Interview with Eli Henry

TV Interview!

Eli Henry on "Connecting..." on NBC.

Interview with Eli Henry of “Connecting…” on NBC by Suzanne 10/8/20

This was a really interesting interview. I watched the first 3 episodes of the show last night. What was very exciting was the way they’re filming this show remotely, over the iPhone. It makes it a fairly unique show.

Suzanne: Tell us how you got the role of Rufus.

Ely:   Sure. Well, it came at a point in lockdown when I’d pretty much sacrificed myself to doing nothing. I’d accepted the fact that it was going to be a while before any work came up. Occasionally, there’d be some auditions for, you know, things shot traditionally on a set with everybody, and it kind of felt like fan fiction to me. I was kind of like, “Yeah, okay, sure, you’re gonna make this?”

Then, when I got this audition, it was cool, because they said [what] the plan was, how they’re planning on shooting it, and they wanted the audition to be unique and [to] make it your own. You know, usually it’s just in front of a blank wall with someone reading off to you, but this time, they encouraged you to do it where you would shoot it in your home. So, I am lucky enough to have this bizarre, detached garage office in my home, and it’s covered in wood paneling, and it looks like a conspiracy bunker. So, I went in there; I brought as much vitamin C cold medicine, all the masks. I had a face shield and just kind of put it all over the frame. It was nice to be able to have a place to vent all of my COVID frustrations, and, yeah, I’m glad that everyone at NBC agreed.

Suzanne:   Great. So, when did the filming take place?

Ely:   Well, we’re shooting episode eight. Actually, we’re finishing it tonight and tomorrow, but we started very quickly after I got hired, and we’ve been going for a while, I guess, a couple months now.

You know, [it] was a very, very quick turnaround audition. I got tested, maybe a week later, and I was hired the next day, and the day I was hired, they said, “Okay, tomorrow, you’re gonna do the workplace safety meeting on Zoom in the morning.” Then, it was like we hit the ground running. From that point on, it was non stop deliveries of props and equipment and all this stuff to me. It was like Santa Claus when he starts getting all the packages nonstop. It was just like that. It’s kind of amazing that we’ve reached the end of these first eight episodes now, because of how busy I’ve been.

Suzanne:   So there’s eight episodes total?

Ely:   So far; fingers crossed for more, but that’s where we’re at.

Suzanne:   I’m a little confused. Was the show filmed virtually? I mean, in your home, or do they have a set for you to go to?

Ely:   It was completely in our homes.

Suzanne:   Wow.

Ely:   We all have gotten a crash course in technology. We filmed the show entirely on iPhone 11. So, the only people that I have ever seen in a work context from the show, are PAs would come at the end of the day and pick up my phone and drop off a new one. So, I have one phone on my desk, which I use as the camera, and another phone I use to control that phone. And then I’m on zoom on my computer with the cast and crew.

And that’s how we do it. I have a mic I plug into the phone; I have a mic I wear, and at the end of the day, we sanitize the phone, sanitize the sound card and give it to the PA, and it’s the whole process.

Suzanne:   Wow, that’s amazing. So, they should be paying you to be a cameraman too, right?

Ely:   You know, the decision of how much to pay me is above my pay grade.

Suzanne:   It seems like they should at least put you in the union for like camera, sound, makeup, all the stuff you’re doing.

Ely:   I mean, I am very sure, but at the same time, I don’t need to be paying those union fees.

Suzanne:   Well, yeah. Well, if they paid you the same for all those.

Ely:   You know what? I think I’d like to hire you to be rep.

Suzanne:   Right. I feel bad though. I feel bad for the people who normally do those things, I hope they’re able to do something.

Ely:   They’re actually still involved, because these are complex things that we are required to do, and they’re in unusual circumstances. We have an entire crew on Zoom who is there to walk us through everything. So, when they’re setting up cameras, setting up lights, we have our incredible crew, camera department, saying, you know, to change this, do that move there, makeup and hair on there, too. I’ll get a text saying, “Powder your forehead; fix your hair,” that kind of stuff. So, everyone’s still there.

Suzanne:   Oh, that’s good.

