Published: Monday, 22 January 2024 15:20 | Written by Jamie Ruby
Recently, SkyMed returned to Paramount Plus for all-new episodes of season two. The Canadian medical drama follows a group of nurses and pilots in remote Northern Canada who work medical rescue. This season, Nowak (Thomas Elms) and Tristan (Kheon Clarke) become more serious, but also have their ups and downs as they struggle with trust and being in a committed relationship.
Elms and Clarke recently spoke with SciFi Vision about the new season, the characters’ relationship, playing volleyball in the snow half naked, who they’d like more scenes with, and more.
Watch the full interview or read the transcript below, and stream the entire season of SkyMed now on Paramount Plus.
***edited for clarity***
SCIFI VISION: Can both of you start about talking about sort of your characters relationship together, and how that develops the season.
KHEON CLARKE: Well, I guess from season one, speaking from Tristan, his perspective, he was transitioning into being in an actual committed relationship, because he didn't know what love was or anything in that sense. So, I guess season two is just exploring how he handles being in a committed relationship, being faithful and honest. So, without giving too much away, there's that journey. That's a quick answer. Thomas?
THOMAS ELMS: Yeah, I mean, Nowak, at least, you really get to see him sort of jumping headfirst into a relationship, which is sort of not what I would have suspected of him. But it's, I think, really cool as far as like, the chance we get to play, you know, the highs and lows of love, of romance, and of real, real love, the scary kind of love, where you're starting to think about your life in terms of another person. And from an acting point of view, it’s great, because you get all highs of the highs, and that sort of what it could be and, oh they're so great together. And then, inevitably things get weird, especially when you're working together. You're in a remote place…kind of sitting around the campfire. It's a very tribal kind of work environment, SkyMed. You're sort of at the edge of nowhere trying to carry on a normal life. And at the same time, the conditions are so different, you're sort of drawn towards whoever kind of is there for you at the time. And we get to see a couple of new elements thrown into the mix. There're some old friendships there that complicate things when it's kind of like, we both sort of got eyes for the same for the same prize here. So what's going to happen? Without giving too much away, there’re some new characters that get thrown in. It was really cool sort of getting to act in a bit of a love triangle for a little bit? I guess I can give that away…It was cool, because I got to do some friend acting, some best friend acting, and that gets a little complicated, I think, and some trust barriers get broken in the show, and, you know, trying to get stitched back together. At the same time, everyone's really sort of out for what they want, and people are following their hearts. And I think Nowak's there following his heart as well. He may not exactly know what the destination is or where he's going, but he's always been a courageous person, and he's always been a person that sort of is there kind of on his own for the most part. So, I'm not really surprised with some of the decisions he makes or how much he chooses to invest himself in Tristan and his relationship. And it makes for some really, really fun acting, from a personal point of view.
SCIFI VISION: I wanted to talk about sort of the trust between the two of them. I think it's Tristan who makes a comment later in the season, something like he needs someone to trust him, where Nowak needs to be patient and learn to trust. So, can you both sort of talk specifically to that and how they are dealing with that
KHEON CLARKE: Well, it all plays with like, themes right? Well, you see like Nowak gets a little ready to throw hands when someone's stepping in, in the way of him and his man. So that's the Nowak needing to trust part, and like, well, Tristan, with the redemption, well, trying to get redemption for the loss of his brother, and not feeling like certain members of his family trust him really, and being able to be trusted in a relationship. So, there's that dynamic. Again, I don't want to give too much away…Everyone's got to watch and tune in.
SCIFI VISION: Do you have anything to add, Thomas?
