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It's the work (article)




It's the work - For Callum Keith Rennie, the only business of films is acting
By BRUCE KIRKLAND (Toronto Sun Nov 14, 2003) from here



Even if you don't know the name, you might know Callum Keith Rennie's face and his mischievous grin.

At 42, he calls himself "one of the stay-at-home actors who grind it out here." His credits include David Cronenberg's eXistenZ, Don McKellar's Last Night, Bruce McDonald's Hard Core Logo and Picture Claire, Lynne Stopkewich's Suspicious River and even Christopher Nolan's Memento.

So it is no surprise to find him in a lead role -- and excelling in it -- in Canadian Scott Smith's new Falling Angels. This drama about a dysfunctional family played in the Perspective Canada series at the Toronto filmfest and opens today.

Rennie is proud of the piece, having survived the stressful budget shortfalls and disorganization that often happen on Canadian sets, making actors even more neurotic than usual.

But Rennie also knows that English Canadian films are a hard sell, no matter how good they are. He wishes that the people of English Canada would follow the pattern set in Quebec.

"It's about culture," says Rennie, who was born in England of Scottish parents but raised in Edmonton. "In Quebec, they believe in culture, they support culture, whether it's music, art, dance or film. They are so completely into maintaining their identity -- very healthy! The rest of Canada is just sort of Americanized. It's weak. It's very, very weak."

In the case of Falling Angels, Rennie cites the source: A Babara Gowdy novel. "You've got a great Canadian novelist and you try to make a great Canadian movie out of it. It shouldn't be that hard. I mean, why not? And I think it should be done with all the material we can procure."

As for the neuroses of actors, Rennie has an amusing way to analyze it. Directors might cast an actor for a role despite the actor's all-consuming doubt. Very bizarre, says Rennie.

"You wouldn't go to a heart surgeon who was going: 'I don't know how to do this! I'm feeling very weird right now! I don't get it, I don't get it. Just give me a little time here. Let me talk to my agent.' "

Rennie says he likes to be the actor who sheds his neuroses, but it depends on the circumstances. "It depends on the situation. Sometimes, the bullshit of production overlaps into the work and you're fighting a bunch of things that have nothing to do with the actual work. And that's the hardest place to be.

"For me, the best environment is when all the business is left aside. But you start to do the neurotic heart surgeon because the scalpel hasn't shown up. You want to do the work, just the work, and try to drop the other crap."


Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
_unhurt_
Jun. 7th, 2008 10:55 pm (UTC)
"You wouldn't go to a heart surgeon who was going: 'I don't know how to do this! I'm feeling very weird right now! I don't get it, I don't get it. Just give me a little time here. Let me talk to my agent.'"

hee! i like that, a lot.
neu111
Jun. 8th, 2008 07:41 pm (UTC)
Yeah, poor Callum having to do the neurotic heart surgeon because the scalpel hasn't shown up. Another insight of how he lives his art, I like it too!
cysefin
Jun. 8th, 2008 12:13 am (UTC)
Hadn't seen this one before... Ty for sharing!
neu111
Jun. 8th, 2008 07:42 pm (UTC)
Glad to be of service! And thanks to c for putting up the community!
c_regalis
Jun. 11th, 2008 07:47 pm (UTC)
HEh. I haven't read that one in ages. ♥

And good thing I left you the posting rights! You are awesome! \c/
neu111
Jun. 11th, 2008 08:41 pm (UTC)
I probably hadn't read it in ages either! Can't help imagining him playing a neurotic surgeon in a goofy movie a la Leslie Nielsen :)

Just kinda holding down the fort! Where is everybody?! *bawls*
&hearts
love_jackianto
Jun. 12th, 2008 06:02 pm (UTC)
Thanks for posting this article. Loved the part about the heart surgeon; it's just another piece of the puzzle known as Callum.
neu111
Jun. 17th, 2008 10:11 pm (UTC)
Thanks for reading! I love the image of heart surgeon as another piece of the puzzle known as Callum * vivid picture in my head of such a puzzle - nice! *
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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