Ely:   It’s funny, because it’s a whole group of people who I’m sure would much rather be doing it themselves too. I’m not good at these things.

Suzanne:   Well, they had to get, I guess, smart people on both sides to be able to [do it]. You had to learn a lot of stuff, and then they had to learn a lot of stuff and convey it to you. That’s amazing.

Ely:   For sure. It’s incredible as to how different it is; you know, we’re on episode eight now from episode one. The setup time used to take a long time there was a whole thing, but then we’ve developed our own language of just memorizing settings and doing all these things. I’m sure everyone on the cast is now so much smarter or so much more technologically proficient than we were right before all of this.

Suzanne:   Right. Well, it makes sense; you have shortcuts now.

Ely:   Exactly.

Suzanne:   You and your cast mates really seem like you’ve been good friends a long time. Did you do any type of pre tape bonding to make that happen?

Ely:   You know, we didn’t, really, before we got started. I think the minute we got hired, Parvesh [Cheena] started a Whatsapp group chat for us and gave us a place to all communicate, and we reached out to each other on social media, found out who of us have mutual friends, people in common.

I think it was just kind of an interesting thing, where I remember I was saying when we first started, I had resigned myself to not meeting anybody new for months. I’m very much an extrovert. I very much like to socialize. So, I was kind of accepting of the fact that I wasn’t going to meet anybody. So, then we all got this chance to get to know a whole new group of people, and I think we all just jumped at it. It’s such a loving, wonderful group, and based on the nature of the show and how different it is and, well, how new it is, I think we were all perfectly willing to just dive in headfirst. We check in with each other often; the group text is is chaotic and frequent. We’ve had Zoom hangs outside of recording to just chat and catch up, and there have been a couple socially distanced gatherings outdoors. I’ve gone over to Jill [Knox] and Keith [Powell]’s place; they’ve got a huge backyard. I went over with my girlfriend; we sat far away, but that was even, you know, a month after we started.

So, it is kind of amazing to see that we actually made this chemistry without having spent much time together.

Suzanne:   Yeah, good. I’m glad you guys were able to get together and be friends in real life.

Ely:   Yeah, for sure.

Suzanne:   Had you met any of the cast or crew previously?

Ely:   No, I had not. I mean, I think I’d auditioned for something Martin [Gero] had created, a show called La Complex. I’d auditioned for that when I was living in Canada. Brendan Gall, Martin Gero, and I are all Canadian. So, he remembered me from that, but that was maybe ten years ago. Then, I’ve had mutual friends with some of the other cast and friends with one of the writers, Carl Tart, who is going to be on the show later.

So, it was one of those things where when we had that first Zoom workplace meeting, and, you know, the whole crew’s on Zoom. I remember just looking through trying to figure out who everyone was, seeing my friend Carl and sending him a message on Instagram and just trying to pick out who might be in the cast. It was very interesting, kind of Where’s Waldo situation.

Suzanne:   When you do the Zoom thing, it has to be on the phone, right? You can’t have like a big computer screen.

Ely:   I have a desktop computer, so my setup is different. Every one of the actors has a bit of a different setup, and I’m fortunate that I’m always in this bunker, so my angle is basically the same. So, I can have my tripod in front of my big desktop computer, and I have the zoom on there, so that makes it easier in terms of seeing the actors. When we actually do the scenes, we’re doing it straight to the to the lens of the camera, but we do one rehearsal before we actually record, where we just look at the computer screen, so we know what each other is doing. Because otherwise, we’re just kind of winging it.

Suzanne:   Yeah, that’s a lot of people to try to see on a little phone, or even a big phone.

Ely:   It can certainly be overwhelming.

Suzanne:   Aside from the obvious things, what was the biggest challenge you faced during filming?

Ely:   I think the technology was a challenge in its own sense of, of course, we could have expected that these things are not designed to be doing what we’re doing with them, but we’ve all found a way. I think it’s certainly a challenge to know what to do with yourself with all this going on.

