Brendan Fletcher: Local Heroes' 'It' boy

Winnipeg Free Press
Friday, March 3, 2000

By Maureen Littlejohn
Entertainment Reporter

YOU MIGHT call actor Brendan Fletcher the Local Heroes Film Festival "It" boy. He stars in three of the festival's seven main features, including tonight's The Five Senses (7 at the Garrick Theatre), which screened last year at the Cannes Film Festival, and garnered director Jeremy Podeswa a Genie Award for best direction this year. The other two Fletcher-full titles were rollercoaster and My Father's Angel, which were shown on Wednesday and Thursday night.

In town since Tuesday, the 18-year- old actor is humble about his omnipresence. "I was just fortunate enough to be part of some good films," he said during an interview at the Fort Garry Hotel.

The Courtenay, B .C.-born Fletcher is no stranger to our city. He was here last fall to shoot The Law of Enclosures, directed by John Greyson. He also spent three summers here playing Stink on The Adventures of Shirley Holmes.

"I was so obnoxious on that show, people must have thought, 'This kid's so weird,'" he said with a laugh. In a way, Fletcher has built his career on being a bad boy. His first major role was five years ago in the CBC drama Little Criminals, where he played a juvenile delinquent. In rollercoaster he's a nasty piece of work and even in The Five Senses, his voyeuristic character is not what you'd call a nice, normal guy.

"In that movie I like to dress up in women's lingerie. I don't want to do the typical teenybopper parts, I'm more interested in off-beat characters, roles that have some curiosity about them," he said.

Fletcher's Winnipeg connection is tight. His co-star in The Five Senses was Nadia Litz, who is from here and is currently in Los Angeles auditioning for some upcoming TV shows.

"She's fantastic. It was a real pleasure to work with her. I've seen her mom since I've been here," he said, adding, "She's a solid actor, her choices for roles are different. She's got such an amazing face."

Another actress Fletcher was excited to work with was Sarah Polley, on The Law of Enclosures. Known for her work in The Sweet Hereafter and recently in the American flick Go!, Polley got her early start with Anne of Green Gables. She's also branched into filmmaking and her short film, The Best Day of My Life, screens this afternoon at the Garrick at 1 p.m.

"What an amazing person. I felt like I barely cracked the surface with her. I had to keep reminding myself she was 20 years old, because she seems beyond human years. She has an amazing knowledge of herself. She inspired me to look more closely at the things I do and be more picky. She rejects the machinery of the industry. She doesn't need to do this. She has strong passions for politics. She could be the prime minister if she wanted," he said.

Unlike Polley, Fletcher feels he does need to act. He got his start in a Grade 6 play, as a goblin. His older sister was active in school theatre and his grandmother acted with local seniors' group. Now his younger brother, who is 13, wants to follow in his footsteps.

"That's the great thing about little brothers. They want to be just like you," he said with a laugh. Fletcher's parents split up when he was a baby and his father, who is a mechanic, now lives in Victoria. His mother works in a grocery store in Courtenay.

"If they had stayed together, maybe I could have been a mechanic," he reflects. Fletcher, who recently moved to Vancouver with his girlfriend, a certified reflexologist, is not nostalgic about his home town.

"It was tough growing up in Courtenay. The teenage culture there is confused and a bit deprived. They only get films like Armageddon. I feel fortunate to get out of it," he said.