OPEN LETTER TO ACTRA


Here’s a letter that I sent to ACTRA National, Toronto and Maritimes today, in an effort to get them to increase their funding to the Women In The Director’s Chair program. In case you haven’t figured it out by now, I had a pretty great time…

To Whom It May Concern,

I am a full-member of ACTRA (member #**-*****) who has just returned from The Banff Centre in Alberta. There in Banff, I was taking part in the Women In The Director’s Chair‘s acting ensemble, which had all go through a rigorous two-week program, working each day with some of Canada’s brightest up-and-coming female directors.

I understand that from your standpoint, the Women In The Director’s Chair program could be easily be mistaken as something that’s purely beneficial to the directors. Nothing could be further from the truth. Working in the environment that Carol Whiteman has constructed, which gives everyone the “freedom to fail” and puts the process before the product, I have rediscovered what it means to be a true collaborator.

And also, more so than ever, I feel that I have defined what it means (to myself) to be an actor. Talking with other members of the ensemble, we all agree that we’re leaving the program feeling more empowered as artists than ever before.

I’m writing you today to ask you to please consider increasing your contributions to the Women In The Director’s Chair program next year, as raising operating costs at The Banff Centre have already had negative impacts on the program; for example mentor-actor, Christianne Hirt-Shaw, was unable to stay for the full duration of the two weeks due to a lack of funding. A lost opportunity for the actors, no doubt.

I’ll be posting this open-letter to my website, GlenMatthews.ca, not in an attempt to call out ACTRA, but instead to show other actors how strongly I feel about the WIDC program, and to encourage them to apply to take part in this wonderful, invaluable experience.

I hope that by next January, when other performers have a chance to come to Banff and be a part of the ensemble, the program will be better funded by ACTRA, allowing the participants to get even more out of it than I did.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Glen Matthews

Much love to my union, and to my fellow union members who will hopefully enjoy the benefits of the Women In The Director’s Chair some day down the road.

Advertisements

TOP 11 FILMS OF 2011

It’s that time of the year (the end of it) when people sit down and drum up lists of their favourite things of the past twelve months. Today, I would like to share with you (only because you care so much) my 11 favourite films of 2011…

Onward!


11HANNA – Directed by: Joe Wright
There’s a lot to like about HANNA, especially it’s odd-characters, it’s odd-pacing, and it’s incredible soundtrack, which just so happens to be the best soundtrack of the year — oh don’t mind me, I’m just trying to start a flame-war with all the DRIVE-soundtrack fanatics in the comments section (leave a comment, I dare ya’).


10MIDNIGHT IN PARIS – Directed by Woody Allen
My screening for MIDNIGHT IN PARIS could not have been more perfect for Allen’s whimsy: Saturday morning in the cinema, packed to the gills with giggling, giddy senior citizens. Leave your snarkiness at the door, Matthews. Avoid all spoilers of this film, and watch accordingly.


9WIN WIN – Directed by Tom McCarthy
I’ve made no attempt to hide the fact that I’m a huge fan of writer, director and actor Tom McCarthy — the guy played a big part in inspiring me to write and direct my first short film, ROOM SERVICE. As with both of McCarthy’s other films (THE STATION AGENT and THE VISITOR), WIN WIN’s strength is in it’s characters. My expectations could not have been higher and I was not let down.


8RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES – Directed by Rupert Wyatt
Speaking of expectations… Any reasonable person would agree: this movie should have sucked. Really bad. But it didn’t. In fact, it was fairly awesome. Aside from a cringe-inducing final five minutes, the film had some of the best sci-fi moments of the year, and at one point (see photo above) literally made me gasp-out-loud. I generally don’t do that too often unless I’ve spilt a hot drink on my lap.


7 – A tie between:  DETENTION – Directed by Joseph Kahn
I’m sure I could be accused of bias here, but it’s nothing but pride for fellow-Haligonian, Mark Palermo who wrote the screenplay for Joseph Kahn‘s second feature film. Try and process this: a high-school, slasher-flick comedy that also has elements of time-travel. The film moves at an unbelievable pace, and I mean that in the best way possible. It’s everything I wanted SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD to be.

Technically, I think DETENTION belongs in the 2012 category, I just wanted to get behind this movie early on and encourage you to embrace this madness when it’s available to you.


7 – &: MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL – Directed by Brad Bird
In spite of the public’s opinion of Tom Cruise’s very public, very odd life, he just can’t help himself from being awesome when he steps in front of a camera. MI:4 has some of the most-thrilling action sequences conceived on-screen all year, and also a surprising sense of humour.


6DRIVE – Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn
“This film will shock you” is such an incredibly lame thing to say, but it applies here. From the first minute, I was hooked in, and was convinced that I was witnessing a brutal, unforgiving, modern masterpiece unravel before my very eyes. It was in the final fifteen minutes that the film lost me with a (in my opinion) weak finale. The anger I feel towards the ending is only a result of how amazing the rest of the movie is, so there’s that.


