Former Fort High student lands role in ‘Shania’ movie

Local viewers who tune in to watch “Shania: A Life in Eight Albums” on CBC TV on Monday night will see a familiar face that once graced the stage at the Townshend Theatre here.
Richard (R.J.) Comeau has a small role in the made-for-television movie that’s based on the inspiring rags-to-riches story of Shania Twain, one of Canada’s most successful female singers.
Comeau, originally from Sudbury, came to Fort Frances in 1995, spending one year at St. Francis School here and then the next five at Fort High.
But it wasn’t until Grade 12 that he realized his love of acting.
“It was Mrs. Kunkel [the high school’s drama teacher],” Comeau recalled. “She pulled me out of my physics class one day and made me promised to audition for ‘Fame.’”
He said he had no idea what he was getting himself into at that point, but he did audition and got the role of Ralph Garcey.
“That’s when I knew I wanted to act,” he said.
About a year ago, while attending his final year at Laurentian University in Sudbury, one of Comeau’s teachers told him he should audition for the “Shania” movie, which was going to be filmed there.
“I didn’t even know about the movie until that morning,” he admitted. “But my teacher had me e-mail my photo and résumé, and a couple hours later my sister ran into a rehearsal I was at for a school play to tell me I had an audition for later that afternoon.”
Comeau had to leave the rehearsal early to attend the audition, but it was worth it when he got the call saying he had landed the part of “Bobby,” the son of Shania’s first manager.
He spent one 16-hour day filming last October and said it was a really exciting experience.
“I got to work opposite Meredith Henderson, who was Shirley in ‘The Adventures of Shirley Holmes,’ and Megan Follows [Anne from ‘Anne of Green Gables’],” he enthused.
“[Megan] is a very down-to-earth person and really nice,” he added.
Comeau said he only had a few lines to say at first, but then he was given more.
Besides the experience and meeting lots of people, Comeau noted he also received an apprentice membership with Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) for being in the movie.
Comeau, who graduated from Laurentian this past spring, is now continuing his acting education at George Brown College in Toronto.
Comeau was invited to attend the launch of the made-for-TV movie, but can’t attend due to school commitments. However, he plans to have a “Shania” party Monday night with some friends to watch it for the first time.
(Fort Frances Daily Bulletin)