CINEPLEX: Did you ever expect that you would be in a musical?
JC: A musical? No. I feel like independent film is a place to experiment and fail, and do something that’s out there. That’s what independent film usually is supposed to – you know, to push the boundaries.
I remember when I was in high school, I auditioned – I really wanted a part in West Side Story, and I got a part, but I only had one line in West Side Story.
CINEPLEX: What part was it?
JC: I don’t know. I had one line. [To his mother:] Was I a Jet, or was I a Shark? You don’t remember? [To Cineplex:] I’m driving with my mom right now. I’m actually back staying in Vancouver right now. Wait, I was a Jet! I had one line, but singing and dancing terrified me. When I got this part [in Bang Bang Baby], it scared me, and those are the things I like to do. I took singing lessons, and I did watch a lot of kind of old Chuck Berry and Elvis, early pop star stuff. Did a little bodywork for it.
CINEPLEX: Speaking of Elvis, were there any other particular characters or people you drew from when realizing your character, rock idol Bobby Shore?
JC: Yeah, I based my character on Justin Bieber.
CINEPLEX: [Laughs] You did not.
JC: [Laughs] Yeah, I did – at the time that prison picture came out of Justin Bieber in jail. I was deeply touched by the smile he had on his face, and the satisfaction that he had of going to jail. The look on his face was, “I made it!” [Laughs]
I thought, “Wow, man. Youth and fame are so disillusioned.” I just couldn’t get that picture out of my head at the same time as I was creating the character, and I just said, “That’s the character.”
[Bobby] comes to this small town, and he’s just like, “I’m gonna recreate this town, and I’m in love with this girl, and I’m a visionary and life is amazing.” He’s optimistic and he doesn’t see anything negative with the world. Everything is just amazing. And I saw that same look on Justin Bieber’s face in that prison picture. Honestly, I know it sounds like a joke, but I actually based my character on Justin Bieber.
CINEPLEX: What was it like working with Peter Stormare?
JC: He was my favourite. He showed up in a black trench coat, red circular John Lennon sunglasses, and a “Pokemon” pink child’s backpack. Peter Stormare carries a really nice gravitas to him, and he embraces a side of himself that is insane.
He brought that to the character because he was playing an alcoholic. He went really, really far because Jeffrey St. Jules didn’t really ask him to tone it down. Peter just kept saying, “I’m gonna keep going until somebody says something to me.” He was cranking it up – on a scale of 1-10, he was doing about 12. There was a point where he was throwing a shotgun around and smashing stuff around – really going far with his performance – and it actually encouraged me and Jane to go further too. Then I think Jeff actually stepped in and was like, “Hey, maybe tone it down a little bit.”
But he really was going far, and it was really fun, and there was a lot of improvisation happening on the set, and a lot of that was Peter. Peter is an amazing musician too, so he was playing a lot of music on set. He loved being there and we loved being around him. He was a real treat to work with.
CINEPLEX: What does Jane Levy bring to the character of Stepphy?
JC: Jane has a wholesomeness and a purity about her, but there’s also something that’s very observant and present in the way that she sees things. You know, essentially I think the movie is about teen angst and a young girl that wants to get out of her small town. The director, Jeffrey St. Jules, said that he came about the project and Jane’s characters while watching an Ann Margaret Elvis movie, and he thought what an interesting story – to make a movie about Ann Margaret if she actually went bonkers. He said there was almost a tad of Ann Margaret that looked like she was about to lose her mind.
CINEPLEX: When you read the script, and the purple mist starts mutating the town, what did you think about the movie’s sudden sci-fi/genre trajectory?
JC: I thought it was awesome. I never saw it as a sci-fi though. I saw it as more a David Lynch film. I like it when people take genres and combine them, and I thought that he did a great job with this one, as a very combined genre. He flipped a few genres on its head. It’s a really unique film, and I think filmmakers that make stuff like this should really be supported in our culture. I’m glad that people are embracing this movie, because it is a really bizarre film. From the first time I read it, I said I’ll do anything to be involved with it, because these are the guys I want to work with. I don’t care about doing great films. I just want to be involved with somebody that’s doing something new and innovative – a lot of the time, those do become the great films.
CINEPLEX: Can you tell me a little bit about your time on “Orphan Black”?
JC: I’m friends with John Fawcett, the creator, and at the time, I was doing a movie in New York. He just called me and asked if I wanted to come up and play with them in Toronto. Toronto, over the last two years, has really become my second home because I’ve been shooting a lot of stuff up there. So I said, “Yeah, sure, I’ll come up. What do you want me to do?”
He told me the character and said it was kind of the comedic release of the series. I got to go play with the very talented Tatiana Maslany, and Kristian Bruun who was in Bang Bang Baby with me. We had the exact opposite dynamic in “Orphan Black” as we did in Bang Bang Baby. [Laughs] But I loved working with Kristian, so I was really excited to go back and work with those two.
The writers are fantastic on that show. I haven’t seen a whole lot of [“Orphan Black,”] but I just had so much fun going up there and playing with them. Good material is hard to find, but I’ve been super fortunate to get the opportunity to go do that show, which seemed so independent. Cable TV is like independent film these days.