5WARRIOR – Directed by Gavin O’Connor
Howard Hawk’s famously said that a great film must contain “Three great scenes, [and] no bad ones”. Off the top of my head, I can count six great scenes in WARRIOR, which isn’t surprising given the talent involved, and nothing that even resembles a “bad scene”. Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton, and (surprisingly – for me, at least) Nick Nolte all give beautiful, heart-wrenching performances.

The major flaw of the film is it’s premise: we are expected to believe that two brothers could end up in the finals of a worldwide mixed-martial-arts tournament, which is, to say the least, ridiculous. If you can get passed this, you’ll be enjoying one of the finest ensemble casts 2011 has to offer. Upon three viewings, I have been brought to tears all three times. Manly, manly tears.


4MELANCHOLIA – Directed by Lars Von Trier
This was my first foray into the world of Lars Von Trier, and although I’ve heard many a weird thing describing his films, nothing could prepare me for this. Beautiful, frustrating, brave, and overall: haunting.

If there’s a full moon in the sky, I am now incapable of looking away without first pondering the world’s end. Thanks for that, MELANCHOLIA.

Oh, and Kirsten Dunst can act!


3SUBMARINE – Directed by Richard Ayoade
The main criticism I’ve heard leveled against Wes Anderson‘s most-recent films is that they are increasingly lacking in a human characters, which I personally disagree with, but for anyone who has this problem with his films of late, may I recommend viewing Richard Ayoade‘s debut feature film, SUBMARINE, a quirky and whimsical coming-of-age story highlighted by some amazingly well-balanced performances.

This film has 2011’s second best soundtrack — that’s right, you DRIVE soundtrack enthusiasts! Meet me in the comments section!


2ATTACK THE BLOCK – Directed by Joe Cornish
All too often, especially in the past ten years, we have been promised films with incredible premises such as “Nazi zombies”, “Pirates vs. Ninjas”, “Snakes on a plane” that have more often than not, ended up absolutely sucking. ATTACK THE BLOCK, which is essentially “Hoodlums vs. Aliens” is a film that finally delivers on it’s potential for awesome.

It’s not a surprise that SHAUN OF THE DEAD director Edgar Wright, was the executive producer on this film, as it has the same balance between comedy, action, and thrills, and perhaps it’s been even more finely defined here with ATTACK THE BLOCK. Anyone who knows how much I love SHAUN OF THE DEAD, knows how big of a compliment that is.


1MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE – Directed by Sean Durkin
I really don’t want to say too much about this film. It’s so much better to be discovered. It starts as one thing and slowly builds into an absolute masterpiece.

Elizabeth Olsen, the younger sister of the Olsen twins (you heard me) is phenomenal (yes, you still heard me) in the lead as Martha, a young woman haunted by her memories of her time spent with a cult lead by John Hawkes (skinnier and better than ever), as she attempts to re-assimilate with her family. It sounds like an okay premise, but the execution is flawless.

If you take a recommendation from me just once this year, treat yourself to MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE.

————

TOP 11 HONOURABLE MENTIONS (because why not): CEDAR RAPIDS, TYRANNOSAUR, BEGINNERS, 50/50, KUNG FU PANDA 2, X-MEN FIRST CLASS, HAROLD AND KUMAR 3D, THE DESCENDANTS, THE LINCOLN LAWYER, FAST FIVE, and BRIDESMAIDS.

(ASSUMED) TOP 11 FILMS I HAVEN’T SEEN: TAKE SHELTER, SHAME, CARNAGE, CAPTAIN AMERICA, SUPER, TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY, THE ARTIST, THE SKIN I LIVE IN, WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN, GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, and CAFE DE FLORE.

TV PARTY PODCAST INTERVIEW

Hello folks! I am an incredible fan of the podcast format, so it is with much joy that I share with you today an interview I did for 88.1FM CKDU’s TV PARTY PODCAST!

The interview, hosted by Stephan MacLeod and Ryan Delehanty, is 94 minutes long, so turn off that Christmas special, download this sucker onto your iPhone, and go for a long walk (no, I don’t care how cold it is outside).

TV Party interviews actor extraordinaire Glen Matthews about his failed quest to become a professional wrestler, learning to act, his roles in Hobo with a Shotgun, the Corridor, Streets of Domination, Game, Roller Town and much more.

To download my episode, as well as interviews with Josh MacDonald (writer of THE CORRIDOR), Jason Eisener (director of HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN), Mark Palermo (writer of DETENTION) as well as many others, please visit http://www.mediafire.com/?7r92bt7eiy51c

MacLeod and Delehanty told me that they plan to have the episodes of TV PARTY PODCAST available via iTunes later on in 2012, so be ready to do some subscribin’.

Happy holidays, everyone! I’ll be posting my top 11 films of 2011 list in a few days (movies I watched, not movies I was in — that would be exceptionally narcissistic) so stay tuned for that and be ready to argue with me!

OUT WITH THE OLD…

I figured it was time to spruce things up around here. Welcome to the new website design! But not only is it just the look that’s changed, but also the URL. You can now access the blog directly by typing GlenMatthews.ca into your address bar! Pretty neat, EH? For the originals out there, fret not, you can still get to the same exact spot by typing GlenJM.wordpress.com.

I’ve also retooled every aspect of the site, so please, take your shoes off, have a drink, and take a look at the new place.

