By portraying everything from a Mountie in TV’s Due South, to a Canadian war hero in his epic drama Passchendaele, Paul Gross has become a national treasure. However, in his latest project, the actor is putting his reputation on the line by playing the part of an American.

“It was the only way I could be a gunslinger,” says Gross recently on the movie set of Gunless — which just finished filming in British Columbia this week. “There were no Canadian gunslingers (called) The Saskatoon Kid. I don’t think we had them.”

As a result, Gross had to settle as The Montana Kid in director Bill Phillips’ (Foolproof) latest comedy. A fictional tale about an American outlaw that stumbles into a sleepy Canadian hamlet, Kid struggles with an impending gunfight in a town that doesn’t even supply bullets.

“I’ve always loved westerns. I’ve always loved the idea of taking what is very much an American genre and pushing it north of the 49th parallel,” says Phillips. “Given our sense of irony and sometimes our sense of envy of America, we can poke fun of ourselves.”

As such, Phillips took his production to arid Osoyoos, B.C., where his crew not only constructed an impressive small-town in the middle of a remote hillside, but they began filming under extremely hot and dusty conditions.

“We made a very pointed decision to come to Osoyoos,” adds Phillips. “That was a bit of a daring move because it’s a Canadian film with a Canadian budget and it takes a lot to pull this off. But we decided to put our eggs in this basket and we’re glad we did because anywhere we point the camera, it looks great.”

• Gunless is scheduled for release in spring 2010

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