I think beyond the actual show and filming the show, it’s an incredible experience and an incredible thing to be on an NBC sitcom. It’s definitely the dream for an actor to wind up in this situation, yet at the same time, we’re still on lockdown. We’re still in our homes; we’re still not going out. Things are still closed; there’s still a pandemic. There’s still a social justice movement going on. So, it’s definitely bizarre and challenging to accept that this is happening at the same time as, you know, I finish shooting and then I’m still in my house.

I drove to go see the billboard that we had on the Sunset Strip, but then back to my house. I got the premiere tonight, but I’m still in my house. iI’s hard to wrap your mind around, I think.

Suzanne:   Right. Well, at least you have a good commute, though.

Ely:   Yes, my commutes great. Fortunately, I’m very rarely late.

Suzanne:   And no more LA traffic, so that’s good.

Ely:   Yes, exactly.

Suzanne:   What was the best thing about playing this character?

Ely:   You know, I think that, for me, playing Rufus has been a lot of fun, because we’re not entirely dissimilar. I’m not as crazy as he is. I’m not as out there, but I certainly take this virus a little bit more seriously than a lot of people I know. So, getting some of the pandemic aggression out in a funny way was very nice for me.

I think it’s also nice, because he genuinely cares about his friends. I think there are people that can be angry, and certainly I spoke about it with Brendan and Martin about not making him too grading and angry, but he’s somebody who genuinely cares. When he gets mad, it’s because he’s worried about his friend, and that was nice.

Suzanne:   Actually, that’s one of the things I like about this show is the people seem very real, and you know, your character could have gone too far. You don’t want to be one of those sitcoms, where you’re like, “Oh, I hate that person. Why are they using that person so much?”

Ely:   Right, exactly.

Suzanne:  

That drives me away from sitcoms, sometimes.

What do you think audiences will like most about the show?

Ely:   I’m hoping that audiences enjoy seeing people who are going through what they have gone through and are still going through. From my perspective, I think we’re seeing a lot of people in the country and in the world wanting this to be done. They want the virus, the pandemic, to be over, and they want to kind of think of it as out of sight out of mind. But I know that there’re so so many more of us who are still taking it seriously, still being careful, so we can take care of our friends and our neighbors and our family and, you know, keeping people from getting sick and doing what we can to protect everyone else. I think it’ll be really nice for them to see people doing that, too and still having a good time being together and still being connected. I think that that’s gonna be wonderful. But also, the people that don’t do that stuff, they can laugh at us for whatever reason they deem necessary. Something for everyone.

Suzanne:   That’s right.

And what had you been doing to pass the time, as it were, during the pandemic before this?

Ely:   Well, before I got the show, I definitely went through all the phases. I think we all did. I was baking. I really got to a point where I was really nailing this Julia Child sandwich bread, a white sandwich bread recipe, and I got that down – a lot of butter. That was good; I was doing that.

My girlfriend and I were doing a lot of movie marathons. Early on the pandemic, we watched all the Harry Potter movies, watched a lot of TV, but, interestingly enough, it took until yesterday to do our first puzzle. We bought 1000 piece puzzle we just started. I don’t know how it took us this long, well, at least what I didn’t know until we started. Then, I was like, “Right, hat’s why we didn’t do this.” We had missing pieces or dropped the puzzle on the ground; it’s a whole thing. But it’s been it’s gonna be a challenge, and that’s my next project, is getting this puzzle built.

Suzanne:   Wow. I have a friend who likes puzzles, and she was having trouble finding puzzles at the beginning of this. I think, eventually, they were more available.

…It’s like the toilet paper. You couldn’t get it for a while, because people were hoarding it, but then now you can get it.

Ely:   Exactly. I live near a small independent board game and comic book shop. I went there to get the puzzle, and the guy that runs place was like, “You know, I wouldn’t say we’re recession proof, but certainly for this, whenever when everyone’s stuck at home and they need entertainment, we’re in a good spot. I can imagine that everyone was selling out of puzzles.

Suzanne:   Right, and probably the comic books too.

Ely:   Yeah, exactly.

Suzanne:   So, do you have any other projects coming up, or that you’ve been working towards, or were working towards, before the pandemic?

Ely:   Nothing that I can really speak to right now. There’s always stuff kind of up in the air, and I think with the pandemic, it put a lot of a pause on a lot of things, and I think we’re just kind of waiting it out.