For those of you who may be a little heart-broken that the old theme is gone, I’ve taken this snapshot of it’s final moments for your enjoyment. You served me well, old friend… but now I have a new friend… so leave us alone.

BUILDING THE GLENJMPIRE: CHAPTER 8

From Chapter One: “The primary purpose of ‘Building the GlenJMpire’ for me, is to figure out how I got to where I’m at today, by having a look back at every step along the way. In other words, I am very forgetful.”

I had taken a healthy break from writing the chapters of my long-awaited memoirs once the novelty of doing so had worn off and it started to just feel rather masturbatory.

Well hold on to yer butts because the novelty is back! Need a refresher? Read Chapter Seven: YouBoob The Musical.

CHAPTER EIGHT:
“Movie Magic”
Spring 2006

I felt like a nervous wreck going into my meeting with the creators of THE TEETH BENEATH, Jason Eisener & John Davies regarding their upcoming feature film STREETS OF DOMINATION. This was my first experience with “networking”, but Jason and John quickly calmed my nerves by buying me a beer and launching into their pitch.

Since the whole be-a-professional-wrestler plan fell apart, I really had no idea what I wanted to do. As they told me more and more about their film, it became pretty damn clear that this was it.

During the conversation the two of them referenced a million different movies, all of which I told them I had never seen, instantly provoking an explosive “WHAT?!” from both of them. Their enthusiasm for the films they were describing really lit a fire inside of me, a fire that I hadn’t felt since the pro-wrestling ship sank. They wanted to create something that they absolutely loved, and there was no way that they  were going to be stopped.

By the end of the conversation, they gave me the script and we went our separate ways. A week later, I received an email informing me that they cast me as Billy Chambers, the mother-effing lead in STREETS OF DOMINATION! You best believe that there was some bedroom dancing that day.

The stars had re-aligned and my attention had officially shifted to acting.

This prompted me to sign up and audition for Neptune Theatre’s Pre-Professional Training Program, an eight-month training program for actors where I would hopefully begin to hone my talents, along with a handful of friends who I had met while working on JUMP! AN 80’S MUSICAL.

We started shooting STREETS OF DOMINATION and I instantly, absolutely, shamelessly fell in love with filmmaking. The long hours, the comradery, the sacrifice; these were all things that I was preparing myself for in a life as a professional wrestler. All of the fun, without the crippling chronic-pain? Sign me up!

That’s not to say that filmmaking (especially non-union filmmaking) isn’t without it’s dangers: (1) on the first few days of shooting, we had to drive a car that had no brakes (not part of the script), (2) cliff-jumping, (3) we crashed the car with no brakes while I was on the trunk (twice), (4) giant, un-choreographed fights with real weapons, (5) Eisener was chained to a motorcycle and dragged behind it on a gravel road, and many, many more stories of “how did no one get hurt there?”

After a couple months, due to the changing seasons and everyone’s lives starting back up in September, we took a hiatus from shooting, deciding to start back up in the Spring. I was accepted into Neptune Theatre School, so I would be attending PPTP in the Fall.

The ball was officially rolling.

***

That’s all for Chapter 8 of “Building the GlenJMpire”, but I wanted to let you know that you can watch the trailer for STREETS OF DOMINATION, right damn now!..

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The film is 99% shot, but Mr. Jason Eisener and John Davies had to go and make HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN before finishing it, so it’s officially been placed on the back-burner. It’s simmering.

Someday it will be released, and I think people will really be shocked with what we were able to put together with no resources. It could very easily go down as one of the single-most ambitious no-budget films ever made.

Keep your interest piqued.

To my Streets brothers, Owen Bonnar, John Han, Mike Hampson, Peter Hughson, Anthony Wicks: Keep hope alive.

PAST BUILDING THE GLENJMPIRE CHAPTERS:
Chapter 7: YouBoob, The Musical
Chapter 6: Quitter

Chapter 5: VHS FTW
Chapter 4: Two Chapters With One Stone
Chapter 3: Honk If You Happen to be Horny
Chapter 2: Junior Hierarchy
Chapter 1: Prologue

ATLANTIC FILMMAKERS ON EASTLINK

Check out the manly beard that I was rocking last September during my taped interview for Eastlink Television’s ATLANTIC FILMMAKERS hosted by John Scott. The interview is currently running on Eastlink Television, or if you have Eastlink OnDemand, you can simply go into the menu and select my episode.

I remember being fairly nervous for no real reason. It was not a good warmup for Regis. Overall though, I had a fun time with Mr. Scott. I still haven’t seen the interview (me being in Ontario and whatnot), but I’ve been told that Eastlink will get me a copy of it in a few weeks, so once they do that, I’ll put it up on the blog.

Fun fact: this is the beard that makes an appearance in the upcoming ROLLER TOWN (by Picnicface).

In other news, it’s been a damned-month since I updated the blog, and that is my definition of unacceptable. It’s been a fun month, I finished my first short screenplay in ages, which is currently being re-written, and also I had a brief stay back home in Nova Scotia to finish working on ONLY HUMAN, a feature film I started shooting three years ago.

Lots of fun on the horizon, stay tuned!