After four years pursuing acting jobs in Halifax, Glen Matthews caught a break when a fake trailer he was cast in, Hobo with a Shotgun, won the 2007 South by Southwest Grindhouse competition, spearheaded by director/producer Robert Rodriguez, of Desperado and Sin City.
The piece received such widespread praise that director Jason Eisener set out to turn the nascent horror flick into it a full-length feature film. Matthews fortunately held his title role, and the film, starring Rutger Hauer, will see its premiere in Halifax this Wednesday, and its Canadian-wide release by the end of the week.
Every morning, Matthews can be found handing out Metro papers in downtown Toronto. He took a few minutes to sit down and discuss both his job, his passion and working with with some industry heavyweights.
Why was Halifax a good place to get started in this profession?
Nova Scotia is terrific. I love it. It’s a terrific place to get your start, to get your bearings and be able to work while learning. Everybody’s so supportive. Since I came to Toronto, I’ve basically been starting from new.
You moved to Toronto to try to gain more exposure as an actor. Were you nervous about the move?
It’s a terrific city. I love it. I feel safe. I feel really safe here for some reason. Halifax has a terrible problem with random violence.
What was it like working with Hobo with a Shotgun director Jason Eisener?
Working with Jason Eisener has always been a collaborative affair. He surrounds himself with like-minded individuals, and I think we share a common view on comedic elements. He's been working with me for years, has seen me develop into a professional, he knows my strengths, and where to use them. On Hobo (the trailer and the feature film) he saw fit to place me into the role of the temper-tantruming, machete-wielding gang leader.
What was the most important thing you felt you had to do when working with Rutger Hauer?
I think if you allow the nerves of that to get to you, you’re not focusing on the right things. You need to be focused on the scene. You need to be focused on the product. If you’re worried about Rutger Hauer, that’s just wasted energy and you need every bit of it –especially in an Eisener film – that’s all it is, just energy, energy, energy.
Will you be able to attend the premiere?
I would have loved to join my hometown Haligonian friends for the Hobo premiere Wednesday night in Halifax, but my jet-setting, life-of-luxury days are still ahead of me. I'll have to settle for Toronto's premiere. Not a shabby second-choice, whatsoever.
What’s most exciting about attending the premiers?
I'm from the Maritimes, so I'll always enjoy a good party. Those events are always great for networking, but I find it most fun to catch up with those who worked on the film that you haven't seen for months. Film crews become your family for weeks, and then you're severed from them. There's always a separation-anxiety involved at the end of a shoot. Lots of hugs and, "Oh my, how you've grown."