Friendship Goals with Loretta Walsh & Johannah Newmarch, Part I | Super Channel


Friendship Goals with Loretta Walsh & Johannah Newmarch, Part I

Friendship Goals with Loretta Walsh & Johannah Newmarch, Part I

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Desiree D


Hope Valley is a place of frequent visitors, new townsfolk, and friends that become family. From the first episode of season one, Florence Blakeley and Molly Sullivan have been on screen examples of friendship, community, healing, and humour. Florence first appeared in the Mercantile where she made sure to note that Elizabeth was two days past her expected arrival. Molly made her debut only minutes later in the scene with an eyebrow raise when Miss Thatcher indicated she needed a drink, but not a drink-drink.

Episode two was the first time that Team FloMo appeared together while the widows were determining what their future would hold. From that moment forward, the bond that they share would be demonstrated throughout the seasons, in their support of each other and their heart for helping others. As fans continue to delight in their growth and transformation, including their enjoyable storylines in season eight, Loretta and Johannah sat down with us in a special duo interview, to share more about their characters and how Florence and Molly really are friendship goals.

SC: If you could pull a freaky Friday with each other’s character, which scene would you choose to play?

LW: I know what it is for me. It would be all of the scenes when Molly thought she had Meningitis. It would be all of the stuff in the infirmary when you were flipping out about your new job. That story I loved, and it was gold. Hypochondriac Molly, there’s just something so funny about that.

JN: That was funny. Thank you, Derek [Thompson] for that, it was delightful. I can’t really talk about the scene I’d want to swap with Florence without giving spoilers, as it’s still upcoming in Season 8. But it was such a beautiful scene for an actor, and I loved watching Loretta do it so much that it made me want to do that same one. However, I did really enjoy Florence’s scenes in the Mercantile with the phones. It was such an obvious and great way to be involved in the town’s business, whether you’re trying to be or not. I thought Loretta had a lot of great moments alone, with Fiona, and with Ned, which laid the foundation for what comes this season. Watching Florence learn the ropes of the phones with Fiona was just delightful.

SC: There have been some great lines from FloMo over the years, such as Florence’s “go back to Latin or wherever it is you come from” to “we can’t have an outlaw preaching from the pulpit” to Molly’s “scandalous” or her latest “twenty-three dollars, well spent.” So, over the seasons whose delivery is more likely to crack the other person up?

JN: Oh, Florence for sure! Because come on, do you know how hard it was to keep a straight face when she was like “the music is quite provocative” and she pulled down her jacket? It was the hardest acting exercise I've ever had to do to keep a straight face in that scene. Absolutely delightful.

Friendship Goals with Loretta Walsh & Johannah Newmarch, Part I

LW: I know myself, and if I start laughing, I will not stop. I really, really try to keep that window shut, because if I start, I’m not getting my lines out and I will become a problem. Sometimes that happens to me when I'm in the background of scenes and I'll be talking to Johannah or someone else and I'll get the giggles. Then I’ll go do ADR and they’ll be like, “so what were you talking about in the background?” and I’m like “um… going to IKEA after this.” So I try to keep it professional, you know? (shrugs her shoulders).

JN: We were completely loopy and high on sugar from crafty at that point, so who knows what crazy stuff we were chatting about.

SC: How did you keep a straight face during that Christmas salami scene?

Friendship Goals with Loretta Walsh & Johannah Newmarch, Part I

JN: Oh, it was difficult. And Lori was not helping because she thought it was hilarious too. And you know that wonderful laugh of Lori’s, that deep, throaty, beautiful, wonderful from her whole soul, laugh. She would start doing that, and Loretta and I would just have to keep a straight face, because if we went there with her that scene would never have happened.

LW: Yeah, certain things happen sometimes where I can’t think about it too much. I just need to do it and then I can laugh about it later.

JN: But when I see that GIF where you can see the salami come into frame and Florence and I look at it, I lose it every time. I laugh out loud. It’s very funny.

LW: It’s funny! I definitely laugh when I read the scripts. When I first read the scene with Florence and Ned where she’s, “I’ve heard from so many just how gallant you are” and “He was charging into that raging inferno…” I was on the floor. I sent Derek [Thompson] a message and said it was so funny and I’m LOLing all over the place right now. So, I try and get it out of my system. I’ve had “inappropriate mustard” and so many other funny things to say and the writers have a good time in some of the things they write for Flo and I’m happy to play.

