• John Jantak

Hudson resident will appear in Home Alone remake


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Ninety-one-year-old Hudson resident Roy Elliott will appear in a movie role extra as a priest in the remake of Home Alone that is currently being shot partly on location in the town.

Lights – Camera – Action! Hudson resident Roy Elliott has heard these words countless times during his 45 year career as a movie extra and his impressive movie résumé boasts roles in 357 movies.

The 91-year-old’s latest role will be to play a priest in the upcoming remake of the 1990 Christmas classic Home Alone that starred Macaulay Culkin. The remake is being filmed partly in Hudson and Elliott will play a priest but doesn’t know anything else about his role until the gets he gets the call to appear on set.

“I don’t really know who’s starring in it,” Elliott told The Journal during an interview at his home last Thursday, February 6. “They don’t let you know until it happens. They call you the night before and give you your call time and location. I am looking forward to the role but I think it may be my last because I’m not in great shape physically.”

357 movies and counting

With 357 on-screen movie appearances to his credit, Elliott said it may seem like an astounding number but says most movie extras have probably done just as many movies during their careers.

Elliott started off his career as an extra doing one movie once a year and gradually got up to 12 roles annually when he became a member of the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA), the union representing more than 23,000 professional performers working in English-language recorded media in Canada, including TV, film, radio and digital media. He is now their oldest working member.

His first role was in 1974 in Mordecai Richler’s The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz that starred Richard Dreyfuss. Elliott did about five additional movie adaptations of Richler’s other literary works. He was working as a store detective for about 25 years at Eaton’s before he began his career as a movie extra.

Most of the films Elliott has worked on have been filmed in the Montreal region. Other locations include the Eastern Townships and Ottawa. He never knows what his role will entail until he arrives on set.

A waiting game

“There’s a saying we have in the movies – wait and see. For example, they’ll give you a call perhaps for six o’clock and you’ll sit there until 10 o’clock or noon, you go on for about 10 minutes and then you go back to the holding area and wait for another hour or two. It really is a waiting game but they pay well so you can’t complain,” said Elliott.

He got into the movies because he had an old London taxi cab. He was an avid car collector and his collection proved to be a boon because they were used in several films which eventually led Elliott to get extra bits. “I had the only London taxi in Quebec and I got lots of calls for it – not for me,” he said.

Elliott has played mostly priests or policemen. He chuckles when he notes that, “I’ve also played several dead bodies.” Elliot has been on set with the likes of Paul Newman, Robert De Niro, Leonardo Dicaprio, and Rhea Perlman.

Long and interesting career

One of Elliott’s most memorable films was doing extra work for White House Down, a 2013 political thriller starring Jamie Foxx and Channing Tatum about a terrorist attack at the White House. “They built three complete White Houses, one in Lachine, one in Laval and one in Montreal. I know what the White House is like inside because these sets were the exact replica. It was incredible,” said Elliott.

Even though the usual screen time allotted to most extras is less than a minute and speaking roles are rare, Elliot notes that’s part of the attraction of the job. “Montreal has been very lucky in the past 10 to 15 years because they have a lot of American productions coming in. It’s been a long and interesting piece of my life,” he said.

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