Posts Tagged ‘Sheila McCarthy’
In the lead up to the series finale, Amaar reveals to Baber that he plans to be the Imam of the new Mosque. In turn, Baber revolts and forms a splinter Mosque. Meanwhile, Ann is distraught over Charles’ upcoming nuptials to a younger woman and comes up with a bizarre strategy to fight for her man. And Sarah attempts to rejoin the church choir, with fiery results.[CBC]
What prompted Amaar to change his mind about being the Imam for the community? How will Baber`s revolt affect the unity of Mercy`s Muslim community?What is Ann`s bizarre strategy and will she be successful in uniting with Charles?How will Sarah disrupt the choir with her fiery results and how will this affect her ability to effectively reintegrate into the Anglican community. Share your thoughts and speculations in the comments section of the episode.
Notes and Spoilers
- This is the first part of the series finale . The final half hour will air on Monday, April 2 2012 @ 8:30pm eastern standard time.
- Debra McGrath mentioned in a recent live question and answer session on the blog that the Mayor would be seeing a plastic surgeon for this episode. The surgeon has been portrayed by actor Colin Mochrie, who is McGrath`s husband.http://abbaskarimjeeweblog.com/2012/02/06/live-chat-with-little-mosque-on-the-prairies-debra-mcgrath-tonight-at-900pm-eastern-time/
- Arlene Duncan revealed in a recent live stream with CBC that Sarah [ Sheila McCarthy]would remain a Muslim, once she has worked through her crisis of faith.
- Sitara Hewitt[ Rayyan] commented on how the fire was set on a fake model of the mosque built in Etobicoke and the surrounding areas of the set. Sheila McCarthy added that it was upsetting to see but further details were not divulged.To view a photo of the fire on Mercy Mosque @ www.cbc.ca/littlemosque.
- The live stream can be viewed @http://www.cbc.ca/live/we-want-your-questions-for-the-stars-of-little-mosque.html
McGrath discusses her response to the show’s cancellation as well as the mood which was present amongst the show’s cast throughout the final weeks .We also extensively discuss some of the challenges involved with Mayor Popowicx‘s serious romantic relationship this season as well as how the pursuit such a serious relationship speaks to how the Mayor has developed over the course of the show. With Sarah Hammoudi’s divorce, also being a key element in the final season, we learn how the two’s friendship is impacted as Ann tries to support her best friend.
The actress also further reflects on her final experiences with the show, explaining why she thinks viewers will find the series finale satisfying as well as how she thinks both Little Mosque and the character of Mayor Popowicx will be remembered. McGrath also gives us an update on a spinoff series which she has been working on with Little Mosque’s Sheila McCarthy as well as some of her other recent acting projects.
Take a read through our complete interview, below!
Abbas Karimjee:Since we last connected, it was announced that Little Mosque on the Prairie will end upon the conclusion of its upcoming sixth season. What was your initial reaction when you learned of this and what are your thoughts on the factors which led to the show’s cancellation?
Debra McGrath:I was never sad to hear it.We all believed that season five was going to be the end which made season six such a bonus, which it certainly turned out to be.
AK: Could you please describe the atmosphere and mood which was present on set, amongst the show’s cast and crew throughout the final weeks of production?
DM:The last weeks of this show were the finest I have known on a set. Everyone was emotional, more emotional than we expected I think. This cast and crew has been through lots together, births and deaths alike. We bonded over this time and we knew that the end would take us in different directions and that we would miss seeing one another at “Mosque camp”. We had our own wonderful farewell celebrations, large and small, on and off the set. The mood was high and sweet. I will never forget it.
AK: In the upcoming sixth season, Mayor Popowicz will find love with Charles Thorne [Peter Keleghan], who is Reverend William Thorne’s younger brother. Could you please give us an idea of the circumstances and factors which draw Mayor Popowicz and Charles together?
DM:Like all good love stories, they start out despising each other and then find themselves dealing with a very strong sexual attraction. I don’t want to give too much away because the way in which they come together is fraught with twists and turns.
AK: Could you please give us an idea of some of the challenges which the two will face over the course of their relationship?
DM:I will say one thing without giving too much away. The biggest challenge they face is the fact that Charles is engaged to be married to someone else. Always a bit of a stumbling block for a new relationship wouldn’t you say?
