Many of us have idols – people in our respective industries that we’d pull teeth to work with – but few of us get the chance to even meet them. Canadian actor Justin Kelly had been watching David Cronenberg’s films for years before he auditioned for a role in the filmmaker’s latest offering, Maps to the Stars, which premiered at TIFF 2014 this week. Sharing the big screen with Julianne Moore and Robert Pattinson with Cronenberg at the helm was a life-altering experience for the former star of Degrassi: The Next Generation, whose bright career is only just taking off. We caught up with the actor to find out more about the film and what comes next…
You star in the highly anticipated David Cronenberg film, Maps to the Stars, with Robert Pattinson at this year’s TIFF. What were you most nervous or excited for regarding seeing the film on the big screen with audiences for the first time?
I think what I was most excited about is being able to share in the experience watching this film as one of the company, but also as a fan and movie lover. I’ve been watching David’s films for years, so to be able to see my mug up there along with Cronenberg’s signature style, tone, and all around great filmmaking is quite an experience.
What did you take away from the experience of Maps to the Stars as an actor? How did filming such a huge blockbuster with critically acclaimed talent help shape you?
Maps was a very new experience for me. It was my first feature film and it was one of those films where I hadn’t met David or any of the cast prior to shooting. So when I walked on set and we started shooting, I was sort of in the mindset of, Okay. Here it goes. He’s either gonna love it or hate it. There was certainly a nervousness there, but the great thing about David is that he lets his actors play. He trusts us as we do him, which makes his set such a wonderful, stress-free environment.
Finish this sentence: I love TIFF because…
…it’s a chance to celebrate people’s hard work and share everyone’s love for film. It’s a chance to feel inspired by the work of your peers and it’s a fantastic reminder of why we do this in the first place.
Besides Maps to the Stars, what other films are you most excited to see at TIFF 2014?
There are a few films I’m really excited to see. Whiplash, Foxcatcher, Nightcrawler, St.Vincent… The list goes on.
Where do you hope to see yourself in 10 to 15 years?
Hopefully in 10 to 15 years I’ll still be doing this. If not, you’ll be able to find me wiping glasses and filling pints!