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After Kai Bradbury’s dramatic introduction as Doc Mullins’ (Tim Matheson) long-lost grandson Denny, in Season 4 of Virgin River on Netflix the Canadian actor is further complicating relationships in the remote northern California town (actually filmed in British Columbia).
“When we meet Denny, we've definitely kind of crafted him in a way that is ambiguous,” Bradbury teased to Yahoo Canada. “We want to ride this ride of intrigue, and sort of figure out what he's really up to, so we've got really kind of fun red herrings, rumours going around about him.”
“I love to end his arc for the season with great and emotional payoff.”
"Emotional payoff" at the end of the season is certainly accurate but without spoiling the finale, we will say that any Virgin River fans who love seeing Ricky and Lizzie’s romance (played by Grayson Maxwell Gurnsey and Sarah Dugdale), may not like Denny’s presence in Virgin River, creating a classic love triangle while Lizzie is still mad at Ricky for not telling her about joining the Marines.
Doc is relatively quick to take in the grandson he never knew he had, but much like the pattern of this romantic drama, no one is as they seem in Virgin River. Eventually moving in with Doc and Hope (Annette O'Toole), while Hope is recovering from her traumatic brain injury, much of Season 4 of the show is trying to figure out if Denny is well intentioned in his journey to Virgin River, or if he has something more deceptive and sinister planned.
For Bradbury, what really excited the actor about playing Denny is getting to work very closely with acting legends, particularly Tim Matheson and Annette O'Toole.
“Tim Matheson and Annette O'Toole are part of projects that I've seen as a kid, as an adult, they were in shows and movies that I hadn't even realized that I'd seen them in, until I got to work with them,” Bradbury said.
“It's so fun to play. With their experience, everything just seems so effortless and getting to observe them,...it's just kind of like learning by osmosis, you pick up their demeanour and the way that they carry themselves, and you're inspired immediately.”
'It's like one giant Explore BC ad'
Virgin River is just one of many shows that Netflix has filmed in Canada, in B.C. in particular, filmed around Vancouver, Snug Cove, Squamish, Burnaby and Port Coquitlam. For Kai Bradbury, he loves to be able to put his backyard on the screen for the world to see.
“It's such a gift for our local industry here and just a real pleasure to film at these incredibly beautiful parts of my hometown really, I mean, it's like one giant Explore BC ad, and I hope that many people come and seek out our Virgin River so they can see it for themselves,” Bradbury said.
“I'm always ready to crack a Canada joke or giving some advice on what's around for the Americans who are visiting.”
While Virgin River has completed filming four seasons of the show in Canada, there are still a few things that seem to confuse Americans. As Bradbury identified, one of these confusions is wearing shorts in the winter.
“Me, Tim and Annette were talking…about, why do we wear shorts in the wintertime, despite the weather, that is still up for debate,” Bradbury said.
“I've been known to wear shorts in the wintertime… The winter look with shorts also includes big jackets and touques.”
Next up in his career, we’ll be able to see Kai Bradbury in the upcoming Netflix series The Imperfects, which the actor describes as a “coming-of-age, action-thriller.” While the actor has had great success in TV and streaming shows, he hopes to be able to venture into the feature film space.
Additionally, with his love of acting starting when he joined his high school improv troupe, Bradbury is hoping to do more comedy in the future.
“I'm really hungry to do features, I’ve been blessed to do a lot of television and streaming stuff, which is great, but there's something about telling a contained story, almost short form, really, because when you're doing television it's almost more long form, really, than a film in many ways,” Bradbury said.
“So I'm hungry to do features and comedy. I find that in Vancouver, as many shows as we get, we don't often get as many comedies here.”
As the actor’s career continues to take off, he has a simple piece of advice for aspiring Canadian actors, “dream big.”
“When I was a teenager, my mom gave me this little sign that says ‘dream big’ and I still keep it by my bed because at the end of the day, it's really yourself that’s holding you back from everything,” Bradbury said.