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Covering All the Bases With Waldner

Canadian actor Leonard Waldner has accumulated the necessary laundry list for the elite of established actors in the modern industry: being in lauded productions at the most prestigious events domestically and internationally (Cannes Film Festival Awards, Vancouver International Film Festival Awards, etc.) …check, respect of your peers in the industry…check, credits in genres ranging from drama to comedy to horror and beyond, check! While he has spent a great deal of his career in his home country, the demand for this actor in projects beyond has been occurring with increasing frequency. You might have missed him in a Time Warner National commercial but films like Stroke of Faith and The Downside of Bliss have featured him in roles that have been raising his visibility to US audiences. While Waldner has been happy about his notoriety up north for some years, he concedes that his inclusion in American and European films has brought a new host of admirers to his acting, much to his satisfaction. You have likely seen Leonard in a film and thought to yourself, “I think I know this actor” …and if you haven’t, you will be soon.

Actress Darla Robinson (Netflix’s House of Cards, HBO’s The Wire) has experience working with some of the most respected and recognizable actors of the past decade. Starring alongside Waldner (as Harold) in Stroke of Faith, she appears as Rose, a woman who has suffered a stroke and whose daughter puts her life on hold to help take care of her. Concerning her experience working with Leonard, she states, “When I saw Leonard’s prior work, I was always amazed at his ability to appear perfect for any role whether it was comedy, drama, or any other genre. When we worked together, this effect was nothing short of incredible. He’s so organic and natural, which is of course what we all strive for but it’s so intuitive for Leonard…truly a sight to behold.” Stroke of Faith garnered a win at the 168 Film Festival as well as numerous nominations. Waldner in particular was noted for his seamless and measured crescendo throughout the film’s progression.

Leonard’s costars in The Downside of Bliss includes Eric Roberts (Oscar Nominee for Runaway Train, Warner Bros. Production The Dark Knight, etc.) as Benny and Judd Nelson (Golden Globe nominee and star of The Breakfast Club, New Jack City, etc.) as Doug, among others. As Charles Randolph, limo driver and confidant to a rock-star, Waldner bears witness to the drama that occurs. The film is a redemptive tale of musician Johnny Derek (played by Ron Pucillo) who has been disconnected since his wife’s death. When his daughter [Bliss] shows up on his doorstep with a baby and a terminal illness, Johnny must reset his life course and become the parent that he should have been. Randolph [Waldner] is a physical representation of the silent conscience that lurks in the back of Johnny’s thoughts, one which always knows better but goes along with whatever it takes to get him through the day (or night).

One of Leonard’s most unusual and simultaneously enjoyable roles is that of Max Fisher in the twisted award-winning comedy/horror A Tricky Treat. This incredibly dark tale of a seemingly normal family whose Halloween tradition is to drug and tie up an innocent person every Halloween night, eventually chopping off their head to create a homemade jack-o-lantern, is so intense that it perfectly meets the qualifications of horrifying and laughter eliciting. Director Patricia Chica wanted to create a film which honors both the fright and the fun of this holiday. The film’s climax required some special preparation on Waldner’s part. He reveals, “I went on a trip to San Diego to meet with the special effects supervisor Danny McCarthy of 800 LB Guerilla. He made a replica of my head. This required putting my whole face and head into a cast with only a couple of straws in my nostrils that allowed breathing. The special effects artist’s concern was that I might panic because I was going to be completely submerged, unable to see or hear for six hours. It went fine, although it would have been nice to be able to spit. The results of the finished product were well worth the effort though. It’s not everyone who gets to see their own head cut off and live to tell the tale.” That’s a gracious attitude for someone who will live with this image of themselves the rest of their days. According to Leonard Waldner, it’s not something he has any control over. He relates, “I feel very privileged to be in such a rewarding profession that is so highly competitive. I feel very lucky to be talented enough to compete at the highest level and communicate stories to the world in my acting work. I am serving a higher purpose; a calling. They say that you don’t choose your passions, they choose you. I am here to add a tremendous amount to the entertainment industry with my focus, work ethic, and dedication to craft in order to entertain and teach the world. I really enjoy it.”

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