Evan Mercer’s skills shine on sil­ver screen

Shearstown ac­tor named a 2017 Cana­dian Screen Awards nom­i­nee

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - FROM A1 ed­i­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

A Shearstown ac­tor’s de­but in a fea­ture-length film is re­ceiv­ing na­tional at­ten­tion.

Evan Mercer is one of five nom­i­nees for best sup­port­ing ac­tor in a fea­ture film at the 2017 Cana­dian Screen Awards.

“I don’t re­ally know what to say about it,” Mercer told The Com­pass last Tues­day, a few hours af­ter a text mes­sage from his di­rec­tor broke the news for him. “It’s very sur­pris­ing.”

Mercer is nom­i­nated for his role in “River­head,” the first fea­ture-length film from New­found­land di­rec­tor and writer Justin Oakey. The film was par­tially shot in Con­cep­tion Bay North and pre­miered last fall at the At­lantic Film Fes­ti­val in Hal­i­fax.

Mercer isn’t the lone nom­i­nee rep­re­sent­ing “River­head.” His co-star Lawrence Barry is up for best lead ac­tor. “River­head” is de­scribed as a gritty tale cen­tred on a blood feud in a fic­tional ru­ral New­found­land com­mu­nity.

“There’s so many peo­ple in the film who I thought did such a good job, and I don’t com­pletely un­der­stand how I’m one of the peo­ple who got sin­gled out,” said Mercer, who called his mom Thoma­sine Mercer af­ter he first heard the news. “I think hon­estly ev­ery­one in the movie was equally as de­serv­ing.”

The awards are pre­sented an­nu­ally by the Academy of Cana­dian Cinema & Tele­vi­sion to hon­our the best in Cana­dian film, English- lan­guage tele­vi­sion and dig­i­tal media.

Mercer has al­ways been a bit of a per­former. He had his own lit­tle standup com­edy rou­tine at the age of nine, and he acted through­out his high school days.

Af­ter grad­u­at­ing from As­cen­sion Col­le­giate in Bay Roberts, he left act­ing be­hind for a few years.

“At some point, I re­al­ized it was what I re­ally en­joyed do­ing and what I wanted to do,” he said.

Mercer cred­its his for­mer high school drama teacher Marc War­ren for of­fer­ing him a way back to act­ing through a sum­mer the­atre pro­duc­tion in Bay Roberts a few years back. That ex­pe­ri­ence paved the way for his full-time pur­suit of an act­ing ca­reer.

He has worked in the­atre pro­fes­sion­ally in Cow Head, Cupids, Trin­ity and St. John’s. He ap­peared in one episode of CBC’s “Repub­lic of Doyle” and most re­cently per­formed in Halfhand­some’s sketch com­edy show “Al­most Bay­mous” at the Bar­bara Bar­rett The­atre in St. John’s. He is set to ap­pear next month in Rock Solid Pro­duc­tions’ pre­sen­ta­tion of the David Auburn play “Proof.”

There’s so many peo­ple in the film who I thought did such a good job, and I don’t com­pletely un­der­stand how I’m one of the peo­ple who got sin­gled out … I think hon­estly ev­ery­one in the movie was equally as de­serv­ing. — Evan Mercer

For “River­head,” it was the lead ac­tor Barry who rec­om­mended Mercer to the di­rec­tor.

“We had a few meet­ings, and I guess ( Oakey) ap­pre­ci­ated that I had a lit­tle bit of ex­pe­ri­ence with that area and could prob­a­bly do a bet­ter job with the ac­cent.”

The Cana­dian Screen Awards will be pre­sented March 12 at the Sony Cen­tre for the Per­form­ing Arts in Toronto. Ac­tor and co­me­dian Howie Man­del is sched­uled to host.

“I cer­tainly don’t ex­pect to win, but it would be a nice op­por­tu­nity to go and kind of hang out and see what the awards cer­e­monies scenes are all about.”

He’s op­ti­mistic the two nom­i­na­tions will help the film’s cause when it comes to find­ing an au­di­ence.

“It looks beau­ti­ful, there’s a won­der­ful sound­track, and I know that there’s a strong lo­cal in­ter­est,” said Mercer. “I al­ways have lot of peo­ple ask­ing me for it, but I guess we’re still try­ing to push it a lit­tle fur­ther. I hope af­ter this maybe we can get it into a few more the­atres or maybe even on Net­flix or some­thing.”

SUBMITTED PHOTO BY JUSTIN OAKEY

Evan Mercer of Shearstown is nom­i­nated for the Cana­dian Screen Awards for his per­for­mance in the fea­ture-length film “River­head.”

SUBMITTED PHOTO BY JUSTIN OAKEY

Evan Mercer and Car­bon­ear’s Stephen Oates co-star as broth­ers in “River­head.”

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