But I write stuff, and I think that the best stuff I was doing before the pandemic, that I’d like to do more of eventually, is a friend of mine runs a home alone film challenge that he started at the beginning of all this, where you’d have one weekend to write, direct, edit, and star in a movie by yourself at home. So, in a way, it prepared me very well for this, because we use the same app that we’re using to shoot the show on. So, I made a few little films, and it got my creative juices flowing in a really nice way. So, hopefully more stuff like that in the future.

Here is the audio version of it.

Interview Transcribed by Jamie of http://www.scifivision.com

MORE INFO:

BIO

Ely Henry plays Rufus on the new NBC comedy “Connecting…”

Henry, who has been a professional actor since 2003, started his career in Toronto working on films such as “Cheaper by the Dozen 2” and “Mean Girls,” as well as TV shows and specials, including “Skins” and “I, Martin Short, Goes Home.”

Since moving to Los Angeles in 2012, he has had recurring roles on “Suburgatory” and “Twisted,” and guest-starring roles on “The Middle,” “Good Luck Charlie” and “Superstore.”

Henry had leading roles in the superhero comedy film “Zeroes” and the indie drama “Some Freaks,” from executive producer Neil LaBute. He also had a leading role in the animated film “Smallfoot” with LeBron James, Channing Tatum, Gina Rodriguez and Danny DeVito.

Henry also had a recurring role on Showtime’s “Roadies,” created by Oscar winner Cameron Crowe and executive produced by J.J. Abrams.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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Interview with Hamza Haq

TV Interview!

Hanza Haq of "Transplant" (photo from Fabrice Gaetan/Sphere Media/NBC)

Interview with Hanza Haq of “Transplant” on NBC by Suzanne 10/9/20

It was great to speak with Hanza, who’s a smart, thoughtful guy, clearly on the rise. I’m enjoying watching his work on this show.  If you haven’t watched “Transplant,” yet, you’re really missing out.

Suzanne:   So, tell us how the audition for your show went. I know it was a while ago now.

Hamza:  Well, I had a pre-existing relationship with both CTV, the network, and Joe, the showrunner, on two different shows. So, when they decided to partner up together, I was kind of the unofficial front runner…[But then] they wanted a Syrian for the role. So, they told me, you know, “We all wanted you to play it, but we’re really going to make a concerted effort to try to find a Syrian within Canada to really tell the story.”

As much as I didn’t like losing a part, if there was Pakistani character that I didn’t even get to read for, I would have been quite upset. So, I just accepted that that was the way that it was gonna be.

Then they did their due diligence, and they searched for actors of Syrian decent across Canada for several months, and I was just fortunate that they couldn’t find him.

I’m sure…just given the nature of the opportunity certain people get and what they hear about it, you know, I ended up getting the part, and I’ve been doing my best to do justice to it ever since.

Suzanne:   Great.

(crosstalk)

Have you started shooting season two yet?

Hamza:  We have not. We have not. We were slated for August, and here we are in cozy old October, still waiting. You know, frustration aside, everybody’s very happy to make sure that we provide a safe environment for everybody to work and all that jazz, cope with precautions, etc, etc.

Suzanne:   Yeah, I hope they start on that soon, because, the the daytime soaps here in the US have already started all back. They just do it very safely. I don’t know the details, but I guess they test everyone regularly, and everyone wears masks, and whatever else they do. Some of the other shows, I think some of the primetime shows, have started, but you never know, right?

Hamza:  Absolutely not.

Suzanne:   Did you do any research for the role before you started filming it?

Hamza:  Oh, of course, I mean, as far as the medical stuff is concerned, we’re all very happy that we had – first things first, the writers did all their research to make sure that everything was medically accurate. Then all of us on the cast, we went to boot camp to try to, you know, choreograph all the things that we have to do in trauma situations and surgeries and all of those things. So, that was taken care of.

As far as character is concerned, I was given several documentaries and readings and novels to sort of get into the mindset and really understand better the the conflict that happened and is currently happening in Syria still ten years after the fact, you know, since [then], and just trying to understand and have conversations with people who went through it or something similar. We had a wide range of consultants who lived this exact experience, who were able to be very generous with their time and their experiences. So, all that money [went] to bringing this to life.

