TORONTO – Emmy-nominated “Silicon Valley” star Thomas Middleditch has taken the opposite career path of many Canadian actors.
Instead of starting his career here and then moving to the U.S., the Nelson, B.C., native went south first about a decade ago and is finally finding his footing on this side of the border with the new Canadian film “Entanglement.”
Opening Friday in select Cineplex theatres, the drama stars Middleditch as a divorcee who’s lifted out of his depression after a chance encounter with an adventurous woman, played by Jess Weixler.
“Believe it or not, that’s the first thing I’ve ever shot in Canada,” Middleditch said in a recent phone interview.
“I’m kind of like, ‘Canada, why won’t you cast me? I’ve got to come down to the United States to work. I’ve got to steal these people’s jobs over the border.'”
As Middleditch explains, it was out of necessity that he had to look to American projects for onscreen work.
“I auditioned for Second City in Toronto and was not accepted,” he said.
“After a year and a half of doing the indie sketch-comedy world in Toronto, I was like, ‘You know what? I think they were wrong. I’m going to try (Second City) Chicago,’ and I was right.”
His Second City Chicago stint was followed by a slew of film and TV comedy roles, most notably as a software designer in HBO’s “Silicon Valley,” for which he was nominated for a best actor Emmy.
Through his work at The Improvised Shakespeare Company in Chicago, he’s also become good friends with veteran actor Patrick Stewart.
“He and I just got along really well, so we’ve hung out from time to time and despite the age gap and despite him spending a lot of time in England, we’re good friends,” Middleditch said.
“I do love me a little quality time with the old Sir P. Stew.”
Vancouver-based Jason James directs “Entanglement,” which was written by Jason Filiatrault of Calgary.
“It was just one of these scripts that caught me by surprise,” Middleditch said.
“I don’t really get too many opportunities to do A: dramas, or B: films that feel ethereal or trippy or experimental. Those are things that are on my watch list and if they start to fit, then I would like to be a part of them.”
Indeed, the film includes some fantastical elements as it touches on the theme of how one’s choices in life lead to a tapestry of connections with others.
Middleditch is soaking wet in a number of scenes, which were shot in a river in November in Vancouver.
“It was very, very, very cold, but you can’t get me out of the water,” he said. “I’m from Nelson, man, where it’s lakes and rivers. I’m a water rat. I was a lake kid.”
Middleditch said he’s hoping to do more dramas like “Entanglement.”
“Even though every single time I do them I’m like, ‘Why am I doing this? I want to do comedy, I want to make people laugh,'” Middleditch said.
“But I’ll never stop doing comedy, I’ll never stop performing live.”
“Silicon Valley” returns for its fifth season on March 25 without cast member T.J. Miller, who played entrepreneur Erlich and left the show after last season.
“Certainly when people feel like they need to move on, it’s best that they do and we all wish him the best,” Middleditch said.
“But I think this season has been great and the writers are very good writers and they have figured out a way to deal with the Erlich plotline and fill in its absence. I think we’ve done a really good job.”