Playing ‘The Listener’s’ tech expert a perfect fit for self-proclaimed computer geek Rainbow Sun Francks
On “The Listener” Cpl. Dev Clark uses his mad technical skills to help the IIB solve tough cases, and self-proclaimed computer geek Rainbow Sun Francks admits he couldn’t be playing a more perfect character.
“A little known fact about me is I grew up with a keyboard in my hand by choice. When most kids were going to summer camp and going to baseball camp . . . me and my best friend went to Upper Canada College computer camp and learned basic programming when I was 11 or 12,” Francks tells CTV.ca during a set visit.
“We did that for three or four years and learned how to make basic games and programs on DOS . . . I grew up really loving computers so this character is fun for me.”
As the technology expert for the Integrated Investigative Bureau (IIB), Clark assists Sgt. Michelle McCluskey (Lauren Lee Smith) and special ops correspondent Toby Logan (Craig Olejnik) by helping them crack even the most impossible cases with the use of high-tech computer programs.
“A lot of it is fake. A lot of it doesn’t exist,” admits Clark with a laugh. “It’s like when I watch ‘CSI’ and they’ll be (using) some ridiculous program that does everything instantly and can do anything. Why can’t it just solve the crime if it can do all that?”
Francks, who joined “The Listener” in Season 2 and is back for an amped-up Season 3, says he’s loved every part of the experience.
“It’s been the best show I’ve worked on in terms of coming to work and just being able to be yourself and not worry about inner politics and some of the things that disturb other shows.”
Francks says he has been watching the show from the beginning because his mentor Clement Virgo, an award-winning Canadian director, was involved with the project from the beginning. Ennis Esmer, who plays Oz, is also a long-time friend of his and Olejnik used to live in the apartment above him in Vancouver.
“It’s been so friendly and so remarkable, getting the opportunity to work with your actual friends.”
From ‘Sesame Street’ to ‘Stargate’
For Francks, acting began at an early age after he landed a spot on “Sesame Street” at the age of four. He went on to do several films with Virgo, including “One Heart Broken Into Song,” for which he scored a Gemini Award nomination, and TV series such as “Stargate Atlantis.”
He was also a much-loved MuchMusic VJ.
“It’s one of those things where, growing up in Toronto, every kid sees it and says, ‘I could do that.’ In this strange, short life I actually got the chance to do it and did it to the best of my abilities, most of the time. It feels like a long time ago but I still have many friends there.”
Francks, who also writes and produces music, says he’s now happy to be back in his hometown filming “The Listener.”
“That’s something that’s finally becoming a trend, where we as Canadians can not be humiliated by where we are and try and make it New York to be cool. Instead, embrace we have one of the biggest metropolitans and most exciting cities,” he says.
“I love that. I love working here because I can go see my parents, all my friends are here, I can invite my friends to set whenever I want.”
As for what’s in store for Dev this season, Francks hopes to delve deeper into his character’s backstory.
It has previously been revealed that his character hacked into the ministry of defense when he was 16 and had the choice to either go to jail or work for the police.
“You are going to see more of my character. He will become more endearing to people’s hearts hopefully,” says Francks, who adds he’s also been involved in a lot more action scenes in the show.
“I think they found out I was athletic and did my own stunts on the past shows I was in, like ‘Stargate,’ so I think they’re going to try and utilize that a little bit, which should be fun for me.”
New episodes of “The Listener” air Wednesdays at 10/9C on CTV. Full episodes are also available online at CTV.ca.
p>About Sheri Block
Sheri Block has been covering entertainment for CTV.ca since 2008. In addition to covering Will and Kate’s Royal Wedding in London, Sheri’s highlights have included going on tour with “Canadian Idol,” being a stand-in on “Canada’s Next Top Model” and meeting Colin Farrell at the Toronto International Film Festival.Follow her on Twitter!