BY MACRINA SMART
You can’t choose who you’re related to, but you can choose who you call family. At least that’s the idea behind Seed, an original Canadian comedy series premiering next week on the City television network. The show follows Harry (Adam Korson), a bachelor, bartender and erstwhile sperm donor who learns of the offspring he didn’t know he had—and then proceeds to develop unorthodox relationships with the families of his “children,” as well as a single woman who decides to use artificial insemination to start her own clan.
That woman is played by Toronto native Carrie-Lynn Neales. Where Toronto spoke to her about Seed, her career, and life in the city.
To start, can you tell us a bit about Seed?
Seed follows a bachelor/bartender named Harry after he discovers his past foray into sperm donation has resulted in a nine-year-old boy from one family and a 15-year-old girl from another. Meanwhile, he meets Rose (played by me!). Rose is a single woman who decides she’s through with the dating scene and chooses insemination (coincidentally using Harry’s donation) as a means of having a baby. It’s a show about family, ultimately!
What initially drew you to the character you portray on the show?
What drew me to Rose initially was her intense vulnerability and incredibly quick wit. Rose wears her heart on her sleeve without really realizing it!
What have you done to make the character your own?
To be honest, I relate with Rose so much that it wasn’t a huge stretch for me to play her, which was great because I got the chance to let out a lot of my usually masked (although not well masked) vulnerability while on set.
Seed seems to be very much a show about modern relationships and family dynamics. What does it bring to the Canadian conversation over these issues?
Seed takes the idea of family and breaks it wide open. The show explores so many different types of families, which makes it relatable to Canadians as we’re such a diverse country. It allows the audience an opportunity to relate to a world where relationships are constantly shifting.
The show was filmed in Halifax. What did you like most about shooting there?
I really enjoyed the sunrises each morning over the harbour and the general laid-back vibe! Also the people: the people of Halifax are some of the best people I’ve ever met.
How did living and working in Halifax compare to Toronto?
Halifax was a huge change of pace in comparison to Toronto. It’s a city but it retains a small town feel. I loved the change, but I’m definitely a city girl at heart!
How did you get started in acting?
I started dancing when I was three years old and loved being on the stage. In grade school I did a few school productions, then became very serious about acting in high school. I spent the summer between 10th and 11th grade as a background performer on various sets in Toronto and that’s when I really fell in love with it. Then through the rest of high school I performed and competed in various drama festivals and on various stages across Ontario.
Do you have a dream role?
I was very fortunate to performed two of my dream roles early in my professional career. Playing Juliet in Romeo and Juliet and Ophelia in Hamlet were intensely challenging and so much fun! I’d have to say that, at this point in my career, my dream role would be anything that challenges me like that again. A role that would force me out of my comfort zone and demand that I reach for new heights with my craft. Rose, in a lot of ways, has done this for me!
How has being in Toronto influenced the development of your career?
I think being in a city like Toronto where the opportunities are comparably greater than smaller cities and towns has made this career slightly more accessible. There’s a pulse in Toronto around the arts that is so inspiring! Being a part of a community like this has helped keep me motivated and working.
What do you do for fun in the city?
When the weather permits, I really love hopping on my bike out and riding around Toronto. I love the freedom I have when on my bike, whether as a means of transportation or just a simple ride through different neighbourhoods. I also really love going out to eat with friends. Good food, good wine and good company is a night well spent. And that’s not to mention all the great indie theatre that exists here. I love seeing great shows produced and performed by local artists.
You’re an actor, but you’ve also been a yoga teacher. Did you work with a particular studio?
Before leaving for Halifax to shoot Seed, I worked the front desk and taught occasionally at 889 Yoga and Wellness Spa. I also helped design and launch a yoga schedule at Eight Branches Healing Arts Centre on Dupont Street with my very talented and dear yogini friend Jacqueline Misshula.
Aside from yoga, what do you do to relax?
I’m a huge advocate of taking a hot bath with mineral salts, candles, music and tea (or a glass of wine). It’s a great way to relax and release the stresses of everyday life. In warmer weather, I like to sit in a park with a good book.
Do you have any favourite Toronto places to eat or to grab a drink?
As a vegetarian I’m very lucky to be in a city like Toronto with so many dining options! I’ve recently become a huge fan of Woodlot in Little Italy and I also frequent New Generation Sushi in the Annex (I love their vegetarian rainbow roll). There’s also this little salad place in Yorkville called Salad House (2 Bloor St. W.) that makes a killer vegetarian Cobb salad.
Who designs the clothes you wear on Seed? Does your own style mesh with or differ from your character’s?
Martha Curry is our costume designer. She and her team shopped around and pulled different pieces that make up Rose’s wardrobe. My style certainly meshes with Rose’s, but it’s as different as it is similar! I’m more of a jeans and button-up kind of girl, whereas Rose would wear a great little dress with boots and a belt.
As the cliché goes, Toronto is a city of neighbourhoods. Do you have any particular favourites?
If I had to pick a favourite, I’d have to go with Trinity Bellwoods, with the Annex and Kensington Market following close behind.
If you had visitors coming in from out of town, where would you suggest they go to get the true Toronto experience?
There are so many great things about this city that it would be hard to suggest just one place or neighbourhood that would give a visitor the full Toronto experience. Ossington Avenue is a great strip for shopping, eating and drinking and has a very “Toronto” vibe, but I couldn’t pin down one spot in particular.
Seed premieres Monday, February 4 at 8:30 p.m. on City.