The new Halifax-shot comedy series King & Pawn, now available to Bell television subscribers as part of its Fibe TV1 offerings, is all about finding family.
We wanted a place where a lot of shenanigans could take place, but you wouldn’t expect people to find family.
“A lot of people in life deal with situations where they either don’t get along with or are estranged from their family and they have to create their own family setting,” says series co-creator, co-writer and director Taylor Olson. “And we wanted to put it in the backdrop of the most unusual place to find your family. We wanted a place where a lot of shenanigans could take place, but you wouldn’t expect people to find family.”
That place is the King & Pawn pawn shop, where lovable loser Rhett McManus has just inherited the store from his estranged father. While attempting to turn a profit, he contends with a screwball staff, an assortment of eccentric customers, and an ever-growing list of problems.
Olson and co-creator and co-writer Tieren Hawkins saw the show as a way to mirror their real-life search for “found family” and reflect a broader issue brought on by the pandemic.
“Since COVID, we’ve seen many people’s families have been on different sides of the conversation,” says Olson. “Whether it’s COVID itself or conversations around different politics, it was about finding little pockets of people we felt comfortable and safe with.”
Originally meeting and becoming friends on the set of the mockumentary Trailer Park Boys: Jail, Olson teamed up with Hawkins to create and write the new comedy series. It was a process Olson calls “a lot of fun” as the two tried to make each other laugh.
“It was a really fluid process for us where we had a lot of fun coming up with ideas and got excited by each other’s ideas and jokes,” says Olson. “And we challenged each other to write three versions of a joke, and we picked the funniest ones.”
In addition to writing, Olson and Hawkins found themselves on the other side of the camera, taking on the roles of two of the pawn shop’s workers.
“We decided to play the two characters during the writing process,” explains Olson. “We realized we had really good chemistry and knew then that we should play them. We’re big fans of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and we wanted a little bit of that kind of energy where they always have the best intentions but maybe don’t go about things the best way.”
Filmed entirely within the Halifax Regional Municipality using a locally sourced cast and crew, King & Pawn stars Reid Price as Rhett McManus. It was a role Olson and Hawkins wrote with him in mind.
Originally from London, Ontario, Price has found success as an actor in Nova Scotia, appearing in such locally-shot shows as USA’s The Sinner, EPix’s From, and his award-winning appearance in the Crave original film Dawn, Her Dad, and the Tractor.
“Playing Rhett has been an amazing experience,” says Price. “I believe King & Pawn is a show a lot of people will sympathize with while still being able to laugh at.”
Taylor agrees. “If you’re looking for a laugh or some warm and fuzzies, that’s a good reason to watch,” he says. “And with it’s a full local crew and cast it is a great way to support local.”
King & Pawn is available now to Bell cable subscribers through the Bell-on-Demand portal and on the FibeTV1 app. Visit bell.ca for more information.