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Old 02-25-2010, 07:21 PM   #1
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Cool Hank Moves on as Actor Fred Ewanuick Gets Lead Role in 'Dan for Mayor'

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Fred Ewanuick doesn't act like a TV star - which is exactly why he's perfect as the lead in "Dan For Mayor."

As Hank, the backward cap-wearing slacker from Dog River, Ewanuick was a familiar face for six seasons on CTV's "Corner Gas."

Interviewed on the Toronto set of his new series, the 38-year-old B.C.-native is remarkably matter-of-fact about starring in "Dan For Mayor." "It's not so hard," he says. "You show up and pretend, right?"

Ewanuick plays Dan, a 30-something bartender more into Pac-Man than politics. When his ex-girlfriend Claire (Mary Ashton), tells Dan she's marrying businessman Mike (Benjamin Ayres), Dan blurts that he's turned a corner too - he's running for mayor. Helping him stumble into politics is buddy Jeff (Paul Bates), his newly appointed campaign manager. The season will end with an election episode and we'll find out if Dan does indeed become the city's top executive.

The setting is fictional Wessex, Ont., but "Dan For Mayor" is shot on the streets of Kitchener and Waterloo, with interiors in a mid-town Toronto studio.

Being top banana on a show is a new experience for Ewanuick, who also spent three seasons on the ensemble comedy "Robson Arms" and has guest starred on several series. "On 'Corner Gas,' I could be goofy and crazy and it didn't matter," he says. "Now I'm the central character, the 'Brent' guy."

The "Brent guy," of course, is Brent Butt, who was at the centre of "Corner Gas." Butt and real life wife and former castmate Nancy Robertson launch their own new series, "Hiccups," right before "Dan For Mayor" debuts Monday night on CTV.

"Dan For Mayor" co-creator Kevin White, who, along with fellow executive producers Mark Farrell and Paul Mather, wrote and produced episodes of "Corner Gas," says Ewanuick's character is more of a driving force than Brent Leroy ever was. "Brent sometimes would look around and see all the nuttiness happening and sort of comment in a wry detached way," says White. "Dan's more in the fray, getting himself in trouble, with his buddy trying to help him get out."

The leap from supporting player to star has been made before on TV, most successfully by Kelsey Grammer. He went from being one of the wise guys at the "Cheers" bar to headlining his own series as "Frasier."

Farrell says he doesn't know if series leads are made or born but he always knew Ewanuick "had the timing and the chops." The executive producer knew his star also had the range "within 15 minutes of the first read through. The network liked him too so that was pretty easy."

Still, this star business has been an adjustment, says Ewanuick, not used to being in almost every scene. "I can't believe how much more work it is," he says. "It beats you up a little bit, you don't realize it."

Then there's having to do something he's not used to - toning down the funny. "More important than the jokes is that my character be likable and grounding," he says. "You have to be the thing that grounds all the other stuff."

That can sometimes be a frustrating, he admits. "At times you see everybody else having all the fun, but I want to get the big payoff! I'm constantly beating my ego back."

With Ewanuick, that could be accomplished with a feather. He seems ego-less, happy to give credit to the writers, cast members and even craft service snack providers.

Acting, he says, was never a vocation, but more of a way to survive. "I was really, really shy," he says of growing up in Port Moody, B.C. "I was always a little kid so my way of not getting beat up was to be funny."

Like his character on "Dan For Mayor," he never really had a career path. "I went to theatre school mostly because my parents said I had to go to college," he says. He wasn't really cut out for B.C.'s Douglas College because "I always thought you could just goof around and tell jokes and that wasn't the case."

Two things turned Ewanuick around - improv and lacrosse. Improv helped him become braver on-stage, lacrosse braver everywhere else. A friend dared him to join a lacrosse team and he found that he had a knack for the sport and that this gave him a lot of confidence.

But not too much confidence. "He's a likable guy but I wouldn't say he's the life of the party," says Ewanuick of his character. "Everyone likes him but he's nothing special. That's been my life!"

"Dan For Mayor" premieres Monday, March 1 at 8:30 p.m.
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Old 03-11-2010, 07:49 PM   #2
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I am quite enjoying this show so far.
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Old 03-11-2010, 07:57 PM   #3
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I saw the first episode and it wasn't bad. This show definitely has potential.
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Old 03-11-2010, 11:32 PM   #4
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man I wish we could get these shows stateside
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Old 03-11-2010, 11:39 PM   #5
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It's good to be Canadian!!!
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Old 03-12-2010, 08:36 PM   #6
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We finally have a thriving quality TV industry up here. I have always enjoyed Canadian TV (all 4 Degrassi series, Street Legal, North of 60, ENG, Wayne and Schuster, The Newsroom), but back then they were sporadic. We have much more going on now.
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