Heartland’s Amber Marshall on Why Fans Love the Show and How It’s Changed Her Life

For 14 years, Amber Marshall has been Canada’s sweetheart on CBC’s “Heartland,” the longest-running one-hour drama in Canadian television history. Her character, Amy Fleming, has navigated love, loss, parenthood, and now, in season 14, sudden widowhood. Maclean’s writer Aaron Hutchins spoke with Marshall about the end of a beloved TV couple and the future of “Heartland.”

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Saying Goodbye to Ty

The season 14 premiere throws fans a curveball with the death of Amy’s on-screen husband, Ty Borden, played by Graham Wardle. While the loss is shocking for viewers, Marshall reveals it wasn’t a sudden decision. Wardle informed the showrunners of his desire to leave five years ago, leading to a gradual storyline shift to ease the transition.

Beyond the Screen Romance

Fans often mistook the on-screen chemistry between Marshall and Wardle for a real-life romance. Marshall clarifies that while they portrayed a loving couple, their personal lives were quite different. She emphasizes the challenges of portraying a long-term relationship while the actors themselves have separate lives and interests.

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A Show That Grows with its Audience

“Heartland” has resonated with viewers for its wholesome content and focus on family overcoming adversity. Marshall highlights the importance of the show’s core cast, but acknowledges the need for growth. Despite initial concerns about the impact of Ty’s death, she believes it opens a new chapter for the show, allowing viewers to see the strength of the Fleming family in overcoming grief.

Life on and Off the Ranch

Marshall’s dedication to authenticity extends beyond acting. She shares her love for animals, revealing a passion for a wider variety than just horses, unlike her character Amy. Interestingly, Marshall notes how the show and her own life have begun to influence each other. Living on a ranch in Alberta has blurred the lines between her and Amy, creating a unique blend of reality and portrayal.

Heartland’s Enduring Appeal

In a world of fast-paced, often dark content, “Heartland” offers a refuge. Marshall believes viewers crave wholesome stories that provide comfort and escape. The show’s focus on family, animals, and overcoming challenges resonates with audiences seeking a sense of warmth and positivity.

A Career Shaped by Openness

While Marshall is now synonymous with “Heartland,” she reflects on a childhood dream of becoming a veterinarian. However, hands-on experience at a vet clinic revealed a different reality. She emphasizes the importance of being open to new opportunities, a philosophy that led her to acting and ultimately, “Heartland.”

Finding Authenticity

Despite not being a real-life horse whisperer, Marshall highlights the years of working with trainers and cowboys that have honed her riding skills. She strives for authenticity in her portrayal, serving as a role model for aspiring equestrians.

The Blurring of Lines Between Actress and Character

Marshall acknowledges the difficulty in pinpointing major differences between herself and Amy. Years of playing the character have influenced both, with the writers adapting Amy to reflect some of Marshall’s own personality. Living on a ranch has further solidified this connection, creating a unique situation where character and actress have become intertwined.

Finding Home in Heartland

Although born in Ontario, Marshall feels a deep connection to Alberta, the show’s filming location. Purchasing her own ranch solidified her ties to the province. She views Alberta as the true embodiment of “Heartland,” a place that feels like home.

Source: https://edition.cnn.com/

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