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We the Coyotes

The current Golden Age of TV is a two-way street; that is to say that the excellence of cable, streaming, and broadcast programs have created a Venn Diagram intersection of incredibly talent artists who vacillate between the two. 2018’s Festival de Cannes gave credence to this idea with films like We, the Coyotes. Cast members included Morgan Saylor (of Showtime’s five-time Golden Globe winning series Homeland, and Rob Reiner’s Being Charlie) as Amanda, Betsy Brandt (of AMC’s Breaking Bad) as Jeanine, and Whitney Anderson (of Showtime's two-time Golden Globe winning series Masters of Sex) as Chelsea. American audiences may not be as aware of Canadian cast member Leonard Waldner who appears as an LA landlord in the film but the film’s producer Raphael Gindre professes, “Leonard was cast from amongst hundreds of actors to appear in We, the Coyotes. Leonard is a great actor, very methodic and outstanding. His performance and energy is nothing short of tremendous. Leonard brings so much humanity to the film and his costars. We needed a confident and charismatic male actor for this role and Leonard delivered in every way!” French Directors Marco La Via and Hanna Ladoul had created a very strong female cast and required powerful male counterparts such as Waldner to balance the story.

The film’s story of fresh faces arriving in the big city of Los Angeles with stars in their eyes and aspirations on their lips may not be one hundred percent unique but the modernization of it and the riveting performances by the cast most certainly are. Jake (played by McCaul Lombardi who appeared in 2016s’ Honey Honey) and Amanda are a couple of twenty-somethings who arrive in the greater Los Angeles area at the end of their drive from Illinois. This is the culmination of a life event they have planned for a while in spite of having known each other for only six months. This move to California was not well-received by Amanda’s family, mostly due to their assessment of Jake as lazy and drifting through life. Nevertheless, Amanda has a job interview at a record company and is adamant in pursuing it. Jake’s interest in the west coast is also key. Together they encounter a wide range of stereotypical “LA” characters, beginning with Amanda’s sister Jeanine who is very straight-laced and uptight. Their stay with her and her young twin sons does not go smoothly and they quickly take steps to find accommodations elsewhere, which is how they encounter Leonard’s character.

The couple’s interaction with this landlord (played by Waldner) is a pivotal moment for the couple and the storyline. The sudden reality of how different Los Angeles is when compared to middle America is brought into stark focus. The calm and positive demeanor Leonard exudes in this role is a far cry from his appearance in films like Disconnected (distributed by Warner Bros.) or the award-winning Horror film A Tricky Treat. Waldner is all positivity in his presentation of this character but the subtext of the scene is how challenging living in LA can be and how miniscule the line is between living modestly and being on the periphery of society. Leonard communicates, “I’ve spent enough time in LA to understand what being new can feel like. It’s very different than Manitoba. I was fortunate in that the directors allowed for improvisation and were impressed by my choices. The chemistry was great with my costars right away, which I think really sealed the deal. I feel so fortunate to work in a situation such as this which was so creative.”

Whether you are an actor from Canada who is cast in a Hollywood production, a hopeful record executive from the Midwestern United States, a French director creating an English language film in Hollywood, or an audience member sitting in a dark theater; We, the Coyotes offers something not always present in modern cinema, truth in the form of fiction. An imagined tale which mirrors an experience that countless people of all generations have encountered, We, the Coyotes is an entertaining tale created by incredibly talented professionals for the delight of all audiences.

Author: Kelly King

We the Coyotes Reviewed by JaamZIN on 7:33:00 AM Rating: 5
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