B.C. boy Taylor Kitsch has moved on – clumsily but eventually – from his career-making role as Tim Riggins in Friday Night Lights.
After spending his 2012 on commercial and critical failures like Battleship, Savages, and John Carter, Kitsch has found his place in Hollywood once again. 2013 brought True Survivor and now he’s also starring in Ryan Murphy’s TV movie about HIV and AIDS in the 1980’s, The Normal Heart.
But Kitsch’s most acclaimed film doesn’t have him in Hollywood, at all. Instead, it’s in Newfoundland with acting vets like Canadian Gordon Pinsent and Brendan Gleeson, unleashing the charm of tiny Tickle Cove in The Grand Seduction.
“The script drew me to it. I just laughed out loud a bunch, and I think that’s a good sign anytime you get a script, a comedy for sure,” Kitsch told The Canadian Press, while promoting the film in Toronto.
“To have that opportunity to go shoot where we shot. Very spoiled. We all had a great time.”
In The Grand Seduction, Kitsch plays a city-slickin’ lawyer who’s staying in Tickle Cove, Newfoundland for one month. Gleeson and Pinsent are desperate to have him remain in the town for good, as Tickle Cove needs a doctor in-residence to get a contract to build a factor. And then, maybe, the town will be saved from impending financial ruin.
Filming took place in St. John’s. The Grand Seduction will be released North America-wide on May 30, 2014. It premiered at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, and was selected as the opening film for the Atlantic Film Festival and the Calgary International Film Festival.
The movie is based off a 2003 Quebecois comedy, Seducing Doctor Lewis.
“Sometimes, these transfers from one language to another can miss the point, so I think the crucial thing was trying to find the essence of what was in the Quebecois (version),” said Gleeson.
“A lot of these communities are either ignored or patronized. We do knock a lot of fun out of everything… but it was a concern, not to get dismissive and patronizing. We really don’t want that. So I hope everyone can get a laugh out of it.”
It was Kitsch’s first time working in Canada, as a professional actor.
“I loved it. I was fly fishing on my off days,” he said. “It was just always outdoors and it was very freeing to be out there, you know? I needed it.”
In the film, Kitsch and Gleeson share a scene on a boat, with the younger actor’s character struggling mightily through his first fishing experience.
“That was fun to play,” the Kelowna kid said. “I fly fished, or learned to fly fish there. We’d walk, go up into these mountains and just walking up stream or wherever it was, find these small pools and just pull fish out of there.
“That was a blast.”
Gleeson, originally from Dublin, Ireland, also enjoyed the culture and the folksy-ness of Atlantic Canada.
“People help each other out, but you’re expected to be self-reliant,” he said. “And they’ve got a great sense of humour. They know how to laugh.”