Antarctica can wait 

Canadian actor Bruce Greenwood juggling major motion picture with local music events


Bruce Greenwood is a serious film actor.

He’s a mainstay of Canadian director Atom Egoyan’s œvre with roles in Ararat, Exotica and the Sweet Hereafter . Hollywood knows and likes him, trusting the understated, Vancouver-based Canuck to portray the icon of American icons – President John F. Kennedy – in the 2000 film Thirteen Days Which Shocked the World .

Recent projects include kiddie-flick Racing Stripes and Being Julia with Annette Bening in the title role. Bening was up for the 2005 Best Actress Oscar for Julia , losing to Hilary Swank. Greenwood will have to wait until March 21 to find out if his work in the film will earn him a Genie Award (Canada’s Oscars) for Best Supporting Actor.

His rugged intensity is currently being channelled into the Hollywood major motion picture Antarctica – in production and slated for a summer release. Greenwood’s schedule has him shooting Friday in Smithers, B.C., then flying back for the weekend, home from Antarctica , to perform in the Doing it for a Song and Songwriters Café concerts in Brackendale and Whistler on Sunday, March 6 and Monday, March 7. Then it’s right back to Smithers again.

For the Brackendale and Whistler shows Greenwood is part of a lineup that includes acclaimed West Coast recording artists Norman Foote, Babe Gurr, Jim Byrnes and Roy Forbes.

Purveyor of a bluesy-pop style and described by Foote, a longtime friend, as "a fantastic singer who is going to surprise a lot of people," Greenwood downplays his inclusion in the talent-rich event.

"People’s expectations, I’m hoping they’re low," he says wryly. "The event as a whole is going to be fantastic but I’m just an actor that plays a bit of guitar and sings a little. I’ll be the novelty portion of the show."

He’s making light of a conundrum faced by many actors/musicians who find their primary craft impedes their ability to be taken seriously in the music world, making them just that, a novelty. Did any of the teenaged girls who bought tickets to see Dogstar really go to hear Keanu Reeves’ songwriting prowess?

Greenwood offers his disclaimer: "I don’t think I am taken particularly seriously," before his frank reply: "if the music’s any good, they will take you seriously. If it’s not, they’ll just call you a poseur."

Performing aside, he confirms his music to be an effective diversion on tedious film shoots. Greenwood said he jammed incessantly during the filming of Thirteen Days with Steven Culp, the actor who portrayed Bobby Kennedy. Now that would be an act. The Live Kennedys. Not a bad idea, though sure to incite the wrath of outspoken punk politico and former Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra. Greenwood cracks up at the concept and a hint of his enthusiasm for the Brackendale and Whistler shows escapes through a hairline fracture in the tough nut.

"I think it’s going to be a lot of fun," he says. "For me it’s just a privilege to be part of it, really. I’m very lucky to be playing with all these guys. That’s just the truth. I’m really looking forward to it."

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