Date of publishing: 25th
At 17, Canadian native Rob Stewart faced an abrupt
change in his career plans. An injury forced him to
turn down college athletic scholarships and set aside
his dream of playing professional hockey. Instead,
he earned money for school by singing and playing
the guitar at local restaurants. Since then, Stewart
has landed numerous feature-film roles, including
Kounterfeit (with Hilary Swank), Someone to Die For,
Motel Blue, An American Affair and the crime drama
The Pawn. Stewart has also appeared on an array of
TV series, although most viewers will probably recognize
him from Sweating Bullets (a.k.a. Tropical Heat),
in which he played the lead character, Nick Slaughter.
Stewart wrote and directed several episodes of Sweating
Bullets. His small-screen work also includes Sweet
Deception (with Kate Jackson), The Christmas List
(with Mimi Rogers), Missing (with Vivica A. Fox),
Highlander, Nash Bridges, The Collector, Jake 2.0
and SCI FI's original miniseries 5ive Days to Midnight
(with Timothy Hutton and Randy Quaid). You can now
see Rob playing Andre McBride in the new Painkiller
Jane TV show.
Craddock: How competitive
was the audition for the part of “Andre McBride”?
Rob Stewart: Not at all. I’m
told they had exhausted all their options and were
without an Andre two weeks before shooting. I was
in Toronto and was asked by my agent to video tape
an audition on my own and send it to Vancouver. I
did so. It wasn’t exactly a stellar performance,
but they made an offer within a few days. I have to
assume they were desperate.
Linda Craddock: Tell
us about the role of “Andre McBride”?
Rob Stewart: On paper, by which I
mean the script, there wasn’t much there. A
straight forward role: the stoic commander, ex-military,
leader of the covert team that recruits Jane. The
role was more functional (to the story) than anything
else. But like many under-written roles, the fun -
and the challenge - is in adding quirks that aren’t
on the page.
Linda Craddock: “McBride”
is very focused on the job at hand, black and white,
no shades of grey. Is that characteristic of Rob Stewart
Rob Stewart: No. I’m an actor
– everything is grey!
Linda Craddock: How
many episodes for the series will be aired for the
Rob Stewart: I assume 22, since that’s
how many we’re shooting.
Linda Craddock: Will
the writers take the powers of the “Neuros”
beyond the ability to heal, can’t die sort of
thing, and the motion of objects during the course
of the series?
Rob Stewart: The writers have steadfastly
refused to tell us anything of the show’s future.
Whether this is to avoid leaks or is simply a lack
of foresight, I cannot say.
Linda Craddock: Would
all the “Neuros” have the same level of
telekinesis and telepathic ability or are there various
levels of power?
Rob Stewart: I can’t see them
pulling back on the powers now. They started out high
and it would likely be seen as anti-climactic to craft
stories of more subtle and limited powers. Maybe they
should’ve started lower and slowly ramped it
up over the course of 22 episodes. Who knows? As it
is, I suspect all the Neuros will be “Super
Linda Craddock: The
series takes off from the 2005 movie where “Jane”
was exposed and exploited by the government to develop
a serum to be used by other soldiers and your show
will feature her leading the hunt for other “Neuros”.
Can we look forward to a lot of action sequences in
Rob Stewart: Yes. Jane will engage
in all manner of action sequences. They got lucky
with Kristanna: she’s a natural action heroine
and can handle any stunt they throw at her.
Craddock: How do
the writer explore the trust factor or, lack thereof,
between “Jane”, the government, and “McBride”.
Rob Stewart: That’s a slowly
developed arc. What I see so far is this: Jane always
wants to do the right thing, regardless of orders;
Andre wants to do the right thing while appearing
to follow orders; and the government has its own agenda
which is a mystery to all but our secretive writing
team (and perhaps even to them!).
Linda Craddock: How
much flexibility with script ideas do you have as
an actor with the writers and directors with the outcome
of a scene or an episode?
Rob Stewart: Sadly, very little.
It’s nobody’s fault, really, just the
nature of the beast. By the time I get to read a script
(which is usually the day before we shoot –
at the cast read-through), so many people have left
their finger prints on the script that one little
change could bring down the house of cards. Beyond
that, there are network notes, which are apparently
sacred – or at least non-negotiable; there are
future arcs that we haven’t been told about,
and therefore can’t intelligently respond to
even when a scene doesn’t work for us dramatically;
and there’s the fact that I’m an actor
and it’s my job to act – not write. So
we’ve had the usual creative differences you
get on any show where people care, but at the end
of the day I say the lines that I’ve been given
and move on to the next scene.
Linda Craddock: Can
we anticipate any writing or directing from you in
episodes to come?
Rob Stewart: No.
Linda Craddock: How
would you describe the energy and chemistry on the
Rob Stewart: The best I’ve
ever experienced. A perfect blend of fun and professionalism
– you need both, because we’re in this
for eight months.
Linda Craddock: I
know a lot of television series have very short schedules
during production which leaves time for other projects.
Do you have any coming in the near future?
Rob Stewart: This isn’t one
of them! For eight months, which started in November
and will end late July, Painkiller Jane owns me. I
am beginning to look around for something in August.
Linda Craddock: Whenever
time permits, are you still active with your hobbies
– singing, piano and guitar?
Rob Stewart: At a tragically primitive
level, yes. I seem to get worse as I get older
about this interview on the forum