AK: When we last connected, you mentioned that one of your potential aspirations for the character of Mayor Popowicz would be that she leaves her position as mayor of Mercy for love. Does the Mayor’s discovery of true love influence her performance on the job or make her reconsider her desire to run as mayor of Mercy?
DM:Nope. In fact much to Charles chagrin, she remains very much a career gal.I could not have been happier that they gave her a true love. Better than leaving office methinks.
AK: Mayor Popowicz is a character who has been known for engaging in casual relationships. How do you think being involved in a real, serious relationship speaks to the character’s development over the course of the show? In what other ways do you think the character has also developed?
DM:Oh yeah the Mayor has done her share of dabbling!!! And the beauty of her relationship with Charles is that it has the best of both worlds, it was an affair and true love both! I think we have seen the softer side of Ann these last two seasons and what I have loved is that we have been able to see her true love for Sarah. The relationship between Ann and Sarah has been such a happy thing for both Sheila and myself. These characters had such a funny odd relationship and it became more and more layered as the years went on. When Yasir left, we were able to tap into that more. But don’t get me wrong, we really missed Carlo.
AK: Peter Keleghan recently mentioned that you two have been real life friends for over 25 years. How do you think you think a preexisting friendship enhanced the portrayal of Mayor Popowicz’ relationship with Charles?
DM:I think Peter and I had a built in rapport so that was great. But I did blog about the fact that it is hard when old friends have to make out on camera. I called it “Comedians. Don’t. Kiss.”
AK: According to a press release issued by CBC, Sarah and Yasser finalize their divorce in the sixth season. How does Sarah’s divorce impact the two’s friendship, in terms of the level of support Ann provides her with?
AK:Could you please give us an idea of what else is in store for Ann Popowicz in the show’s final season, both in terms of her role as mayor of Mercy and as a member of the community?
DM:Without giving too much away, she saves the day in a big way towards Mercy having it’s own mosque and I think that becomes her greatest and ONLY unselfish act as Mayor. Mind you, I am sure she has wrestled with the idea of them naming it Mayor Ann Mosque!
AK: In general, what else is in store for Little Mosque’s sixth and final season? How do you think this season will serve as a satisfactory ending to the six seasons of the show?
DM:I am speaking the truth when I tell you that the show is tied up in such a beautiful way. The end is true to the intention and a wonderful gift to the fans and more importantly to the tone and message of the show. I could not be prouder of the way it wraps up.
AK: How do you think both Little Mosque and the character of Mayor Popowicx, in particular will be remembered as?
DM:Little Mosque will be remembered I hope, as a groundbreaking CANADIAN show that dared to be humane, that tried to be inclusive and dispelled stereotypes. I think the mayor will remembered as that sassy little sarcastic gal who was often drunk, frankly.
AK. Sheila McCarthy has been working with you on writing a spinoff. Are there any details regarding the concept of this spinoff, which you are able to reveal? What progress has been made to date on its development?
DM:Sheila and I are working hard to get another series going for she and I to partner in. It has strayed from the spinoff formula. Right now we have many ideas we are working on. We are throwing all our balls up in the air and seeing what lands.
AK: With Little Mosque coming to an end, is there a final message which you have for fans of the series?
DM:I would first say thank you from the bottom of my heart to the fans, many of whom I have had the pleasure of meeting over the years. And then I would say that they are lucky to see the show they loved have a proper and beautiful ending. Many times you find out your show has been cancelled between seasons and you never have that joy of finishing, really finishing. I have many TV shows in my life that have meant so much to me. And to those who have loved Mosque, I say you will love this final season.
AK: With both Little Mosque and your recent series on Showcase,Single White Spenny having concluded, are there any other projects which you have been involved in?
DM:Yes, my writing partner, my husband and myself are developing something and working hard at that. Right now my husband and I are together shooting Stephen Leacock’s “Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town” and it is just a charming project filled with the Who’s Who of Canadian Comedy world.
Thanks so much for allowing me to say a farewell in this article. I will miss my Mosque. Already do.
Only 9 episodes left before the revolutionary yet comedic sitcom, Little Mosque on the Prairie draws to a close!Take a look at the excerpt for tonight’s new episode of Little Mosque on the Prairie below. Be sure to tune in for the episode @ 8:30pm eastern time in CBC.
