Booth Savage has been leading a distinguished career in the Canadian entertainment industry. Having graduated with a MFA from York University in 1992, Savage went on to be apart of the Candor College Theatre faculty.
Various additional accomplishments in his career include his attainment of Best Actor in a Leading Role” as Felix Batterinski in Alan King’s “The Last Season. He may be recognized by various viewers for his performance in the show , Canada Russia ’72, where he portrayed the role of the Team Canada head coach Harry Sinden in the CBC miniseries . Moreover, as a member of the Toronto Free Theatre, Savage has performed in over 100 plays in every province and territory with the exception of Yukon.
Also, for the past two years Booth Savage has been portraying the role Principal Mike Callaghan in CBC’S recent hit sitcom, Mr. D. With Mr , D approaching its this season and the Booth Savage kindly agreeing to participate in a interview with me, we discuss various aspects of how he has related to the character , his reflections on some of the storylines in which Principal Callghan has been heavily apart of in the recent season ,the actor’s insight on how his character interacts with the other characters on the show as well as why he thinks Mr. D has attracted such a large audience along with much more.
Read through the complete interview below and share your thoughts on it in in the comments section section below.
Abbas Karimjee:Lets start by discussing your appointment to the role of Mr. Callaghan. Were you contacted or did you audition? Could you please walk us through this initial process?
Booth Savage:Gerry and I worked together in a TV movie (Canada Russia 72) he told me then that he was going to have his own sit com, and when it happened that he wanted me to be a part of it. I was happy to humour him. Getting a sit com to air is about as easy as getting your pants on without lifting your feet. Then, one day (2years later) I got a call from my agent telling me that indeed Gerry was green lit for a pilot and that I had an audition for the Principal. I didn’t get the part. The pilot was shot with another actor playing Callaghan, but the CBC declined to pick the show up for broadcast. More time passed, Gerry was given an opportunity to reshoot the pilot and this time my audition was more successful and I did get the part. Gerry is not only the funniest guy on television, but the perhaps the most honourable.
AK:How do you relate to the character of principal Callaghan? Essentially, in what ways are you similar and different to the character?
BS:That’s a tough question. Gerry might be in a better position to answer that one. He cast me, so there has to be a reason, some quality in me that rings true for him, as the show is based on his real life teaching experiences and colleagues. I enjoy playing Callaghan, and it is extremely satisfying to work and learn from such an outstanding group of very funny people. I am awed every day I am on set by their wit and generosity.
AK:Are there any resources or tools which you utilized in preparations evolved in portraying a Principal?
BS:I’ve been an actor for a very long time. I suppose that it is all those years of practice and discovery that inform my choices as Callaghan.
AK:This season we discover that Callaghan has an ex wife with somewhat peculiar psychotic tendencies. What was your reaction in discovering this and would you like to see this particular storyline or any other aspects of his backstory explored within the coming season?
BS:I was thrilled to work with Linda Brooks. It was particularly satisfying for Callaghan to have met his match. But I’ve been working out all winter and look forward to the re-match.
AK: This season Callaghan’s sensitivity and concern for Xavier Zaademy and its various staff members was demonstrated in various ways. Notably, it was demonstrated in his interactions with his colleague, vice principal Robert in the season 2 finales where he gave him a comical lesson to show him how he takes things too seriously as apart of his performance evaluation. How would you describe the two’s working relationship and based on this how do you feel it has developed from the show’s inauguration? How do you feel this demonstrates the manner in which he interacts with his subordinates, in general?
BS:Robert aka Jonathon Torrens is one of the most gifted people I have ever worked with. I (Booth) love him. Callaghan has another point of view. I enjoy my scenes with Robert immensely. It’s tough to stare him down because he is so completely funny and I have no defense against his lightning quick wit. There is no way I can hope to keep up with him. I just hang on for dear life and trust that he’s good enough to steer us both to the other shore.
AK:Callaghan has had to discipline Gerry on various instances for his comedic yet inappropriate mishaps. How do you feel Callaghan feels about Gerry and what do you think allows him to tolerate his lack of compliance?
BS:Callaghan seems to intuit that it takes all kinds of teachers and human beings to enrich the students at Xavier. I think, as a principal, one of Callaghan’s strengths is his ability to recognize that while Gerry may not be the most traditional teacher in the school, his humour and a genuinely good heart adds a value that otherwise would be missing from the school.
AK:Mr D is approaching its third season. What are you able to tell us about what might be in store for the upcoming season both for the show in general and particularly for the character of principal Callaghan?
BS:Sorry, I’m not in that loop. I’m looking forward to learning what’s up as much as anyone.
AK:Mr D has achieved record-breaking ratings on CBC since the debut of CBC’S hit sitcom, Little Mosque on the Prairie with the series premiere earning a 1.3 million rating. Why do you think the show resonates with such a large audience?
BS:My guess is that most of the credit has to go to Gerry. He knew what it was he wanted to achieve from the very first script and he has remained true to that vision. Every once in a long while a creative energy emerges that resonates with a large audience and Gerry seems to possess that quality.
AK:You have led a distinguished career within the Canada entertainment industry. What advice do you have for those who aspire to pursue a career in acting?
BS:Be very sure. Be very committed. Be very flexible.
AK:What message do you have for viewers of Mr. D, with the show approaching its third season?
BS:Tell your friends. Write the CBC and tell them how much you like the show. Especially tell them how much you LOVE Callaghan.
AK:What hobbies do you enjoy during your spare time?
BS:I am currently learning all about hardwood flooring and its installation. As well, I love to travel. I love to read. And of course, both Callaghan and Savage love to work out.