Turned Off by Tinseltown, Actor Buys Loft Here and Works on Golf Handicap
by Glen Schaefer, The Vancouver Province, November 25, 2001
Callum Keith Rennie's nomad days are behind him. The one-time wild man of Canadian acting has bought a Vancouver loft and is learning golf.
This after four years of bouncing between Vancouver, Toronto, Los Angeles and Montreal, in a flurry of work that included this year's U.S. hit Memento, two Canadian TV series (Due South, and Twitch City) and some of the best recent Canadian films (Don McKellar's Last Night, David Cronenberg's eXistenZ ).
Acting success in his early 30s followed an extended apprenticeship in hard living that started in Rennie's boyhood home of Edmonton and carried him to Vancouver. Now 41, he says the wandering is done.
"That's why I got a loft in Vancouver, so at least I'd have my stuff in the same place," he says over the phone from Ashcroft, where he's filming the small-town family drama Flower and Garnet with Vancouver director Keith Behrman.
Rennie's screen work carries with it an air of the unpredictable, from his touring punk-rocker in Hard Core Logo, to the guy who awaits the end ot the world by fulfilling a sexual wish-list in Last Night. Flower and Garnet is a 180-degree-turn, with Rennie as a single dad coping with two children.
"It's a really sophisticated, complicated tale of the trials of a family," he says. "Very sweet and very beautiful, moments of lightness and hope."
The softer side of Callum Rennie?
"I guess there's an attempt at that. I'm trying to keep it not as heavy as other stuff, move away from the darkness."
But he says his work hasn't been as dark as people have thought, citing Last Night, Double Happiness and Hard Core Logo.
"The truly only dark movie I've done is Suspicious River," the sexual-dysfunction drama from Vancouver's Lynne Stopkewich set for release early in the new year.
Rennie can't predict how his work will go over, citing his surprise at the enthusiastic reception for Memento, the backwards mystery filmed in Los Angeles last year with Australian Guy Pearce and fellow Canadian Carrie-Anne Moss. "A lot of times you think this won't fly, people won't go to this," he says. "How popular it's been and on people's Top 10 lists -- I think it's great, the right time for those kinds of interesting movies."
Memento was the highlight of his off-and-on stay in Los Angeles.
"As soon as I moved there I had a terrible time, because somehow it agreed with some sociopathic part of myself," he says. "If I go down on work junkets, do a bit of golfing, see how many meetings I can do and then get out, then I'm happier."
Oh yes, the golf. Rennie got hooked on the game during a visit to his grad student brother in Europe last May. "I really would prefer to golf most of the time now."
Kind of a metaphor for the new Rennie.
"I'm trying to get my handicap a bit lower -- and that's in all aspects."