Montreal native Jay Baruchel is arguably one of the hottest new breakout actors in Hollywood. If you've seen How To Train Your Dragon, Million Dollar Baby, Tropic Thunder, She's Out of My League, Knocked Up, Almost Famous or Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, you've seen Baruchel's work. And when I had the chance to meet him today, it was refreshing to see that he remains an incredibly modest, no-frills person despite having achieved a significant amount of fame. In fact, today for his CBC interview with George Stroumboulopoulous on The Hour, he walked from his hotel to the studio. Kindly, he took a moment out to pose for a picture with me and I am extremely honoured. It is no secret that Baruchel is well on his way to becoming the next Tom Hanks of his generation. He's awkward, funny, personable yet headstrong.
For this evening's Scotiabank Theatre premiere of latest comedy The Trotsky, he did a round of press after a hectic promotional itinerary which saw him visit MuchMusic Headquarters and CBC prior to arriving at his premiere. Running late, he didn't get a chance to introduce the film with his fellow cast members, but he did pop by afterwards to field some questions post-screening.
Baruchel boldly wore a Montreal Canadiens T-shirt knowing very well what type of reaction it would draw from Toronto Maple Leaf fans. And we all know how passionate Torontonians are about their Hockey. The cat lover went on to explain that he drew inspiration from cartoons for his quirky, eccentric character Leon, who is convinced he is the reincarnation of Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky. His brilliant sense of movement exiting some scenes drew praise from Toronto's most renowned Film Critic Richard Crouse, who hosted this evening's Q&A. Believe it or not, Baruchel idolizes Rowan Atkinson of Mr. Bean fame and as an afterthought one can see that influence in his animated mannerisms. When asked about his fame from an audience member, he indicated that he is proudly Canadian, planning to continue residing in Montreal as he always has. He assured us that he will continue to support and make Canadian films and let the world know about the wonderful films being made in our country.
Also in attendace at tonight's screening was acclaimed theatre actor Colm Feore, last seen in films like Chicago and Good Cop Bon Cop. He plays Baruchel's archnemesis Principal Berkhoff. In addition, father-son producer/director duo Kevin and Jacob Tierney fielded audience questions also, stating that they had purposely played up the Canadian aspect of this film, chalkful of local references. In ways, Kevin felt this was a big "fuck you" to Americans who normally expect Canadians to understand their local references in their films. "I don't know where the hell New Jersey is and I have no idea where Ashbury Park is! I do love Bruce Springsteen though!", he proclaimed. The audience approved loudly.
Veteran television actor Saul Rubinek who plays Leon's father David, also answered some questions, revealing that when he was younger he also played a young man obsessed with Trotsky also and was determined to be a part of this film once he had learned of it.
Alliance Films' The Trotsky hits theatres Friday, May 14, 2010. Visit its official website for more details. For those who are curious, Baruchel will also be appearing tomorrow morning on Alternative-Rock station The Edge 102.1 for one more interview.
Check out these pics from this evening's screening, which I took:
(Top: Colm Feore, Saul Rubinek, Jacob Tierney; Bottom: Jay Baruchel - Photo credit: Mr. Will-W.)