Callum Keith Rennie | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Callum Keith Rennie

Callum Keith Rennie, actor (born at Sunderland, England 14 Sept 1960). Callum Keith Rennie, one of Canada's most compelling actors, moved to Edmonton at the age of four.
Callum Keith Rennie, actor
Callum Keith Rennie is one of Canada's most compelling actors. (Photo courtesy Callum Keith Rennie)

Callum Keith Rennie, actor (born at Sunderland, England 14 Sept 1960). Callum Keith Rennie, one of Canada's most compelling actors, moved to Edmonton at the age of four. He grew up in that city's burgeoning punk scene and worked a variety of blue-collar jobs until he was 25, when friends offered him voice work in a comedy show at the University of Alberta radio station. Thus began his serious interest in acting, which led him to take the role of Bobby in David Mamet's American Buffalo at the Edmonton Fringe Festival in 1985.

Rennie moved first to Toronto and then to Vancouver, where he studied acting at the Bruhanski Theatre Studio and performed in the play Lost Souls and Missing Persons (1989). His work in that play garnered him an invitation to the Shaw Festival at Niagara-on-the-Lake, where he worked for the 1989 season. His acting career was hampered by alcohol abuse, but in 1993 he got his addiction under control and began to take small roles in television (The X Files, Highlander, Forever Knight), and large roles in Canadian movies (Frank's Cock by Mike Hoolboom, and Mina Shum's Double Happiness, for which he was nominated for a 1994 Genie Award for best supporting actor).

Callum Keith Rennie's most prominent early roles were as guitar player Billy Tallent in Bruce McDonald's Hard Core Logo (1996) and as detective Stanley Kowalski in the CTV series Due South, opposite Paul Gross. He expanded to playing more mature roles, such as the father characters in Falling Angels (2003) and Flower and Garnet (2002), rather than young, self-destructive rebels. Rennie was seen in the role of detective Bobby Marlowe in the award-winning TV series Da Vinci's Inquest, and he appeared as a dyslexic painter in Wilby Wonderful (2004). His roles have continued to be diverse, in movies such as H20: the Last Prime Minister (2004), The Five People You Meet in Heaven (2004), Blade: Trinity (2004), Butterfly on a Wheel (2007), Normal (2007), Silk (2007), Murder on Her Mind (2008) and The X-Files: I Want to Believe (2008). He has played in television episodes of Painkiller Jane, Supernatural, Bionic Woman and Men in Trees and taken recurring roles in the series Battlestar Galactica, The L Word, Californication, Flash Forward, 24, Harper's Globe and Harper's Island.

Rennie consistently imbues his characters with intelligence and depth. When he's wounded, he appears to feel the hurt more deeply than the rest of us, and his jokes seem to hide painful truths. In moments of anger or villainy, his eyes suggest unpredictable menace lurking beneath the surface.

Callum Keith Rennie has won a Gemini Award, for his role in the children's TV series My Life As a Dog (1997) and a Genie Award for best supporting actor in Don McKellar's comic drama Last Night (1998). He has also won 3 Leo awards (the provincial film awards in BC), for best actor in Suspicious River (2000), Flower and Garnet (2002) and Unnatural & Accidental (2006).

In 2010 he appeared, as Ben Cutler, with Paul Gross in Gunless, a spoof of old-fashioned Hollywood westerns. He also played the lead role of Detective Ben Sullivan in the TV series Shattered (2010-11, winning a Gemini for best actor) and was seen in episodes of The Killing (2011), Rookie Blue (2011) and CSI: Miami (2011). He played ex-con Ray McDeere in the 2012 series The Firm.

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