Pure star Alex Paxton-Beesley previews ‘really difficult’ season 2

Alex Paxton-Beesley stars as Anna Funk in Pure season 2. Photo Credit: Courtesy of WGN America.
Alex Paxton-Beesley stars as Anna Funk in Pure season 2. Photo Credit: Courtesy of WGN America. /

Pure season 2 premieres tonight on WGN America, and Alex Paxton-Beesley told Hidden Remote why it’s ‘a really difficult picture’ for Anna Funk.

The WGN America drama Pure returns for its second season tonight, adding another layer to one of the most unique series on TV. Mixing religion with crime drama, there’s nothing else quite like it out there.

This time around, though, the stakes are raised much higher—particularly for Anna Funk, who’s still reeling from the devastating effects of last season’s finale. Where does the new season find her, and where will she go from here?

Alex Paxton-Beesley joined Hidden Remote to discuss her character’s current status, preview the new season, and discuss what about this series continues to intrigue her.

Learn more in our interview below, then don’t miss the Pure season 2 premiere on WGN America tonight at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

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Hidden Remote: Pure is such a different concept for a TV show. What about it made the series appeal to you?

Alex Paxton-Beesley: Basically everything about it. [The story] was actually something I had read about in the news before I knew there was a television show. I had read about one of the arrests that happened in Alberta related to the drug pipeline, and I thought that’s crazy. So as soon as I heard they turned it into a television series, I wanted to be a part of it so badly.

That was the initial hook. But also Ken Girotti, one of our executive producers who has directed the show for us, is a friend of mine. We worked together on a show I did years and years ago, and working with him was such an incredible experience. So when I saw he was attached, I was just over the moon.

HR: The series has so many different elements—the drug trade, the Mennonite religion, the family drama. How much preparation do you have to do to play Anna Funk?

APB: The research and prep is never-ending, because there’s no way to ever have done enough research. [There’s] a ton of reading, a ton of research that is constant. But the kind of cool thing is, this is the first time they’ve been in these situations too, so there’s a certain amount of natural instinct that plays into it.

The thing about this show that’s nice is that because we have that central family unit—myself, Ryan [Robbins], Gord [Rand]—to be able to share our findings with each other has been really helpful. To sit down and talk through anything that anyone has discovered. Just to constantly be working in this safe space, to try and discover as much as we can, and understand as much as we can together. It’s an ongoing project but it’s satisfying.

Alex Paxton-Beesley portrays Anna Funk in Pure season 2. Photo Credit: Courtesy of WGN America. /

HR: Where do we find Anna when Pure season 2 begins? Considering the first season ended in such a hard place.

APB: It’s quite some time later and the dust has settled, but it’s settled into a really difficult picture. Anna is now basically just fighting to pick out some sort of survival for herself and her children. When Noah walked away at the end of season 1, there were repercussions to that I think he didn’t even consider. Anna has been excommunicated by the church and has had to leave the community, and is living with her two children. They’re trying to find the sense of normalcy and it’s maybe not going so well.

HR: So how would you describe her relationship with Noah this season? Presuming he comes back at some point, is their marriage beyond repair now?

APB: What I think is happening at the beginning of the season is that the difference in their priorities and the way they’re handling this incredibly difficult situation is really being put under the microscope. I think we saw that a bit in the first season, but Noah especially is trapped in this really difficult situation and Anna’s the one who’s very practical and is like we’re going to solve this problem.

Going through the second season, it’s going to be more difficult, because Anna is trying to move forward. She’s doing the practical day to day things she has to do in order to survive, and Noah’s trying to repair his relationship with God. I think it’s really hard to maintain a relationship when those things are so very, very different.

HR: You know about playing women in troubled relationships from your role as Ellen Corcoran in Copper. Do you see any similarities between Ellen and Anna?

APB: There’s certainly a similarity between Ellen Corcoran and Anna Funk in that they are mothers and they’re trying to take care of their families. There are certain constraints on their ability to do so based on the world in which they live.

I think that ultimately Anna has a lot more resources at her disposal to take care of herself and her children. Ellen was very broken by her experience, and that road back is a incredibly difficult one. Anna I don’t think has been broken yet. She’s certainly been knocked down and she’s a real fighter.

That’s been one of the most satisfying things for me, is just to play this woman who is confronted time and again with these impossible situations and always find her resilience, her deep well of love that she has for her children and her family, and see how she’s going to find her way through. Not saying she always does, but it’s really empowering to play someone like that.

HR: You’ve appeared in a number of great shows, from Suits to Rookie Blue and Alphas. What are some of Alex Paxton-Beesley’s other favorite roles outside of Pure?

APB: There’s a show called Cardinal. I was in the second season and working on that show was just absolutely incredible. Billy Campbell and Karine Vanasse are the leads, and I think it’s just one of the best things Canada’s ever produced. The acting’s amazing, the writing’s amazing, it’s shot beautifully. It’s in the line of Pure of being an intense drama, but I couldn’t believe it when I got to be a part of that show, because it had already been one of my absolute favorites. The part I got to play was really challenging and so fun.

We’re so proud of [Pure]. It’s really an ensemble piece and we couldn’t do it without all of the moving parts. I’m so excited for people to see the second season because the additions to our cast that we got to work with this year, they took it to such another level. It’s just such a joy to make this incredibly dark and sad show. The mood on set is much different than the stories we end up shooting!

Next. Gone star Leven Rambin on portraying a survivor. dark

Pure airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on WGN America. For more about Pure and other WGN America shows, follow the WGN category at Hidden Remote.