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Due for a change (article)



By Claire Bickley -- Toronto Sun, September 5, 1997

Callum Keith Rennie breaks into his harsh barking laugh at the notion that he is a man with a plan.

"My career has been so meticulously planned. I thought I would get into it late at 33 because I thought that would give me a greater advantage," he jokes.

But four years later the actor finds himself as the second lead on the most popular drama in Canadian TV history, something which doesn't yet mesh quite comfortably with his image as one of the country's hardest-working actors in independent film.

"Not any more," Rennie says, slapping his hand on the couch in his on-set trailer. "I'm on Due South!"

Not that he's complaining.

"This is the highest-end show in Canada. I think it's the best-written, the best-produced, the funniest and weirdest and quite subversive in its own right. Having me aboard creates even some more of that, I think," he says.

Then he grows serious.

"You do a lot of work and then as soon as you're on a successful show, all of a sudden you've sold out."

Some of it is unspoken. Some of it is film friends saying to him, in a certain tone of voice, "Wow, I couldn't see you on that show."

Some of it is a projection of the anxieties of an actor who made his name in rough-edged roles like a punk rocker in Hard Core Logo, drug addicts in Curtis' Charm and this year's Men With Guns, a smalltown, smalltime criminal trapped in a cycle of violence in TV's For Those Who Hunt The Wounded Down.

Production was mere days away when Rennie agreed to play the Chicago police detective partnered with Paul Gross' Canadian Mountie. David Marciano, Gross' co-star for the show's first two seasons, had pulled out in a contract dispute. Then Rennie heard that his character was named Stanley Kowalski. And that he had an ex-wife named Stella.

It gave him pause.

"It's like I didn't see myself as the character. You're respecting a premise that has already been set up and to respect the premise and still try to do your own work of what you believe is right, it was a bit hard coming in. I was a bit unsure about that. How broad it was. How broad it could be."

It didn't help that the first few scripts of the season had already been written with Marciano in mind. Some dialogue didn't fit right in Rennie's mouth, something exacerbated by episodes being shot out of sequence.

"It would have been great to come on and be just like as nervous and retarded as I was and have some of that come in because it would have been easy to play that, being out of my element trying to do somebody else's job," he says.

"The first couple episodes were tough because you've got a lot of f------ people looking at you going, 'Oh, is he going to do that?' I hate that. I'll never do it again because it's not wholly ever going to be yours."

He's only here now because his Due South deal is for a single season. His American agents advised him against doing even that.

"They'd rather have me in L.A. doing films. But I'm a good f------ Canadian. Either that or I'm terrified. You don't have to write that. 'Callum's terrified.' Don't write that."

It's the longest commitment so far from an actor who squirmed at six months duty on the pay TV series My Life As A Dog.

"I like working on lots of different gigs so that was a bit hard. You get to play a character and discover lots of different things about him but there's also you can get, maybe, safe," he says.

"If I felt like we were going to be doing this for another two or three more years, somehow this would feel more like a burden. Knowing it's a year with maybe they'll make more, I'm open to that. I'm not open to being locked in."

He'll make more money per episode of Due South than he's made on any film, on any three films he's done. But when Due South takes a production break, he'll go back to a lesser paycheque on Don McKellar's next feature film. In January, he'll be seen in McKellar's CBC comedy series Twitch City.

When Due South wraps next Spring, he may make that trip to the U.S. or work in Europe for a while, he says.

"By the time March comes around, I'll in my own mind feel like have to take a break from Canada. It's not a clever idea to glut yourself in a market. My Life As A Dog is playing, Due South will be on and Twitch City will be playing all at the same time. It could be like, 'Callum, f--- off, we're sick of your stupid, f------ face.'"

Maybe he'll drop out of sight altogether.

"I may move to New York and go to school - acting school. I suck."

Found here.

Comments

( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
malnpudl
Mar. 17th, 2008 08:09 pm (UTC)
Wow, I think that's the most we've ever seen him swear (when not in character).

He's become so much more polished -- well, for him, anyway, relatively speaking -- in the decade since this interview. Either he's more comfortable talking about himself than he used to be, or he's just learned to fake it for the press.
c_regalis
Mar. 17th, 2008 08:59 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I think you're right. Then again, you never know how much of what he actually said makes it into the article. But, yes. He seems less... angry now. Or less scared maybe.
meresy
Mar. 17th, 2008 08:26 pm (UTC)
&hearts

Oh, Callum, we will never get sick of seeing your face. Or any other part of you, for that matter.

And I think Mal's right about the polished thing . . . or at least he's mellowed out some. Not quite as twitchy and bratty. ;)
c_regalis
Mar. 18th, 2008 06:55 pm (UTC)
Oh, Callum, we will never get sick of seeing your face. Or any other part of you, for that matter.

Even if you keep killing people. We, uh, might tire of that though. *beams*

And yes. *nodsnods* MUCH less twitchy.
hyzenthlay26
Mar. 17th, 2008 09:19 pm (UTC)
I'll never forget that little HCL interview blurb while Bruce is getting his head shaved, where Callum says he's afraid he'll say something stupid. Combine this with something that commonly occurs with very shy (or self-conscious) people, namely that their reticence is mistaken for arrogance, aloofness or brattiness, and I think you maybe have where he's coming from in some of these earlier interviews.

