Brock Sculler Scrambles to Movie Role



      When Jonathan Loek joined Brock's rowing team two years ago, he probably didn't think his athletic skills would land him a spot in a feature film.

      But that's what happened when the cast and crew of My Brother's Keeper, an independent Canadian movie expected in theatres next spring, arrived in Port Dalhousie this week for a rowing lesson.

      Joe Dowd, head rowing coach at Brock University, said he gave the movie's cast a two-day lesson on rowing.

      And when it came time to find a stunt double for the movie's main character, Loek made the cut.

      "They said, 'Him, we want him,' " said Dowd.

      Loek will be a double for the movie's star, Aaron Ashmore, who on Wednesday only had three days of rowing under his belt.

      "(We) have to do this stunt where we switch boats in the water," explained Loek, a 20-year-old Mississauga native.

      He had to scramble across an oar balanced between two shells on the Henley Course. "I just bolted across ... hopefully I can do it again."

      The third-year sociology student said he never expected to be in a movie -- even if only his body or back ever make it onto the silver screen.

      And with his hair freshly shorn and dyed for the part, Loek downplayed his role. "I guess I'm going to be doing some rowing," he said.

      Ashmore, a Brampton native whose Hollywood credits include The Safety of Objects, a Glenn Close movie released earlier this year, will be single-handedly playing twins.

      "So far so good, (but) it's confusing sometimes," said the 23-year-old actor -- whose twin brother Shawn was in the latest X-Men movie.

      "I think (the movie is) going to be good. People can relate to what's going on here."

      My Brother's Keeper is being filmed in St. Catharines -- on Henley Island and at Brock University -- until the end of the week.

      "It's the story of two identical twin brothers competing against each other in a national rowing championship..." said producer Sean Cisterna. "At the end, they come together and they race each other."

      While most of the movie is being filmed in Toronto, the rowing race scenes and training scenes are being filmed in the Niagara.

      "It's the epitome of rowing in this area," Cisterna said about St. Catharines.

      The movie is being released by Bensondale Productions, funded privately, and distributed through KaBoom Entertainment.

      But executive producer Jeff Deverett said audiences shouldn't expect any of the soulful silences of an Atom Egoyan flick or the flag-waving, beaver-tailed humour of many Canadian comedies.

      "This is just a feel-good, mainstream movie," he said, adding he hopes it will have a wide release in the United States.

      "It's a very North American movie."

      Mainstream or not -- Cisterna said the National Film Board of Canada did not funnel any funding into the project -- Deverett said this movie is nonetheless a dream coming to fruition.

      "This is one of those things in life that you wish for and you hope for."

      A twin himself, Deverett said he has wanted to do this movie for 22 years.

      And, he said, St. Catharines was an ideal place to shoot part of the movie, including the training scenes. "Brock has unbelievable facilities."

      Dowd said he wasn't surprised Deverett and company chose Brock.

      "We have the best facilities in Canada, so why wouldn't they use them?" said the coach. "The facilities Brock has on campus are among the best in the world."



Trish Audette / The Standard