You may know Justin Chatwin from his appearances in War of the Words, Shameless, or Orphan Black, but his performance as heartthrob crooner Bobby Shore in Bang Bang Baby is not to be missed. The award winning film hits theatres across Canada today, and was perhaps best described by Chatwin’s costar David Reale as if “David Lynch directed an after school special in the style of Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
Bang Bang Baby has been extremely well received, could you tell this was going to be something different?
I definitely knew that people were going to embrace it and like it a lot or that people were going to hate it.
Were you surprised by the final look of the film?
From what I saw in the look book, I thought it was perfect. It was supposed to look wholesome and look like 50s pop culture doo wop movie, they nailed that.
Did you take inspiration from any rock stars for your portrayal of Bobby Shore?
You know my character was a combination of Vanilla Ice and Justin Bieber and a little bit of Elvis Presely. At the time when I was doing it, that prison photo of Justin Bieber came out, where he was smiling like he accomplished something, and he was happy he was in jail. This kind of optimistic, wondrous look in his eye where he was really in a shitty situation and not seeing his reality, that just reminded me of how disillusioned young people in show business can get. That’s where I kind of started the seed of my character from, was that picture when it came out.
Do you think Bobby Shore is doomed or does he have a bright future ahead of himself?
I think he does have a bright future. I always like to take every character as like, where does he come from, what happens in the story and then where does he go, and I always like to have an optimistic look through the character at the end of the movie. I think it’s important for not being destructive with yourself.
Did you watch any films as inspiration?
I watched Wild At Heart, the David Lynch movie, because it was great performance between Laura Dern and Nicolas Cage.
Going into this, did you have any kind of musical background?
I didn’t. Doing a musical actually scared the shit out of me, that’s why I did it.
This ended up being the first of two projects in a row where you shared many scenes with Kristian Bruun, the next being Orphan Black.
I love Kristian Bruun. It was great and we played completely opposite characters in both but I never laughed harder with another actor on set. He’s probably one of my favourite Canadian actors.
It seemed like there was some subtext between your characters in Bang Bang Baby, was that all about?
I think the choice he made was that Helmut was deeply, madly in love with me and I could never reciprocate the love because I was oblivious to it. We were kind of like a bickering couple.
Yeah, I’d say that comes across in the finished film. Definitely.
It does? That’s amazing. We were hoping that would come through.
What’s next for you?
I just finished a movie in San Francisco called Unleashed with a San Francisco filmmaker named Finn Taylor who did Dream With The Fishes. With Steve Howie from Shameless and Kate Micucci from Garfunkel and Oates, it was a really really fun experience.
What’s on your Dork Shelf?
I collect stones from wherever I go. I’m a total stone collector. I have a little bag. I do a lot of motorcycling and it’s my good juju bag. I’ve never had an accident and I ride a lot of miles, because I have a my little magic of little rocks, stones or crystals that I collect from people. Sometimes I give them away and people give me ones. It’s a bag of magic.