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CKR stars in the Alberta-made film-s





Calgary Film Fest

Callum Keith Rennie draws on childhood for The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet


By Louis Hobson, Calgary Sun - Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Callum Keith Rennie Callum Keith Rennie stars in the Alberta-made film The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet, which premiered at the 2014 Calgary International Film Festival.

CKR stars in the Alberta-made film


You may not recognize Callum Keith Rennie's name but you'll definitely recognize his face.

For the past 20 years, Rennie has been one of Canada's hardest working actors and that's quite a feat considering he was 33 years old when he shot his first independent Canadian movie, Purple Toast, back in 1990.

Since then he has made his mark both in Canada and internationally as Paul Gross' sidekick Stanley Raymond Kowalski on Due South, Cylon Leoben Conoy in Battlestar Galactica, Detective Ben Sullivan on Shattered, Detective Bob Marlowe on Da Vinci's Inquest and Lew Ashby in Californication, and those are just the tip of the iceberg.

Rennie has racked up almost 200 appearances in television and feature films and has completed seven feature films waiting to be released in the next 20 months including The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet the film chosen to open the 2014 Calgary International Film Festival at the Jubilee Auditorium on Sept. 18.

It is the story of a 10-year-old child protégé who wins a prestigious award from the Smithsonian.

The jury at the Smithsonian thinks T.S. is a professor and he's not about to tell them the truth nor is he about to let his parents know what he has done and won so he hops on a train and heads out from the family's Montana ranch to Washington, DC.

T.S. is played by child actor Kyle Catlett, his parents by Rennie and Helena Bonham Carter and his two siblings by Niamh Wilson and Jakob Davies.
Their Montana farm is actually a farm near Pincher Creek where Rennie filmed for a month last year.

"It's stunning landscape out there. It was the first time I'd been down to that area since I was a child so it was a real eye opener for me to see just how beautiful and pristine that area is," says Rennie who has returned to Pincher Creek and the Crowsnest Pass several times since wrapping up his role in T.S. Spivet.

"I love fishing and I just had to go back and fish the Old Man River again."

The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet was directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet whose screenplay and direction for 2001's Amelie won him nominations and awards on both sides of the Atlantic.

Like Amelie, T.S. Spivet is a magical fable and its success rests on the shoulders of young Catlett.

"It was masterful casting on Jean-Pierre's behalf. He picked each of the young actors because they had the exact qualities he needed to make the film work.

"It also helps that Jean-Pierre is very much like a kid himself," explains Rennie.

"His sensibilities are very childlike. He knows how they see the world and, as a director, he doesn't force them to act. He lets them just be children and that's the key to getting great performances from young actors."

Though Rennie chalked up his share of physical and emotional scars in his 20s, it was not one these he drew on to play the brooding, distant rancher in T.S. Spivet who Rennie says is "not able to show his appreciation for his son in a normal way and that is why the child believes his father doesn't love him.
"I went down to Montana and talked to cowboys and ranchers.

"There is a real life-and-death quality to them that I wanted to capture which can make them seem insensitive when they really aren't."

Rennie says he also drew on his own experiences as a child to understand why T.S. misinterprets his father's feelings.

"As children we create stories that we believe to be true that aren't especially when it comes to viewing our parents and their intimacy.

"There are reasons T.S. thinks his parents are distant and cold and unloving and, since the story is told through his eyes, that's what the audience will see until T.S. finally understands the truth."

Among Rennie's films in preproduction is Fifty Shades of Grey in which he plays Ray Steele.

"I'm Dakota Johnson's stepfather and that's all my contract allows me to say."

He's also in Warcraft the scheduled 2016 release of the film based on the popular video game series.

"I don't play video games. I'm still a bit too busy with my career. I'm saving that experience for my dotage."

Tickets for the gala screening of The Young and Prodigious T. S. Spivet include the red carpet arrival which Rennie will attend plus the after party at the Jubilee are available at calgaryfilm.com

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