Who's Yer Father premiere

Interviews: Tales from the Who’s Yer Father’s Green Carpet!

Coming out of the early P.E.I. November cold, an enthusiastic crowd entered the bright and colourful lobby of Cineplex Charlottetown. Eager and full of pride, residents from across the island slowly gathered around an on-theme green carpet about to host the talent behind Who’s Yer Father, a new Canadian crime comedy film shot and set entirely in Prince Edward Island.

Audiences were treated to a joyous event where friends, family, crew, fans, and locals attended the screening alongside a live Q&A. Director/Writer Jeremy Larter, Producer Jenna MacMillan as well as stars Chris Locke (Run The Burbs) and Susan Kent (This Hour Has 22 Minutes) were all in attendance and That Shelf had the opportunity to talk to all four as they made their way inside. 

As a filmmaker born and raised in P.E.I.’s West Covehead, filmmaker Larter felt a big responsibility in bringing the island to the big screen, especially when highlighting the many favourite provincial locations Jeremy and his family frequented growing up. In fact, many of the locations featured in the film are less than ten minutes away from his childhood home. “I really wanted to showcase the North Shore, which is where I grew up. The Covehead Wharf that’s in the movie—I actually worked at that Wharf. Some locations were actually right next to my parents’ house. So showing these local places on screen was really important to me.”

Producer and Founder of Club Red Productions Jenna MacMillan shared similar sentiments: “I’m really excited to see P.E.I. on screen. I’m not sure that there is a film that has actually represented P.E.I. yet. I think it’s really exciting to see the landscapes, the culture, and the comedy all in one film.” 

MacMillan is also from the Maritime province, a place known for its beautiful scenery, welcoming residents, and delicious seafood. “I’ve worked with Jeremy for about ten years, and this script felt like this was one where he was able to bring his specific knowledge of PEI and make a very beautiful, universal romantic comedy.” Jenna continues to say that she “fell in love with the script’s first draft, and [she] was immediately on board.” 

Who’s Yer Father follows a novice Private Investigator, Larry Constable (Locke), who is hired by a wealthy seafood buyer to investigate black-market sales of the popular crustaceans. When Larry befriends and enlists the help of a scrappy convenience store owner, Rhonda Perry (Kent), the duo uncovers much more than they were expecting, and their relationship eventually takes an unexpectedly romantic turn. 

Larter’s absurd but heartfelt comedy is a tour-de-force, especially in incorporating different comedic styles like improvisation, physical humour, and sketch comedy. It’s no wonder Larter enlisted the help of the two powerhouse comic actors to help bring his vision to life. 

Kent shared how grateful she felt getting to work with a variety of comedy styles in the film. “You don’t always get to colour with all of the paints. Sometimes, a character is very prescribed. But Jeremy wrote something so nuanced and broad, but also very careful… It was just amazing to be able to flex so many different muscles in one project.” 

The film debuted at the Atlantic International Film Festival in September, where Kent won an Outstanding Performance Award for her turn as Rhonda. Despite that, the two leads have yet to see the final film on the big screen. The Charlottetown screening was a first for both.

When asked which part of the movie they were most excited to see with an audience, Kent was quick with an answer. “You know what I want to see? I want to see the lobster pot smash over another character’s head. We only had one take to do it because the wind was blowing. It was like a Nor’easter!” The actress continued: “I had to be up on a bunch of boxes so I could be tall enough to get the shot. People were holding my legs down. Every time I lifted the pot, the wind would blow me down. And we only had one shot! So I can’t wait to see how it turned out.” 

Comedian and actor Locke is equally hilarious and earnest in the film as the ambitious but inexperienced PI who bites off more than he can chew. “From start to finish, Jeremy, Sue, and I had fun the whole time,” he explained. “It was really like this party where we were making each other laugh. Jeremy’s script was so good and funny, with so much heart and sweetness. The whole process was one of the best times I’ve ever had in my life.”

On-screen comedy opportunities north of the border are more challenging to come by than you might think. Both Locke and Kent expressed how grateful they were to be in a project that allowed them such range. When preparing for all of the various styles of comedy the film demanded, Locke revisited personal comedic heroes like Chevy Chase, John Candy, and Bill Murray. “It was just about accessing all those guys while still being true to myself. I just went into it with that type of play.” 

Who's Yer Father?

Since it’s an integral part of the film and P.E.I. culture, That Shelf just had to ask the team for their favourite way to prepare lobster. Locke and Kent agree that it’s perfect as long as it’s boiled and slathered in butter and garlic. Jenna’s unique trick is to cook the lobster with ocean water. Jeremy wanted mainlanders to know that “you have to take the bands off the lobsters before you boil them. Not after!” 

While lobsters are the island’s mainstay, Jeremy made sure to fill every fibre of Who’s Yer Father? with different provincial quirks…even down to its unique title. “Who’s Yer Father?” is a common question people around the island ask each other because it’s more than likely they actually know the other’s father. For Jeremy, the question holds a slightly more profound meaning. 

“It’s a way to connect with someone. For example, if I just met you on the island, and I say, ‘Who’s yer father?’ Slowly but surely, we’d find a way to tie into each other. That phrase is so important for me because it’s how you form a deeper connection with someone.” 

Who’s Yer Father? is now playing in select Cineplex Cinemas across Canada and will stream on Paramount+ in early 2024.