JN: But that’s what’s so great about Florence, that kind of repressed femininity or sensuality, it’s so funny.

SC: FloMo frequents Abigail’s and a lot of great scenes with them have happened there. What do you think each of their favourite item is on her menu?

LW: Oh you know, it's gotta be something sweet. [Johannah agrees]. Like the pastries at Abigail’s are most fabulous, so I think it’s gotta be a pie.

JN: I was just going to say it's a pie for Molly, for sure.

LW: Maybe Mo and Flo share a pie with some tea on the side.

JN: Whatever is the pie of the season works for me.

LW: One pie, two forks.

JN: Yes! And you’re right, that actually has been a really wonderful location for a lot of bonding.

SC: What do you think your character sees in the other person? What makes this friendship so special?

LW: I think that Florence and Molly are forever bonded because they went through a very intense loss and grieving process. As human beings that joint pain is very connecting and it’s really bonding. So, I think that there's just a real understanding between these two women, that I got your back, ride or die. I’ve seen you at your worst, and I know you were at your worst because I was too. There's such a loyalty and a love between these two friends because they went through something so incredibly traumatic together. I think they were probably friends before that, but I think that really consolidated the depths of their friendship. It is really nice, that we get to see along the seasons, like when Molly gets her first job, Florence goes to Carson and says, “listen, this is a big deal for her. I know her, and I know what she's going through because she's my friend and also because I've experienced it.” I guess as human beings we all want the same thing in many ways, and that is to be seen. And I think that Molly and Florence really see each other.

JN: So beautiful. I think that's what's particularly moving about this season, so I'd say what Florence sees in Molly and what Molly sees in Florence is exactly that: someone who has your back, no matter what. For good or for worse, when you make a fool of yourself and put your foot in your mouth, she's the one who's going to get up from the table and follow you out when you just embarrassed yourself. That was subtle but it spoke volumes to me. I love that someone tweeted about that “friendship goals is Florence getting up from the table when Molly’s just made an ass of herself and followed her out.” That’s been there all along, unspoken, and that's what's so nice about it. They don't need to talk about it, it's just there. It's just understood that we have each other’s backs and that we’re bonded for life. As Loretta said, through trauma and just the need for companionship. I’m sure our families have dinner together often because we don’t have husbands and we need companionship. There’s one particular scene coming up where the unspoken is vocalized and I think that was John Tinker’s particular magic for us this season. It’s very, very beautiful and was hard for Loretta and I to keep it together. Florence thanks Molly for her friendship and it’s very, very touching.

LW: It’s beautiful. That scene is literally the reason why I wanted to do this show. I really wanted to do a show about the importance of women’s friendships and how important and deep that sisterhood is, and how we are just stronger together. That’s why when I got the script way back in season one, I was like “I’m so into this” and was exactly what I had been looking for. It’s beautiful because Johannah and I have had an opportunity to spend a lot of time together, and you know Johannah, I really value you as a friend in real life. We met on this show and I think that beautiful things have come from it, and that is one of the things that I value most.

JN: Absolutely sweetheart. We’ve gone through so much together, much like Molly and Florence. We’ve been there for each other through the whole thing and I deeply, deeply value you too. And this season is such a beautiful manifestation of that, and I’m grateful to John Tinker for that opportunity.

SC: Season one really matched these ladies’ personalities with grit and determination. What would you say is your favourite part of your character’s growth over these past 8 seasons?

LW: I just think that for Florence and probably for Molly too, but that Florence has been on such a mission to heal. When we met these characters, they were really in crisis and they were really in grief. I think that for Florence she's come so far, and she's had to make a lot of mistakes, but the beautiful thing about Hope Valley is that she gets to make mistakes and people go, “you made a mistake, but you can fix it, you’re going to learn from it, and we love and accept you.” I'm not sure I can pick a favorite thing because there's been so much development over the years. Florence was just very brittle, very defensive, very judgmental, and very persnickety, because she was in so much pain, so much emotional pain. So, I think throughout the seasons she's had an opportunity to defrost a little bit. She’s done so in different ways, through helping the community, being the first to say, “what do you need? I’ll make a casserole,” to caring for kids, and then having personal growth through getting her first job, to that sign from her long lost husband, which was a big turning point for her. It became a place of really healing and not just compartmentalizing to survive. It was, “I’m going to heal through that survival and now I’m going to thrive.” So much growth and so much healing.

