It’s about time

T.O.’s Vic­tor Gar­ber on star­ring in CTV’s Leg­ends of To­mor­row

Richmond Hill Post - - Arts - by Ben Ka­plan

The first time Vic­tor Gar­ber met J. J. Abrams, the fu­ture di­rec­tor of

Star Wars, he rec­og­nized that he was in the com­pany of bril­liance.

It was on the set of the Alias pi­lot, and Gar­ber, who cut his teeth play­ing gui­tar in the Yorkville coffee shop scene, wasn’t sure what to ex­pect.

Gar­ber had al­ready been part of suc­cess­ful pro­duc­tions — he played Je­sus in God­spell on­stage in Toronto op­po­site Eu­gene Levy, Gilda Rad­ner and Martin Short — and his band, The Sugar Shoppe, per­formed on shows hosted by Johnny Car­son and Ed Sul­li­van.

He’d even made Ti­tanic with Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, and he’d been friends with James Cameron, so he knew some­thing about deeply driven men.

But Alias was dif­fer­ent. It was a tele­vi­sion se­ries that would change the medium and give Gar­ber a taste for sci-fi, su­per-fans and megaac­tion. There was so much tal­ent ac­crued in one lo­ca­tion that Gar­ber knew af­ter­wards his life would for­ever be changed.

“Some­thing that I’ve al­ways had, and maybe this is the key to my longevity — though I don’t tend to think about it in such terms — but I tend to have an in­stinct when some­thing comes to me that I take to have mean­ing,” says Gar­ber, who’s 66 and earned his stripes in mid­town Toronto and has been nom­i­nated for five Emmy Awards.

“I choose things that res­onate with me on a very deep level and, like any­one who’s been in the busi­ness for as long as I have, there’s been some work that I’m maybe not as proud of, but I think, look­ing back on the record, I’m proud of the choices I’ve made.”

Gar­ber de­scribes his life as be­ing lived in three acts: a child­hood theatre run that be­gan when he was nine and helped forge his iden­tity; the heady suc­cess years, when he ran around north of Bloor Street with his God­spell cast­mates in Yorkville and broke big in film and TV; and his cur­rent epoch, as a man bear­ing down on 70 and on the brink of star­ring in an­other big-bud­get sci­ence fic­tion TV show. The new CTV show, Leg­ends of

To­mor­row, is, like his last se­ries, The Flash, based on a DC comic. He plays the same char­ac­ter in both, Dr. Martin Stein, who is now tasked with trav­el­ling through time to com­bat evil.

“I don’t re­ally un­der­stand the genre, and it’s the most un­likely sit­u­a­tion that I sud­denly find my­self in the middle of su­per­heroes and Comic Con, and I find it fas­ci­nat­ing and slightly ter­ri­fy­ing, but like my old men­tor once told me: If you find your­self too com­fort­able, move,” says Gar­ber, reached on the phone from Van­cou­ver, where Leg­ends of

To­mor­row is filmed. “I just saw Leonardo in The

Revenant, and I’m not sure I’m will­ing to go that far, but I’ve def­i­nitely taken a step out of my zone of com­fort and feel all the more val­i­dated for hav­ing made the move.”

That Gar­ber can be seen as a lo­cal suc­cess in For­est Hill vil­lage stems from his work with home­town he­roes like Eu­gene Levy, mak­ing

Ex­ot­ica with Sarah Pol­ley and Atom Egoyan and his study­ing theatre at Univer­sity of Toronto.

He re­mem­bers din­ing with Gilda Rad­ner at the Wind­sor Arms, back when Toronto only had one good restau­rant, and he also re­mem­bers chas­ing Tom Cochrane around Hazel­ton Lane and Daven­port Road.

“Back then, Yorkville seemed to have an in­no­cence to it. Joni Mitchell and Neil Young had left, but it still had that wisp of au­then­tic­ity — I’d wash dishes then take out my gui­tar, and af­ter­wards, we’d pass around the hat,” Gar­ber says.

“One has to be care­ful with nos­tal­gia — they weren’t bet­ter times; Yorkville wasn’t ‘bet­ter.’ But I was younger, and there was an in­no­cence. Life was ahead of me, as op­posed to be­hind me, and I miss those days, that place — of course I do. I was young.”

The es­sen­tial thing about Gar­ber, how­ever, at least if you want to see him as a role model — and one could do worse — is that, if he chooses to see his life in three acts, this cur­rent act, of them all that he’s star­ring in, is his favourite one.

And it’s not just be­cause he has a big-bud­get, comic book TV se­ries that premiered in Jan­uary and is mak­ing his way back to the glossy world of the net­work’s prime time.

He’s also mar­ried his part­ner Rainer An­dreesen and has been fo­cus­ing on his in­ter­nal life as much as ex­ter­nal suc­cess.

He en­joys his new show, but he says that he won’t fol­low its rat­ings or read the re­views and that he has no time for so­cial me­dia.

He’s not a Lud­dite. He just knows, af­ter nearly six decades in en­ter­tain­ment, from the coffee shops of Yorkville to the stages of New York to the big­gest bud­geted pro­duc­tions ever mounted by Hol­ly­wood, that what he’s search­ing for can’t be de­ter­mined by out­side voices.

When he was nine years old, he dis­cov­ered that he loved to per­form. And he’s been able to spend his life do­ing ex­actly that.

And that he has laughed and learned along­side the likes of Eu­gene Levy and Jayne East­wood and Jen­nifer Garner and Ben Af­fleck and Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet only serves to pro­vide fuel for his the­ory — that when­ever you be­gin to feel too com­fort­able, it’s once again time to move.

“I feel that I’m in a bet­ter place now than I’ve ever been, and I just hope it con­tin­ues, and I at­tribute all of that to the peo­ple I’ve known and the lessons I’ve learned,” Gar­ber says.

“I’ve been able to fol­low my heart, and that makes a dif­fer­ence. I’ve been able to do what I love for my whole life.”

Catch Gar­ber in the role of Dr. Martin Stein in his new se­ries, ‘Leg­ends of To­mor­row’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.