After blowing out the old fuse box in their house, Amaar tries to impress Rayyan by playing Mr. Handyman but has to secretly enlist Sarah’s do-it-yourself expertise to get the job done. Rayyan becomes suspicious of his sudden upsurge in Mr.-Fix-it skills and volunteers Amaar to fix Fred’s shower, Meanwhile, Baber and Thorne challenge each other to a fasting competition that escalates to insane heights, even for them[ CBC]
Will Amaar admit that he has been seeking Sarah’s help and how will his dishonesty affect both his marraiage with Rayyan and his own spirituality? Will his sudden increase in free time, which seems to be causing further complications for others, ultimately prompt him to explore his next options?What are the circumstances behind Baber and Thorne’s competition and what will be the end result in this risky challenge?Share your thoughts and speculations, below!
Amaar and Rayyan cut their honeymoon short and return home so that they can help Sarah deal with her divorce from Yasir. Rayyan tries to drag Sarah to a divorce support group but when Sarah won’t go Rayyan brings the group to her. Meanwhile, Amaar decides to sort out his Imam related issues with Baber and Thorne once and for all[ CBC]
Why have Sarah and Yasser divorced and how will Sarah respond to Rayyan’s attempt to help?Exactly, what issues will Ammar sort out with Reverend Thorne and Baber, how will they try to resolve the issues and what will be the final outcome?Share your thoughts and speculations in the comments section, below!
Tune in for the season six premiere on Monday, January 9 2011@ 8:30pm eastern standard time on CBC!
Discuss the episode as it airs live with other fans of the show, in the comments section!
Take a look at the video below, which features Little Mosque on the Prairie’s Sheila McCarthy at the Gemini nominations, in a interview with Debra Yeo of The Toronto Star.The actress, who is a speaker at the nominations , reflects on her previous Gemini nominations and awards,compares working in the Canadian television industry to the American industry and spends time reflecting on her experience of working on Little Mosque on the Prairie.
Share your thoughts on the video interview, in the comments section.
Indeed, Little Mosque on the Prairie will conclude its run on CBC, with its upcoming sixth and final season. According to a press release issued by the CBC, the sixth season will mark the show’s final year and will consist of 11 episodes,which are set to begin airing in winter 2012.
When Little Mosque made its debut in January 2007,the series earned a record-breaking rating for CBC, with over 2 million viewers.The program’s ratings decreased greatly over the seasons and the show was unable to garner the same audience, despite having made notable cast changes, such as replacing the character of Reverend Magee[Derek McGrath] for Reverend William Thorne[Brandon Firla].By the end of the previous, fifth season, the show dropped to less than a quarter of its original audience.
The show’s previous season saw Mercy Mosque’s Imam, Ammar Rashid [Zaib Shaikh] marrying Rayyan Hamoudi and the couple embarking on their honeymoon, as they consider the possibility of relocating from Mercy to Montreal.
When Little Mosque returns for its final season, viewers will note that Ammar and Rayyan have returned from their honeymoon early, only to find Sarah [ Sheila McCarthy] finalizing her divorce with her husband , Yasser[ Carlo Rota].Viewers will also discover that Baber[Manoj Sood] and Thorne[Brandon Firla] have been becoming best of friends and that Mayor Poopwicx is in a relationship with a man who may actually be the “one”.
Ammar and Rayyan will also learn to live as a married couple on their own, without the support of chaperones. Viewers will have the chance to explore a wide range of scenarios in the town of Mercy,such as fasting, town audits, sacred chickens, a haunted mosque and more , leading into the epic series finale .
According to the press release, guest stars in the sixth and final season include Peter Keleghan (18 to Life), Mary Walsh (This Hour Has 22 Minutes) and Jennifer Robertson (Winging‘It)
To view the original press release issued by CBC, click here.
Stay tuned for further information on Little Mosque on the Prairie’s sixth and final season as well as the circumstances regarding the show’s end in our exclusive interview with CBC’s Head of Media Relations, Jeff Kaey.
What is your reaction to on Little Mosque drawing to a close after six seasons? What are your thoughts on the upcoming storylines and which one are you the most excited for? How do you hope the show will conclude?Participate in our poll below and elaborate in the comments section!
