From Dawson's Creek to Medicine Hat

Posted by ToxicDoom | Saturday, March 07, 2009 |

Once in awhile, i come across a story i find interesting...and, post it as an entry on this blog. This time was no different. It involves a new movie that will be in theatres soon, called One Week Starring fellow Canadian, Joshua Jackson. Here's the story.

This comes from The Globe And Mail. Thanks goes to Johanna Schneller for writing the awesome story - and, further proof on why people should read the newspaper's once in awhile...go ahead, get some culture lol :)

Joshua Jackson and Michael McGowan, respectively the star and writer-director of the new film One Week, cannot believe how many Canadians have accused their movie of being "too Canadian."

Yes, it's a travelogue: Jackson's character Ben, a high-school teacher, reacts to a grim medical diagnosis by riding a vintage Norton motorcycle from Toronto to Tofino, B.C. And yes, Tim Hortons, Gord Downie, the Stanley Cup and Canadian Tire all make appearances. But Jackson and McGowan don't see why that's a bad thing.

"It's frustrating sometimes that we as Canadians don't want to crow about ourselves," Jackson said during a Toronto publicity stop. A Vancouver native who hit the big time opposite Michelle Williams and Katie Holmes on the TV series Dawson's Creek (1998-2003), he's 30 years old now, taller than you'd think (6 foot 2) and handsomer than when he played Pacey, the yearning high-schooler.

"We define ourselves in negatives rather than positives, and mostly what we want to be is Not American. And part of the American personality is being completely willing to stand up and say, 'I did this.' But it's okay for Canadians to be truly proud and awed by their own country."

McGowan (who also wrote and directed 2004's Saint Ralph) agreed. "We're not trying to hit people over the head with the maple leaf; we're just trying to get at a zeitgeist," he said. "The things we sort of gather around as a nation - the junior hockey championships, or the way the 'I Am Canadian' beer ads touched on patriotism - I don't think we've celebrated in cinema. If Ben is going to drink a coffee, why not Tim Hortons? We could have set it from New York to Seattle, but it would be a different film."

Lucky for them, Canada co-operated. With a bare-bones crew in a bus, a truck and a minivan - which McGowan drove, one eye on the road and the other scanning for locations - "we just took the trip and stopped when it looked nice," he said. "If we'd had a million or even $10,000 more dollars, we wouldn't have been able to do that. We'd have had transport managers, and they'd have said, 'We need to know exactly where you're going to be, you can't just pull over onto the side of the Trans-Canada Highway and shoot for 20 minutes.' " When they needed rain, it rained; when they needed a beat-up pickup to smash Ben's motorcycle, they found one; and when they needed a ranch near Medicine Hat that would provide lunch for the crew, horses for the actors to ride and a stunning view, they found that, too.

Jackson thinks McGowan's "guerrilla filmmaking" suited Ben's story. "Ben is opening his eyes to life, really for the first time," Jackson said. "The bad news has shaken him out of his stupor, made him realize that he hasn't made a real choice in a long time. We all find ourselves there at some point: You're treading water and all of a sudden five years go by and you're like, 'How did I get here?' "

For Jackson, that point was when Dawson's Creek wrapped. "When I went into that show I was 19 years old; when I came out I was 25," he said. "There was a lot of growing up I'd held off doing because I'd had an all-consuming, 14-hour-a-day, 9-month-a-year job. All of a sudden I had to start figuring out who I wanted to be as a man, what I wanted in my life, even whether or not I wanted to be an actor." Starring opposite Patrick Stewart in the play A Life in the Theatre in London in 2005 reminded Jackson "what it was that I actually liked about this job." He laughed. He's currently living in New York, and back on TV in the sci-fi drama Fringe.

"The kids' lives on Dawson's Creek were intense; it was tears and sadness and gnashing of teeth. I spent six years in a state of high angst," he said. "Fringe is much less emotionally taxing, and I'm a sci-fi geek, so I'm finding it really enjoyable."

Falling in love with the actress Diane Kruger (National Treasure) perked life up, too. They first met five years ago, "but she was with somebody else, much to my chagrin," Jackson said. "But we've been dating for 2 ½ years now, and I'm much happier when I'm with her than when I'm not."

Though Kruger lives in Paris, they try to stick to a two-week visiting schedule. "When you're in love, commuting isn't a chore," Jackson said. "Though I kind of have to reintroduce myself to her at the beginning of every visit. After a couple of hours, it's like she recognizes my smell and everything's okay." Thankfully, they're both travel fiends, "both at the high, movie-star level and low backpacking level," Jackson said, reeling off a list of places they've travelled together: Germany, Monaco, Morocco, Dubai, Australia, Tuscany, Britain, Japan. "Life is good," he said, smiling. "I have no complaints."

There is one destination Jackson hadn't appreciated before One Week: the Canadian Prairies. "Coming from mountains and forests, I never understood what the draw would be," he said. "But it's astoundingly, astoundingly beautiful. And the scale of it is impossible. I'd been to Montana and Big Sky Country, but I've never been in as vast an expanse as Manitoba. It literally rolls to the horizon lines in four directions, with no sense of perspective. You are this little speck in a giant plateau.

"Canadians live in a physically humbling country," he continued. "We don't have a Florida panhandle. There is no '35 degrees in the middle of winter' weather. You have to have respect. People have compared One Week to Into the Wild, but I always had a problem with that book, because at the centre of that story is a lack of respect for nature, which is why the protagonist died. Bully for you that you think you're man enough to conquer the Alaskan wilderness. But you're not. You're a little naked monkey in the middle of the [expletive] Arctic, man, you're going to die."

He cackled, then went on, "This is where the American personality comes to hurt Americans and the Canadian personality keeps us alive. I know Americans love to give us shit for being so respectful, the please and sorry people. But we have an ingrained respect for our environment that plays itself out in the way we deal with our open spaces. We believe it's part of our shared heritage, all this beauty out there in our country."