THOMAS ELMS: I think it's a unique experience, again, for me to get to play a character who is head over heels in love with someone, and I think everyone can relate to that journey, like the the fear that's involved. You know, like, I'm taking a big risk; I'm putting myself out there and putting my heart sort of effectively in someone else's hands. And that's a new thing for Nowak, and you'll get to learn a little bit more about his backstory. We already kind of get a sense that things aren't that great at home for him. So, he's very much like a guy who takes his home on the road, you know, and finds his home. And I think SkyMed really has become the family, whether they know it or not, really, truly understand it to that extent. I think Lexi understands, maybe, to quite the extent of how much it costs him to have a friend like that. Because I think, in Nowak's mind, it's like, the more you trust people, the more you have to lose, and the more you're setting yourself up for disappointment. So, he's sort of become someone who really is just guarded with his heart, and that's why it's kind of surprising to see himself really, dive into this this romance he's found, but I truly think that he's in love. And we kind of explore that in the show in some pretty extreme ways, but it never really loses its humanity, which I think is really nice. So, people are, I think, gonna be able to relate to a lot of what Tristan and Nowak go through in this season. There're some tough moments and some stuff that I wasn't super happy, like, just personally doing, you know, it's hard being in a relationship with someone. It's hard falling out of love with someone, falling back into love with someone, making mistakes, and all these things that we've all kind of experienced before happens to these characters. They're real people. And it was scary, actually, for me at least, to get to do some of these scenes at such a high level of intensity, but I hope the audience gets rewarded with some good honest acting and some some truthful performances and some honest, raw stuff. So, I hope you enjoyed it. It was a pleasure to act it.
SCIFI VISION: Going off of that, did you find that part challenging? I mean, obviously, you don't have some of the same things happen in this season, but sort of that high intensity of the relationship, did you find that challenging, or did it come more natural?
KHEON CLARKE: Ah, it was a little bit challenging, because, like, I don't know whether people want to believe this or not, I've never been the the sneaky dude. When it comes to like, say, if I'm in a committed relationship, I've never been like, “Oh, well, I just did this thing I know my partner's not going to like, but I'm just gonna sweep it under the rug.” So, for me, finding a sense of truthfulness in that, I just my brain, I can't operate like that.
SCIFI VISION: That’s good, we don't want you to operate like that!
KHEON CLARKE: …Okay, don't get me wrong. I do know some people that are sneaky. So, I kind of had to take from their lives. I'm like, “How would I be in that situation?” But then I kind of go back to well, I’d feel guilty as heck if I was in that situation…Tristan does feel guilty, but like, in certain moments…I kind of think in moments like that, people say like, “Oh, I made a mistake,” but you're really kind of not fully respecting the other person. So, I guess to wrap my mind around that or justifying the wrongdoing, but, as you'll see - and I don't want to give away what episode it is - Tristan realizes that, and that's also it's a part of his journey of dealing with being in a committed loyal relationship. Yeah, I don't want to give too much away. But it was kind of tough for me…that kind of grosses me out a bit. So I have to get over that and just kind of veer into that kind of space. But then, the redemption is like, “Okay, this is how I would feel if I was being dishonest to somebody about my actions.” So, it was a bit tough, but it was fun, because with acting, you get to step outside of your comfort zone and get to play different characters. [Some people] say you’ve got to bring yourself into some of the characters that you play, but then sometimes you don't really have that experience, so you have to draw from other places. So, it was a process, but I loved it, and I had a lot of fun doing it.
SCIFI VISION: Both of you, talk about filming volleyball in the snow, because that - I don't know if I want to say it looks fun or not. I mean, you guys made it as characters look fun, but I would think it would not have been fun.
THOMAS ELMS: Oh, that's we could do a whole interview talking about that day. That was the one of the best days on the whole season. Absolutely. I mean, it was cold. I'll be honest, it was very, very cold. You know, what's funny is the cold didn't affect any of us until like minutes [into] filming. Several takes later, the cold started to kind of - we started to realize, “Oh, we're in our underwear,” and it's like minus ten or something like that. Isn't that crazy? But I think just the adrenaline was so high on that day, we were all like, you know, we had a cozy house to warm up in, to prepare in, and then it was like, “Hey, robes off. Here we go. We're getting out there.” But the adrenaline was so high, everyone was doing jumping jacks and had the bands out. We were doing resistance bands and push ups. I was drinking green tea, like my body temperature was so high just in anticipation for that scene. We got out there, and I was actually worried that people weren't going to believe it was cold outside, because we were just having so much fun out there. I was like, “No, it actually was very, very cold on that day, but you can't really tell it with how invested everybody is in the action.”