JN: It’s almost like sometimes because Florence and Molly have done so much together that you forget how much they’ve grown. It’s like having your own kids and seeing them every day and then someone who hasn’t seen them in a year says, “you’ve grown so much.” It’s fun to stop and think about where we’ve started and how far they have come. I would say a similar thing for Molly; it took several seasons of her being a very grounded person to just get through the trauma. There were children to raise and no income anymore. When the settlement money came through it gave a bit of money to live on, and we could start to focus on returning back to life and what our future would hold. I’m not saying she’s not still a grounded person, and her character has probably changed a bit dramatically in some departments, but I do think that what I have enjoyed about her development is her sense of playfulness and humour. There is a feistiness that obviously wasn’t there when you first met her because it was just dark times. And in terms of healing, where the brittleness has softened for Florence, what has come to the forefront for Molly has been her sweetness, her playfulness, and her sense of humour. I’ve really, really enjoyed that softening of both of the characters.

LW: I think Hope Valley is kind of a character within this series and that Florence and Molly really kind of speak for the people of Hope Valley. We’re kind of a temperature check of what everyone is talking about right now and we can tell you what is going on. They are such loyal characters and just really are those ladies who are there with a casserole and a smile. “What can I do? What can I do to make you feel loved? What can I do to make you feel supported?” They have such big hearts and it’s lovely to be included in all of that stuff, like decorating the nursery. I think in earlier seasons that a lot of reactions to Florence was a lot of rolled eyes and you know she’s being persnickety, but it’s lovely because she’s still friends with everyone. So you can make mistakes, be imperfect, be a bit out there, but you’re still a part of this community. I think that’s one of the lovely things about what the show is and what Hope Valley represents, is that it’s kind of the place that everybody would want to live.

JN: I think one of the big themes of the show, Loretta, as you're alluding to, is forgiveness.

LW: Yes. With different townsfolk, I think there’s been some big leaps for certain characters, which is indicative of different writers and different showrunners and just in some cases the evolution of characters. But yes, forgiveness and redemption are big parts of the fabric of Hope Valley, which I love – you can make mistakes and not be “cancelled” – you can learn, make amends and do better.

SC: What are three things that your character is looking for in a suitor? And Johannah, you had said at HFR3 that all you ask for is good teeth, so let’s just say that’s a given.

JN: I do think it has to be a man who can match Molly’s banter and handle some sass and feistiness. (And, as you know, we’ve seen some really fun examples of that this season between Bill and Molly.) I know that in my own life I very much value that; a man that can take the sweet and the salty, and I think Molly feels the same way. It’s like that Marilyn Monroe quote, “if you can’t love me at my worst, you certainly don’t deserve me at my best.” I’d then say that another quality that is important to Molly and also something that deepened her interest in Bill this season, is integrity, and strength of character. I think Molly values consistency, knowing that the man will always have her back and do the right thing. For the third thing, I think she wants a partner who is robust enough, both in body and spirit, to handle the very real challenges of frontier life, but who can also be tender and loving.

LW: I think the three things that Florence really values in a relationship, romantic or otherwise, really is integrity, kindness, and humour. She’s looking for somebody who has a similar belief system that she does, someone who's really kind of heart and is forgiving because she acknowledges that she's very imperfect. I really think that Florence actually does have a sense of humour and there's very few people who get to see it. And we know for a fact that her husband loved that about her, and so I think she's also looking for someone to laugh with. She still loves life and still loves to laugh.

JN: What a wonderful answer. You’re right, her humour is very dry, but oh man is it there.



SC: Johannah, is there anything else that you think Molly sees in Bill? Loretta, how about Florence and Ned?

JN: He’s very true blue. Whether he’s like Florence and a bit crusty or a bit grumpy, underneath it all is someone who is always there, tries to do the right thing, and cares very deeply. It also has to do with his tenderness and kind heart, like he was able to show with Clara, demonstrated so beautifully during her wedding. Bill has had a chance to show that thanks to the writers and to Jack’s skill as an actor. He’s been in scenes where he’s the stoic ex-Mountie or judge doing the right thing for the town, and then times when he can really show his sweetness. I think Molly really values that and it’s one of the reasons why her attentions are drawn to Bill. Over the years Molly’s had a chance to see all these compelling dimensions to his character, so certainly makes sense to me why she’s finally decided to go for it and begin flirtations this season.

