No doubt about it, Virgin River Season 4 brought romance, drama, tears, twists, turns, and major bombshells!
It was a heck of a binge, and fans are likely reeling from that shocking finale and counting the moments until we can check into Virgin River again.
TV Fanatic had the pleasure of catching up with Kai Bradbury, who plays Doc’s mysterious grandson, Denny. Please be warned; the interview contains major spoilers ahead! Check it out below!
What attracted you to the role of Denny, and were you excited about checking into Virgin River?
I was very much so. You know, exploring such a beloved show is such a gift. And it was kind of a big question mark as to what Denny would become moving forward from the first cliffhanger scene I shot in Virgin River Season 3. I was thrilled to get the first scripts and start to piece together who Denny would become.
Your character is such a mystery. He was one of many sources of drama and surprises until the very end of the season. Did you know everything about Denny and why he came across as so shady before you filmed? Or was it on a script-by-script basis?
I was lucky enough to be privy to all the details, so it was cool when I had my first character meetings about the season with our showrunner and producers. I was excited to see the trajectory script by script and then see how it would all be laid out. So there was a little bit of both.
I came up with half a dozen Denny theories throughout the season. Was he a scam artist? Was he a drug abuser who needed help? How difficult was it to balance keeping Denny mysterious while not turning the audience against him along the way?
Totally. You want Denny to be lovable, but yes, it was actually quite challenging to navigate the red herrings, the twists, the turns. Because Denny is hiding a very big secret and has been through a lot, this kind of mask was over him. It was a challenge to reveal who Denny actually is to the core.
You want to honor what the audience is being told by the characters and to make each twist and turn believable. When they’re saying drug addict or scam artist or lost, you want to play to those things to keep the audience guessing as we go along.
You definitely kept me guessing the entire time until the end. The Huntington’s Disease revelation was such a shock and so heartbreaking. What was your reaction to learning Denny’s prognosis and where the story was headed for your character?
I did lots of research. I wasn’t privy to a lot about Huntington’s Disease.
The surprising thing I learned was that if a parent has Huntington’s Disease, you have a 50-50 shot of having it or carrying the gene. That was an eye-opener. Denny is a glass half full guy and very positive, so I never want any of his stuff to be tragic and sad as he’s a very strong person, stronger than I am, and strong for his age. He’s suffered a lot of loss.
You got the Virgin River treatment and ended up in a love triangle with Lizzie and Ricky. I was pleasantly surprised by how maturely all parties handled it too. Can you talk about that?
Of course. I spoke to Sarah [Dugdale], who plays Lizzie, about it while we were shooting season four, and she, in particular, was quite thrilled that the writers had taken our relationship in a very realistic way, something that we don’t often get to see. I ultimately agreed with her on that.
The new guy comes along, and maybe you share a kiss, but it doesn’t mean you’re suddenly dating. It doesn’t mean that you’re suddenly together.
And I think that is something that we rarely see in television. Typically, if you kiss and are single, it suddenly means you’re together. It’s a nice change to navigate what a friendship is like when there’s still a kind of romantic attraction between them.
Yeah. You guys have good chemistry. It was fun to watch. With Ricky shipping off and the Denny diagnosis revelation, it seems Denny is sticking around. What do they hope to explore with your character in season five?
I can’t say anything about what’s coming for season five, but we just started shooting, and I’m excited for what season five has to offer. But I don’t want to get ahead of myself. I hope everyone really enjoys season four. I think there are lots of gifts for the audience. I think they’re going to be thrilled by what plays out.
Of course. I thought the background with Denny’s grandmother keeping a secret was interesting. I hope we see more about that and continue to see Denny and Doc navigating this new relationship.
Definitely. I hope we get to explore that as well. Doc’s whole life in Seattle before Virgin River is still a mystery to the audience, so I was thrilled to be a part of a little reveal of what Doc’s world was like before Virgin River.
What was your absolute favorite scene from season four to film?
Well, I’ll just say the pedal boat scene we see early in the season. It was such a challenge to shoot. The best part when acting is when the audience doesn’t know about all the complexities behind the scenes to make it happen.
I was in charge of driving that pedal boat. And for some reason, you couldn’t just pedal, and it’d go straight. You had to maneuver it left and right continuously.
It was making a huge noise with the water and the pedals, and we had a walkie-talkie radio in the back of the boat so that the director and the team shooting us on a floating barge in front of us could give us directions and tell us where to go. It was difficult and fun, and it was raining that day. Surprisingly, it doesn’t look very rainy at all.
But we were battling the elements. So, yeah, never a dull moment in Virgin River.
What was your funniest memory from working on set during season four?
