Grace Dove, who grew up in Prince George, plays resilient reporter Roz Friendly in the ABC drama series Alaska Daily and the second episode is tonight at 10 p.m.
The series stars Dove along with Hilary Swank and Jeff Perry and is set at an Alaskan newspaper whose staff is starting to investigate what happened to the many Indigenous women that went missing over the last several years.
“Tom McCarthy, Oscar-winning director, the one who cast me and trusted me to portray Roz, was given an article called Lawless, that was written by a reporter, Kyle Hopkins, who worked for the Anchorage Daily News. The article talked about how missing and murdered Indigenous women are not given any kind of attention and how all these murders are happening and no one is doing anything about it. So everything about the show is based on reality and what is happening in Alaska and across Turtle Island, across Canada and the United States and so Tom was inspired and felt he needed to do something about it. So for me – I grew up along the Highway of Tears in Prince George, and I’ve been aware and affected personally by these murders and how little is being done about it, so it’s always been my mission as an actor to tell stories that are important. There’s enough going on in the world that’s not being brought to light. I have been asked to be an advocate and a voice for my people and when I became an actor I didn’t know that was going to be the work that I would be doing but it’s all come together. I realize I am in a position where people will listen and so this is the dream come true – the work that I’ve always wanted to do - to use my voice and spread awareness for my people.”
Dove said the television show is a bigger platform than the films (like The Revenant) she’s done in the past.
“I imagine that this subject is something that some people are hearing about for the first time because it’s on their television screens in their living rooms,” Dove said. “This is just the beginning of the conversation and people who watch the show can now spread the word and have important conversations around the dinner table, contribute to the cause and stand up for Indigenous people.”
Behind the scenes, Dove said she feels safe and protected on the set of Alaska Daily.
“Everything from my costumes, my hair and my makeup – everyone is going above and beyond to find me really important pieces – to hire Alaska Natives to make my jewelry – to design the artwork on the back of my jacket, to make my hair pieces – you know, these are the things that I have been asking for in every project I do and in every role but normally it’s such a struggle. I have to really emphasize the importance of authenticity and on this show we’re coming at it from all sides and they are just as excited about representing Alaska Natives authentically as I am and so it’s just been so much fun and really healing.”
Dove said the costume designer went up to Alaska and bought an entire hall of jewelry for her to wear throughout the season that is created by artisans from the Tlingit Nation that in her role she is proudly representing.
“For me that contribution and that much thought is what makes this show stand out,” Dove said.
The dedication of the crew was something that Dove really appreciates on the set of Alaska Daily.
“These people are so dedicated,” Dove said. “They show up to work for basically two full-time jobs when it comes to our hours and show up every day in such good spirits and are so supportive and are always so pleasant to be with. In our industry you have to really love it because unlike in film – which I’ve mostly done in my previous body of work - you go for a six week push and then you’re done whereas we’re here for six months and sometimes we’re doing six-day weeks and everyone works so hard and still shows up with such a good attitude and it’s just so enlightening and it makes me feel really, really good.”