Callum Keith Rennie has had a career of interesting roles, but one that stands out is a sort of modified flying monkey in "Tin Man."
"Yeah, I'm a leather-clad flying monkey," he says with a chuckle. "It was fun, sinister and creepy."
The three-part miniseries is a "reimagining" of "The Wizard of Oz."
Made two years ago for the U. S. Sci Fi Channel, it's just now coming to Canada. Space: The Imagination Station is airing it on three consecutive nights, Saturday through Monday, Aug 1-3.
This adaptation of the L. Frank Baum classic is set in a parallel Earth called the O. Z., for Outer Zone, which has fallen under the domination of the evil sorceress Azkadellia (Kathleen Robertson), supported by an army of thugs called longcoats.
They're partly a parallel to the wicked flying monkeys of the original -- though Azkadellia also has an air force of uncommonly ugly creatures that spy for her.
And Rennie plays the leader of the longcoats, Zero, a sort of smirking, post-punk careerist who does bad things often just for the fun of it.
"He does things out of jealousy and not being No. 1 and having to listen to a woman," Rennie says. "But he fully enjoys his role as the guy who never had that position until now and is totally abusing it and taking as much fun out of power as he can."
As all this implies, "Tin Man" is -- to steal a phrase -- not your parents' "Wizard of Oz."
It stars Zooey Deschanel as DG (Dorothy Gale), grown up and bored silly on the Kansas prairie -- until a tornado sucks her up and spits her out in the O. Z., where she teams up with a man who has had his brain removed (Alan Cumming), a former lawman (or Tin Man, for his badge) played by Neal McDonough, and a hairy, timid psychic (Raoul Trujillo).
"Tin Man" was shot in and around Vancouver and features a number of Canadians, notably Robertson and Rennie, who head up the rogues gallery.
Not only is he torturing innocent civilians in 'Tin Man," but he played killer John Wakefield on "Harper's Island," in which people assembled for an island wedding were killed off week by week.
"I'm not allowed to talk about that," he says, chuckling. "But it's me typecast as another bad man."
(This was before the series had run its course, and he was tied to a "confidentiality agreement.")
It was one strange performance. At first Rennie appeared uncredited and only in faded photographs and old newspaper clippings.
As if that weren't enough, he also can be seen on the big screen in the thriller "Case 39" -- as a man who tries to kill his young daughter -- and as the cunning Cylon mystic Leoben Conoy in the upcoming Battlestar Galactica TV movie "The Plan."
And soon he'll take on his first starring role in a series, as a police detective with multiple personalities, in the drama "Shattered," due to air on Showcase in the new year.
"He's a good cop and bad cop rolled into one," Rennie says. "It will be a great experiment."
Posted By BRIAN GORMAN
Found here on July 28th, 2009.