From Commercial Drive to ‘Corner Gas’
By Cheryl Minns, Arts Editor
Fans of Canadian comedy series are sure to know the name Fred Ewanuick, who has starred in Regina’s Corner Gas, Vancouver’s Robson Arms, and Kitchner’s Dan for Mayor. Now he’s appearing on the big screen in Corner Gas: The Movie, guest starring in the 10th season of Supernatural, and working on a potential new TV series called Ranger Bay.
Ewanuick met with the Other Press last week on Commercial Drive at Caffé Calabria, the oldest Italian coffee house in Vancouver.
“I love this place. It’s so old school,” said Ewanuick, who is of Italian-Ukrainian lineage, about the café he has patronized since he was a child. “My parents grew up around here, so I claim to have East Van blood. I’m from Port Moody, but I claim to be part-East Van.”
Ranger Bay, a comedy project made for the CBC ComedyCoup competition, follows the fictional story of Vancouver park rangers and their newest hire, Claire Mulligan (Brynn Peebles), a disgraced police cadet who accidentally started the Stanley Cup Riot.
“The potential for the show is particularly strong,” Ewanuick said. “I think it’s as good as pretty much all the stuff that’s out there.”
Ewanuick plays a senior park ranger in the series who is intimidated by Mulligan’s height and overachiever attitude.
“I get to be a boss. I’ve never been a boss before,” he said about the character. “He’s a pretty smart guy, but he doesn’t like parks and he doesn’t like animals. He’s really good at his job, at this administrative stuff. That’s why he’s there.”
If the series goes into production, Ewanuick teased that “he’d be one of those characters who you’d never really see in the park. He’d always be sending people out to do the stuff that needs to be done.”
In the CBC ComedyCoup competition, viewers cast their vote for which show they want to see continue to the next round and get one step closer to production. The projects feature video clips, photos, interviews, and more on the website, comedycoup.cbc.ca.
“Check it out, and if you relate to it and think, ‘Oh, that’s a show I’d like to see,’ then please vote for it and share it,” Ewanuick said.
Whether the show wins the competition or not, he hopes the creators—Jamie Hrushowy, Mike Scully, and Tom Hackett—will continue the show in some way because he has enjoyed working with them. Three of them—Ewanuick, Hrushowy, and Hackett—know each other from their Douglas College days in the theatre program.
“I haven’t seen them in a long, long time. It brought back a lot of fun memories of my time at Douglas,” Ewanuick said.
Though he didn’t complete the theatre program, it helped him realize that he was more of a film actor than a stage actor.
“In film and television, everything works at a quicker pace. I’m more of a person who likes to experience it and then go home and not think about it,” he said, explaining that theatre is more about fine-tuning scenes and characters than working with fresh material.
“For me, I realized that theatre wasn’t going to be. But I learned skills—which I didn’t realize at the time I was learning—that have helped me in my career today.”
Ewanuick is also a screenplay writer and has written scripts over the years, which he has recently begun releasing.
“Sometimes you can get caught up in the acting world and it can get a bit frustrating because there’s peaks and valleys. So having something else that’s still creative has been great,” he said.
One of his latest projects is The Magic Ferret, a short film about an orphan boy named Sam (Jacob Tremblay) who puts on a magic show with his ferret Booger (Falcor the Ferret) to impress prospective parents. Ewanuick starred in the film as prospective father Mr. Parker, and now is writing the script for a feature-length adaptation.
This summer, Ewanuick and the cast of Corner Gas returned to Regina, Saskatchewan, five years after the show’s finale to film Corner Gas: The Movie, which premieres in theatres this December.
“It was like a homecoming to see everybody again. Regina was like a second home. It was good,” he said about the filming.
In the movie, not a lot has changed over the last five years in the fictional town of Dog River, Saskatchewan. That is until Brent (Brent Butt) and his friends discover that the town has been poorly managed and is under threat by a corporate giant, which means it’s up to them to save the town.
“People who like the show are going to dig it for sure. They’re going to love it,” Ewanuick said. “It’ll be interesting to see how many folks we get out there who haven’t seen the TV show or aren’t fans of the show.”
To decide which theatres will premiere Corner Gas: The Movie, the CTV website has a map application called Light Up The Map of Canada where fans can vote for their local theatre to host the premiere. For more information on Corner Gas: The Movie, check out the official website at cornergasthemovie.com.
To learn more about Ewanuick’s work, visit his official website at fred-ewanuick.com