Actor Derek McGrath has been leading a notable career within the Canadian entertainment industry,both as an actor as well as a singer.Some of the actor’s roles on Canadian TV series include a wide range of animated series such in roles for TV series such as Bakugan Battle Brawlers, Super Why! Wayside and Ruby Gloom.More recently, McGrath has stated in CBC’S hit sitcom,Little Mosque on the Prairie as the cheerful and open-minded character Reverend Duncan McGee,throughout the show’s initial three seasons.
With McGrath’s time on Little Mosque having drawn to a close last season and the actor being kind enough to partake in an interview with us, we took the opportunity to discuss playing the character of McGee,McGrath’s view on the decision of the producers to replace his character with Brandon Firla’s, Reverend William Thorne as well as the actor’s return to Little Mosque in the show’s previous fifth season. We also discuss McGrath’s perspective on Little Mosque’s influence on Canadian culture and as well as how working on the show enhanced both his acting career and personal perspective on the Muslim community.
The actor also takes the time to share some of the recent projects he has been working on,including a role on Vision TV’S , She’s The Mayor as well as details on his latest CD.
Derek McGrath: I was originally contacted by my agent as per usual with an audition; I received an email with time and place for the audition, a brief description of the character and the material I would be reading. If I remember correctly, I auditioned twice. I was at a nursery, buying trees when I got the call from my agent telling me that I had been offered the role of Magee. I was really excited because I believed the show would have an important impact in terms of reducing misunderstandings about Islam. I also loved the character of Magee.
AK: What was the most challenging part playing Reverend Magee and what techniques did you use to overcome this?
DM: The challenging part of playing Magee was in keeping him intelligent and witty as opposed to silly and one-dimensional. There are a lot of “over the top”characters on Mosque and I thought it was important to maintain a level of believability with Magee. I kept telling the writers “wise and witty, wise and witty…not silly”.
AK: How do you relate to the character of Reverend Magee?
DM: I’m a great believer in tolerance. I think it very important to try to see the other guys point of view. I think it’s more powerful to stand up for my own views than it is to attack someone else’s view. That’s a subtle but significant difference. That’s how I think Magee approaches conflict.
AK:How do you think Magee has developed over the course of the show and what aspirations do you have for him as the show draws to a close?
DM: I’m not sure you’re aware of it, but Magee is no longer in the show so I’m afraid I have no aspirations for him whatsoever.
AK:What was your reaction with the casting changes made upon the show’s fourth season which involved the character of Magee being replaced by Brandon Firla’s character, Reverend William Thorne? How do you think Magee’s absence from the series has impacted the overall storytelling on the show?
DM: I was very disappointed when I was told that Magee would no longer be part of the Mosque family but I was not bitter. I did not take it personally; I saw it as an artistic decision which obviously made sense to someone. In all honesty, I also believed it was a mistake. The audience reaction was very severe and I believe the decision alienated a large portion of the fan base as evidenced by the enormous number of negative emails sent to the Mosque website. As for Brandon Firla, I think he’s a wonderful actor and perfectly cast to play Thorne. Again, in all honesty, I think the character as written is too harsh for the show, very funny but not right in the context of Mosque. None of the other characters is mean-spirited. Again, this has nothing to do with Brandon; he’s doing exactly what he was hired to do. Not sure why they didn’t correct this mistake and have us both on the show; but that’s not for me to decide.
AK: What resources did you use to help you effectively portray the character, given the religious background of the character of Reverend Magee?
DM: One of the things I did to prepare myself for the show was to read the bible in it’s entirety. And then to read the Koran as well as the Tao Te Ching. I wanted an understanding of where Magee was coming form and also where Amar was coming from. The Tao Te Ching to get another slant.
AK:As an experienced Canadian actor, you have also been involved in animated productions of various TV series including, Super Why, Wayside and the 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo as well as staged productions such as Little Mosque on the Prairie. Which type of acting do you prefer to work in and what particular benefits are associated with your selection?
DM: Personally, I love being in front of a movie camera although there’s a lot to be said for the kind of regular work that a TV series provides. You get your own trailer and all the food you can eat…fabulous!!!
AK: Last season, you returned to the role of Magee after an absence of nearly two years. How did it feel to return to the Little Mosque production and what challenges were involved in readjusting to the role?
