Johannah Newmarch is someone who is exactly as you would expect her to be; principled, honest, and passionate about her craft. You’ve seen her on shows like Supernatural, Smallville and Minority Report, but most recently you might recognize her from Netflix’s Project MC2, and Hallmark’s When Calls the Heart. She’s so busy that finding time to brunch was a bit of a struggle, but in the end the effort was well worth it. The conversation was rapid fire, fascinating, and peppered with the kind of humility you’d expect from a person who loves to talk more about how talented others are than about herself.
What is your average breakfast/brunch?
I’m one of those strange people who don’t have an appetite in the morning. I know it’s not healthy, I know it’s regrettable and that it’s the most important meal of the day, but I often won’t eat a thing until about noon or one if I’m honest. Left to my own devices, I will have a big cup of English breakfast tea with milk in the morning. I’m obsessed with my tea. It’s how I like to start my day. Brunch is heaven, though, and guilt free. I do eat a lot of eggs. I think they’re a wonderful form of protein. I love to start the day with eggs because it keeps me going.
When you’re at home on a day off, what’s your favourite thing to cook?
I make sure there are always cans of black beans in the cupboard. Get a can of those, sauté them up in some butter, put a little Frank’s Red Hot Sauce in there and throw them on the plate. Ideally, there’s some avocado on the plate as well, and then I just do two eggs over easy, slapped on the beans and that’s my favourite breakfast on earth. I never get tired of it.
My daughter’s in University overseas and I sent her a picture with, “Hey, just about to eat, wish you were here.” She replied I was killing her with my pictures. She misses our breakfasts together so much.
(On the set of When Calls the Heart)
What’s your favourite brunch dish when you go out in the city? Do you have a favourite brunch restaurant?
I don’t do brunch in the city as often as I should. Vancouver, for our size, has extraordinary restaurants and brunch options. I know that this answer is mainstream but Milestones used to have a dish that I loved so much. It was like a corn hash; a bunch of corn and some sautéed potatoes, served with a couple of eggs on top, and drizzled with hollandaise. It was the perfect combination of textures and flavours.
Where would you like to try? Do you have a brunch bucket list?
I do brunch at home a lot. That’s why I’m excited to do this with you and to scour the blog for some suggestions for 2017. I want to kick it up a notch. I like unique places. I’m going to get my brunch bucket list from you.
What’s an average breakfast for you when you’re on set?
I always go up to the window and say, “Guys, give me a scramble and throw in the kitchen sink, just go nuts.” They always ask if they can put in whatever they want. I like to say within reason, but yeah, go nuts. It’s inevitably different, always fun, and it gives them a chance for a little creativity in an endless run of breakfast sandwiches they have to make. Then I throw a whole wack of sriracha hot sauce on the side. It wakes me up, gets the fires burning and off we go.
Which actor/director were you most fangirly about working with?
There are three people I have fan-girled the worst over. I’ll be honest; I’ve done background in the past. It was a great way to be on set and make a little money. The film I’m thinking of was Michael Keaton’s movie, White Noise. I was standing at crafty and he walked into the crafty location. I turned around and looked at him and smiled. He said, “Hello, my name’s Michael.” And I’m thinking, “I know”. He was lovely and humble and didn’t assume I knew who he was. He shook my hand and we had a funny exchange. He was real, and funny and charming. I’m not often at a loss for words but at that point I understood what people mean by getting tongue-tied.
The next one was in an actor capacity when I went to Victoria to shoot a scene on the American version of Broadchurch, called Gracepoint. I’m doing a scene with David Tennant and Anna Gunn. The work was high paced, and focused. They cleared out the room for blocking and it’s me, the two actors and the director. All I could think was “say your lines, say your lines”. It took everything to get through it. Concentrating was a struggle. It was a lot of fun to be there. They were both delightful; super funny and they had by that point, a great banter between them. It was one of those days where being an actor was great.
Who would you want to work with?
I just love Cate Blanchett. I just do. She’s up there for me. I also love Julianne Moore. I think they are two women who would be divine to be on a film set with.
(Photo by WendyD Photography)
Is there a show filmed in town that you would like to work on, that you haven’t been on yet?
For some reason, I feel like me, my wheelhouse and the kind of vibe I put out there would go really well on Magicians. It’s just an instinct I have and sometimes you need to trust in that.
Storytelling is so important. It’s one of the defining things that makes us human. The arts are a mirror, a reflection, that allow us to see and more deeply know ourselves. They are not fluff, they are just as important as math, language and science. They are humanity’s beating heart. This is why the continuing cuts to arts funding here in Canada, and the US, are so devastating. Without the arts, who are we?