Q&A with Slasher’s Wendy Crewson

Slasher_Day3_SM_-168-REVThe eight-part series Slasher, shot in Parry Sound and Sudbury, premiered Friday on Super Channel.

Irish actress Katie McGrath stars as Sarah, a young woman who returns to her home town and the house where her parents were brutally murdered. Soon after, a series of gruesome copycat murders take place. As the bodies pile up, a creepy, hooded figure seems to be at the scene of every crime.

Everyone in town is a suspect, including Sarah’s reporter-husband Dylan (Brandon Jay McLaren), her chain-smoking grandmother Brenda (Wendy Crewson), family friend Cam (Steve Byers) and the town’s police chief, Iain (Dean McDermott).

I spoke with executive producer Aaron Martin and the stars last week for an article I wrote for The Canadian Press. You can read that article here.

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Crewson (left) with Erica Durance on Saving Hope

Below is more from Crewson, one of Canada’s most-admired actresses. Born in Hamilton and raised in Winnipeg, Crewson has an incredible 125 acting credits on IMDb, including the recent Oscar-nominated feature “Room.” She has appeared in films opposite such leading men as Harrison Ford, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Robin Williams and, in the “Santa Clause” movies, Tim Allen. Her TV credits range from an early appearance on The Littlest Hobo to roles on 24, ReGenesis, Street Legal, CSI, Due South and her current role on Saving Hope.

As an interview subject, she’s always “Better than Chocolate.”

Was it tons of fun shooting Slasher or are you, like a few others I’ve spoken with on the series, just plain “ascared” to watch it?

I don’t like scary movies. I have enough of my own nightmares–I don’t need anybody elses!

Are you one of those actresses who does not like to look at yourself on screen?

I find  it hard to watch my own stuff sometimes. I don’t mind it in the moment when we’re doing scenes and we do a little playback—to me that’s really helpful. After the show is done, I dunno. There’s always something about it. First of all, you have to get over how your voice sounds. Then you have to get over that you’re old as Methusala—you know what it’s like watching yourself, right?

You should have none of those concerns. You’ve worked with Aaron Martin before on Saving Hope. I hear he’s always open to suggestions from actors. Is that true?

He’s a terrific writer, always thinks on his feet. He’s also got a lovely energy about him. Really a risk taker as far as television writing goes. Collaborative effort. Want us to be there in the mix.

The whole time we were shooting I really felt like that was one of the things I love most about the industry here–you’re really part of it when you’re in it. Here it’s a very collaborative effort. When Aaron said to me, she’s a grandmother—the whole idea of making her tough—it’s something we came to together.

What were some of the things you brought to the role?

I said to Aaron, ‘Geez, I think I want to smoke.’ Those old broads, they’re always smokers.

Did you have to smoke those horrible veggie cigarettes they use on film sets?

Horrible! Just give me the Marlboros, really.

Anything for your craft.

Always seems like a good idea at the time.

This idea though of you playing a grandmother–complete nonsense. 

Let’s not kid ourselves—I’m certainly old enough to be a grandmother.

Not Katie McGrath’s, no way. 

It was fun because I was really more like her mother.

Was it fun being in this company? You must have worked with some of these actors before. Were you ever on Being Erica with Erin Karpluk, for example?

No. Erin was in [the 2013 Jack Layton TV-movie “Jack”]—she played the conservative campaign manager, and I know her from some union stuff. I think she’s tremendous.

Booth Savage plays the father I have an affair with. Booth was my husband years ago on “Home Fires.” Dean McDermott I knew from Due South years ago. It’s always old home week, which I really love.

Do you get a sense that it is a wonderful time to be acting in Canada?

Absolutely, we’ve had a real boom in production, foreign and domestic. Part of the reason for that is we really made a concerted effort through Film Ontario, through the alliances of the Guild and production houses, to lobby the Ontario government for the tax credits.  That has really, more than anything, changed the picture here in Ontario. Now you have Pinewood looking to build another purpose-built studio. it’s a huge industry in Canada and it supports other industries in Canada.

Slasher is designed as an anthology, with the same company returning each season as they do on American Horror Story. Is that something you’re up for?

Completely interested in continuing, yes indeed. I’m on board for sure.

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