Friday, 20 January 2012

Interview with Michael Eklund on The Divide


During the Toronto After Dark Film Festival in 2011 I had the opportunity to interview actor Michael Eklund of The Divide. I first saw him on the Canadian TV Series 'Intelligence' where he played the shady and elusive character Rene Desjardins with such a subtle brilliance that I’ve jumped at the opportunity to watch anything else he’s in whether it's Hunt to Kill, Tactical Force, and episode of 'Fringe' or 'Alcatraz'. He continues to deliver each and every time giving us great performance after great performance. We can now add The Divide to that long list of great performances with his formidable portrayal of Bobby, one of a handful of survivors holed up after an apocalyptic-level event. It was a joy to get a chance to chat with him in person at the festival about the film, the collaborative nature of the the project and the subtlety of his performances.

Sarah Gopaul:So looking at your IMDb page, you’ve been in about 100 titles between TV and movies; so I was wondering how you go about choosing which roles you play.

Michael Eklund: I’m going to be honest; I’m the kind of actor that doesn’t choose his roles. If I get hired, I do the job. But what I do is I try and play the role in a way that I haven’t played before that role before. If I’m playing something where I’ve re-visiting something similar, then I try to attack it and approach it in a different way. But I’ve never said no to a job. Maybe that’s why I have so many credits, because I’ll do anything

Shannon: And what drew you to this particular project?

Michael Eklund: I remember reading the script and obviously I read it and thought this is going to be interesting. And then I found out we would be shooting in chronological order. And then I found out that Xavier Gens was directing it. And then I heard some of the cast members who were attached, like Michael Biehn, and I said “Sign me up!” But then I had to actually audition for the role and get the job, and I did that. And then by luck Xavier watched my audition and liked it, so I was very fortunate to meet him and we discussed the script some more. I had things I wanted to bring to it and he had things that he wanted to bring to it and then the collaborative process started. And that’s how it started and ended; it was a big collaboration from beginning to end.

Sarah Gopaul: So had you actually heard of Xavier before?

Michael Eklund: Yes, of course. From Frontière(s) and from Hitman, and this movie is very different from either one of those. Yeah, I was in and I knew it was going to be fun.

Shannon: You often bring an amazing comedy and exuberance, but such a subtly to your performances. I was wondering if you could share how you do that.

Michael Eklund: I always think the darker the subject matter is, the more humour it’s going to need; because you need those moments as a breath of fresh air, to take the audience out of how drastic and intense it is. And then the more humorous the project is, the more serious I play it. That’s my trick. Never play the comedy, never play the seriousness; do the complete opposite.

Sarah Gopaul: So after making this film, if the world were to actually end which would you choose: to actually try and survive with a group of people or face the doom and save yourself the trouble?

Michael Eklund: I wouldn’t face the doom. I’ve thought about this for a long time and I think I’d be a fighter. I’d try and survive as long as I could. I don’t know how long I’d last, but I would try and survive as long as I could.

Shannon: Thank you so much, I’m a huge fan.

Michael Eklund: Awesome.

It's really Michael Eklund who is awesome. So awesome that he made my 2011 List of New Faces and Ones to Watch. He truly is a brilliant actor. Now go watch him in The Divide!

The Divide opens in Toronto on January 20, 2012.

You can hear the interview on The Movie Moxie Podcast along with my interview with Michael Biehn (transcript of that interview here). See also my review of The Divide and videos from The Divide Q&A and Introduction Videos from Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2011 with director Xavier Gens and actors Michael Biehn, Jennifer Blanc-Biehn, Milo Ventimiglia and Michael Eklund.

This interview with Michael Eklund was done after the Toronto After Dark Film Festival screening of The Divide on October 25, 2011 at the Toronto Underground Theatre. Co-interviewed with Sarah Gopaul.

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(Left) Michael Eklund at the Q&A for The Divide at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2011

Sarah Gopaul & I interviewing Micheal Eklund at the Photo Credit & Thanks to: Scott Chalmers.

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