LW: Florence and Ned have known each other and been good friends for many years. I think the growing attraction with both of these characters comes from a place of familiarity – they both have very similar morals and integrity in that they know and love Hope Valley and want to uphold a certain set of virtues plus they share a sense of camaraderie and humour together. For both of these characters, I think “moving on” after losing their first spouses has been a major obstacle to finding love again. In this season we get a chance to see them open up to the possibility of a second chance at romantic love and to discover that maybe that special someone has been right in front of them the whole time. They have a wonderful friendship to now build a romance from and it’s been a delight to discover and create that with Hrothgar and the writers and directors of the show. I think the Hearties are going to be tickled by what’s in store at the Mercantile this season ☺ One thing I would like to re-iterate to the Hearties is that for both Florence and Molly, the choice to “Try” and to put themselves out there to potentially change and be vulnerable enough to look for romantic love and connection was NOT easy. There were scenes that were cut that really showed how difficult it was for them to open themselves up to love again. None of the decisions these characters make this season were “easy” but like the Anais Nin quote “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” In Season 8 FloMo’s taking some chances in order to bloom.

SC: How would you say that Loretta is similar and different to Florence?

JN: Oh, that's so fun. I'm going to start with the differences: Loretta is obviously much less brittle than Florence and much, much less judgmental and uptight. Loretta absolutely knows how to have a great time, how to crack a joke, and crack the whole room up. She’s from Australia and the Aussies are known for their humour and lack of preciousness. They're known for just letting ‘er rip, which is delightful. So yes, she's very, very opposite from Florence in that point of view. Loretta wears her heart much more on her sleeve than Florence. You do get to see that side of Florence, but it’s not right out on the open, whereas Loretta is warm and openly emotional in the loveliest of way. Her emotional world is very accessible, and you feel enveloped by her warmth and her empathy and her sisterhood. But how she’s similar: Loretta is so feisty, strong and feisty, and she will one thousand percent take a bullet or go to bat for those that she loves. She’s a very powerful advocate for anybody that she cares for, and she will one hundred percent raise her voice and tell you exactly what is acceptable or not acceptable, and I really admire that. She is a huge advocate for her daughter, and for what she believes in as a woman and as a creative. Loretta has a lot of integrity and so that’s a great similarity. Like Florence, Loretta is an incredible friend and if you need her, she is there. She will listen, she will empathize with you, and she’ll bring you a cup of hot tea or rub your back when you’re having a terrible day, of which I have had many. So she’s very, very true blue. Loretta brings so much of her own self to Florence, so it’s funny, I would say that it’s a 50-50 mix; 50% of Florence is very much not Loretta and the other 50% is one hundred percent Loretta. Although I do have to say, Florence’s best qualities are Loretta.

SC: How would you say that Johannah is similar and different to Molly?

LW: I think that Johannah has the same sense of humour that Molly has, for sure. It’s a little bit different this season because we're seeing a bit more of a playful, kind of almost zingy part of Molly, which is very Johannah. Like she's playful, but she's like “just the facts ma'am just the facts”. She’s a straight shooter, which we’re seeing some more of that in Molly this year, which is delightful. Also, in the earlier seasons, like in season one, I know Johannah to be incredibly strong and forthright, and just an incredibly powerful woman, but I also know she’s so tender and so emotional and has such a big heart. So we got to see more of that in the earlier seasons with Molly, but that’s also a big similarity between the two. The difference is that I just don't think that Johannah is gossipy at all and she’s not as indecisive as Molly. I feel like Johannah really knows who she is and what she wants, and I think Molly is still trying to figure some of that out.

SC: With a friendship that spans eight seasons and two beloved characters that have been part of it all, it wouldn’t be fair to the Hearties to end this interview here. Be sure to tune in next week for part 2 of the conversation with Loretta and Johannah, as there are some real treasures of their friendship on and off the screen, that you just won’t want to miss.

Social Media:

Loretta Walsh:
Facebook: LorettaWalshActor
Twitter: @loretta_walsh
Instagram: loretta_walsh

Johannah Newmarch:
Facebook: JoNewmarch
Twitter: @JoNewmarch
Instagram: johannahnewmarch