DOES THIS ARTICLE MAKE ME LOOK FAT?

My hometown newspapers the Progress Enterprise and the Bridgewater Bulletin (both of Lighthouse Publishing) ran a story this week about my various exploits in the entertainment industry.

CLIMBING THE LADDER TO THE STARS

Local actor taking leap of faith in Toronto

Glen Matthews never dreamed he’d be an actor. In fact, the East LaHave native never actually got bitten by the acting bug until after he graduated from Park View Education Centre in 2005.

“It was a very gradual thing. Growing up I always wanted to be a pro wrestler,” he recalls. “I was going to be a pro wrestler. I was so convinced.”

During his high school days, Mr. Matthews says he and a number of his friends spent hour after hour copying the pro wrestlers’ moves in their backyards, but no one took it more seriously than he did.

“I … set up the camera and picked everybody’s music and all that stuff. I was really, really into it,” he laughs. “I was the director, everything. I was the leading force.”

His pro wrestling dream was so strong, in fact, that at the tender age of 19 Mr. Matthews sold his car, packed up his belongings and headed to New Brunswick to attend a pro wrestling school.

It didn’t take long for reality to set in.

“I made it about a week and I decided it wasn’t for me. It’s a very negative lifestyle,” he said. “I still appreciate the art behind it and the showmanship, but I just feel like in the grand scheme of the business of it, I have no interest in it anymore and I don’t admire the things they have to put themselves through to get where they’re going.”

Switching gears, Mr. Matthews moved to Halifax with an eye towards pursuing a career in graphic design.

He enrolled in the applied arts program at the Nova Scotia Community College, then started taking evening classes at Neptune Theatre “because it was my first year on my own and I just wanted to occupy my time.

“It just sort of picked up from there. My first play that I ever did was when I was going to quit a class,” he recalls. “It was a musical theatre class and I didn’t know you had to have prior knowledge going in. I didn’t know how to read music. I didn’t know anything.”

After two weeks, he went in to inform the instructor of his decision. However, despite his lack of musical knowledge, he was asked on his way out if he would like to audition for a part in the musical “Jump.”

“They said, ‘We’ll teach you phonetically and go from there,’” he laughs. “It was a really good experience for just sort of jumping in and I met some really good contacts through that.”

His Neptune performance led to a part in upand-coming filmmaker Jason Eisener’s full-length feature “Streets of Domination,” a role that gave Mr. Matthews the confidence to pursue acting as a possible career.

“I was 20 and I just said, ‘Screw it. I have no other definitive thing that I enjoy this much and I’m going to take a stab at this,’ so I did the Neptune Theatre Pre-professional Training Program,” he explains.

That year-long course was not only very intensive, but was also what Mr. Matthews says he needed to convince himself that, not only did he enjoy acting, but that he was good at it.

“The one thing that has constantly shocked me with this profession is that just taking leaps of faith has really, really rewarded me so far,” he says.

By last year, he had earned enough acting credits that he was accepted into ACTRA, and soon bagged his first major role in the Mike Barker film “Moby Dick,” which starred Ethan Hawke, William Hurt and Donald Sutherland.

“That was such an amazing experience getting cast in that, and from there I was just off. I’ve had a great year,” he says. “It’s been such a rewarding journey these last few years. It feels like it’s been building properly and when that happened, it just skyrocketed.”

Since completing “Moby Dick,” Mr. Matthews was cast in the lead role in the feature-length film “The Corridor” as well as roles in “Hobo With a Shotgun,” “Righteous” with Cory Bowles of “Trailer Park Boys” fame, the Showcase TV series “Haven” and a soon-to-be-shot film titled “Roller Town.”

He also recently filmed a commercial for the Atlantic Lottery Corporation which is expected to air shortly.

Next month, Mr. Matthews will be taking yet another leap of faith when he heads for Toronto. There he hopes to take the next step up the acting career ladder.

“I want to keep doing work that I find challenging. That’s what I find about acting, that no step in the process is really comfortable … and it’s always a little bit terrifying,” he laughs. “Every single project, there’s always room to screw it all up.”

-rhirtle@southshorenow.ca

Apologies if my beard startled you.

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