Rock and role

Ir­ish ac­tor treads care­fully when play­ing a New­found­lan­der in Mar­itimes-made com­edy

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - FRONT PAGE - RAN­DALL KING

TGlee­son, 59, is an Ir­ish ac­tor best known for play­ing Mad Eye Moody in the Harry Pot­ter films or maybe for play­ing Mel Gibson’s sav­age lieu­tenant Hamish in Brave­heart. He is more fer­vently cel­e­brated for his work play­ing closer to his Ir­ish roots as a con­flicted hit man in In Bruges or a sketchy cop in The Guard. Glee­son rec­og­nized po­ten­tial prob­lems in tak­ing on the role of an un­em­ployed New­found­land fish­er­man schem­ing to get a doc­tor to move to his de­pressed vil­lage (for ex­am­ple, stag­ing a bo­gus com­mu­nity-wide enthusiasm for cricket) in The Grand Se­duc­tion. For one thing, the movie is a re­make of a 2003 Que­bec movie, Se­duc­ing Dr. Lewis. For an­other, the prospect of an out­sider com­ing in to play a New­found­lan­der could po­ten­tially raise some hack­les. Re­mem­ber when John Tra­volta wanted to make a movie of the New­found­land-set The Ship­ping News with plans to change the set­ting to Maine? In a phone in­ter­view, Glee­son says one of the keys to his par­tic­i­pa­tion in the film was the cast­ing of Mark Critch in the role of the town’s ha­rassed bank man­ager. Glee­son watched Critch, of This Hour Has 22 Min­utes, demon­strate the in­tri­ca­cies of the New­found­land ac­cent on YouTube and was hooked. “It struck ex­actly the right tone of knock­ing a laugh out of the way people are, but not laugh­ing at them in any way and in fact just en­joy­ing the di­ver­sity of ac­cents and cul­ture here,” he says. “This is the kind of film that had cer­tain in-built kind of dan­gers, in that it could have de­scended into some­thing twee and a lit­tle bit un­wor­thy if you weren’t care­ful.” Glee­son says he has long been fas­ci­nated with O use an apro­pos cricket ex­pres­sion, the prospect of Brendan Glee­son com­ing to Canada to star in the com­edy had “sticky wicket” writ­ten all over it. the old and new,” he says. Glee­son was savvy enough to rec­og­nize that the Que­be­cers who made Se­duc­ing Dr. Lewis might see the re­make as a whole­sale ap­pro­pri­a­tion of a story orig­i­nally in­tended to re­flect the north coast of Que­bec. “It couldn’t just be taken and plunked into New­found­land with­out due re­gard for the fact that it’s a dif­fer­ent cul­ture,” Glee­son says. “So I ac­tu­ally wrote to Ray­mond Bouchard (who played the role cor­re­spond­ing to Glee­son’s) be­fore I started it, just by way of say­ing I loved his per­for­mance in the Que­bec ver­sion and we weren’t try­ing to sec­ond-guess it in any way, but just to ex­plore the mar­itime cul­ture of New­found­land as against Que­bec and hop­ing that we would suc­ceed. “But the fit seemed per­fect,” Glee­son says. “When we got up there with the fish­ing vil­lages and all of it, I was com­fort­able with the feel­ing that we weren’t try­ing to im­pose some­thing from out­side on it. It had to em­anate from in­side that cul­ture.” The Grand Se­duc­tion opens in the­atres Fri­day.


From left, Brendan Glee­son, Tay­lor Kitsch and Gor­don Pin­sent.

Mark Critch, left, with Kitsch.

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