again. They aren’t conventional parents either so how will they navigate that, and what was it like getting to work with John Carroll Lynch and Jill Hennessy?
KM: At the beginning of the show Don just broke up with his bad, and I think that shows he’s not so good with people. He just happens to be good with people and has some serious issues going on. Working with John and Jill, to be honest, it’s the biggest opportunity I’ve had in my career so far. When I got the part they were not involved yet, I was the only person cast at the time. Mike and I started to email back and forth ideas and he sent me John’s picture saying he might be in, and I just freaked! I’ve watched him my whole life, and then I got terrified.
When I found out Jill Hennessy was cast I was ecstatic because I’ve watched Law & Order and my mother loves Crossing Jordan. [laughs] Seeing Jill though, she looks remarkably similar to my mother and she even said ‘I really look like your mom’ when we met. John is a sergeant though on set, a vast amount of knowledge and he’s so open to share it. It was a huge learning experience and we have become very close. Jill is just the coolest person and if anyone gets a chance to meet her she is just the sweetest and most down to earth person. They are just real people, but so brilliant at what they do.
TTVJ: It was a treat seeing her in this comedy as I think I’ve only ever watched her in dramatic roles.
KM: She had the same experience I did actually in that this is the first comedy I ever had the chance to do. I usually play drug dealers or drug addicts, or I’m a nice guy that has cancer or something. She’s obviously had a much longer career than I, but it was her first opportunity to do comedy. She said her family had the same reaction as mine which is ‘oh, this is what you’re right for! This is your thing!’
TTVJ: People always say you don’t want to act with babies or animals. You’re going against that here and have all these raccoons that Don is dealing with. What were they like to work with?
KM: It was super fun to be honest. There’s definitely an element where they may not do what is planned, but that was part of the joy. There are some babies, but all of the other work is one raccoon named Maria. I got in a lot of trouble from the trainers because I would get too close, but we had to do a lot of things where we stared in each other’s eyes so I think we had an actual connection. [laughs] There were days, for example when a raccoon is supposed to drag this chicken away, but Maria would not go to the chicken. They are so smart and Maria was just like ‘there’s 60 people staring at that thing, there’s no way this isn’t a trap!’
TTVJ: Don is a failed musician of sorts on the show. Do you have a musical background at all and will we see you get to sing?
KM: I personally do sing. I’ve been learning the keyboard for a little while. I’m not a musician and was cast before they ever asked. I’m a music junkie though and go to concerts all the time. That’s my other passion and I live for that stuff. I’d love to be the guy up there playing the guitar, but I’m usually the guy front row center screaming.
Are you intrigued by Crawford and its unique premise? Sound off below!
Crawford Season 1 will be available for streaming on Friday, February 2 on CBC’s website.
Editor in Chief Bridget Liszewski comes from a long line of TV Junkies who fostered her love of television from a very young age. She's channeled that passion into covering both US and Canadian television shows, and is thankful everyday for the invention of the DVR. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, she loves college football and is a fan of sports in general. Bridget is always up for talking TV and you can follow her on twitter at @BridgetOnTV.