Amy Ryan, in Toronto for the Canadian premiere of Jack Goes Boating at the Toronto International Film Festival, says that New York is not only home, it is an intrinsic part of her acting process.


“New York works for me,” says the actor, best known for her turns on The Office and The Wire. “First of all my family is there but ever since I left theatre school every day, New York is my acting teacher. I can watch and observe as I take the subway; watching (the city’s) characters and imagining what their lives are like.”


The city that feeds her creativity also figures heavily in Jack Goes Boating.


“I really feel like New York is a character in this film,” she says. “It is giving us a look at another New York. I’ve never seen that stunning pool in Harlem. I had no idea that existed. Or the view of the skyline from Astoria. It really looks at the city in a whole new way. Even the Bethesda Fountain, which has been filmed so many times, but there it is on a dark, dreary cold winter day. The city changes with each film it is cast in. All the actors in the film are New Yorkers and we all still live there and love the city very much. I think it shows.”


In the film Ryan plays Connie, a shy woman who works at a Brooklyn funeral parlour. Despite her fear of men and relationships she blossoms after becoming involved with Jack (co-star and director Phillip Seymour Hoffman).

“Jack and Connie are those anonymous New Yorkers you pass on the street and don’t really question,” she says. “They don’t seem that sexy. I feel like she’s been alone this long and she has to change her ways.”

Jack Goes Boating is a romance that reveals itself slowly -- there’s not a montage in sight -- which Ryan hopes will resonate with audiences.

“I always hope that people are really entertained, but past that, I hope they have the courage to stand up for what they want or just say yes... just say yes to an odd invitation now and again.”