Fort Smith actor featured in new Hollywood thriller

Fort Smith actor featured in new Hollywood thriller

An actor from Fort Smith will be making his Hollywood debut next month, after taking on a top role in the upcoming small-town thriller Cut Bank.

Photo: Photos courtesy of Pat Burke

Fort Smith actor David Burke has a starring role in the Hollywood movie Cut Bank shot near Edmonton and set to open April 3. Burke’s role places him in film-famous company – left to right: Bruce Dern, John Malkovich and Liam Hemsworth, as well as Billy Bob Thornton and Teresa Palmer.

David Burke might not have any lines in the murder-mystery film, but says he plays the role of a principal character named Match.

“My character is a mute,” Burke said in an interview with The Journal. “Because I’m a mute people think I’m stupid and I can’t hear so I get picked on. My character is supposed to be a really nice guy – hard-working – but when people cross me, then my attitude changes.”

Due to his contract, Burke wasn’t able to say much more, other than he enjoyed working with and getting to know his star-studded cast, including John Malkovich, Billy Bob Thornton, Liam Hemsworth, Bruce Dern and Teresa Palmer.

Cut Bank tells the story of Dwayne McLaren (Hemsworth), a young man with California dreams much larger than his small town, who is stuck working as a mechanic for his girlfriend’s father (Thornton).

One day, McLaren accidentally captures the murder of local postman Georgie Wits (Dern) on video while shooting an amature travel ad with his girlfriend Cassandra (Palmer). McLaren turns to somewhat-inept Sheriff Vought (Malkovich) for a $100,000 reward thinking the funds are the key to a fresh start, but nothing is ever really quite that simple in Cut Bank, and soon, his life begins to unravel.

Burke, who now lives in Rocky Mountain House, didn’t have to travel far to the set – the movie was filmed in both Innisfree and Edmonton, Alta. rather than the real town of Cut Bank, which houses a population of just under 3,000 people.

The film had its Canadian premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival last September and won the Audience Choice award for Best Feature at the 2014 Edmonton International Film Festival.

Burke gaining star power

“I didn’t want to do this acting stuff in the beginning, it just happened,” Burke said of his flourishing career.

After excelling in a Calgary warrior competition a few years ago doing stunts like target shooting, tomahawk throwing and lifting people off the ground – all while on horseback – Burke was recruited to do a show at Disneyland, Paris, a job he passed on to stay close to his family.

However, when he was asked to do stunts on a Vancouver production, it was an opportunity he couldn’t refuse. The project, a film called Big Thunder, was never released, but from there he was able to get a gig on AMC’s Hell on Wheels.

“When I started this I just wanted to do stunt work after my time in Vancouver. I had so much fun and they treat you like royalty,” he said. “Then my agent talked me into doing an audition. I never thought I could do it; I always thought I’d never be able to act in front of the camera.”

For his first speaking role, Burke was cast in a second-season episode of the television series Cracked, filmed in Toronto. The episode, called Ghost Dancer, covered an important issue for the Aboriginal actor.

“It was an honour doing that one because it was dedicated to all the missing women from the Highway of Tears,” he said.

In the near future, Burke will be taking on another stuntman role in the upcoming film The Revenant, along with A-listers Leonardo Dicaprio, Tom Hardy and fellow NWT actress Melaw Nakehk’o.

In the mean time, Cut Bank is set to open in theatres on Apr. 3. To watch the trailer, head to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvavIfjTDaE.

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