Suzanne:   Great. And what about your accent? What are you basing that on?

Hamza:  So, I had a couple of dialect coaches to help get the accent right. Then there was some fine tuning based on the region that he [is from]. You know, he’s from Aleppo, so we tried to get that regional accent but also tried to use a little bit of the fact that he may have gone to school in more of an upper scale, maybe British, educational system, that kind of thing. So, there’re a couple subtleties here that aren’t completely, you know, Syrian Syrian, but it’s sort of an amalgamation of his life experiences. So, I worked with about three or four people tirelessly, and three of them were actually Syrian refugees. So, I was very happy to have that experience – fortunate, rather.

Suzanne:   Wow. So, it’s very authentic, in a lot of ways, this show.

Hamza:  We’re doing our best, I think. With such an important story, I think everybody is just going to try to do their best to do justice to the story and the experiences of the people who went through it. So, I think authenticity was definitely the goal, and I certainly hope we hit it in a lot of areas. And there’s a lot of areas yet to go, and, hopefully, we’ll hit those in seasons two, three, etc.

Suzanne:   I saw a video of you, and you had tattoos on your hands. Do they have to cover those up with makeup when you do the show?

Hamza:  No…it was just Henna.

Suzanne:   Oh, temporary?

Hamza:  I had a little red carpet affair in Berlin, and I like to flex my own culture and get a little South Asian Henna done before the ceremony or whatever. So, yeah, that was fun, but it it faded within four or five days.

Suzanne:   Okay, so it was temporary. So, were you surprised when the show got picked up for TV in the US?

Hamza:  I’m cocky, but no. It’s a very good show; the goal was to try to get as many eyes on it as possible. It’s a very universal story. So, we heard, “Hey, they have enough faith in the show that they’re gonna take this to American audiences,” and everything like that. So, I will say I was very happy when it happened, but surprised, no. It was like, “Well yes.” The fact that it happened, you know, we’re all very fortunate. We’re very blessed with the getting such tremendous feedback from American audiences. Also, it’s very nice.

Suzanne:   Oh, good. So, you’ve gotten a lot of fan reaction?

Hamza:  Yeah, I mean, I’m not on Twitter, which is where a lot of those things happen, so, I hear about a lot of these things, which is really great. The numbers don’t lie, either, you know, the team will [be] like, “We held 4 million or $3 million,” or however many it was. That’s just great. So, I would imagine that if people are maintaining it, there’s x amount of million people watching it every day, I would imagine that it’s generally positive, that those who are watching it are enjoying it. So, I’m happy about that.

Suzanne:   Well, I see you on Instagram. Is that not you? Or somebody posting for you?

Hamza:  No, Instagram is me; Instagram is me, but I try not to get too big headed. So, I don’t read all the comments. It’s really easy for me to get big headed, and I love the attention, and I love all that stuff. But I try my best not to lean too far into it. I’m grateful. I’m grateful, yes, everybody commenting on my eyelashes. I appreciate it. Yes, they are real. Yes, I’m sorry that a lot of people have to spend a lot of money getting these eyelashes, but, sorry, I got them from my dad.

Suzanne:   So, how are you and Bashir different besides the obvious, like not being Syrian.

Hamza:  Bashir has a tremendous amount of confidence in who he is as a person. His ability to stay steadfast in decision making outside of his work is something that I very much look up to; I’m very easily influenced by other people. I’m quite insecure about a lot of things, and Bashir has this very, you know, fortified sense of self and a sense of identity, which is something that I’m working towards.

Where we’re similar, is our brashness and our arrogance when it comes to the jobs that we do. I [lose] the insecurity as soon as I’m on set. I feel like I know what I’m doing, and I feel like I can tell a story. And sometimes, I would say, not to the degree that Bashir is, I can rub people the wrong way in terms of, you know, like me arguing with the director or the writer that this is the way that it should be done and everything like that. I don’t think it gets to a point where I’m ever yelling or going behind someone’s back being sneaky about anything, but when it comes to work, I think we’re both similarly confident in what we do.

