Hol­ly­wood charms Ot­tawa film pro­ducer

Trevor Matthews keeps fo­cus on job op­por­tu­ni­ties

Ottawa Citizen - - ARTS - BY TONY LO­FARO

Trevor Matthews has gone Hol­ly­wood but in­sists his heart is still in Ot­tawa.

The 29-year-old son of high-tech mag­nate Terry Matthews set up a film pro­duc­tion of­fice in ex­clu­sive Bev­erly Hills last year, hop­ing to be at the cen­tre where big Hol­ly­wood deals are bro­kered.

His com­pany, Brook­street Pic­tures, still main­tains an of­fice here, but the move to Cal­i­for­nia was nec­es­sary, he said, af­ter years of pro­duc­ing short films and low-bud­get fea­tures from their Kanata lo­ca­tion.

“You have to be here, all of the en­ter­tain­ment com­pa­nies are here,” said Matthews from his Bev­erly Hills of­fice.

“In the last year I’ve been work­ing here we’ve had more progress, more growth and we’ve been busier. And I think be­ing busier and work­ing hard is a sign that you’re mak­ing more progress. I still con­sider it (Brook­street) a Cana­dian com­pany and my plan is to grow the busi­ness as a Cana­dian com­pany.

“I love Ot­tawa, it’s my home and all my friends are there. It’s been a mat­ter of mak­ing new friends and con­tacts here,” he said.

If tim­ing is im­por­tant in pro­duc­ing films in Hol­ly­wood, then Matthews ap­pears to have hit the jack­pot.

His com­pany, along with Twi­light saga star Peter Facinelli, is pro­duc­ing an adap­ta­tion of Street Sol­dier: My Life as an En­forcer for Whitey Bul­ger and the Bos­ton Ir­ish Mob from a book by Ed­ward MacKen- zie and Phyl­lis Karas. Bul­ger is the real-life char­ac­ter de­picted by Jack Ni­chol­son in the Martin Scors­ese film The De­parted.

In a for­tu­itous turn of events, Bul­ger — who had been on the FBI’s Most Wanted List since 1994 — was ap­pre­hended last month in Santa Mon­ica. The fugi­tive mob­ster was re­turned to Bos­ton where he is in prison await­ing trial on 19 counts, in­clud­ing mur­der, ex­tor­tion and money laun­der­ing.

Matthews said pro­duc­tion on the film is well un­der­way and they’re look­ing at hir­ing a name di­rec­tor. The film’s bud­get is ex­pected to be in the $15 mil­lion range, but that could change de­pend­ing on who is “at­tached” to the pro­ject, he said. Par­tial fund­ing would come through Brook­street Pic­tures, and the rest would come from other pro­duc­ers and in­vestors, he said.

Cast­ing on the film is pre­ma­ture, al­though Matthews said he’d be thrilled if big-name ac­tors Leonardo DiCaprio or Mark Wahlberg ex­pressed in­ter­est in play­ing Macken­zie. For the Bul­ger char­ac­ter, he sees Daniel Day-Lewis or Gary Old­man in the role. Film­ing could be­gin next year if all pieces of the film­mak­ing puz­zle fall into place, he said.

“This is a great ve­hi­cle for us to shop around town and build re­la­tion­ships hope­fully at the stu­dio level. Prior to this I’ve been mak­ing my own in­de­pen­dent films (back in Ot­tawa).

“It was great that Whitey got caught and we al­ready had a great script when that hap­pened. In a weird co­in­ci­dence, Nick Gor­don, the writer of the script, was liv­ing in Santa Mon­ica and Bul­ger was caught less than a block away from where he lives,” he said.

The film will be told from the per­spec­tive of Ed­die MacKen­zie, a kick­box­ing cham­pion, drug dealer and en­forcer for Bul­ger.

Matthews stud­ied an­thro­pol­ogy at Car­leton Univer­sity, and at­tended the New York Film Academy where he grad­u­ated in 2002. With friends Jon Knautz and Pa­trick White they formed Brook­street Pic­tures, which was based in Kanata. The com­pany made sev­eral short films and fea­tures, in­clud­ing Teen Mas­sacre, Still Life, The Other Celia, Mo­ment of Truth, Jack Brooks: Mon­ster Slayer and The Shrine.

Matthews had a star­ring role in Jack Brooks: Mon­ster Slayer, a low­bud­get hor­ror film shot in 2007 in Ot­tawa that also fea­tured Robert Englund from the Night­mare on Elm Street films.

Matthews says he’s in reg­u­lar com­mu­ni­ca­tion with his fa­ther in Ot­tawa about his film deals.

“My dad is very sup­port­ive of what I’m do­ing. He loves the team that I’ve put to­gether down here and he wants to see this com­pany grow. We do some cross-busi­ness, my dad comes down here and I set him up with meet­ings that could help in the tele­com field, I also in­tro­duce him to peo­ple in the film busi­ness. Los An­ge­les is a big city, there’s a lot go­ing on here.”

He said life in Hol­ly­wood has been good, the weather is per­fect but he doesn’t care much for the traf­fic grid­lock on the free­ways. So far, he says, he hasn’t in­dulged in the Hol­ly­wood scene, pre­fer­ring to stay fo­cused on mak­ing the com­pany a suc­cess.

“I’m a Cana­dian boy through and through. By na­ture I’m a hick, I love fish­ing, hunt­ing and the coun­try. I’m not into the party scene and film pre­mieres,” said Matthews who lives in West Hol­ly­wood with his long­time girl­friend, Stephanie Mead­ows, an ac­count man­ager at Wes­ley Clover, a net­work­ing and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions firm.

Neil Breg­man, pres­i­dent of the Ot­tawa film com­pany Sound Ven­ture, met Matthews in 2005 when Matthews was mak­ing a short film and of­fered ad­vice to the bud­ding pro­ducer. He said he was im­pressed by Matthews’ de­ter­mi­na­tion to build a ca­reer as both an ac­tor and film pro­ducer.

“Trevor is in­cred­i­bly charis­matic, he’s very driven and he has lofty and ag­gres­sive goals,” said Breg­man, adding it made sense for Matthews to even­tu­ally move to Hol­ly­wood.

“Ot­tawa is nice but it’s not ex­actly the cen­tre of any­thing in the film or tele­vi­sion world. If you have the re­sources and the back­ing to make a play, Los An­ge­les is the place to be.”

COUR­TESY OF BROOK­STREET PIC­TURES

Trevor Matthews, son of Ot­tawa hi-tech mag­nate Terry Matthews, is now based in Bev­erly Hills, where his film pro­duc­tion com­pany Brook­street Pic­tures, is pro­duc­ing a num­ber of fea­ture films.

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