May 24, 2024
Jay Baruchel explains why he wants to live in Canada ‘as crazy as that sounds’ | CBC Arts

Jay Baruchel explains why he wants to live in Canada ‘as crazy as that sounds’ | CBC Arts

Jay Baruchel has always defined himself by his love for Canada. The Ottawa-born, Montreal-bred actor lives in Toronto now, where he intends to stay, but even when he started building his career in Hollywood at 18, he was known for his unabashed patriotism.

“I went there proud to be Canadian and being there made me probably even louder and prouder about it,” Baruchel tells Q‘s Tom Power in an interview. “[I was at that age] where you start speaking to the world turned up to 11 or 12. You have to figure out your pitch and you have to scream and you probably hit stuff too hard and put too fine a point on stuff. And I was very much that guy in terms of Canadian content.”

For Baruchel, patriotism was never “quaint or goofy”; it was a value he was raised with. He and his family moved to the English side of Montreal a year before the 1995 Quebec referendum, in which his parents voted to remain a part of Canada.

WATCH | Jay Baruchel’s interview with Tom Power:

“I think that if you grew up in Montreal in a household that voted ‘no’ in the referendum, you are steeped in a real, vital form of patriotism,” he says.

But as it turns out, being a movie star is at odds with creating a life in Canada. About once a year, Baruchel’s Hollywood agents would tell him he needed to move to the United States if he wanted his career to go anywhere.

I was an angry young man full of piss and vinegar and small man syndrome.– Jay Baruchel

“They’d be like, ‘Jay, we can’t represent you if you live in Canada,'” Baruchel says. “And I’d say, ‘OK, guys, it’s been a slice. Thank you so much for your time.’ … And then I kept f–king booking things. So you still want that 10 per cent, I bet, right?”

Looking back on his younger self, Baruchel says he had two qualities that were in direct conflict with one another: his desire to prove himself and his desire to do things on his own terms.

“I was an angry young man full of piss and vinegar and small man syndrome, and I inherited my father’s sense of competitiveness,” he says. “I had to win. So the competitive part of me crossed with the fact that there are a lot of people that were in movies that I thought couldn’t act their way out of a f–king paper bag.… Those two things conspired to tell me that I should maybe go for the brass ring.

“It’s here for me, I want this, I’m going to go for it. I’ll be honest, [I was a] poor kid. It took me until like literally just a few years ago that I didn’t still take pop cans home from the cooler on set. I never had any f–king money as a kid, and so I felt it behooved me to take everything. And so the poor kid, competitive and chip on my shoulder — I went for the brass ring.”

But after a particularly grueling year of work, Baruchel’s desire to work on his own terms ultimately won out. “The little piss-and-vinegar, cocksure kid got summarily dismissed by the real me,” he tells Power.

Around 2010, Baruchel had several features coming out at the same time, including She’s Out of My League, How to Train Your Dragon and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

“I had this year of promoting the movies ahead of me and I remember standing in my bedroom in Montreal,” he recalls. “I had this moment where I felt like I was on a roller coaster, slowly clicking up to the top before it dips down — and I f–king hate roller coasters. I was like, nobody told you to do this. Nobody put a gun to your head and said, ‘You got to try to be a movie star.’ You put yourself in this situation.”

After that, he decided Hollywood wasn’t for him. “I got a taste of it,” he says. “I had a publicist, I had stylists, I had people dressing me — not for me. Whatever I’ve been since then is much closer to my comfort zone.”

Even now, Baruchel says he’s still more famous than he’s comfortable with, but he’s living the life he wants to live in Canada. Some of his latest projects include the critically acclaimed film BlackBerry and the award-winning docuseries We’re All Gonna Die (Even Jay Baruchel), which just premiered its second season.

“A big inspiration for me was Mike Smith, who plays Bubbles on Trailer Park Boys,” Baruchel tells Power. “The three of them all bought houses in Dartmouth.… They live their L.A. rock star life in Dartmouth, N.S., and they have nice houses and nice cars, and they live the life that they want to live at home. I was like, ‘That’s exactly what I’m trying to do!’ I want to live in Canada, as crazy as that sounds.”

The full interview with Jay Baruchel is available on our podcast, Q with Tom Power. He also talks about existential dread and his fear of death, why he’s an optimist now, and how the questionable decisions of a TV network tanked the first big series he was ever in. Listen and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.


Interview with Jay Baruchel produced by Kaitlyn Swan.

Source link