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"Perfect Alignment"

Date of Article's Original Publication: January 31, 2001
Original URL of Article: http://www.canoe.ca/JamMoviesArtistsC/cubitt_david.html
© Claire Bickley for the Toronto Sun

The Perfect Son's David Cubitt makes the move to leading man

In hindsight, the tension on the set of The Perfect Son probably served the film, well, perfectly.

Cast as estranged brothers who make amends as one of them faces death, Colm Feore's and David Cubitt's initial relationship mirrored the emotional distance between their film characters.

"We do definitely, I think he'd agree, have totally different approaches to our work," Cubitt says. "It was ... it was interesting. I probably pissed him off a bit. He was probably a little wary of my approach. I'm not like a dark horse or anything. There's nothing sensational or maniacal about me or totally unprofessional about me. It's just a different approach and I think it might have been a little unsettling."

Cubitt plays younger brother Theo, a recovering drug addict and struggling writer. Feore plays Ryan, a prosperous lawyer who has kept secret from his family the fact that he's gay and, in contrast to his conservative work-world persona, proudly promiscuous. As the brothers reunite at their father's funeral, Ryan is dying of AIDS. The pair rebuild their brotherly bond, at first uneasily.

Which is about how Cubitt describes the early days of shooting the Toronto-made film. It was featured at last fall's Toronto International Film Festival and opens in theatres here today.

"Colm is very, very specific and fastidious," Cubitt explains of his more film-experienced co-star. "I find that most of the work is simply in the script and in the moment of playing it, in that moment of actually doing it. Not talking about it. Not doing research. Not going inward and figuring it out."

The Perfect Son is Cubitt's first lead role in a feature film and the movie is director Leonard Farlinger's feature debut. Cubitt found the move from TV -- he starred in Canada's Traders for four years and had supporting roles in Michael Hayes and Turks in the U.S. -- an adjustment. But a good one, in that he felt his input was more welcome.

"From a place of being fairly combative, we became really collaborative," he says. "People would still just be brutally honest. There's no time for mincing words in that situation ... Not screaming, but simply, 'I want you to do it this way.' 'No. No. That's dumb. I'm not going to do it that way.' And then finally you'd do it and they'd go, 'Okay, you're right, that was terrible.' People just arguing. 'I'm not going to say that line. That's a terrible line.' Whatever. It's interesting because at the same time that it's very tense and stressful, it's also very stress-relieving because you're really being creative all day."

The Perfect Son created one closer-to-perfect relationship. Cubitt and supporting player Chandra West became a couple six months later.

His romance with Hollywood appears to have cooled for now.

"I'd rather be doing one or two Perfect Sons a year in Canada. But given a choice between working and not working, I'd rather work," says Cubitt, who spent most of last year working on a more personal project -- his new home in Vancouver.

A CBS development deal has lapsed. The Mysteries Of 73rd Street, a series pilot he made, wasn't picked up for this season.

"I thought it was great. It was a beautiful show. It was basically Manhattan Murder Mystery, Woody Allen's movie, but it was an hour long. It had a lot of sentiment and humanity and humour, but it wasn't comedy at all. I think it kind of slipped through the cracks because it wasn't a half-hour comedy and it wasn't a drama, so people didn't really know what to make of it."