Gabriel Hogan – Murder She Baked
By: Ruth Hill
If you are familiar with the phenomenon known as “Heartland,” there’s an excellent chance you will recognize Gabriel Hogan. Hogan actually has plenty of Hallmark Christmas films to his credit as well. But for me, it is the Murder She Baked series of films that officially introduced me to this dashing and debonair actor who plays the safe, but always proper dentist who attempts to woo the vivacious Hannah as played by Ali Sweeney. I was able to talk with this accomplished man about his upcoming works and his views on his popular Hallmark Movies & Mysteries character.
What inspired you to become an actor?
I grew up in a theater family, so you could say it is in my blood. My parents, Michael and Susan Hogan, have had their own successful careers. I kind of grew up in the Green Room and it was all I really knew. While I wasn’t a child actor, it was just a natural progression that I finally would enter the acting profession. As you might say, I resisted as long as I could. And so here I am, carrying on the family business, so to speak.
Since you are a part of “Heartland,” what is it about that show that has kept such a loyal fanbase even today?
I think it’s kind of like the Murder She Baked franchise. It resonates with the same kind of audience. It’s a female-driven show that follows three generations of daughters on a ranch. Mainly, it’s clean, family-friendly, funny and light. It’s truly a pleasure to film in the beautiful scenery of the foothills and that ranch. Although season nine has officially ended (you can still find it on television), there are whispers that another season may be in the works. So, you never know.
You’ve been in lots of Christmas films. Is that coincidental? Do you like Christmas?
I really do love Christmas. It’s an expensive but special time of the year. There are so many Christmas movies being made and I really like to work. Hallmark seems to like me and even Lifetime does to a degree – though not always for Christmas films. Regardless, I enjoy making these films, and as long as they keep asking, I will keep making them.
What is it like working with the cast of Murder She Baked?
When I made the first film, the only person I knew was my mother, Susan. In fact, she told me she had been cast as the killer in the film and I told her I was in the same film. Unfortunately, she was only in that one film since her character would now be living out her days in prison. Although I didn’t know anyone, within a couple days, I made fast friends with everyone. Ali [Sweeney]–I just love her. We have the same kind of humor and love the 1980’s. Cameron (Mathison) is just great. Barbara (Niven) is such a lovely person and she genuinely cares about everyone. She is so talented, down-to-earth and a wonderful actress and human being. During the last film, when I had snapped my tendon playing hockey she was genuinely concerned. It was amazing that the writers just wrote that part in for my character. Since I am from Canada and Toby (Levins) is from Australia, we have that commonwealth thing in common–we both have the Queen on our money. [laughs] Seriously, Toby is my buddy, and he is in this business for all the right reasons.
What are you hoping the next Murder She Baked film will have in store for your character Norman?
I am looking forward to entering this film as an able-bodied person without the sling. I am happy to play the part however they write him. I like my character, Norman, as he is written the quiet, stable dentist. He doesn’t really need to change that much, but no matter what every time I show up and get paid to work on this series, it’s really a treat for me. I’m sure there will be more rivalry between my character and Mike. And after all, Barbara is “Team Norman,” so I’d say I’m doing pretty well.
Who is one person you would like to work with one day and haven’t?
I always kind of thought that I would cross paths with Chris Farley, but now that he has passed away that possibility will never happen. But he is one I wish I could have worked with.
Do you have any interest in any other areas of the industry (writing, directing, etc.)?
Yes, I know that one day I will direct as that opportunity has not worked out as of yet. I do write and I have attempted to get funding to develop my ideas, but that is always a struggle. Hopefully, one day it will work out.
Do you have other upcoming works you can mention?
I am in an upcoming comedy called Lady Dynamite, which will be released on Netflix on May 20 of this year. It was tons of fun to do and you can see the wacky and fun Sarah Silverman on it too. Also, I am one of the owners of a casting company in L.A. And we are launching a self-tape auditioning app for actors in the next few weeks. If you would like to check it out, the landing page website is backlotcasting.com.
It is obvious why this tremendous artist is in such high demand. He is gifted, humble and genuinely enjoys his craft. His effortless, polished style is highly sought after in this business. His humility and gentle sense of humor are welcome traits in a world where some are not prepared to expend the energy and time required to survive this sometimes stressful profession. I greatly anticipate the next Murder She Baked film in the series and anything else in which he may appear. Until seeing his prowess again, be sure to follow him on twitter (https://twitter.com/hoganfilm) for all of his news and updates.