Movies & TV
Meet the New Generation of Up-And-Coming Canadian Actors
They're about to be everywhere.
by : Patricia Karounos- Aug 29th, 2023
Hometown: Prince George, B.C.
What you know her from:
The Revenant opposite Leonardo Dicaprio and the Hilary Swank-led journalism series Alaska Daily
Up next: CBC and APTN’s Bones of Crows
Most working actors can’t say that their first major on-camera job was on a film like 2015’s The Revenant, a lauded drama that was directed by acclaimed filmmaker Alejandro G. Iñárritu and starred Leonardo DiCaprio in the role that won him an Oscar. Then again, not everyone is Grace Dove.
The Secwépemc actor, who grew up in Prince George, B.C., and around reserves in the northern part of the province, moved to Vancouver to study acting after high school and gave herself a five-year timeline to chase her wild dream. “You have all these expectations and think things are going to go one way, but then it’s so much harder—especially with where the industry was when it came to Indigenous representation,” she says. “I really struggled.”
Getting the part in The Revenant happened near the end of Dove’s five-year plan, and it put the actor in front of international audiences, which made her consider the platform she now had. She immediately understood how important it is to go after roles and projects that respect and uplift Indigenous stories. “I really believe that it’s not so much about quantity but quality,” she says. “I’m so incredibly proud of every single role I’ve done, and I genuinely feel like I’m doing good for us. Storytelling, for me, is such an opportunity for healing and moving forward.”
Those roles include Alaska Daily, a one-season network-TV drama starring Hilary Swank in which Dove played a journalist digging into the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women crisis. There’s also the upcoming CBC/APTN drama Bones of Crows, a five-part series that expands upon Marie Clements’ feature film of the same name. With resilient Cree matriarch Aline Spears (played by three actors, including Dove, at different stages) at the centre, the show follows a family’s quest to survive the residential school system, systemic racism and abuse. “Bones of Crows was such a dream come true,” says Dove. “I remember doing the audition and thinking ‘This is mine.’ Telling such an important story was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It’s so close to home—every Indigenous person carries a lot of trauma from that. This series took a piece of me, but I know it was very necessary.”
Hometown: Fort McMurray, Alta.
What you know her from: Lifetime movies like Giving Hope: The Ni’cola Mitchell Story
Up next: Queer cheerleading drama Backspot
When Kudakwashe Rutendo was growing up in Alberta’s northeastern town of Fort McMurray, her mom signed her up for just about every sport and extracurricular activity available to her. But in Grade 2, for the first time ever, Rutendo chose something for herself: a local festival dedicated to theatre and music. “I’m a little bit dramatic,” she says. “I’m an actor, so everything is a thing for me.” When she discovered that entrants in the festival were ranked and that they could earn different accolades, her competitive side lit up. She kept signing up every year—performing progressively more challenging poems and monologues—throughout her schooling, and the rest is history. She knew what she wanted to do with the rest of her life.
She packed her bags and moved to Toronto, promising her parents she’d complete her undergraduate degree in English, philosophy and classics while taking acting lessons. It was hard to balance both—especially because this was all happening around the time COVID-19 hit—but Rutendo was committed. She found an agent and hit the ground running, doing audition after audition and getting small parts in local productions.
But now, it’s time for her big break. Earlier this year, Rutendo was cast opposite Devery Jacobs and Evan Rachel Wood in Backspot, a queer cheerleading drama that was produced by Elliot Page and is set to stream on both Crave and CBC Gem. “It was the best experience of my acting life so far,” she says. “I wanted to make sure I did the story justice, and I wanted to make sure that I was honouring all the work everyone else had done. I hadn’t felt that type of pressure before. But every step of the way, they made sure I was comfortable and that I had a lot of input as a creative.”
What you know her from: Netflix’s Teenage Bounty Hunters
Up next: Prime Video’s The Boys spinoff, Gen V
A few years ago, Vancouver’s Maddie Phillips experienced what she calls a “series of serendipitous events” that helped lead to her “made it” moment as an actor. She filmed just a few scenes for a Hallmark movie that was shooting in the city, but she still managed to shine—both a producer and the director pulled her aside and told her that she should be in Los Angeles. “I was like: ‘What the hell? You’ve barely seen me act,’” she recalls, laughing. They connected Phillips to an L.A. agent, who in turn connected her to a manager, and in just a few days she got an audition for—and landed—one of the titular roles in Netflix’s short-lived critically acclaimed 2020 dramedy Teenage Bounty Hunters.
That series was a game-changer because it allowed Phillips to show off her many charms and talents outside the Canadian industry. Now she’s set to star in Prime Video’s Gen V, a spinoff of the edgy and gory comicbook drama The Boys that’s set at a university for young superheroes, and it’s expected to debut this fall. She got the audition in part because producer Eric Kripke was a fan of Teenage Bounty Hunters. “[Doing Gen V ] has made the bar of possibility go up,” says Phillips. “I want to continue to be delightfully surprised throughout my career. I never could have fathomed the opportunities I’ve been given, even though I have really big dreams and visions. It blows my mind.”
Join our mailing list for the latest and biggest in fashion trends, beauty, culture and celebrity.
The Must-Have Luxury Launches, According to ELLE Canada Editors
Wondering what's on our radars?
by : ELLE Canada- Sep 21st, 2023
5 Tasty Cookbooks to Inspire Your Next Meal in the Kitchen
Books that cook.
by : Aman Dosanj- Sep 21st, 2023
Hair Tutorials: Bring the Glamour From TIFF to Your Home
While all eyes were on the red carpets at the Toronto International Film Festival, TRESemmé and Nexxus turned heads by transforming Studio Fontana’s customers into iconic movie characters—and they’re inviting you to join in the fun... from home!
by : ELLE Canada- Sep 15th, 2023