Festival Daily

A Round With… Jayne Eastwood

By Eleni Deacon
Who: Jayne Eastwood, appearing in Real Time and Coopers’ Camera
Where: Starbucks inside Indigo at the Manulife Centre
When: September 2, 1pm
What: Iced tea for two
She may play grandmothers in her films, but Jayne Eastwood has the zany energy to trump any young starlet. Not to mention the full schedule. Appearing at the Festival in Warren P. Sonoda’s madcap comedy Coopers’ Camera and Randall Cole’s hard-boiled drama Real Time, this self-professed “goofy dame” is an established fixture in Canadian cinema. I grabbed a table at Starbucks with the Second City alum to discuss scripts, partying and the business of making people laugh.
ED: So, what attracted you to these two very different projects?
JE: Real Time is a really nicely written movie. The characters were very real. And of course, Randy Quaid has a great reputation, he’s fabulous. I hadn’t met Jay Baruchel before, but he’s just a lovely improvisational kind of actor. [With Coopers’ Camera,] I had worked with Mike Beaver on Billable Hours, and he said, “Will you do a movie for me for absolutely nothing?” I said, “It’s February, nothing’s going on, so what the hell?” I knew it would be fun, because Mike is hysterical.
ED: How was the experience of playing two grandmothers?
JE: The character in Real Time was a little bit different for me, because I was this lonely old woman. There wasn’t a lot of wackiness about it. Whereas in Coopers’ Camera, I had this white wig on, sometimes I’d let the food drop out of my mouth – it was just horrible. She was as hideous as possible. And I must admit I did kind of reference my mother in her latter weeks, when she had dementia.
ED: Was working on Real Time an intense experience given the subject matter?
JE: Randall Cole was wonderful, and he respected the actors. So if we came up with stuff, he was definitely going to go for it. The script was so good, we really didn’t have to, but it had that open atmosphere. He felt like a very seasoned film director, even though he’s pretty young.
ED: Do you consider yourself more of a comedic or dramatic actor?
JE: The thing is comedy is really hard work. So you’re laughing, but you’re getting to business. I started out as a dramatic actor, and then I kind of got into comedy. People would say, “You’re a comedian, aren’t you?” And I would go, “No, I’m a dramatic actor. I just do comedy sometimes.” And now if people say I’m a comedian, I say, “Yeah!” It’s what I love to do.

ED: Is there any particular reason that you go for Canadian projects?
JE: If there’s a Canadian film going, I will jump at it. I don’t blame anybody for going to the States, but I’m also very happy to do as much as I can do bolster our industry. Because I think things are starting to shake up. This feels like a pretty good year to me – a pretty good last few years.

ED: Do you have anything interesting coming up that you’re working on?

JE: I’m in a comedy group now called Women Fully Clothed. It’s five women, and we’re all Second City alumni. Robin Duke, Debra McGrath, Kathryn Greenwood, Teresa Pavlinek and me. We’ve been playing to sold-out houses all over the place. The show is pretty hysterical – it’s not a girly show, it’s just really funny stuff.

ED: What are you looking forward to at this year’s Festival?
JE: I’m more interested in going to screenings and seeing the movies than going to parties. I’m not into parties anymore. I’m 61, I don’t give a shit!
Sept. 7, 8:15pm, Varsity 8
Sept. 10, 2:45pm, AMC 2
Sept. 12, 6:00pm, AMC 6

Sept. 7, 6:30pm, Scotiabank Theatre 3      
Sept. 8, 12:45pm, Scotiabank Theatre 4