Times Colonist

L.A. actress enjoys seclusion of the Island

Island film shoot welcome breath of seclusion for rising Hollywood actress

- MICHAEL D. REID Behind the Screen mreid@timescolon­ist.com

You can take the girl out of Los Angeles, but you can’t take L.A. out of the girl, as Katie Cassidy recently demonstrat­ed. The blond bombshell, her hair dyed black for her role as Amanda Rowe, a bright, athletic university student who becomes embroiled in a murder plot, admits she wasn’t used to our cooler temperatur­es while here to shoot The New Girl.

“Working here in Victoria has been pretty nice,” said Cassidy, who was bundled up in a puffy black overcoat when not filming scenes for Michael Greenspan’s thriller that costars Tracy Spiridakos ( Rise of the Planet of the Apes) and Donal Logue ( The Tao of Steve). “It’s cold compared to California but that’s OK. And I think it’s kind of nice to be secluded.”

She was referring to filming that took place on a remote farm in Cowichan, where cellphone coverage was iffy at best.

“There’s not as many distractio­ns,” said Cassidy, daughter of singer David Cassidy. “When you go on location you become like a family.”

The surprising­ly tall actress ( Gossip Girl, Monte Carlo) who is dating Los Angeles Kings centre Jarret Stoll, turned heads at Cowichan Bay Pub one night while hanging out with her instant family one night. It was when she asked staff if they’d mind switching the channel from the Vancouver Canucks game to the L.A. Kings home opener on Oct. 18.

“Sorry, we don’t get that game,” a staffer told Cassidy, whose boyfriend helped the Kings win 5-0 over St. Louis Blues with a goal and an assist.

“The bartender looked at her like she was from outer space,” laughed unit publicist Bill Vigars.

Maybe they should have switched the channel anyway. The Canucks lost 4-0 to the New York Rangers that night.

OH, THAT GUY: If you saw The Rum Diary over the weekend — and you should if you’re a fan of guilty pleasures — you might have noticed a familiar face on screen. It was Bill Smitrovich, the character actor who flew into Victoria this July for the Courtnall Celebrity Classic. Smitrovich, 64, helped former Nhlers Russ and Geoff Courtnall and brother Bruce raise $900,000 for mental health care in Victoria through the Victoria Hospital Foundation’s $25million Building Care Together campaign.

As Mr. Zimburger, a cigar-chomping, ridiculous­ly right-wing American venture capitalist bent on scarring a pristine Caribbean island beach with luxury condos in writer-director Bruce Robinson’s outrageous­ly entertaini­ng film based on gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson’s novel, Smitrovich delivers one of the film’s funniest lines. He describes a liberal as “a commie with a college education, thinking negro thoughts” to Johnny Depp, who plays Paul Kemp, an alcohol-fuelled New York writer who has some bizarre experience­s working for the Daily News, a disreputab­le newspaper in Puerto Rico in the late 1950s.

“I’m blessed to have the career I have. I love doing what I do,” said Smitrovich, who got his big break as an understudy in the world

première of Arthur Miller’s Broadway-bound The Amer

ican Clock. “It’s just great to work.”

Indeed, this friendly fellow is nothing if not prolific. He has played thugs, prosecutor­s, corporate types and police chiefs on TV shows including Crime Story, Miami Vice, Nero Wolfe, NYPD Blue, Without a Trace, The Practice and Criminal Minds. Then there are his military characters, in movies like Independen­ce Day, Thirteen Days,

Fail Safe and Eagle Eye. The list goes on.

“I’d love to be able to defend somebody with the tenacity I go after them as a prosecutor,” he laughed.

Smitrovich is such a familiar face he often draws double-takes and has been mistaken for someone else.

He laughed as he recalled the time a checkout clerk in Cape Cod insisted he wasn’t who he said he was.

“She said, ‘You were my history teacher,’ ” he recalled. “I said, ‘No, honestly, I’m not.’ It was so funny. Everybody was looking at her. Sometimes I really have to convince people I’m not somebody else.”

Smitrovitc­h will soon be seen in Ted, a movie he just wrapped before his visit here. Family Guy creator Seth Macfarlane directed the comedy that stars Mark Wahlberg as a Bostonian whose childhood wish for his teddy bear springing to life suddenly comes true. The film co-stars Mila Kunis, his Rum Diary costar Giovanni Ribisi and Laura Vandervoor­t.

“Omigawd, Mila Kunis is everywhere now. It’s a law, isn’t it?” said Smitrovich, quick to point out his role is much smaller.

“Don’t go out for popcorn or you might miss it.”

RUSHES: Mayor Dean Fortin went to London last week without even stepping onto a plane. He dropped by the Fairmont Empress, doubling as the Queen’s Hotel for the big-budget Nickelodeo­n flick Big Time Movie. “It was cool to be a film geek and gawk at the movie industry doing its magic,” said Fortin, not just impressed by the obvious conomic impact.

“Every time we get one of these, I’m sure they go back and generate three more,” he said, tipping his hat to film commission­er Kathleen Gilbert. “She’s being doing a fantastic job trying to attract more of these.”

A five-day shoot that included a day in Chinatown wrapped up at Hatley Castle on Sunday.

“When the big shows come to town, it’s the cherry on top,” said Gilbert, who admits having had to work harder to attract business this year since producers filming in the CRD still aren’t eligible for a six per cent distance location tax incentive.

 ??  ?? Katie Cassidy, centre, shoots a scene from The New Girl at the University of Victoria with Tracy Spiridakos, left, and Adam Di Marco.
Katie Cassidy, centre, shoots a scene from The New Girl at the University of Victoria with Tracy Spiridakos, left, and Adam Di Marco.
 ??  ?? Bill Smitrovich, who was here for the Courtnall Classic, has a role in The Rum Diary.
Bill Smitrovich, who was here for the Courtnall Classic, has a role in The Rum Diary.
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