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Five Minutes With: Allen Altman

The star of Oscar-nominated <em>Incendies</em> takes us behind the scenes for a closer look at Canada’s <font color="rgb(0, 0, 0)">B</font>est Foreign Language Film contender.

The star of Oscar-nominated Incendies takes us behind the scenes for a closer look at Canada’s Best Foreign Language Film contender.

First off, congratulations on the film’s nomination.
It’s pretty amazing. What an amazing blessing this whole journey has been. This film is incredible.

What has been the most meaningful part of this whole experience for you?
I think it’s the whole evolution of people really getting the film in the same way I did the first time I read the script. I was so moved by the words and the message behind what I think Denis (Villeneuve) was trying to say. It’s been such an interesting thing to see people in a kind of domino effect start to get it one after another. It’s just time for people to get the message in this movie, which is about finding your humanity and letting go of your anger and being a grownup about life. So that’s been, for me, the most powerful part of it. And, of course, working with Denis, which in itself is a gift.

Did you know you were part of something this special when you were filming?
I remember saying to friends of mine, this is going to be one of those international movies, and I’m so pleased because we in Canada don’t get the opportunity to work on projects of that calibre all the time. From the first moment I read the script, I knew it was going to be super special.

What’s next for you? I imagine this film has opened a number of doors.
I think I’m going to head out to Vancouver for a couple of months and see what happens. Take it as it comes. No expectations. I’m just at this point very happy.

You’re also something of a Renaissance man. Tell us about your “side career.”
I’ve always liked to be creative and when I first got to Toronto I started flipping houses because I did renovations. So I decided to open up a design company and it’s been doing very well for the past seven years. I manage that while I maintain my acting career.

Say you win the Oscar and get up on stage. If you could have your Adrien Brody moment, which star would you smooch?
(Laughs) Probably Annette Bening. She’s the be-all and end-all for me. I think she’s the essence of grace.

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