When I sat down with Kevin Durand in Toronto recently, the first thing I asked was for him to clear up a rumour.
There’s an urban myth that’s come out of the University of Windsor, that the head of the Drama department sat you down and kicked you out of the programme because she said you would never have a future. Is that true?
“No, no. I had been working since I was 17 and I was so hungry, and I wasn’t an academic, but I had to take courses like “Cultures and Ideas” and learn about the Mesopotamians and their sewer systems and I just wasn’t interested. And I really was super hungry to get out there and work. When the directors would come in to cast the shows, I was in first year, but they all wanted to hire me and a couple of the directors told me to just get out there and work. And I did.”
So you went to Charlottetown, right? You did the young company?
“I did. I did the tour when I was 17, then I did 3 years at the Charlottetown Festival Young Company. We would do 3 shows a day, and between those shows, it was all classes. So I got to study with all these amazing people, under their wing. It was the first time in my life I felt I really belonged somewhere. And they told me then that I was going to be a film actor. Thankfully, they were right.”
How is this side of the business, the interviews and intrusions. I mean, were you ever prepared for this?
“Over the years, you start to figure it out a little bit more. I remember the first red carpet I ever walked, I think the first question I was asked was “So what do you think of the situation with Brad and Jennifer?” And I went, “who? What are you talking about?” And they said “Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston”, and I was like a deer caught in headlights and said “well, I don’t actually know them” which was such a Canadian response. I was just being honest, I mean, why would you ask me about people I don’t know? We don’t live on the same street or anything… So through the years you watch mentors along the way and figure it out. You try to answer the questions in a clear manor.”
Like the ever important ‘who are you wearing’?”
You’ve been around a lot of very high profile performers, ones who are so hounded by the media and sometimes over-exposed, so you must have had some great mentors to learn from.
“It’s been great. Pretty fantastic. I’ve been very, very lucky with friends, from the first movie I did 14 years ago.”
Would you say then that Mystery, Alaska was what turned everything for you, or was there another catalyst as far as your career and life went?
“In Mystery, Alaska, I was introduced to a great mentor, Russell Crowe, who I’ve worked with many times over the years and he’s always been there to answer questions or setting a career example: what to do, what not to do. I’ve worked with a lot of great guys over the years.
And you’ve been a terrific hit man in a lot of things.
“I have played a lot of darker fellows, which is fine.”
I still think one of the most memorable moments in Lost, is you, as hit man Martin Keamy, standing in that restaurant kitchen scrambling those eggs. Jin’s in the food locker, Sayid’s in front of you and we all know you’re about to kill him, but instead, you start cooking him eggs.
Kevin laughs as he responds “That’s great. You know, they let us improvise that.”
“We though, how do we make this more awful? He has all the power so there’s a fantastic moment where they gave me a lot of room to play.”
It truly is one of the most chilling moments in the whole series.
You’re nominated for a Genie Award for your role in “Edwin Boyd”, which was excellent, by the way; and you and Russell Crowe were both in the season premier of “Republic of Doyle”, so is there a big draw now to come back home?
“I love coming home, so I’m so open to reading anything that gets sent.”
Did you hear that Canadian film makers?
Does that mean there’s a chance we’re going to get you back on stage?
“Just waiting for the right project.”
Did you hear that Stratford?
I’ve got my fingers crossed for Kevin. I think he’s a fantastic performer, and also a pretty great guy. You can find out if he wins when live-steaming for the Genie Awards starts Thursday at 4:30pm est, or you can watch it on CBC television starting at 8pm est.