When your agent calls, just forget about that cottage in Muskoka

Vancouver Sun
Sat Jul 23 2005
Page: D13
Section: Arts & Life
Byline: Lynne McNamara
Column: The Backlot
Source: Vancouver Sun

A few weeks ago, Vancouver actor Andrew Airlie decided that since he didn’t have much work here, he’d pack up his wife and two children and head to their cottage in Ontario with an eye to working out of Toronto for the summer. They had just arrived when a call came in from his agent (Lisa King of Northern Exposure Talent) with the news that he’d been cast in Chris Haddock’s CBC pilot, Intelligence, and that The USA Network series, The 4400 — where he’s had a recurring role — was including him in the last two episodes of the season.

“This always happens,” he laments, sort of. He made a quick turnaround and flew back for the jobs. Since he was back in town, King had him audition for two other parts — for the ABC Family pilot, Three Moons Over Milford and for Showtime’s The L Word, both shooting around the same time as the other two shows. And he booked those babies as well. Consequently this month, Airlie, who’d planned to be relaxing lakeside this month, is juggling four recurring character roles in Vancouver. Thankfully, his agent, the casting directors, the A.D. departments and the good graces of all the producers involved, are helping facilitate the whole thing. Last week he shared days on all four shows — working half the day for one and half the day for another.

“I’m grateful and fortunate as any one of them could have simply avoided the complexities and hired another choice,” says Airlie. In Intelligence, he’s playing Don Fraser, Head of Intelligence, VPD. “I was thrilled to be cast in this role. At first it looked liked too many days were going to conflict with another show and that I might lose this project. I would have been crushed. I’m so pleased to be working with Chris Haddock again. He is a generous, encouraging collaborator and artist,” says Airlie.

Haddock shot his series Da Vinci’s Inquest primarily on the Downtown Eastside and will take Intelligence to similar locations.

“Working in those locations is so helpful for an actor — the streets and the people lend an energy to the shooting and one’s performance. I also greatly admire him for putting production dollars into a neighbourhood that can really use it,” Airlie adds. On The 4400, Airlie is Brian Moore, husband to Lily Moore, one of the 4,400 people abducted by aliens over the last century and returned to earth. His character and his daughter, who was only nine months old at the time of her mom’s disappearance, have now moved on in their lives.

“We are just preparing to shoot the season cliff hanger and it is a beauty,” says Airlie. In ABC Family’s pilot, Three Moons Over Milford, he’s Carl Montgomery, a research scientist.

“This script was one of the most charming things I have ever read. Charming is not small praise. I loved it. I smiled and laughed out loud as I read the script — and, honestly, that’s not common.” It’s premise: After the Moon is struck by a comet and breaks into three pieces, suspended over earth, what will happen next?

“Things get weird, confusing and very, very funny!” Airlie chuckles. Montgomery, whose barely tolerant wife is played by Sherilyn Fenn, suddenly loses it due to tri-lunar syndrome.

On The L Word, Airlie will appear in two episodes as Erin Daniels’ character Dana’s physician, Dr. Shapiro. And yes, Airlie’s wife and kids are still at the cottage in Muskoka … waiting.