I think our boy (like most men, hee) is just a very late bloomer.
c_regalis
Mar. 18th, 2008 07:11 pm (UTC)
Oooh, that interview. Hm. Possible, I guess. Yet another reason why I will never ever get actors. I mean, for me it would be much worse to try and start crying five times in a row for a close up. Or laughing. Or something. But yeah, I guess you have a point here.

I think our boy (like most men, hee) is just a very late bloomer.

Ha! Remember that Due South interview? Southbound? Or maybe it was the Ride Forever one? Where he said that he was 'very young back then'. With, you know, 37. Ahem.
bluebelle789
Mar. 18th, 2008 08:07 pm (UTC)
Where he said that he was 'very young back then'. With, you know, 37. Ahem.

Ha! That's what I thought when he said that too. *g* That was on Southbound. :) Ride Forever was the one with that hair. *pets Callum*
c_regalis
Mar. 18th, 2008 11:29 pm (UTC)
Ooh, the one with The Hair. Hee!

And yeah. *shakes head* *pets him too*
hyzenthlay26
Mar. 19th, 2008 04:02 am (UTC)
I guess I was just thinking that if you're at a stage in life where you're still uncertain or just getting a handle on who you are, after a long period of intoxication obfuscation, it's probably a lot more daunting to be expected to make interesting, insightful and defining statements about yourself (and why the random public should care about you, when you're still really just learning to care about yourself), than it is to portray something interesting and defining about someone else's concept, character or words.

I mean you can put pieces of yourself into that to make it richer but you can walk away from it, too...which not so much with interviews...they follow you, as he's alluded to.

If that makes any sense.

"Where he said that he was 'very young back then'. With, you know, 37. Ahem."

And yeah, that's another example. And I think he was very young then, because that was still early in his personal Adult Life: Attempt the Second. Which for all our great enjoyment, has turned out so well. Can you imagine if he had stuck it out in LA? I think he would have been flayed and turned into something no longer recognisable.

Obviously, this is entirely my interpretation here. ;)

Edited at 2008-03-19 04:04 am (UTC)
akite
Mar. 17th, 2008 09:54 pm (UTC)
Yeah, he's a lot more polished now or he's learned how to fake his way through interviews. He's still twitchy as hell. *g*
c_regalis
Mar. 18th, 2008 07:12 pm (UTC)
He's still twitchy as hell. *g*

Hee, yes. But he seems less... self-conscious now. Or something.
bluebelle789
Mar. 17th, 2008 10:53 pm (UTC)
Sick of his face? NEVER. But I agree with others here, he's grown a lot since this article was written. *nods*
c_regalis
Mar. 18th, 2008 07:19 pm (UTC)
*nodsnods* Then again though... different times, you know? I bet it's been a while since someone told him that he's sold out. :)
scriggle
Mar. 17th, 2008 11:38 pm (UTC)


Maybe he'll drop out of sight altogether.

NOOOOoooooooooooooooooooo!
c_regalis
Mar. 18th, 2008 07:20 pm (UTC)
*pets you* He won't you know? That is... I am pretty sure? *gnaws fingernails*
neu111
Mar. 19th, 2008 10:01 pm (UTC)
Some of it is film friends saying to him, in a certain tone of voice, "Wow, I couldn't see you on that show."

Friends, uh?

It didn't help that the first few scripts of the season had already been written with Marciano in mind. Some dialogue didn't fit right in Rennie's mouth, something exacerbated by episodes being shot out of sequence.

"It would have been great to come on and be just like as nervous and retarded as I was and have some of that come in because it would have been easy to play that, being out of my element trying to do somebody else's job," he says.


Well, he eventually managed to be just like as nervous and retarded (!) but now I'd like to know which episodes were written for David M, and also in which order the episodes have been shot...
c_regalis
Mar. 19th, 2008 10:55 pm (UTC)
Friends, uh?

Wellllll. Um. Yes. I guess the important word here is film friends?

Oh. Oh, oh, oh, I think I can help with that. As for the order, you can see it at the Hair. The flatter the sooner. Asylum was first (and I read somewhere that this one was written for DM), then (I think) Eclipse, then Seeing is Believing. I am pretty sure that Seeing is Believing is a DM script too, and probably Eclipse as well, at least part of it. I think.
neu111
Mar. 19th, 2008 11:11 pm (UTC)
film friends
Yes, what I thought too. But even so, kind of hurts. Well, I guess we all know this kind of friends somehow.

I think I can help with that.
Thanks! The Hair =:) Easy to remember!

kuonji14
Jun. 17th, 2011 07:09 pm (UTC)
Asylum = for DM?

That is fantastically interesting! I've always thought it interesting how they played that episode, seeing as Fraser and RayK have only known each other for, what, two months at that point? It makes much more sense to me as a RayV story.

But of course, as a Fraser/RayK friendship or relationship supporter, I'm glad it wound up under CKR's watch. :)
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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