Creative vocations change with the time and technology. Drum machines replace drummers; digital software allows graphic designers to use watercolors on a tablet…the examples of this are almost limitless. Longevity in such a career is not based solely on talent but also having multiple skills to offer. Many actors find than in this era of film, streaming, and television productions, having a depth to your skill set ensures that you’ll be more appealing to those in control of casting and hiring. Rhys Wyn Trenhaile has been seen in popular TV series like ABC’s Designated Survivor, NBC’s Taken, and prank show Extreme Babysitting, but for the film Taken Too Far he exercised his executive assistant abilities off camera when not performing on camera as the imposing Detective Thompson. The Canadian actor found this cocktail an ideal pairing for the satisfaction of his left and right side brain inclinations. Originally airing on France’s premiere cable broadcasting channel TFI and internationally distributed by Visions TV, Taken Too Far garnered ratings and attention for it’s all too believable depiction of a parent going to any lengths to achieve popularity for her daughter.
Jeanette Grayson (played by Christina Cox of Elysium) is obsessed with fame, so much so that she’s willing to do anything to make sure her teen daughter attains the spotlight. This includes kidnapping the daughter’s dance rival Melanie. Jeanette blackmails her ex-con driver Stevie Hernandez to be the henchman but her plans are thwarted by Melanie’s mom Beth who learns of the scheme. Beth’s pleading to the local police is rebuked until no-nonsense Detective Thompson (played by Trenhaile) turns a sensitive ear. Thompson is the vehicle of catharsis, justice, and appropriate muscle that brings about Jeanette’s comeuppance. It’s the detective who also keeps Beth’s moral compass pointing North. Without Thompson’s inclusion, the action would most likely take a decidedly darker and unlawful turn.
Rhys concedes that he played Detective Thompson more reserved than he typically likes but it was the most appropriate call for the story. Playing the helper to the hero’s journey is rewarding in itself, like Obi Wan Kenobi in Star Wars or Q with James Bond. This concept operated on multiple levels for the actor on this film as he also flexed his producer’s muscles off camera. While that might seem to be fracturing for an artist’s focus, Trenhaile describes, “I like being an executive producer as I find most of my work is done in that role before the cameras start shooting. When I’m acting, I don’t have to worry too much about the day-to-day business of production. Tons of actors these days, especially a lot of the more successful ones with longevity in the industry, take up at least one other skill in the industry. You’ll notice if you pay attention to the credits that many of the stars of a film also serve as producer, executive producer, writer, or even the director. You see it again and again and again these days. That’s modern storytelling whether on television or in film. I originally started my career as a writer, which later led to the acting and executive production. Whenever you expand your role in storytelling, you acquire more and more perspective on how things work, how they look on Camera, and why you do the things you do in order to make the best production possible.”
Rhys is a Canadian actor with his foot firmly in the country’s film and television industry, his recent work on productions created for major networks in France and America confirm his global appeal. While the industry appears focused on him, Rhys Wyn Trenhaile is focused on storytelling and its many possibilities.