Date: 8/28/2008 4:32:00 PM ET
Last seen by audiences on the snowboarding drama "Whistler," David Paetkau says his new role on "Flashpoint" marks a mature new era in his burgeoning acting career.
Paetkau is proud -- and relieved -- that as deadly sniper Sam Braddock, he has landed a role that he considers "A little more grown-up."
"I can't get away with being a goofball anymore," the 30-year-old says with a laugh during an interview with CTV.ca.
"Flashpoint," which airs in Canada on CTV, follows the exploits of the Strategic Response Unit, an elite group of police based on Toronto's real-life Elite Task Force.
The show also stars Enrico Colantoni ("Veronica Mars"), Hugh Dillon ("Durham County") and Amy Jo Johnson ("Felicity").
Best known to Canadians as "Beck McKaye," the slain Olympic champion at the centre of "Whistler," Paetkau landed his first big break with a role in "Snow Day," starring Chevy Chase.
Paetkau then went on to appear in several productions, including "Smallville," "CSI: Miami" and "Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem," the 2007 sci-fi slasher sequel to "Alien vs. Predator."
Search for authenticity
On "Flashpoint," Paetkau's Braddock is the newest addition to the SRU team, and is having a little trouble fitting in. He's an ex-member of JTF2 (Canada's special operations counter-terrorism force) and also harbours a dark, painful secret in his past.
Because the series portrays the lives of people who protect everyday citizens, Paetkau feels like it's his duty as an actor to portray the ETF as accurately as possible.
"I'm trying to be vigilant about getting the little things right, because that's the least we can do," says Paetkau.
"It's an art form in itself; how they carry a gun, or use a gun, how they enter a room and walk and talk. They've had thousands upon thousands of hours of training, and I'm just trying to make do with what I can get."
With little experience with guns and ammunition, Paetkau says it was overwhelming at first getting used to performing with guns on the show.
The actor recalls that on his first day he was filming a scene where he had to kick in a door and start firing away with an MP5, a large German sub-machine gun.
"Even though the bullets were blanks, it was so intimidating. They're loud, powerful, exhilarating and frightening at the same time," says Paetkau.
But the actor admits now that he's familiar with pulling the trigger, "playing with guns is not a bad way to spend the day."
City of neighborhoods
Born and raised in Vancouver, B.C., Paetkau has now found himself in unfamiliar turf, shooting "Flashpoint" on location in Toronto.
Though he says his heart will always be out west, he's quickly growing to love life in Hogtown.
"I'm starting to get to know the city -- and the great thing is, when you ask someone what their favourite neighborhood is, everyone has a different answer!"
However, the actor doesn't have any plans to move to Ontario anytime soon.
CTV announced earlier this week that "Flashpoint" will return for a second season, with production set to begin in early 2009.
Full episodes are currently available on the CTV Video Player.