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Working Against Time: Travelers’ Enrico Colantoni

by on October 21, 2017
 

Travelers exploded into season 2 last week (if you missed the season premiere you can catch it Oct 21st at 10, or Oct 22 at 4:30 on Showcase) and introduced Vincent, played by veteran Canadian actor Enrico Colantoni.

This article does not contain spoilers.

“Vincent brings conflict,” Colantoni said from Toronto. “[But he also] brings answers [to questions] from season 1.”

In many ways, Vincent is a contradiction…like Colantoni, himself.

Born in Toronto, Colantoni is probably best known for his role on the late 90’s sitcom Just Shoot Me, but he is equally well-known as a dramatic actor, having served as the lead in the Canadian produced (and Canadian-set) action-drama Flashpoint. 

“Vincent is a great addition to this world. He offers a sense of rejuvenation and uses the future to his advantage,” Colantoni then added, somewhat ominously, “he will be understood.”

As an actor, Colantoni doesn’t worry about integrating himself into a show like Travelers, that has a dedicated and passionate fanbase. There’s no fear of disrupting the established cast dynamic. “[As an actor] I have to rely on what’s written. [Travelers] is a smart, well-crafted show. It’s created a vivid and detailed world, and season 2 will add new dimensions to it. This season will offer viewers a much bigger perspective into this world, and where we’re headed. It’s gonna blow the audiences’ minds.”

The conversation moved naturally into Colantoni’s career and the film business in general. Interesting, he cited time (perhaps ironically, one of the central themes of Travelers) as the biggest challenge an actor or production can face. “How much time you have to settle in [to a production]; it takes time to develop chemistry; it builds over time, you get more as time goes on. [I don’t think] people know how hard it is to bring something new with so little time to absorb,” Colantoni said, somewhat mournfully. “That’s why doing theatre is so rewarding: you have that time.”

Colantoni has been active as an actor for many years, with almost three decades elapsing between his debut role and Travelers. When asked which of his roles he was most recognized for on the street, he said it depends. “Canadians love Flashpoint. New Yorkers too, actually.

[But] I think my favourite fans are from Veronica Mars.

The cast felt nobody saw us, [and it was a constant] struggle to stay on the air. So we took great joy in how [the fans] connected to the show. It’s easy [for a person from the public] to recognize someone who’s famous and say ‘hey, I’m a fan of your work’ and that’s always nice, we appreciate that, but with Veronica Mars fans, they sometimes have tears in their eyes when meeting you because it means so much to them. Veronica Mars fans lead with their hearts.”

At the end of our conversation, Colantoni opened up about the real lives of actors, offering up a very honest assessment of how actors view themselves.

“There’s a misconception about an actor’s life; their real life. Everyone wants to romanticize it. Is it what you thought it would be? Well, the answer to that is yes and and no; and definitely no. There’s no brass ring [at the end]. Even with all the success, and levels, there’s always something more: that’s frustrating. [I greatly respect Dan Ackroyd] because he said ‘People retire. I’m retired. I’m tired.’ Because that sense is, if you’re not doing it, it’s because you can’t, not because you don’t want to.”

It was a mesmerizing end to a truly wonderful conversation.

I also shared a story with Colantoni about how when I told my mom that I was interviewing him, her response was “can I come?” This was the first time, in three years of conducting interviews, that she’d ever made that request. Colantoni genially added that he was “sure” it would’ve been fine had I brought her along, but I think I made the right choice leaving her behind (though she’s the best, and I love her.)

Colantoni did ask me to ensure I passed along that he said “hi!” to her.

Enrico, she told me to say hi back.

Travelers airs on Showcase, Monday nights at 9 (Eastern) in Canada, and on Netflix, everywhere else

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My thanks to Enrico Colantoni for providing one of the engaging interviews I’ve ever done.

http://www.showcase.ca/travelers

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