Movies & TV

Meet Shaun Johnston, the Man Behind Heartland’s Beloved Grandpa Jack

Shaun Johnston brings to life the beloved character of Grandpa Jack on CBC’s hit show Heartland. In this interview, Johnston discusses his experiences on the show, his acting career, and his hobbies.

Heartland Heartthrob

Johnston describes filming the emotional episode where Grandpa Jack says goodbye to his horse Paint as a difficult but powerful experience. He opted for a more organic approach, skipping his usual detailed preparation.


When asked about his favorite episode, Johnston surprisingly picks the same one – the emotional farewell to Paint. It highlights the deep connection he feels towards the character and the impact such moments have.

Looking Back and Ahead

Looking back, Johnston admits to worrying between seasons about the show’s renewal. His advice to his younger self? Relax and enjoy the ride!

Life Off the Ranch

Johnston enjoys playing hockey and guitar in his free time. He may not be a virtuoso, but music brings him joy.

Learning and Growing

Shaun and Amber on Heartland

Over a decade of playing Grandpa Jack has instilled in Johnston the belief that aging can be graceful. Here’s to aging well like Grandpa Jack!


When Heartland eventually concludes, Johnston plans to catch up on television and spend more time on the hockey rink.

Beyond Heartland

In addition to Heartland, Johnston has appeared in other projects, including the sci-fi series Wynonna Earp. He also stays active in theatre.

Johnston sheds light on the misconception that theatre is riskier than film. He highlights the pressure of multiple takes in film versus the immediacy and impermanence of mistakes on stage. Interestingly, his favorite stage role was Eddie in Sam Shepard’s “Fool for Love.”

Shaun and Amber on Heartland

Finding Joy in Performance

Recently, Johnston performed music at an Alberta ranch. He describes the thrill of connecting with a live audience, similar to the experience in theatre. The audience’s energy fueled his own enjoyment, making it a memorable night.

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