Canadian Actors Suck Big Time
February 12, 2003 9:33 PM   Subscribe

"I prefer not to work in Canada. I prefer to work in my own country...There are better actors down here. That's why they have to import so many actors for their Canadian productions."

Oscar winner Robert Duvall claimed Canadians don't make good actors following a Kevin Costner "runaway production" made in Calgary. He should know, having worked with Canadians and been involved with Canadian projects in the past (maybe he's secretly Canadian!). Could he have been referring to these folks? Or does he just lack the patience to coach Canadian's to speak American (NY Times reg. req'd)? Hopefully it's all just be an allergic reaction to tacky-female-cheese-pop-muzik...
posted by boost ventilator (17 comments total)
Or he's just ignoring the fact that it's much cheaper to shoot in Canada than in many American metropolitan areas. The SAG and AFTRA guilds here in Chicago have been trying for years to lure more productions to the city - but can't get the city to give the tax incentives to the production companies (plus, the exchange rate). Funny that the movie Chicago wasn't even shot here (save for a few exterior shots). Industry revenues (for production in Illinois) have fallen from $85 million to $27 million in the last decade.
posted by ao4047 at 9:57 PM on February 12, 2003

Bleh, who in the hell cares? Speaking as someone who lives near Calgary and wouldn't walk across the street to spit on the shoes of any Hollywood phoney ...


Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. How will we ever survive without your self-important rhetoric?
posted by Electric Jesus at 10:14 PM on February 12, 2003

Oh, who cares?
posted by xmutex at 10:21 PM on February 12, 2003

Well, those of us in places where the economy is largely dependent on filmmaking — such as, for example, Wilmington, NC, where I live, the largest filmmaking center in the US outside of CA and NY — care. We have been losing revenue to Canada for several years.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 10:34 PM on February 12, 2003

duvall can blow it out his ass, he hasn't done anything brilliant since boo fucking radley. lawd.

That's why they have to import so many actors for their Canadian productions

american productions tend to import canadian actors and writers far more often and it's been that way since hollywood first set up shop. i could give you a history and a list as long as duvall's idiocy stretches and then some but i'm on my way to bed. i have to get up early in the morning to go to work on an american cartoon series being recorded in downtown toronto (and a studio in hamilton, ont) which has 99% canadian cast.

pfft. whatta dink. at his age the guy should be conducting himself like an elder statesman, not some whinging old fart.
posted by t r a c y at 10:39 PM on February 12, 2003

First of all, Duvall never said that Canadians don't make good actors. He _did_ say that there are better actors "down here" -- and by "down here" I'll assume he means New York, Los Angeles, and (to a lesser extent) Chicago. I'll buy that, as talented actors from around the world move to these cities every day. Until Calgary has its Broadway equivalent, or studios like Warner Bros. and Paramount ditch Southern California for Alberta, I have a hard time believing that the best actors dream of making it in Calgary. Show of hands, who here honestly believes there's a greater volume of highly-qualified actors in Calgary than New York or Hollywood, CA?

Similarly to Ishmeal, this is a big deal to me. I work in Los Angeles, primarily in television. I've worked for Warner Bros. and Paramount, and I've worked for runaway productions in Montreal. You can't compare the two -- though Montreal is one hellofa town. From my experience, the level of professionalism, the production's infrastructure, and the working environment as a whole are all significantly better in the States.

To someone like me, Robert Duvall isn't being an "old fart" by making a statement like this. He's being an elder-statesman. If the jobs in your industry were moving north, forcing you to to relocate thousands of miles to work a gig away from your friends and family, in substandard conditions because a neighboring government was subsidizing the whole thing nearly 20% (or 30% and beyond in the case of Montreal, where Quebec subsidizes production on top of the aforementioned Canadian subsidy), well, you'd probably be annoyed by that, too. The day you can't get an A-list star to take their show on the road is the day runaway production stops.

I should point out that Canada isn't the only country with there eyes on these production jobs. New Zealand is working on their sales push.
posted by herc at 11:33 PM on February 12, 2003

Uhhh.. exactly what do you mean, herc, by "substandard" conditions?

Amnesty International would say that by comparison, living in the US is substandard to living in Canada.

