Nancy Robertson not looking to cure these 'Hiccups'
Playing a character with emotional outbursts couldn’t be further from the real-life persona of Nancy Robertson, but the actress says it sure is a lot of fun.
In “Hiccups,” the new TV series created by Brent Butt of “Corner Gas” fame, fellow ‘Gas’ alumni Robertson stars as Millie Upton, a successful children’s author with absolutely no filter.
“She’s really kind of wide open to everything and she jumps into life with both feet and full of gusto, which is kind of fun to play because I’m certainly not that kind of person,” says Robertson with a laugh.
“Millie can get angry but she can also get overly happy or really sad. She doesn’t have a rein over her emotions, which gives her this child-like quality. She doesn’t have anything editing her because she doesn’t really have to.”
Robertson says even with these “hiccups,” Millie is very upbeat and well-meaning and it was liberating to play a character that is so free.
“She wakes up every morning happy. That’s her first place to go – happy and positive. It’s just the things that get in her way … that are the problem.”
Shot in Vancouver, “Hiccups” gives Robertson her first starring role and the actress says she was pleased that Butt, her real-life husband whom she met on the set of “Corner Gas,” wanted her to play the lead.
“Brent knows a lot of people in the industry and has a lot of friends (but) he doesn’t cast due to relationships, otherwise these shows would’ve been filled with his pals so yeah, it is flattering,” says Robertson.
As well as serving as creator, writer and executive producer, Butt also plays the role of unqualified life coach Stan Dirko, who tries to help Millie keep her “hiccups” under control.
Robertson says it’s great to be able to work with her husband again, even though on set it’s all work.
“It’s an easy place for us to go because that’s how we met – working together.”
And even though Millie receives plenty of “counselling” from Stan, Robertson assures that she and Butt did not take on these roles once they got home.
“It wouldn’t be effective,” she says with a laugh.
Just as the role of Millie is very different than Robertson’s persona, the character is also quite the contrast to Wanda Dollard, the know-it-all gas station clerk the actress played on “Corner Gas” for six seasons. The series came to a close in 2009, after Butt decided to call it quits on a high note.
Even though she loved playing Wanda and will always be very proud of the show’s accomplishments, Robertson says it has been great to try something new, even though she knows there is a lot of pressure on “Hiccups” after the success of “Corner Gas.”
The award-winning series, which Butt created in 2004 about life in small-town Saskatchewan, airs in more than 25 countries and has been called the most successful Canadian sitcom ever made.
“I don’t think (‘Hiccups’) is going to be critiqued in the same way as any new show coming in because it will always be held up to ‘Corner Gas’ but ‘Corner Gas’ was special and we know that.”
She also knows that the die-hard ‘Gas’ fans might be the harshest critics.
“I have so much appreciation and gratitude for the fans of ‘Corner Gas’ that it’s only natural and only human that it’s going to be viewed differently … I think it’s going to be hard to look at it objectively right out of the gate because they might be missing Brent Leroy, Wanda Dollard and all the other characters,” says Robertson.
“But if they just give it some time they hopefully will grow into this new world … while knowing we totally respect their attachment to ‘Corner Gas’ because ours was pretty strong, too.”
“Hiccups,” which also stars Laura Soltis, David Ingram, Emily Perkins and Paula Rivera, airs Monday nights at 8 pm ET on CTV.Watch Episodes Now ►