Journeyman Canadian actor Craven co-starring in new ABC series 'Resurrection' | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

Would you like to subscribe to our newsletter?

Current Conditions Mainly Clear  22.8°C

Journeyman Canadian actor Craven co-starring in new ABC series 'Resurrection'

Sunday in Toronto, members of the Canadian TV and film industry are gathering to celebrate the past season at the second annual Canadian Screen Awards. The two-hour gala, hosted by Martin Short, airs at 8 p.m. on CBC-TV.

While there will be an auditorium full of home grown talent, with shows such as "Orphan Black," "Rookie Blue" and "22 Minutes" being saluted, a similar awards show could be held in Hollywood featuring the many ex-patriots who have made a living Stateside.

One such actor is Matt Craven, who co-stars in the new ABC drama "Resurrection." It premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. on ABC and City — opposite the Canadian Screen Awards.

A supernatural story about dead people who, many years later, come back to life, the series also stars Omar Epps, Kurtwood Smith, Frances Fisher and Devin Kelley. Brad Pitt is among the executive producers.

Teasers shown throughout last week's Oscars featured a little boy who vanished 32 years earlier suddenly showing up on the door of his startled and now much older parents (Smith and Fisher).

The series is based on the novel "The Returned." Characters have been added and the story expanded, according to executive producer and writer Aaron Zelman.

"When I got about halfway through the book, it just blew me away because I realized this isn't a sci-fi book," Zelman told critics in January during the semi-annual gathering in Los Angeles of TV press. "This is a study in grief, in loss, and the bigger questions about life, you know, why we are here, and what does it mean to be here."

Craven, 57, plays the town sheriff in "Resurrection," Fred Langston. He's the uncle of the boy who died and returns in the pilot. The character's wife was lost in the same accident.

The eight-episode series was shot in Atlanta.

Craven's journey from the Niagara region of southern Ontario to Hollywood and beyond has more than the usual twists and turns. Born Matthew John Crnkovich in Port Colborne, his father died six weeks after his birth. His mother and an older sister moved to St. Catharines. Matt quit high school when his mother's hairdressing business began to falter, working odd jobs until she was back on her feet.

Acting was something he just fell into. He saw an ad for a Niagara Falls theatre production of "Dracula," tried out and got the part. He moved to Toronto to pursue acting and landed a small part in his first film, the Bill Murray comedy "Meatballs." He also snuck into a few episodes of the old Can-con favourite "The Littlest Hobo," acting opposite, as he says, "a German shepherd."

He also lucked into a juicy part in a National Film Board drama, "Bravery in the Field." Craven picked up an Academy Award nomination and was suddenly on the radar south of the border.

He went to the award ceremony in 1980 and while he lost, he was bowled over by the industry support. Then he came back to Toronto and nobody cared, he says.

"And I was like, 'I can't stay here.'"

Craven did what a lot of Canadian actors do at that point — tried his luck in the United States. His first stop was New York City and plenty of stage work. Then it was off to Hollywood, where he became one of those guys you see on every other TV show.

Craven has amassed a list of 78 acting credits so far on IMDb. Among them are guest shots on some well-known series — "NCIS," "Justified" and "Without a Trace" to name some recent examples. He's also had starring roles on a few shows he feels should have lasted longer.

Chief among them he names "High Incident," a 1996-97 police drama co-created by Steven Spielberg. David Keith and Blair Underwood were among the co-stars. Craven admired how Spielberg seemed to cast not just good actors, but good people. (A quality he also assigns to "Resurrection.") The ABC series, unfortunately, had the misfortune of going up against "Friends" and lasted just a year-and-a-half.

There was another factor in the cancellation, he says, without getting specific. "I've had shows that were great shows that didn't continue because of something that was absolutely ridiculous."

Another, he says, was "The Lyon's Den," Rob Lowe's 2003 follow up legal series after "The West Wing." Only six episodes aired. Craven suggests Lowe was the problem on that series, "and you can print that," he says.

Generally, though, he has come to just move on after a series flops.

"You have to have a short memory," he says, comparing the journeyman actor's life to that of a relief pitcher in baseball. "You have to get up the next day and do it — you can't think about your failure."

At the L.A. press tour session for "Resurrection," the actors were asked if they'd ever experienced the unexplained. Craven spoke first.

"When I was younger, in my teens, I had this recurring dream over and over and over again for years and would tell my mom, you know, 'What's going on? I keep having this dream.' And then forgot about it.

"And about four or five years later," he says, "I was in the dream."

"It blew my mind," says Craven, still — for all intents and purposes — living his dream.


Bill Brioux is a freelance TV columnist based in Brampton, Ont.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2014
The Canadian Press

  • Popular penticton News
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile