Here is a Macbeth who first appears to us as an aristocratic action hero. As bullets whiz by him, Feore struts across the stage without a fret, picking off opponents with a rifle as nonchalantly as if he's out skeet shooting on a sunny afternoon. He is a war hero at this moment, not yet a war criminal – but you can already tell that he's most in his element in the killing fields.
Though McAnuff's production is transposed to “mythic mid-20th-century Africa,” amid messy postcolonial power struggles, Feore's eloquent, emaciated and emotionless Macbeth brings to mind none other than Barack Obama. And that's before Yanna McIntosh's Lady Macbeth arrives on stage, with the hairdo, composure and sculpted biceps of Michelle Obama. Alas, Feore and McIntosh lack the chemistry of America's first couple.
GLOBE AND MAIL Article on The Listener
Actors Colm Feore and Craig Olejnik are engrossed in a serious conversation, punctuated by mouthfuls of takeout from Joe's Chinese, a joint around the corner from the Mississauga set of CTV/NBC's new series, The Listener.
The two men are shooting a scene that takes place in Dr. Ray Mercer's wood-panelled office, where over Chinese food the cognitive specialist (Feore) is counselling his young paramedic friend on how best to cope with telepathic powers that allow him to hear what's going on in other people's heads.
As for Feore, the 50-year-old Gemini- and Jutra-winner said he signed up to play the brainy doctor because the producers allowed him to shape his character into something that better reflects the actor's own sensibilities. “The Ray that exists today is totally different from the guy described in the pilot,” says Feore, who is in six of the 13 episodes.
The co-star of Bon Cop, Bad Cop adds that he modelled Ray after McGill University's Dr. Daniel Levitin, a musician and cognitive neuroscientist whose studies were the subject of a recent CTV documentary called The Musical Brain .
“Dr. Levitin is someone whose experience in the real world of music has dovetailed very nicely into his studies of neuroscience,” explains Feore. “And he's written bestsellers on the strength of it. Ray is kind of like that – a guy who is obsessively interested in how the brain functions and the magical, extraordinary things that the human being is capable of.”
And, the actor adds, he is open to the concept of telepathy.
“If you look at things like intuition – be it feminine or otherwise – there are people who just know. My wife, for one, has this uncanny ability to know not only who is on the phone, but what they want to talk about, what I'm thinking, or what's going to happen next.
“I don't know how she knows this. There's a certain witch-like quality to it,” muses Feore, who lives in Stratford, Ont., with his wife, Donna, and three children. “But I believe there is a sensitivity that certain people have which allows them to receive the vibrations of things that are beginning to happen. It's not unlike animals who are enormously sensitive when any harm is meant them. They respond to bad energy in a space and they react. So why couldn't humans do the same thing?”
ARTICLE AND INTERVIEW WITH COLM FEORE A man of (so) many parts
The last decade has seen him take up a slew of prominent Canadian projects: the CBC miniseries Trudeau (for which he won a best-actor Gemini), recurring roles on television's Slings and Arrows and now The Listener, and a starring spot in the wildly successful film Bon Cop, Bad Cop. In the United States, there's been a guest role on The West Wing , a season on 24 , a 2005 Broadway production of Julius Caesar alongside Denzel Washington and a major role in the Clint Eastwood film Changeling opposite Angelina Jolie.
Was Feore's success in Bon Cop, Bad Cop a launching pad for his success in the U.S.?
“For what? It's Canada. Nobody gives a shit. No, it just happens to be the most successful Canadian movie ever made. Who cares?” he says. “These films, for all of their quality and for having success on their own merits in their own country – which is fantastic – don't do me a whit of good south of the border.”
Though he admits that one of his earlier Canadian starring roles, the eccentric piano genius in François Girard's 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould (1993), helped in his first foray into Los Angeles, he points out that he caught Eastwood's eye for Changeling through a simple audition.
Feore, an American-born graduate of Montreal's National Theatre School who has made Canada his unequivocal home, has been more successful than most in working in both countries. But the Canada/U.S. split seems to be becoming less of an issue now for the entire industry. Discussing a recent guest role on Flashpoint , the recognizably Torontonian police drama, he points out that CBS now airs it and that “it's made with a view to be content on an American network.” That said, he got a very warm reception arriving on the set of 24 from a creative team and crew that is chock full of Canadians. The main difference between the two shows?
“They spend more money [on 24 ]. They blow more stuff up. Because there are just more eyeballs to watch” he says. “As actors, we just drop in and out without much care for whether it's for here, there or Taiwan.”
Which is precisely what Feore continues to do, with great success. He spent time in London doing a “crazy” improvisational film with Andie MacDowell, Amanda Plummer and Jennifer Tilly that has yet to be released, and he has finished filming The Trotsky , a comedy produced by Bon Cop creator Kevin Tierney and written and directed by his son, Jacob Tierney, in which Feore plays the principal at the school of a young man who thinks he's the reincarnation of Leon Trotsky.
What's next for Feore isn't yet clear, but it seems certain he won't choose anything long-term.
“I've never had that experience. I've never wanted to have that experience, to be honest with you,” he said. “Once you've accomplished something and you understand it and you've shot it and they say cut – go home, do something else. I like that as a way to re-energize and recharge the batteries, and one thing really lays the foundation stone for another one.
“It's not that I lose interest. I just ... in a sense, it's like Shakespeare says: ‘Things won are done.'”
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