WARNING FOR CANADIAN VIEWERS. READ ONLY AFTER YOU HAVE WATCHED EPISODE 3.
Wendy Crewson is one of our favorites because she is full of awesome, and we were thrilled to see her name in the cast list for Slasher last summer. I jumped on the phone this week to talk with her about playing the gives-no-f-cks Brenda.
Crewson has been a staple of Canadian TV and film for 20 years. We’ve seen her as a detective, a doctor, a mom, a friend, and a villain, but Slasher let her cut loose as Brenda, who was a very atypical grandma character, and Crewson ran with it.
“You don’t get those kinds of parts. They don’t write them, they’re not out there. In the beginning, she was a little more prim. I said I wanted to try something. ‘How about [in Brenda’s first scene], if I’ve got my back to the camera and I’m smoking?'” she recalls. “[Aaron Martin] loved that. So she kind of evolved. She got tougher until one day I get a copy of the script and she’s got a gun in the car. I loved it.
Crewson bonded with Martin over his writing for her character on Saving Hope and was thrilled to come play on Slasher. “I loved him so much. He wrote in the first season. [My character] had a little affair with Daniel Gillies. He wrote me this great episode,” she says. “When it first came down, they had her hitting on him, and I marched into the writers room and said, ‘Women at my age don’t do that kind of thing in positions of power because they need to hold onto their jobs. They wouldn’t act like that. That’s a boy’s fantasy. That’s not really what older women do.”
“[Aaron and I ] played darts one time and he really listened to what I said. [He wrote] such a feminist speech and it was so good. And so ever since, I’ve been mad about him. He’s such a talented writer. When he said he had this part for me in Slasher, I said, ‘Whatever you’ve got, I’m doing it.'”
As we saw tonight, Brenda meets her demise up to her neck in water, and Crewson says it took a while to shake off the cold after filming. “It was really hard. I love that kind of stuff and I’m game to do anything. At a certain point, your body doesn’t bounce back,” she explains. “That water had gotten cold. I was shaking by the end of the night. When I got into that shower at the hotel, I had to stay in it to get the chill out. It was hard to shoot. I was in over my head, so to speak.”
She hopes to come back if they are renewed. “I so hope it gets picked up for another season. Aaron’s got some great stories in mind and I just love it. It’s like doing American Horror Story,” she says. “Wouldn’t that be great? I really hope that’s going to happen.”
Crewson moves back and forth between film and TV, and U.S. and Canadian-based shows and is glad for every opportunity, and even happier when those opportunities keep her close to home. “Frankly, I try to do everything that comes my way. I try to do it all. I like it in Canada [and] I like going down to LA to do stuff,” she says. “But it’s hard to go onto a set where everybody’s always been there.”
“It’s different when you do a movie or movie of the week and everybody’s new together. When everybody’s like this well-oiled machine and you’re trying to find your path in, it’s like being the new kid at school.” She adds that when she did her arc on Revenge, it was lovely to have fellow Canadians Emily Van Camp and Henry Czerny on set.
One of the perks of CTV’s Saving Hope is that it’s a hometown gig that shoots in Toronto. “[It’s] nice to be home and sleeping in my own bed at night. It’s a great part and I love everybody,” says Crewson. “But the fact that I get to shoot in Toronto and I don’t have to get on a plane and set up shop in a hotel, I can just do the work….there’s something regular about it that’s really nice.”
Saving Hope starts production on its fifth season Monday, with Crewson set for a batch of episodes at the beginning and end of the season. “I’ll be doing, I think, the first five and last five. What is really great is that it leaves an opening in the summer for something like Slasher. I’m in development with a couple of people. I have some great script ideas,” she says. “It’s funny. At this age, stuff starts coming through. I’ve walked into a whole new genre, and it’s sort of ‘evil, older woman who’s done something bad and something bad’s going to happen.'”
Next up, you can find her in the independent film, Into the Forest, directed by Patricia Rozema. “That was so fun. It was just a little thing I did. We saw it at TIFF and Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood both do such great jobs in it. It’s sort of an end of days scenario. Everything goes down and they’re living in this idyllic house out in the woods,” she explains. “The have to go into town and everything has gotten really bleak, It’s a really fascinating story about these two sisters. Patricia is such a great filmmaker. We were out in this house in the middle of nowhere. You feel like you can do what you want and Patricia has done fantastic job on it.”
Slasher wrapped up in the U.S. tonight on Chiller and continues every Friday at 10/9c on Super Channel in Canada.
Photos courtesy of Chiller and Shaftesbury