Suzanne:   The only problems he seems to have, is the whole PTSD and not wanting to get help for it and maybe a little too much pride that some people have, you know, not wanting to get help, not admitting that he has problems.

Hamza:  Yeah, that’s a predominantly male issue, I think. I think a lot of guys can relate to that. That wasn’t too far of a stretch for me either, like, “No, I got it. It’s fine.”

Suzanne:   What can you tell us about working with Sirena, who plays your little sister?

Hamza:  Oh, those are easiest scenes. I feel so connected to her and protective of her. You know, a young actress comes on to set, and you just want to make sure that she’s doing okay, and it was very easy. I see her as my little sister, and I want her to succeed, and I want her to be safe. I want her to have fun and learn and all of those things. So, you know, the dialogue just lent itself to this very immediate connection that the two of us already had. So, it was beautiful. Like, it’s not difficult to want to provide, you know, to want to make the world a better place for Amira, or Sirena as well.

Suzanne:   Yeah, the scenes with her, you can tell that you like her, and she’s adorable. So, I can’t imagine even now.

Hamza:  Yeah, she’s really cool. Easily she’s gonna be the biggest star out of this. Right now I’ll go on record saying she’s going to be the biggest star out of all of us, mark my words.

Suzanne:   Do you have any funny stories about filming the show?

Hamza:  I have several. I just don’t know what I’m allowed to say.

Did you know John Hannah was in The Mummy? He hates that I keep bringing that up, but I would say that on the first day that we all met, I was so excited when I heard that he was going to be a part of the show. And I thought we waited a whole 30 seconds before we yelled that at him. I was like, “I’ve seen that movie like one hundred times. It’s my favorite movie,” and stuff like that. I think the more I say it, the more it grinds his gears a bit, but I’m never gonna stop doing it.

Suzanne:   Oh, that’s funny.

Hamza:  Yeah, I mean, the whole thing was really fun. Like, you know, we would all get together after work, like often party together. You know, we went rock climbing with Jim Watson, and we did Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with Ayisha Issa, you know what I mean? You know, anytime we wanted a good restaurant to go to (unintelligible) incredible, you know, recommendation, and she could get those reservations too. So, it was just everybody brought their own thing to it. And we just loved each other from go.

Suzanne:   Oh, that’s cool. That’s great. Yeah, it’s it’s a great cast. I enjoy it. I liked him; he was in so many great TV shows. And Tori Higginson, she was wonderful in Stargate Atlantis. I don’t know if you ever saw that show.

Hamza:  Yeah, I worked with her on the show in Canada as well, called This Life. That’s where I worked with Joseph Kay before. So, it was really nice when she joined the team as well.

Suzanne:   Oh, cool. That’s nice. Yeah, it’s always nice to see people you know, already. Is there anything else that you’d like to tell your fans?

Hamza:  Keep on watching. I’m grateful that people are learning so much about Muslim culture and Arab culture and, you know, go up there and vote. Register to vote and make your voices heard.

Suzanne:   Well, thank you. And I really enjoyed the show. I’ve been watching it. NBC let me have all the episodes, but I like to watch them on the TV. So, I enjoy it. And I’ve been telling everybody to watch it. So, good luck, and I hope – and you said you already have a second season right? You just haven’t filmed it yet.

Hamza:  Yeah, we’ve been picked up, and we’re we’re in limbo, like much of the world. But, hopefully, as soon as we get we get the go ahead, we’ll be all like tremendously happy to continue telling the story.

Here is the audio version of it.

Interview Transcribed by Jamie of http://www.scifivision.com

MORE INFO:

Bashir “Bash” Hamed

 

“Transplant”

Hamza Haq stars as Bashir “Bash” Hamed, the new ER doctor who fled his native Syria and must overcome numerous obstacles to resume his career in the high-stakes world of emergency medicine, in NBC’s drama “Transplant.”

Raised in Ottawa, Haq is the youngest of four siblings born in Saudi Arabia to Pakistani parents and has called Canada home for almost 20 years.