DM: Mostly, I just had to remember how I had played the role originally and try to be true to what I had already created.
AK: Reflecting on your recent appearances towards the end of the fifth season, what were some of your favourite moments for the character of Magee, in terms of his interactions with the various members of Mercy?
DM: My favourite moments on Mosque were the times I got to work with Neil Crone and Deb McGrath and Sheila McCarthy because they were always so professional and so prepared. No B.S. with them.They show up on time ready to give their absolute best. And their best IS the best.
AK: What is your reaction to Little Mosque ending this season and how do you hope that both the show and Magee, in particular is remembered?
DM: I’m sorry to see the show ending because I think Canada, in fact the world needs shows like Little Mosque which features people of decidedly different cultures learning to live peacefully alongside each other. As major centers become more and more multi-cultural, tolerance and acceptance will be absolutely necessary if we’re going to have any harmony in our day-to-day lives. I hope the show will be remembered as a genuinely funny and gentle reminder that people are people are people and I hope Magee will be remembered as the warm-hearted embodiment of that principal.
AK:Little Mosque on the Prairie has achieved international success , airing in over 68 countries as well as in Canada, with the series premiere, earning a CBC record breaking viewership of 2. 1 million. What impact do you think Little Mosque on the Prairie has had on Canadian culture and why do you think the show has resonated with viewers so well? How do you think it represents Canada, given that the show is the first of its kind?
DM: I think the show resonates with Canadians firstly because it’s genuinely funny and secondly because it enlightens us about an unfamiliar culture without ever getting preachy. I think they embraced the characters because they are endearingly human with faults and qualities that we can all recognize in ourselves and in our friends and neighbours. As for the Anglo Saxons in the audience, I think the show was a comfort because it revealed Muslims as less frightening than they may have believed them to be and I think our Muslim audience was delighted to see their sisters and brothers portrayed as regular “joes” with the same hopes and fears as their Anglo Saxon neighbours.I think a lot of Canadians were surprised to see that Muslims have a sense of humour. The rest of course is just the mystery of show business.
AK: How has being a cast member on this series impacted your career and how has it influenced your personal perspective on the Muslim community?
DM: Since the time that I was a very young boy, I have always insisted on being inclusive so that has not changed much. But, I think I’m much more educated on the subject of Islam. As I mentioned earlier, I read the Koran as a result of being cast in Mosque and of course I worked closely with genuine Muslims for the first time in my life and I could always for instance go to Zaib or Zarqua if I had any questions. Before this show, I was never certain whether or not a Muslim audience might embrace my sense of humour. In fact they did most warm-heartedly. People are people are people and humor is humor is humor.
AK:What other acting projects have your recently been working on, which you would like to share with viewers?
DM: Last summer I shot a series called SHE’S THE MAYOR for VISION TV. I play a corrupt politician named FRANK CRUMB. I think the show is very funny and it seems to be a hit on VISION. I believe the season is complete for this year but I’m certain there will be re-runs on VISION so do please watch for it. A lot of people don’t realize that I’m also a musician; I’m a singer/songwriter and I had the opportunity to work with some of the finest musicians in the world when I recorded my C.D. STRANGER. I warmly invite everyone to give it a listen at derekmcgrathmusic.com.
AK: What message do you have for fans of the show, as Little Mosque draws to a close?
DM: I would never presume to preach but I will freely offer my opinion.There are only two basic emotions in the world, LOVE and FEAR. Fear makes you small and miserable; love makes you open and joyful. Fear kills; love creates. Choose love!
With Little Mosque on the Prairie currently filming in its sixth and final season, the cast of the show are actively involved in the production. Viewers of the show now have the chance to take a glimpse into a day on the sets of Little Mosque on the Prairie with the show’s Debra McGrath [ Mayor Ann Popwicx]
Visit McGrath’s blog to see the clip which covers segments of the actress’ experience on a typical day on set. The 7 minute clip also features the show’s Sitara Hewitt[ Rayyan Hamoudi], Sheila McCarth[ Sarah Hamoudi] and Neil Crone[ Fred Tupper] as well as other various cast and crew members.
On the blog, McGrath also announced that Little Mosque would return to CBC this fall. We will have further details on Little Mosque’s sixth season within the coming weeks.
