Toronto: Christopher Plummer on Canadian "Production Boom" Launching Hollywood Stars

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Christopher Plummer

"I feel really lucky to have grown up working on Canadian productions," fellow Canada-born star Jacob Tremblay says during the Toronto Film Festival.

As Hollywood shifts more film and TV production to Canada from Los Angeles, a major beneficiary has been Canadian A-list actors and creative talent.

"Happily, this most recent production boom is bringing immense opportunity to Canada, already rich with talented artists and craftspeople, including a new generation who are ready to bring their ingenuity and distinct voices to the industry," Oscar-winner Christopher Plummer told The Hollywood Reporter while in Toronto to launch Knives Out, the all-star detective thriller from Rian Johnson, the filmmaker behind Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Canada is a key market for Hollywood as well as a major production center for content, especially among streaming giants like Netflix and Apple ramping up their production slates alongside a thriving Canadian content production sector. And that American presence has allowed local talent in Toronto and Vancouver to nab lead roles in Hollywood projects, like Canadian actor Mena Massoud landing the role of Aladdin in Disney's live-action remake and Kim's Convenience star Simu Liu recently cast as Marvel's first Chinese superhero, Shang-Chi, also playing the titular character. 

“I feel really lucky to have grown up working on Canadian productions, around great Canadian filmmakers, the best actors and crews, and I’ve learned so much from them," added Jacob Tremblay, who since breaking out with Room has established himself as one of the most in-demand in Hollywood’s under-20 set.

Tremblay starred with Julia Roberts in the hit drama Wonder and was a key part of Shane Black’s Predator. To exploit the growing presence of Canadian talent in Hollywood movies and TV shows, the Canada Media Fund, a major financier of local content, has launched Made/Nous, a branding effort at the Toronto Film Festival this year to spotlight Canadian content and talent and remind film and TV viewers of the many movies and TV shows made in Canada.

"I think the way Made puts a spotlight on our people and projects is fantastic and makes fellow Canadians and the rest of the world aware of what we can do. I hope this leads to more creative people in Canada pursuing entertainment careers and to even more awesome content and artists from our country," Tremblay told THR.

"I think we must also give credit to the homegrown Canadian filmmakers, writers and actors themselves, who have steadily been raising the bar," Plummer added.

Valerie Creighton, president and CEO of the Canada Media Fund, which is set to invest over $350 million in Canadian TV and digital content this year, said the Made/Nous campaign aims to showcase how homegrown content has provided a launchpad for Canadians making it globally.

"We made Ryan Reynolds here. He's a big success in Hollywood. But he started here," Creighton said.

The Toronto Film Festival continues through Sept. 15.