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How does a kid from B.C. end up in one of the biggest superhero franchises going? I had the stereotypical Canadian upbringing in Kelowna and Port Alberni—rollerblading for miles just to go play some street hockey and, as you get older, girls and stuff. But I was always super interested in acting, and I loved public speaking. I went to the divisionals and the regionals three years in a row for these speeches that were basically just stories I made up. Then, after I really wrecked up my knee, I got an opportunity to go to New York for print modelling and I started studying acting there.
How did you get by? I really didn’t. A couple of years after leaving New York, I finally paid off my acting coach, Sheila Grey. A lot of people are surprised to hear that an actor studied for two or three years. They take the craft for granted and wanna just wake up and be an actor. But paying your dues and all that puts so much into being a success. You have an understanding of what it’s about, being on your own for three or four years and living day to day on $3, or living in an apartment with no electricity. I didn’t want to just go back home and be like, “Yep, it didn’t work out.”
Were you familiar with X-Men before trying out for X-Men Origins: Wolverine? Yeah, of course I knew X-Men and I knew of the character I play, Gambit. But when you read for a part, you’re going to research your face off. There’ve been other jobs that have come and gone and I haven’t lost sleep over them, but this I fought for. And understandably—with the following and hype this movie has. Hopefully we can do a few more of these. I’d murder to play this guy for the next 10 years.
Did you have role models when you were in school? Sean Penn’s kind of a big influence. Not like, “I wanna be Sean Penn,” but you admire the guy and how great his career’s turned out. His talent’s undeniable. And Hugh Jackman. I learned more through watching Hugh play Wolverine than I would have in four years of school. Being able to go off to Australia for four months and train and work off of him, see how a real leading man does his thing, it’s been an amazing experience.
How do you think fans will react to Wolverine? Look, I’m in it and I’m a tougher critic than most fans. And I’ve seen enough to say that this movie is prettybad-ass.