SCIFI VISION: …Do you have anything to add?
KHEON CLARKE: I'll say this. If you asked me five years ago if I would ever be filming a scene where I'm playing volleyball in my underwear outside in the snow, I would call you a damn liar. When I first read that in the script, I was like, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” So, I was I was a little afraid because - not afraid. I'm not afraid of cold, but a lot of people don't know, I was born in Jamaica. So, I'm an equator baby, so sun sunshine is my friend. The cold, it was - I'm not going to lie. I was probably the coldest one out of everyone. But when we had to go and the director yelled action, that leaves your mind and you just dive into it. “Cut!” “Where’s the jacket? Where the Tea?” But no, it was a lot of fun. And again, doing something like that, it's outside of my comfort zone. In real life would I play volleyball in my underwear? No, outside in the cold, there's no chance. But it was a great experience to do something outside of my comfort zone, something I thought I'd never do. And looking back, it’s hilarious how I was behaving, because I was freezing my my buns off. But that's an experience I'm never going to forget. And I really appreciate it, and yeah, hopefully there's a lot more fun things in the future for me, but underwear volleyball in the snow, yeah, that's something I gotta check off for sure.
SCIFI VISION: …Obviously, you have scenes with everybody, but the majority of it, you act together. Who's somebody else in the cast that you both would like to get more scenes with?
THOMAS ELMS: Oh, that's a great question. Do you want to start Kheon?
KHEON CLARKE: I'd say Praneet [Akilla] I've rarely had any scenes [with him]. I mean, I’ve had a scene though too in this season, like, for example when they go to do some rescues and Chopper – Praneet is Chopper if anyone doesn't know - and I haven't gone on a lot of rescue missions where he's one of the pilots. But I don’t know, I’d say I’d like to do more scenes with Praneet and Ace [Nadjiwon] [who] plays Bodie. Praneet and Ace, I'd say, and, yeah, I think I've had fairly good amount of scenes with everyone else but those are the two I'd say I've had the least amount of scenes that I'd like to do more scenes with.
THOMAS ELMS: Great choice. Yeah, I mean, everybody on the cast is just so terrific. From a character point of view, I think it'd be cool to see Nowak teamed up with Crystal (Morgan Holmstrom). I think Crystal is very much like the the mama bear energy of the group, and Nowak can kind of have some papa bear energy to him too, so I think they'd be an absolute powerhouse duo in whatever they accomplished together. I'd love to do a little bit of acting with Natasha [Calis]. I have haven't gotten to do too many stuff with Haley's character and Nowak. Even though there's a bit of warmth there, she's still sort of kind of on the outside of the team with a lot of the her personal life stuff. She keeps kind of guarded, and I think they're similar in that way with some personal secrets. And from a personal point of view, like just any of those guys on the team. You know, Ace, Praneet. Braeden Clarke is actually a good friend of mine who plays Jeremy, and I think his acting is just so incredibly, wonderful, and honest and free. I'd just love to do any scene with him if possible. So, Julie, if you're out there, Nowak-Jeremy teamup. But, honestly, everyone in this cast is just so phenomenal. I've been lucky to do most of my stuff with Kheon and Mercedes, and this year, season two, there's a new character that gets thrown into a mix. We’ve got an old friend of [Nowak]’s who kind of starts sniffing his nose around the campground, and I don't know how happy about that I am. But, yeah, it was really rewarding to get some new characters thrown into…who Kheon and I are used to playing with. There're so many people; everyone on that cast is so phenomenal.