BF: I would love it to keep going for as long as anyone would want to watch it. I'd love to keep doing the show but it's nice to go out when the show's at a high level. The conclusion to the show is pretty rare so that was pretty exciting.
Saying goodbye to the character and the town. My character dies a painful, painful death that lasts several episodes: a very slow death. None of that is true. It was really fun and I'm sad we're not doing another, especially after spending time with these guys today.
MS: We knew the season was coming to an end so there were no surprises for me there. I just thought all the way through it that six seasons was pretty good these days. I had a glass half full attitude. The show's been all over the world so it was a good run.
ZS: Only six seasons? What?! I thought it was a ten year deal. I just bought a yaught. I'm going to have to rent that yaught out.
We're enjoying our time. There's a renewed sense of enthusiasm for the show which is also nice. Some shows don't get that opportunity to know that they have a final season: they just don't come back. This show had that unique opportunity to really shape our final season kind of as a thank you to our fans. It's got everyone revitalized about the show.
BF: For me, you do a season of television and you want to put your best foot forward in every scene in hopes that it's great and they're going to want another season. Knowing that this was the last season, I just phoned it in and I didn't try at all, which is nice because it saved me a lot of work (all laugh).
ZS: And what's fascinating is you won't see a lot of difference between what he was putting out and ...
BF: It's actually better now that I'm not trying as hard.
ZS: When he tries hard it's kind of messy.
tV: What was the most pivotal moment for each of your characters?
BF: I had to do a song and dance at the end of season one. I was the villain for so long, through to season four, and then they turned him and made him a lot more three dimensional in season five, which was nice. He just became more human. He was humbled a bit but there was still some of that nastiness there: the fight to the death. This is probably the most inarticulate I've ever been, which is really saying something.
tV: I have a pause button.
BF: I need a moment.
MS: I was trying to think of whether to answer the question honestly or in a humorous way.
BF: Always go for the laugh.
MS: There was one scene that changed the show forever, which actually led to its eventual cancelation. For the first three seasons the show was popular because it was a show about tolerance and humour all in one. There was one scene where Baber was in a bathtub naked and from that point on the viewership changed from a broad spectrum to mainly young attractive women. That wasn't the demographic that CBC wanted and after three years of that they just said, “we've got to cut this” (laughs).
Seriously, the main pivotal change for my character was every once in a while when there'd be a scene where Baber, this mean angry guy, would be with his daughter. He'd become a different character. His soft, sweet side would come out. Whenever there was a scene where Baber got to be a more sensitive, endearing, emotional human being, those were always pivotal changes for my character. It was never just one. It was whenever those types of scenes happened.
ZS: For my character it was his arrival. The way Little Mosque on the Prairie was set up, Amaar actually comes to a community that's already established with a mosque: a Muslim community that's dealing with a non-Muslim community, a non-Muslim community that's dealing with a Muslim community. His arrival into town is what the audience gets to witness. The six years of high jinx and hilarity ensued.
It really was the first time the show's arrival on the scene in television changed the world: it was a game changer. Our show went on to win humanitarian awards, we're in over eighty countries around the world. We had a kid on set one season, whose name is Amaar. He'd never seen a person named Amaar on TV before, as a character. Those are the kinds of moments that speak to how Little Mosque on the Prairie changed not only our lives for being on it, but everyone's lives dealing with a post 9-11 world.
MS: That young child that Zaib's talking about went on to change his name to Barrack Obama.
tV: What was the most challenging episode for you?
BF: Physically, it was the boxing in season four.
ZS: That one because we also doing our own stunts and we had to train with the boxing trainer and the stunt guys. For a comedy show to take that on was very interesting. It was a nice set up of the two faiths colliding, literally.
It was probably one of the most taxing shows as an actor not only having your lines and your timing down, but whenever you wrapped your day you were going over to the boxing trainer's gym working on choreography and the moves of a boxer and then back to the set at 6:30am. It was a fun episode but probably the most challenging.
BF: I also had to kiss the librarian in one scene. That was challenging. I'd very limited experience kissing librarians: not women, just librarians. I don't kiss a lot of librarians. That's challenging.
MS: There was one day I had the flu and a fever of about 102 and all day I was on set with Andrea Martin. She's a type A personality and a great actress. It was a really intense scene and we were both really going for it and then they would say cut. Only she would continue to go for it but in a conversation. “Let me see a picture of your son” and zoom, zoom, zoom. I couldn't keep up with her because I had this fever. That was the most challenging day for me.
ZS: And our crew on set was decimated with illness.
MS: I think I was ground zero that day.
ZS: He blames Andrea Martin.
MS: Having to wear a beard for five months was really challenging for me as well. I had to get testosterone injections to maintain the growth and that's always stressful.
tV: So what's next for you?
BF: We don't know. That's the trill of the actor's life. Unless we create our own stuff, which you two (Shaikh, Sood) do.
ZS: He (Sood) creates fish. He fishes a lot.
BF: You can't predict the future. It's an exciting part of the life-style.
ZS: I shot Midnight's Children, with Deepa Mehta and that will be shown, hopefully at the next TIFF.
When you've been the recipient of the kind of success that Little Mosque on the Prairie puts on you, in a really good way, I think it opens the doors in a lot of interesting ways. You can create your own work, as an actor you're probably considered more because you've been part of a hit show, so I think you'll be seeing a lot of us in various films and television shows once this season airs.
For six years we haven't been able to be free for other projects unless they were very timed because it's a lot of commitment when you're shooting five days a week on a show like this. You're summers are booked.
tV: Did you get to take anything home?
BF: I took my suit and one of the pews. Seriously, it's in a storage locker in Toronto.
tV: You should put it in your foyer.
BF: Yes, I'm going to bring it one of these days.
ZS: When he opens his own church.
NF: It'll be a very small church.
ZS: In the prayer hall scenes Amaar always had his massive gilded Koran. That was kind of a special thing because he always referred to that whenever there was sermon scene. He always had that in his hand reminding people who he was as a Muslim. So that was something that I took.
We had these great name plaques on our dressing rooms that had the Little Mosque symbol. It looked like we were on the set of Alladin so I took that too so I could remind myself that once I was a man on a revolutionary TV show.
BF: That symbol looks like Late Night on Conan O'Brien.
MS: I just took one of Babar's hats and just a couple articles of clothing. I didn't really take that much. I always really like those hats, they were fun and kept your head warm when it was cold.
ZS: We stole a lot of stuff though. They haven't done the inventory yet so.