His television credits include the CTV miniseries “Indian Detective,” opposite William Shatner, Russell Peters and Anupam Kher; the CBC Gem crime-drama miniseries “The 410”; and the CBC drama “This Life,” which garnered critical acclaim and earned him a 2018 Canadian Screen Award nomination for Best Guest Performance.

He has had recurring roles on the Cinemax series “Jett,” starring Carla Gugino; “Quantico,” opposite Priyanka Chopra; and “The Art of More,” co-starring Dennis Quaid and Kate Bosworth. Other notable credits include “Designated Survivor,” “The Bold Type,” “Being Human,” “Michael: Tuesdays and Thursdays” and “Best Laid Plans.” Haq also served as host of the TVOKids program “Look Kool.”

On the big screen, he’s held supporting roles in “Bon Cop Bad Cop 2,” with Colm Feore; “The Death and Life of John F. Donovan,” directed by Xavier Dolan; Darren Aronofsky’s “Mother!”; “Run this Town,” opposite Mena Massoud and Nina Dobrev; and most recently, “My Salinger Year,” starring Margaret Qualley and Sigourney Weaver.

In 2017, he was named one of Canada’s Rising Stars by the Hollywood Reporter. Haq holds a Bachelor of Arts in film studies with a minor in law from Carleton University.

August 2020

“TRANSPLANT”

Premiere: Sept. 1, 2020

When Dr. Bashir Hamed (Hamza Haq, “Quantico”), a charismatic Syrian doctor with battle-tested skills in emergency medicine, flees his war-torn homeland, he and younger sister Amira (Sirena Gulamgaus) become refugees, struggling to forge a new life in Canada. But if Bash ever wants to be a doctor again, he must redo his medical training from the ground up and obtaining a coveted residency position is nearly impossible.

When a horrific truck crash nearly kills a senior doctor right in front of him, Bash saves the doctor’s life and earns a residency in the biggest Emergency Department of the best hospital in Toronto.

Yet for all Bash’s experience, it’s a tough road. Bash’s training is different, his life experience are unique to him and he’s not an exact match for his new colleagues, who include Dr. Magalie “Mags” LeBlanc (Laurence Leboeuf, “The Disappearance”), a ferociously analytical second-year resident who pushes herself relentlessly; Dr. June Curtis (Ayisha Issa, “Polar”), a reserved, ambitious surgical resident whose loyalty doesn’t come easily; and Dr. Theo Hunter (Jim Watson, “Mary Kills People”), a pediatric Emergency Fellow whose small-town upbringing is cracking wide open as life at the hospital changes his worldview.

The team works tirelessly to save lives and win the approval of the legendary head of the Emergency Department, Dr. Jed Bishop (John Hannah, “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”), all the while managed by sharp-eyed, acerbic Dr. Wendy Atwater (Linda E. Smith, “19-2”) and supported by longtime head nurse, the deadpan, confident Claire Malone (Torri Higginson, “This Life”).

Through it all, Bash tries to meet the demand of his new country and new job, while trying to pay the bills, raise his little sister and carve out a new life for them both in this unfamiliar land. It’s a journey that’s universal to people everywhere. Bash aims high and is determined to succeed, and those around are quick to see that his passion and hopefulness are contagious. But will his newfound life reject him, or will this “transplant” take?

A major success story as CTV’s the most-watched Canadian series in total viewers this broadcast year, “Transplant” will showcase its bold and powerful storytelling to a brand-new audience.

Joseph Kay, Jocelyn Deschênes, Bruno Dubé, Randy Lennox, Virginia Rankin, Jeremy Spry and Tara Woodbury serve as executive producers.

“Transplant” is produced by Sphere Media in association with CTV and NBCUniversal International Studios, a division of NBCUniversal Content Studios.

August 2020

Please visit the official show site at: https://www.nbc.com/transplant.

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Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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Hanza Haq of "Transplant" (photo from Fabrice Gaetan/Sphere Media/NBC) TRANSPLANT -- "Trigger Warning" Episode 106 -- Pictured: (l-r) Hamza Haq as Dr. Bashir "Bash" Hamed, Jihn Hannah as Dr.Jed Bishop -- (Photo by: Yan Turcotte/Sphere Media/CTV/NBC)