Michael Ironside has been tackling juicy roles for decades. Moviegoers who are at least into their thirties will instantly remember him from Starship Troopers, Scanners, and Total Recall. More recently, he’s been gracing both the big and small screen with supporting roles in projects like Nobody and even Barry, which is sadly ending soon. Among his numerous new projects is Confession, a new drama-thriller that was just released to the masses. It follows an ambitious, up-and-coming district attorney (Clark Backo) who takes on the recently dismissed small-town case of a young woman (Sarah Hay) who has accused three men of sexual assault. As the DA joins forces with a skeptical detective (Ironside) and puts her career on the line to uncover the truth, little does she know the web she is untangling leads to a sobering tale of murder, lies, and deceit that may change the city’s history forever.
We recently caught up with Ironside who dished on his juicy persona in Confession and other recent projects of his. He also detailed the importance of telling a topical story like Confession.
Tackling Important Subject Matter
MW: Could you talk about your detective persona in Confession, what he represents, and what drew you to the role?
Michael Ironside: The script was sent to me by a producer that I’ve worked with before, Jon Keeyes. And he said, “Take a look at this. I think it’s something you might find interesting.” And he was absolutely right. It was well written. I said, “Absolutely. I’d like to be a part of this.” He put me in touch with Dayna Hanson, who’s our director, and we got to talk quite a bit on FaceTime and stuff. And it deals with sexual assault… It’s a subject matter, I think, that needs to be on a much more common and open ground. It’s an education that we’re drawn to, it’s a conversation we’re starting to try and open up. And I play a detective who’s, you know, very stiff, very, very kind of set in his ways, close to retirement. And his young assistant, who I think is politically motivated, wants to reopen a case in the past. And I’m like, “Why? Why drag my [expletive] through all this [expletive] again?” And because I don’t trust her I think, through that arc of my character, he changes through the story to realizing that the subject wasn’t treated properly. It was prejudiced right from the start, and it needs to be looked at. And I go from being somebody who is very inflexible to being somebody who champions the subject matter by the end of the film.
Now, the film’s not about me. That’s the underlying story. At the same time, there’s a murder mystery going on. There are a lot of wonderful actors, there’s sexuality, there’s some action and violence involved and stuff… It’s entertaining, and I think it’s also timely. These are conversations we have to start having, you know, because in our society, men and women are supposed to be equal, but men are a little more equal. And in a lot of societies, men are a lot more equal than women. And this is a subject matter that has to be broached.
MW: Like you said, your character has a cool arc, and I liked those flashback moments that reveal more about your character and add layers to him.
Ironside: Dayna Hanson, I think, did a really good job as a director. She cast it correctly, which is one of the signs of a good director. And the actors basically didn’t pass comments on themselves. You got the character Randall, who’s one of the most vilified characters in the script. Sterling Beaumon played this character without any apology. He played this insipid, well-to-do character that feels totally justified and protected—he played them to an absolute tee.
MW: Are there other projects you’re working on, that you’d like to share about?
Ironside: There are two or three I’m about to go into, there are about four that are in the can. I work a lot, I’m at that place in my life where I’ve got a little lot more time behind me than I do in front of me. And I’ve been able to pick what I want to do for the last few years. And there’s a couple of exciting things I get to do. I usually try and pick based on the subject matter, who’s doing it, and where it is. I try and pick places that are more interesting than the backlot in Burbank, you know? So I’m about to go off to Budapest and do something, and then Australia for another project.
BlackBerry and The Dropout
MW: I saw that you’re in the BlackBerry movie. I can’t wait to see it.
Ironside: It’s a very Canadian story because a lot of people don’t know that BlackBerry came out of Canada. And I was one of those ones that held on to the BlackBerry [phone] till the very end. You needed to pry it out of my dying, sweating hands. That’s a wonderful story, and also to be playing a real character was interesting.
MW: You also played a real-life character in The Dropout.
Ironside: Yeah, that was an interesting project to be a part of. I’m under an NDA, but that one, a lot of us are… because I think that the subject matter was so controversial. It still is. She just had a second child, right? [But it was] an absolutely wonderful, stellar cast, very well directed.
But I hope people get to see Confession. I don’t do a lot of press. I don’t feel comfortable doing that because I don’t really know how to support the money-making machine that is the film industry. But when it comes down to projects, I think something that has a social and spiritual content needs to be addressed. And I think Confession is one of those. And again, I want to say, Dayna Hanson did a great job. Clark [Backo] and Sarah [Hay are] wonderful actresses… Ben Goodman, our DP, got that camera into places that I didn’t think you could… And because we didn’t have a lot of time and a lot of money, I think he did an absolutely monstrously wonderful job.
Confession comes to us from Vertical Entertainment.