What are your thoughts on the video and what is your reaction to Little Mosque ending upon the conclusion of its upcoming sixth season? Drop us a line in the comments section, below.
Actress Sheila McCarthy has been leading a distinguished career within the Canadian entertainment industry as an experienced singer and a talented film, stage and television actress.Sheila’s credits include a wide range of credits ,including her roles of films such as I’ve Heard The Mermaids Singing and The Lotus Eaters, for which the actress was bestowed two individual Gemini awards . Additionally, Sheila has appeared in a variety of other Canadian films, including, Being Julia, Confessions Of A Teenage Drama Queen, The Day After Tomorrow and Die Hard.Sheila’s television credits include shows such as Picket Fences, I Was A Rat, Roxana, Missing, Wonderland and Road To Avonlea.
Sheila has now been starring in CBC’s hit sitcom, Little Mosque on the Prairie as the empathetic and spontaneous Muslim convert, Sarah Hamoudi.
With Sheila being kind enough to participate in a interview with us and Little Mosque on the Prairie currently under production for its sixth and final season we took the opportunity to chat with Sheila about her initial appointment to the role of Sarah, how the actress has related to her character, what is in store for the sixth and final season, Sheila’s thoughts on the show’s impact on Canadian culture and her view on why it resonates well with viewers , Sheila’s exciting plans for the future of her acting career and much more!
Abbas Karimjee: Lets discuss your initial appointment to the role of Sarah. Were you contacted for the role of Sarah or did you audition for the role? Could you please walk is through this initial process and any challenges which were involved?
Sheila McCarthy:I was offered the role of Sarah without auditioning which was a gift. The producers originally thought of me for the role of the MAYOR ANN POPOWITZ but my agent, Perry Zimel, recommended they cast me as SARAH and they did
AK: How are you similar to the character of Sarah?
SM:The original role of SARAH was quite a straight ahead sort of part. The serious wife, a foil for the goofy husband. I had a lot of conversations with the original writers suggesting if they were going to really use me, perhaps they might beef up SARAH’s foibles and comedy so that she would become a more three dimensional part and so much more fun to play. We had a very inclusive writing team that first season and the collaboration was wonderful. SARAH and I are similar in many ways really. A little disorganized but well meaning and optimistic for sure! She is probably a tad more organizationally impaired than me but not much!
AK:What challenges are associated with playing the Sarah and how have you overcome these challenges?
SM:I was not versed at all in the MUSLIM world so my learning curve was enormous. Having been raised a Catholic as a child , I really had my eyes opened to a whole new world of Islamic rules and tradition. It is one of the many perks of my business to learn new things and I loved immersing myself into this universe that was so foreign to me. I read a lot of material, we visited a mosque in Regina and I picked the brains of Muslims on set. I have also taken a much greater interest now in world affairs because of being a part of this special cutting edge show.
AK:How do you think the character of Sarah has developed over the course of the series and what aspirations do you have for the character , with the show drawing to a close?
SM:SARAH has grown immeasurably over the last five seasons. From her marriage, to her new jobs, her daughter’s marriage, her new arc this season being on her own, SARAH has really matured in many ways. She is still a lovable under dog and very sweet, but maybe more vulnerable now as she faces a new life of singledom. My challenge has been to bring dignity to her even as she screws up again and again. it is a fine line and I love the process. I would hope that now SARAH will move on in her life, stand up for herself with even more strength and maybe even find love again.
AK:Could you please give us an idea as to what is in store for the sixth season of Little Mosque on the Prairie , in terms of the overall direction and general storylines which the series will pursue this season?
SM:This season the marriage of my daughter RAYAN and AMAAR will be put under the telescope as well as SARAH’S own newly found independence. Everyone will have a bit of closure as we know it is the final season. A rare thing indeed in television land! SARAH will long for YASIR and her marriage and probably also long for the pitter patter of little grand children. Whether or not that will happen is up the writers! SARAH will grow up and realize she can stand on her own two feet and probably discover a strength she didn’t know she had!
AK :What challenges will the character of Sarah are in store for Sarah this season, both in terms of her relationship with her family as well as a resident of Mercy?
SM :As I said above, SARAH will find herself in many ways and also probably find a newly won respect for her married daughter and her best friend Ann. That friendship will deepen after a lot of fun and dates and mishaps I am sure!
