Having announced last year that he would be quitting comedy and moving into more serious acting roles, master of the one-liner, Stewart Francis, has been taking his live show all over the country to sold-out crowds. Currently on a break before heading into the next leg of the tour, Stewart took time to speak to us about his career, his favourite actors and more.
1. Thanks for your time Stewart. You recently announced you were moving away from stand-up comedy, what has the reaction been like from fans and colleagues?
“Sadness… which is a wonderful thing but I don’t want to create sadness in peoples days. People want me to stay around which is all you could ask for. I’m leaving them wanting more. When I told one of my comedian friends that I was quitting he came out with a line which was “I didn’t know that was an option” which sums comedians up, they’re in it for the long haul… but not this one.”
2. What do you think you’ll miss most and least about touring and playing live?
“Mostly the sense of accomplishment from writing a joke and making people laugh as corny as that sounds. You’re creating chemicals within people that is making them happy for as long or as short as you want. What I won’t miss is the travelling, there is a lot of travelling which I’m okay with but I won’t miss. I travel a lot between shows on my own so I tend to get into my own head space.”
3. Which leads me onto my next question, when you’re driving between shows, what do you think about?
“Anything and nothing. I might have some tunes on, I might do some jokes but, in that time, sometimes a joke might come out but, then, sometimes I’m not thinking about anything. Obviously, like all people, I’m concentrating on the road, safety first, but, generally, everything and nothing.”
4. When the tour ends later in the year, what are your plans?
“To decompress, to sit back and be reflective I guess but then, immediately, to get onto other things and acting is the thing I’m going to be focusing on to hopefully get some dramatic acting parts. I’d like to do some voice over work, I’ve got some ideas for scripts that I’ll put together and then see what happens with that.”
5. What prompted the move into more “dramatic” acting?
“I’ve always wanted to be an actor and I always knew that comedy would take me into that. I was in a sitcom in Canada, I did a bunch of different things but not as much as I would have liked to have done. I think I need the separation between the two because, I think, if you’re a comedian, directors and casting directors can’t differentiate and think that you can’t do dramatic roles so this will give that separation and allow people to see that I am a serious actor.”
6. You’ve always said that you have a passion for acting, who are your inspirations?
“Oh jeez! I don’t know. I’ve always loved old films and if an old black & white film would come on, I’d tell myself in my head to “hold my calls” as I’d want to watch it or at least tape it. I think the men were fantastic and, yes, the women too were really great but, the men, your Gregory Peck and your Robert Mitchum that’s who I’m talking about. I know when I quit this I know I’m at the age where I’ll be a character actor which I’m fine with. I’ll no longer be the leading man but I’ll happily be the leading man’s father…. or mother if they want me to be [laughs]!”
7. With that in mind, is there a current role on TV or in a film you’ve seen where you think “I’d be perfect for that!”?
“You kind of do it with all of them. You’ll be sat there watching something and you’d think “I really like what they’ve done with that” or “I probably wouldn’t have made that choice” but not one in particular. I’m happy to get any part because I know how much work goes into that. I have a couple of ideas and, often what you have to do is write yourself into a project or part. I’m also not ego-driven and I know people might not be aware that I’m doing acting so I think I’ll be happy with whatever roles come my way.”
8. If you could co-star alongside any actor or actress past or present who would you choose and why?
“Charlize Theron because it would drive my wife crazy [laughs]. That would be the one to drive my wife crazy [laughs].”
9. Curveball question. There was a video on YouTube of two men dressed as Spiderman and Jesus having a fight. Who would you put your money on winning and why?
“Well, I’m not going to give you the answer you want because, to some people, it would be very controversial. What the hell, Spiderman because he is real. Well, more real than Jesus anyway [laughs]. The question is though, if they switched costumes, would Jesus have been winning?”
10. Thank you for your time again Stewart. Just to finish off, looking back, how would you sum up your career as a comic?
“Joyful. Incredible. I have created my own legacy on this planet no matter how big or small that I can look back on. I do that as well. I look back and think that I’ve made hundreds of thousands of people laugh and what a wonderful gift is that to have and, in return, what a wonderful gift they have given back to me in their laughter.”
For a full list of shows Stewart’s upcoming shows, visit his website here.