Sudbury-born actor Ace (Aason) Nadjiwan is going to be featured as one of the eight lead roles in the new CBC drama series ‘SkyMed’.
The show itself is described as a ‘steamy’ TV series that will turn up the heat this summer. Each episode is about an hour long and tells the stories of young nurses and pilots flying air ambulances in remote northern Canada.
Nadjiwan plays the character Captain Austen Bodie who is described as a “cocky, handsome and brave” pilot, otherwise known as the “golden boy” by his peers in the series.
“Over the season, the trials, triumphs, and heartbreaks of a high-stakes job in the unforgiving North will challenge each of them to face their fears and grow up,” a press release said.
The series was shot in Northern Ontario and Manitoba, and for Nadjiwan – who lived most of his life in B.C. – the colder temperatures took some getting used to.
“When I was in Winnipeg which, mind you, is so beautiful,” Nadjiwan said in a phone interview. “It was so darn cold. I remember this one specific day, it's 6 a.m., we're filming this scene and it's about minus-40 or whatever, and I'm trying to emote in this scene — It's a scene where Bodie gets a little upset and it's somewhat more of a softer scene, and I go to emote and my face literally does not physically move and I just start laughing. I ruin the whole scene.
“And they're like what's going on? Like I can't move my cheeks … they were just completely frozen over.”
Nadjiwan spent roughly six months filming from August to late January with the cast and the experience, he said, was mostly positive — except for the negative temperatures.
“One of my favourite things (about the production process) was just honestly getting to know and spending time with my cast and crew. But as far as filming, there's so many parts I loved about it,” Nadjiwan said.
While Nadjiwan lives in B.C. now, he lived in Sudbury for the first four to five years of his life. He said most of his family members are still here in the Nickel City area, including his aunts, uncles and grandparents. Although he doesn’t get to see them often, they cheer him on through the screen when they see his work on TV, he said.
“They’re very excited to see me on TV and (they support me) going after my dreams. I’ve gotten a lot of support from my family in Sudbury and I’m so thankful and grateful for them.”
He started his acting career six years ago as a dancer and choreographer. He had run into a Facebook ad looking for actors and that’s when he landed his first role in “Step Up: All In”. Since then, he fell in love with the art of acting.
“That (role in Step Up: All In) was a life-changer,” Nadjiwan said. “It was the first time where I could just express myself artistically. And it was the first time I had ever woken up at 5 a.m. in the morning excited, and that was new for me.”
Nadjiwan had also been a part of the CW’s Batwoman, Riverdale and Arrow, Paramount+’s The Twilight Zone, and Sony Picture’s Honey Girls.
With his new role in CBC’s SkyMed, the Jamaican/Ojibwe Canadian actor hopes that the audience will enjoy the show and perhaps even relate to some of the characters and themes of the show.
“I think one thing that he (Captain Austen Bodie) deals with is racism in the show. And I've also had to deal with that,” Nadjiwan said. “I mean, I've been to a job and discriminated against. I've been looked at weird in a restaurant where people think I don't belong. And so I feel like a lot of the audience is going to relate to that.”
The series incorporates dialogue in a couple Indigenous languages, including Nêhiyawêwin (Cree) and Anishinaabemowin (Ojibway). SkyMed also touches on the realities of healthcare in many remote fly-in communities. SkyMed will make its premiere on Sunday, July 10 at 9 p.m. on CBC TV and will also be available to watch on the free CBC Gem streaming service.
Eden Suh is a new media reporter at Sudbury.com.