AK: Little Mosque on the Prairie has achieved international success , airing in over 68 countries as well as in Canada, with the series premiere, earning a CBC record breaking viewership of 2. 1 million. What impact do you think Little Mosque on the Prairie has had on Canadian culture and why do you think the show has resonated with viewers so well?
SM :I think one of the most endearing and lasting impressions Little Mosque has had in Canada is our loyal fan base and also the audiences who love the show for it’s humour and sweetness. The politics are there but what I love is the relationships our audiences care about. It means people have somehow forgotten that it is about Muslims and Anglicans. It is just about people sharing a church and a community. Everyone snores! Everyone makes mistakes! Everyone loves and everyone has a community. The joy of people coming up to me every day to discuss our little show is overwhelming.
AK:What is your reaction to Little Mosque ending this season and how do you hope both the series and the character of Sarah, in particular, is remembered?
SM:I am always sad when a show ends but it is actually rare and wonderful to know it will be. Most often you shoot a TV series and you do not know that. This way, we can say goodbye to our little epic with a lot of fondness and love. I would hope that show has many more years of shelf life in reruns when future generations can tune in and get to know the town of MERCY!
AK:How has being a cast member on this series impacted your career and how has it influenced your personal perspective on the Muslim community?
SM:I have loved being part of this show. It has been so great to be known and recognized for it and I am so proud of every season. I decided to stay in Canada a long time ago to work and being a part of this success story has been indescribable. I am grateful for it. I am 55 now and a lot of my peers in this precarious business do not get the chance to work as much as I do. I feel very lucky. As for the Muslim community, I can only hope we have portrayed even a fraction of life behind and in front of the barrier with truth and humor. it was everyone’s intention from producers to cast to directors to writers to educate and entertain in the best possible way. if we have achieved this in even a small way then I am thrilled.
AK:What is your reaction to being a role model and what influence do you think the character of Sarah exerts towards Canadian culture?
SM:I don’t know how much of a role model I have been portraying SARAH. I suppose I have been a sort of window in the Muslim world in the sense that SARAH married into the culture and wasn’t born into it. She has always had one foot in the door as a Muslim and one foot out in the secular world. Perhaps people outside the Muslim world have been able to see through her eyes as it were with all her struggles to be Muslim and yet maintain her independence as well.
AK:Reflecting on your experiences as a cast member to date, what are some of your favourite moments working on the series, either on screen or off-screen, in production?
SM:I realize know that a great part of being on LITTLE MOSQUE was getting to know and love and work with Debra McGrath who plays my boss on the show, the mayor Ann Popowitz. Deb and I bonded the first day and have become fast friends through thick and thin. This does not always happen and believe me our giggles on set are legendary. I will certainly miss everyone involved in the show once we are finally done but there will be lasting friendships also because of it and six seasons of wonderful memories. I have also loved working and getting to know my daughter on the show Sitara Hewitt, through her marriage both on and off screen and motherhood in the wings. Her grace and compassion are unparalled and we will be friends forever as well.
AK:Have you been working on any other recent acting projects which you would like to share with viewers?
SM: I have been developing other projects with my co-writer Brendan Howley and we are working with WESTWIND right now on a future TV series that will bring back all of our favourites! I have two beautiful daughters and I am watching them launch into their futures with great love and hope.
AK: With Little Mosque on the Prairie drawing to a close this season, what message do you have for viewers of the series?
SM:I don’t have any messages really for the loyal viewers of our little show except to say THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for watching us every week and following our little family through the years. I hope you have enjoyed the show and maybe , just maybe, learned a thing or two about the world we live in and how we are all here to live and work and play together. And for future audiences, I hope you will watch LITTLE MOSQUE ON THE PRAIRIE and do the same.
AK:What activities do you enjoy during your spare time?
SM:In my spare time I write, work out every day, read, travel, stay close to friends and family and try to keep working and learning new things! I may even learn to play the grand piano I just bought on a bit of a whim! I also lend my support to Canadian Feed The Children, Meagans Walk, and am planning to work with the Canadian Lung Association in some capacity this fall. I teach a film class at Humber College which I find extremely rewarding. Seeing young talent emerging is incredible.