Canada looking to change casting rules

Proposal seeks more Hollywood talent in homegrown films

TORONTO -- The Canadian government is looking to change casting rules for Hollywood stars in homegrown movies to boost their boxoffice appeal.

Michel Roy, chairman of Telefilm Canada, the federal government's film financier, told CBC News his agency is looking to relax tax rules to allow foreign stars to headline more taxpayer-funded films.

Roy said casting more Hollywood movie stars will help boost the screen time for homegrown films at multiplexes in English-speaking Canada from about 1% currently.

"We just can't go on this way," Roy said. "We need to make changes. In order to make those changes we will have to dare to do new things that at times might shock some people."

Current Canadian law calls for one of the two main leads in a publicly funded film to be a Canadian actor.

ACTRA, Canada's actors union, slammed the proposed rule changes to back more Hollywood talent in homegrown films.

"Using Canadian taxpayers' money to finance Hollywood is not only wrong, it's an old idea that's been tried and proven to fail repeatedly since the '70s," said Stephen Waddell, ACTRA's national executive director.

"Frankly, I'm not sure that Mr. Roy realizes that a good number of the hottest stars in L.A. right now are Canadian," Waddell added.