WILD ABOUT WENDY

Wendy Crew­son on the big sea­son fi­nale of Sav­ing Hope, chat­ting with Justin Trudeau and why she loves call­ing Rosedale home

Midtown Post - - Front Page - by Ryan Ayukawa

Af­ter 35 years of act­ing on­screen, Mid­town’s Wendy Crew­son is still hum­ble when she talks about her ca­reer.

“It’s so good to be work­ing!” she says with a laugh. “I mean, what a bless­ing, I tell ya!”

Crew­son has a re­cur­ring role as Dr. Dana Kin­ney on CTV’s su­per­nat­u­ral med­i­cal drama Sav­ing Hope, which airs its fourth sea­son fi­nale on Feb. 14.

With­out giv­ing spoil­ers, Crew­son says it’s safe to say there will be a bit of a cliff-hanger in the two-hour episode. As for the Valen­tine’s Day show date, “There’s a lot of love in Sav­ing

Hope, so there’s bound to be some of that. It’s a re­ally beau­ti­ful fi­nale.”

And Crew­son does hope that her char­ac­ter, Dr. Dana Kin­ney, might have ro­mance in store in the fu­ture.

“When you get to a cer­tain age other things be­come im­por­tant. But I think it would be nice to see her in­volved with some­body. Be­cause I find that, as I get older, my re­la­tion­ships cer­tainly be­come more in­ter­est­ing. As you ma­ture, you be­come more au­then­tic in your­self.”

Crew­son adds the show has a large fe­male view­er­ship, and women want to see them­selves at all ages and stages. She feels for­tu­nate that showrun­ner and writer Adam Pet­tle pro­vides her with heart­warm­ing scripts.

Dr. Kin­ney is one of sev­eral doc­tor roles Crew­son has played, in­clud­ing Dr. Packard, on the se­ries 24, and her first film ap­pear­ance in The Doc­tor. Not to men­tion, Crew­son’s grand­fa­ther was a doc­tor.

“I love play­ing doc­tors, and I al­ways chan­nel my best friend, who is a doc­tor in Oak­land. She was head of the emer­gency room at Oak­land Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal for many years, and of course, it’s the cen­tre of gun­shot wounds. She dealt with the most hor­rific of things in that emer­gency room,” Crew­son says.

In her cur­rent role as Dr. Kin­ney, Crew­son finds her­self at the fic­tional Toronto Zion Hope Hos­pi­tal where much of

Sav­ing Hope is filmed. With the film­ing based in Toronto, Crew­son gets the chance to en­joy more time in her Rosedale three-storey home. Ear­lier parts of her ca­reer in­volved shoots in Los An­ge­les and other parts of Canada.

De­scribed as an Ed­war­dian Tu­dor, Crew­son has put a lot of thought into the in­te­rior de­sign of her home. Her liv­ing room has a Sul­tan­abad car­pet, hy­brid glass ta­ble, An­jou pear­coloured walls and a paint­ing of a nude re­clin­ing woman over the fire­place.

“Re­mark­ablely it [the nude] is not [the first point of con­ver­sa­tion]. And be­cause the room is so over­whelm­ing with other things, it be­comes that de­tail that peo­ple rarely no­tice un­til they’re five min­utes into the room and sud­denly go, ‘Oh! It’s a nude!’ ” she says.

Her chil­dren were “hor­ri­fied” at first by what they thought of as pornog­ra­phy in the liv­ing room. They later ad­justed, and the nude hap­pens to make its way into the back of fam­ily and guest pho­tos and even Christ­mas cards.

Re­ferred to by the fam­ily as the “Grey Gar­dens” for its con­stant up­keep, the al­most cen­tury-old house was built in 1919. En­ter­tain­ing at home is one of Crew­son’s favourite ac­tiv­i­ties.

“The par­ties here are spec­tac­u­lar, and it has beau­ti­ful flow, and I al­ways love hav­ing huge groups over. I do a big event for the ac­tors’ union ev­ery year,” she says.

Crew­son is thank­ful to be film­ing in Toronto as it gives her a chance to en­joy her home­town, some­thing she couldn’t do as of­ten in the early part of her ca­reer. When film­ing many of her fea­ture film ap­pear­ances ( Air

Force One, The 6th Day, The Santa Clause), she of­ten found her­self on set in var­i­ous cities across North Amer­ica.

Now that she’s home in Rosedale, Crew­son en­joys walk­ing down the ravine to the Brick Works and up to Mount Pleas­ant Ceme­tery, es­pe­cially in the sum­mer.

“The red-winged black­birds are all out, and there’s tur­tles in the pond, and the trees are so beau­ti­ful, and all the wild­flow­ers are out. It’s re­ally quite spec­tac­u­lar that we have this jewel in the middle of the city.”

Now in the later part of her ca­reer, Crew­son’s ac­co­lades are start­ing to add up. Last De­cem­ber, she was hon­oured with a star on the Cana­dian Walk of Fame and pre­vi­ously she has won mul­ti­ple Gemini Awards as well as the ACTRA Award of Ex­cel­lence. One of those Gem­i­nis was for her lead­ing role in At the

End of the Day: The Sue Ro­driguez Story in 1998, about a woman with amy­otrophic lat­eral scle­ro­sis (ALS), and Crew­son con­tin­ues to be ac­tive in the cause. She is in­volved with Betty’s Run, the largest ALS fundraiser in Canada and at­tends in Cal­gary an­nu­ally (ex­cept when work­ing on lo­ca­tion).

“It changed my life in so many ways, do­ing that part. I think for the time that role re­ally led me to a depth that I hadn’t ex­plored be­fore,” she says. “It made me aware of com­pas­sion and also the idea that in this po­si­tion of some­body that might be some­what rec­og­niz­able that you also have tremen­dous power to bring vis­i­bil­ity to a cause and what a priv­i­lege that is.” Most re­cently, Crew­son co-hosted a spe­cial episode of The

So­cial for Bell Let’s Talk Day, on Jan. 27, to raise aware­ness of men­tal health. The episode in­cludes a spe­cial con­ver­sa­tion with Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau. The dis­cus­sion with Trudeau touches on his fam­ily’s strug­gle with men­tal health — his mother Mar­garet is bipo­lar — and govern­ment pol­icy and fund­ing in this area.

Prior to The So­cial, Crew­son had met Trudeau in Ottawa on Par­lia­ment Hill and at film events in Mon­treal and Toronto. The ex­pe­ri­ence of be­ing on The So­cial, and his open­ness, made her feel proud to be Cana­dian.

“We talked about how im­por­tant it is to open up the dis­cus­sion, to re­move the stigma around men­tal health and to make sure that peo­ple know that they can reach out and that they can talk to each other,” says Crew­son.

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