Perhaps those subsidies are to promote more filming in Canada (I wish... it's really all part of a much more sinister foreign cleansing of the media, unfortuantely).
posted by shepd at 11:47 PM on February 12, 2003

By "substandard" I mean the production facilities themselves, not the city (Montreal) or the country (Canada). Production offices where three or four people share one desk (whereas on a lot in Burbank each would have their own office) or where there's one phone line for a crew of more than 60. Where "dailies" don't come in every day. Where there's no place for the extras to wait between takes so they go and bug the writers who are frantically trying to finish this week's script. Where drivers from the motor pool interrupt producer meetings to introduce them the driver's sister because "she looks good enough to be on tv, no?" And on and on and on.

Look, it's wasn't a sweatshop. There are far worse working conditions. And I have no doubt countless Canadian productions are handled professionally and shoot without complications. But more often than not it's easier and more pleasant to do your work at a major studio where you're surrounded by 30+ soundstages and thousands of people sensitive to the needs of production than in a collection of converted warehouses in suburban Montreal, Vancouver, or the like.
posted by herc at 1:22 AM on February 13, 2003

I'm pretty sure they have soundstages in Vancouver, herc. They just finished shooting X-Men 2 a couple months ago, if I'm not mistaken (I'd suspect they'd need some dandy facilities to shoot a movie with a budget like that).

Who knows, McKellen loves it up here (I live on Vancouver Island), and he actually still makes... what are they called... oh, right, [i]good[/i] movies.

Also, isn't saying that there are more good actors in America than there are in Canada kind of a stupid thing to conclude? America does have ten times the amount of people--it would only stand to reason that there would be a larger number of good actors. In the same sense, I guess, you could say that there are less bad actors in Canada.

Hopefully it's all just be an allergic reaction to tacky-female-cheese-pop-muzik

Hey, we learned from the best!
posted by The God Complex at 4:06 AM on February 13, 2003

I'd like to see more movies and television produced all over North America: Ohio, Nova Scotia, Arizona, the Yukon... etc etc

The idea that a few big cities feel they have an exclusive right to produce the media that everyone watches, and then complain when other areas get involved is absurd.

Writers, production crews, editing teams and FX artists don't even need to be on the same continent anymore. The idea that they should all live in Hollywood California is outdated thinking.
posted by Stuart_R at 6:17 AM on February 13, 2003

To my bristling fellow Canadians, I think Herc has the right of it. Consider the size of Calgary compared to New York and Hollywood. There are going to be a whole lot more actors to choose from in these cities. Duvall's comments are less than sensitive, yes, but at this point in the industry's development they are probably true. This will likely change over time however.

I mean, have you seen some of the syndicated TV crap that Canada puts out there? Mutant X, Forever Knight and their ilk? Blech. That stuff isn't exactly something to be proud of.
posted by picea at 8:29 AM on February 13, 2003

Holy fucking links batman!
posted by Jeremy at 9:05 AM on February 13, 2003

It's also got to be due to the fact that for most Canadian actors, as soon as they can, they move to LA or New York to "make it". Except for a few stalwarts, any actor who can moves to Vancouver and/or the US.

And speaking as someone living in Calgary, I have no doubt that facilities are 10x better "down there" (or in Vancouver). We're a city of 900,000 in the middle of nowhere. That's some of the attraction, but it also does not make us a movie making powerhouse. That being said, the low Canadian dollar and the gorgeous scenery must have some attraction, as there are a few movies made here every year.

And while we may not have a Broadway, we actually do have a pretty good home-grown theatre scene here.
posted by sauril at 9:16 AM on February 13, 2003

I've just got to say that Secretly Canadian is one awesome record label.
posted by Marquis at 9:37 AM on February 13, 2003

we've gotten this far without a single chorus of "blame canada!"? for shame.
posted by pxe2000 at 10:06 AM on February 13, 2003

McKellen loves it up here (I live on Vancouver Island)

McKellen = two-timing Geo-slut.
posted by Sonny Jim at 5:57 PM on February 13, 2003

What a crock of shit. I am a subscriber to NHL Center ICE, and I can assure you that Canadian stations have the funniest commercials ever. Take off, eh!
posted by adampsyche at 6:42 PM on February 13, 2003

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