Polley Sells Out ACTRA for American Actors

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Timothy
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Polley Sells Out ACTRA for American Actors

Postby Timothy » Wed May 26, 2010 9:57 am

A few years ago, Sarah Polley was a strong advocate for ACTRA, calling for more Canadian actors in Canadian films. In June 2004, Polley joined the Toronto branch of ACTRA to warn that Canada faces cultural integration with the United States, and that the nation’s political leaders are not being clear enough during the election campaign on where they stand on the issues. In 2006, Polley became an ACTRA spokeswoman and lobbied the Heritage Committee over the lack of dramatic film work for Canadian actors. She also received ACTRA's award of Excellence.

When it comes to her latest film 'Take This Waltz,' Polley has abandoned these principles by hiring two American actors along with the required Canadian actor. It appears now the former ACTRA spokeswoman is selling out to US stars:


By: Cassandra Szklarski, The Canadian Press

...Current tax rules require the lead or second lead actor to be Canadian. Actress and director Sarah Polley says they're already "pretty lax restrictions."

"I guess if you made them more loose you would cast no Canadians," says Polley, whose directorial debut "Away From Her" paired Canadian acting veteran Gordon Pinsent with British legend Julie Christie.

"Which is fine, I'm just not sure you should have public money for that."

Polley, whose next film, "Take This Waltz" is stacked with U.S. stars Michelle Williams and Sarah Silverman in addition to Vancouver's Seth Rogen, says "it couldn't be easier" to hire foreign talent.

"There doesn't seem to be a huge obstacle, in fact I would say it's more problematic how easy it actually is," says Polley, adding that she simply seeks out the best actor for the job when helming her own films.

"If there's public money for these things, I don't think it should just generally be to create vehicles for American stars. I think it's really important that we're also nurturing our own actors and talent."

And while there appears to be more pressure to hire U.S. stars, Polley suggests that's largely due to the current economic climate.

She notes that a bigger-budget film would especially find itself held to strict account...


While claiming it's important to nurture Canadian actors and talent, Polley is doing the exact opposite--hiring American actors and mostly paying for them through Telefilm Canada funds. Polley argues that it's due to the economic climate and that she is only selecting the best actors, but members of ACTRA strongly disagree with this viewpoint:


We have to get over this national inferiority complex

February 22, 2010 - Toronto - Canadian stars are incensed to hear that once again, Telefilm Canada is considering using taxpayer's money to buy Hollywood talent. In a weekend CBC News report, Telefilm Chair Michel Roy said he is urging Heritage Canada to change the rules to allow more U.S. actors to take leading roles in government-supported feature films.

February 22, 2010

Ferne Downey, ACTRA National President responded: "Mr. Roy's ill-informed and myopic ideas insult the 21,000 professional performers who live and work in Canada. We have fabulous, highly accomplished actors - we need to find smarter ways to nurture filmmaking that speaks to the people of Canada - identifiably Canadian stars are a vital part of that equation."

"Using Canadian taxpayers' money to finance Hollywood is not only wrong, it's an old idea that's been tried and proven to fail repeatedly since the 70s," said Stephen Waddell, ACTRA's National Executive Director.

"I'm always stupefied by calls for more American stars in our films when box office returns have proven time and time again that American stars do NOT guarantee success," stated Little Mosque star Debra McGrath.

"We have to get over this national inferiority complex that assumes Americans are better and that by sticking an American performer in the lead, Canadians will suddenly flock to see Canadian films. A good story and a certain something that taps into the human condition are what drive the box office," said Canadian star Colin Mochrie who received ACTRA's Award of Excellence in Toronto this past Friday.

Telefilm's current guidelines requiring that the lead or second lead performer be Canadian in order to receive public funding are fair and already give producers flexibility on casting.

ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists) is the national organization of professional performers working in the English-language recorded media in Canada. ACTRA represents the interests of 21,000 members across Canada - the foundation of Canada's highly acclaimed professional performing community.

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Re: Polley Sells Out ACTRA for American Actors

Postby hannikan » Fri May 28, 2010 10:36 pm

Yeah, that is a bit hypocritical. I'm sure it's frustrating to have it be so difficult but if you're going to criticize others for that you need to stick to your guns. I do think it's funny that the biggest budget American films have been horror films. It was funny to see "Sara Stanley" in preview for Splice today. The last time I saw her in a preview on TV here was for Dawn of the Dead.
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Re: Polley Sells Out ACTRA for American Actors

Postby Timothy » Sat May 29, 2010 9:40 am

That is interesting that she has chosen two horror films. I thought she was great in Dawn of the Dead. I'm not as interested in Splice.

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Re: Polley Sells Out ACTRA for American Actors

Postby hannikan » Sat May 29, 2010 1:07 pm

Oh I take it back, she played John Adams' daughter in the HBO miniseries John Adams. They previewed that but that was not in the theatres. She was very good in that role. I never saw Dawn of the Dead. I'm not much for horror films.
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Re: Polley Sells Out ACTRA for American Actors

Postby Shelly » Wed Jun 02, 2010 7:32 pm


"Luck. It had nothing to do with it." ~ Izzy Pettibone

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Re: Polley Sells Out ACTRA for American Actors

Postby Timothy » Fri Jun 04, 2010 8:52 am


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Re: Polley Sells Out ACTRA for American Actors

Postby Felixthecat50 » Mon Aug 19, 2013 4:35 pm

I find this all very exclusive...why can't we all share? Canada is literally right next to us! We should be viewing your programing, sending our actors, writers, directors, etc...there and vice versa! I dearly miss the brilliant Canadian programming that used to air in the 80s and 90s here in America, I dislike the exclusivity of all of this.

It also does seem highly hypocritical to change your position like that, but Polley is still very young. Political views are constantly evolving, perhaps she sees something different that she never saw before.


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