Once upon a time, a long time ago, a little Canadian boy or girl could walk down a cold Canadian street wearing his or her Jim Carrey-embroidered t-shirt and proudly say “I am Canadian, and so is he.” But those days are long gone.
With Carrey betraying his country by turning American in 2004, not to mention others like him (cough: Michael J. Fox), Canada’s acting elite has turned to the dark side and there seems little hope for the future of Canadian superstars.
But, then again, we have Tara Spencer-Nairn.
From the Small Screen to the Big Screen
Tara Spencer-Nairn has been acting all her life. But it wasn’t until she attended Vancouver Film School’s Acting program in 1995 that she began to call herself a professional actress. She found small roles on notable television shows like The Outer Limits, Breaker High (with another Canadian standout, Ryan Gosling), Francis Ford Coppola’s First Wave, and Cold Squad. But her greatest successes were soon to come.
In 1999, Tara Spencer-Nairn landed one of the lead roles in New Waterford Girl, an internationally well-received Canadian film. The Village Voice called it “.a tender and hilarious vision of female adolescence.” TV Guide praised Nairn and her co-star Liane Balaban, ” Balaban and Nairn are radiant, with none of the mannerisms that so often make Hollywood actresses look like Stepford teens.”
New Waterford Girl introduced Nairn to a new world. She reminisces in an interview with the Toronto Star, “We thought we were doing this MOW and the next thing you know there are limos, makeup, and people like agents leaving messages for you.”
In 2002, Nairn starred in Rub and Tug, a Canadian film about the world of the “full body massage.” Although not as highly praised as New Waterford Girl, Nairn did receive a Genie Nomination for her work as Betty.
From the Big Screen to the Corner Gas Station
Even with Hollywood tempting her, Nairn decided to stay local and etch a career out of Canada’s entertainment industry. With her success in Canadian film, it was time for Nairn to conquer a new medium: television.
In 2004, she signed up to star in a Canadian sit-com. Besides Trailer Park Boys, Canada has never been known for long lasting sit-coms, unless you consider Mr. Dressup a sit-com. Although the material Nairn had seen was strong, her hopes for this sit-com were low. That was until her tiny show became a phenomenon.
Now in its third season, Corner Gashas become one of the highest-rated and most-watched Canadian series. Nairn spoke to the Toronto Star about her new-found stardom, “I never get recognized. But it’s a blessing because career-wise, I won’t get pigeon-holed.” Tara Spencer-Nairn next stars as Kim Gretzky, sister to Wayne and daughter to Walter, in Waking Up Walter: The Walter Gretzky Story.
So Tara Spencer-Nairn is, suddenly, a true Canadian superstar. One day soon, a little Canadian boy or girl will walk down a cold Canadian street wearing his or her Tara Spencer-Nairn-embroidered t-shirt and proudly say, “I am Canadian, and so is she.”
Images graciously provided by www.cornergas.com