The funniest? I don’t know. Some of the costumes at the Renaissance Fair really had me! It was so funny to see these dramatic scenes play out with these characters dressed in these absurd costumes. So that was very fun.
Those events are always a hoot and quintessential Virgin River. The town just seems so delightfully surreal to me. Are there real towns like that out there? It just seems out there but fun.
Yeah. I think the show wants you to hope that there are towns like that. Everyone is almost like they’re from a fairy tale but also dealing with their own completely grounded issues. And so that makes them relatable, even though it’s such a picturesque setting.
Absolutely. You stay incredibly busy, so what other projects and shows do you have going on or coming up? And what can you tease for us?
Well, I will be shooting season five of Virgin River, as I mentioned. As for shows coming out this year, I shot the reboot of Are You Afraid of the Dark in the Dominican Republic, which was a paradise and a complete blast. That has really great people working on that.
I’m also in a show called The Imperfects which was on Netflix as well. And that will be coming out later this year. And, yeah, that’s what we have to look forward to.
Were you a fan of Are You Afraid of the Dark before you hopped on to that project?
I hadn’t seen much of it prior to shooting it. I knew its cultural impact.
Yes. I’m old, so I recall it fondly.
Well, I wasn’t much of an avid television watcher as a kid, and certainly, not scary things, but so many friends were huge fans of the show, and I think this reboot has really done it justice and then some. I’m excited for the audiences to see the season of that.
You said you weren’t much of a television watcher, so how exactly did you get into acting?
You know, I don’t know. No, no, I’m joking.
I come from a really artistic, creative family, and so I am genetically a product of humorous people with a flair for the dramatic, let’s say. I did improv in high school and theater school after that. And that was the trajectory — theater.
Vancouver is known as Hollywood North, and so I ended up doing film and TV and loved it for its own art form. People often ask me which I prefer doing, and I’ve kind of settled on the impossibility of an answer there because they’re just fundamentally different skill sets and forms.
Totally different mediums, and you get different thrills from it, I imagine.
Yes. Oh, yeah.
You said you didn’t watch much television back then, but do you watch any television now? Obviously, we’re a bit television-obsessed over here. So are there any television shows that you do watch and love or you recommend?
Oh, my gosh. I mean, of course. Now that I’m in the industry, I’m also a TV fanatic.
I’ve joined the ranks of all the binge-watchers and streaming giants. I don’t even know how I watch such a huge range of shows. And on the business side, I like to keep in touch with all the shows we shoot in Vancouver. There are many.
Oh, yeah, there are.
Yeah. We’re always auditioning, or I have friends auditioning for shows that shoot in Vancouver. It’s always nice to have an idea of what’s going on here.
But what have I been watching lately? I’ve been so busy that I haven’t watched a lot, but I love a mix of reality. Drama. Of course, I’ve seen Stranger Things. Who hasn’t? I love keeping up with the cultural touchstone shows that really sweep because they are popular for a reason. Yeah. Bridgerton. Squid Games. All those big ones.
I love that you’re naming all of the Netflix shows.
Oh, you know.[Laughs]
Got to put the plug in, right?
Of course. Right.[Laughs] Yeah. And I love watching the shows that my friends are on as well. Always gotta support.
I noticed that in Vancouver, there’s a very tight-knit community with all of the actors. You see a lot of overlap too. I think that’s cool. It’s, like you were saying, a mecca.
Yeah. I wonder if The States has any kind of grasp on what Vancouver is really like because it’s such a surprise every time it pops up playing every other city but itself.
You’re right. I think we’ve noticed that. So many of our shows come from there, and you can tell the difference. Many from Vancouver, and of course, you get some from Toronto too.
I always laugh because it’s the same type of cities. You got Vancouver as Seattle or LA or something. And then Toronto is playing Chicago and New York. It’s interesting to hear you talk about it and how you all support each other. I think that’s awesome.
With such a range of shows shooting here, you have a bunch of friends that end up popping up in all kinds of shows, and it’s so fun to see these familiar faces. And yeah, as you said, Vancouver ends up being Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, and amongst other fictional towns. But I do hope we get to continue to play Vancouver a little bit more.
I had the privilege of working on Family Law, which is coming to the CW later this year, and that is made by Canadians set in Vancouver. And that was a real joy on its own, just to pull the curtain and reveal the iconic and key parts of Vancouver and get to celebrate that.
Are there any final thoughts you want to share or tease about Virgin River or your character?
Oh, I just hope everyone gets a real big kick out of this season. I think it really delivers for the audience, and it keeps everyone guessing. And so I hope that everyone falls in love with Denny just as much as I have.
You can catch Kai Bradbury in Virgin River and in his upcoming projects. Give him a follow on Instagram.
And don’t forget to check out our Virgin River Reviews.
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.