When it comes to screen talent, Canada has turned out a huge number of stars over the years. To celebrate Canada Day, I thought that I would share my list of Canada’s top 20 sci-fi film stars. While they all have worked in other genres, they have made their mark in sci-fi. These actors have spanned from young to “seasoned”, a short time in the industry to a few decades. They have achieved success both here and abroad and have shown the world why Canada is so awesome. So shall we begin?
Starting from #20…..
#20 – Hayden Christensen
Born on April 19, 1981 in Vancouver, British Colombia, Hayden is most recognized for his portrayal of Anakin Skywalker in the Star Wars prequels. While it seems that he has disappeared from the limelight, he has appeared in a few sci-fi movies since then such as Jumper (2008) and Vanishing on 7th Street (2010). When asked why he stepped out of the limelight after the Star Wars movies, he said that he felt that fame was handed to him instead of him earning it. He continues to act, most recently starring opposite Kate Bosworth in the 2015 movie 90 Minutes in Heaven.
#19 – Bruce Greenwood
Born Stuart Bruce Greenwood on August 12, 1956 in Noranda, Québec, Bruce Greenwood has had a long career in both film and television from The Beachcombers tv series in the late 70s to the most recent reboot of the Star Trek franchise as Captain Pike. He has also starred in I, Robot with Will Smith (2004), provided the voice of Bruce Wayne in the animated series Young Justice (2011), and will next be seen in the sci-fi thriller Spectral which is due out this August.
#18 – Natasha Henstridge
Born in Springfield, Newfoundland, August 15, 1974, Natasha first caught the attention of sci-fi movie lovers with her portrayal of the alien Sil in the film Species in 1995 (which went on to have two sequels). She went on to star in Ghosts of Mars in 2001 and has appeared in various tv shows and movies since then. Her next project is horror film The Black Room due out in later this year.
#17 – Michael Ironside
Hailing from Toronto, Frederick Reginald Ironside was born on February 12, 1950. Like Bruce Greenwood, Michael’s career in both film and television has spanned decades. His most memorable sci-fi roles include 1985’s Scanners, 1990’s Total Recall with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Highlander II: The Quickening (1991) and Starship Troopers (1997). He has over seven new projects coming out this year and next.
#16 – Rick Moranis
Comedian Rick Moranis is one of those talents who can make you laugh just by talking. Born in Toronto on April 18, 1953, Rick cemented himself as a Canadian icon when he became one half of the McKenzie brothers (Bob, in case you don’t remember). He took his unique brand of humour and quirky charm to the big screen in a little independent film called Ghostbusters (1984), alongside fellow Canadian Dan Aykroyd. One city wasn’t big enough for this guy as he took on the role of Dark Helmet in Mel Brooks’ Star Wars spoof Spaceballs (1987). He has starred in 1986’s Little Shop of Horrors and even voiced a familiar sounding moose in the Brother Bear films. He has since become more selective in his roles, even turning down a chance to appear in the Ghostbusters reboot, instead keeping busy with voice over work, commercials and writing.
# 15 – Anna Paquin
Hailing from Winnipeg, Manitoba and born on July 24, 1982, Anna Paquin has become a permanent fixture in the X-Men franchise when she took on the role of Rogue in X-Men in 2000. She returned to the role in the sequels, last appearing as the character in X-Men: Days of Future Past. Since finishing her television role in the series True Blood she has had a couple of projects, including the animated feature The Good Dinosaur (2015).
#14 – Shawn Ashmore
Born on October 7, 1979 in Richmond, British Columbia, Shawn and his twin brother Aaron have both found success in film and television. Starting in television in the series Animorphs (1998) it is Shawn’s success with the X-Men franchise as Bobby Drake, aka Iceman, that has solidified his standing in the superhero universe. He is set to appear in Hayley Atwell’s new series, Conviction.
#13 – Dan Aykroyd
Born July 1, 1952 in Ottawa, Dan brought his unique sense of humour to the role of Dr. Raymond Stantz in Ghostbusters (1984) and makes a cameo in the new reboot. He has also been part of the successful brother combo in The Blues Brothers (not sci-fi, but still pretty cool), with the late John Belushi. His success in the 80s continued with Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) and his memorable role as Beldar in The Coneheads (1993). He has also appeared in 2015 movie Pixels.
#12 – Margot Kidder
Born on October 17, 1948 in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Margot Kidder had been in the film and television industry for a decade when she took on the role as Lois Lane in Superman (1978) with Christopher Reeve. She also starred in horror favourites The Amityville Horror (1979) and Black Christmas (1974), as well as a variety of other tv and film projects. Battles with her bipolar disorder threw her life into chaos in the late 90s, however, she is now back on track, appearing in various projects. Her latest film, The Red Maple Leaf, boasts a star-studded cast and was completed this year. No release date yet.
#11 – Carrie-Anne Moss
When it comes to showing how bad-ass women can be in movies, credit can be given to Carrie-Anne Moss and her portayal of Trinity in The Matrix franchise. Born on August 21, 1967 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Carrie-Ann has also appeared in Silent Hill: Revelation 3D (2012) and has done various voice overs such as Aria T’Loak for the Mass Effect video game and animated movies The Clockwork Girl and Dragon Nest: Warrior’s Dawn (both 2014). She can currently be seen in the Netflix series Jessica Jones as Jeri Hogarth.
#10 – Michael J. Fox
Born June 9, 1961 in Edmonton, Alberta, Michael first became a household name as Alex P. Keaton in the television series Family Ties (1982), but it’s his iconic role as Marty McFly and the Back To The Future series that has earned Michael a place on this list. He also appeared in Teen Wolf that same year. He then went on to star in The Frighteners and Mars Attacks! (both in 1996). In 1991 Michael was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, revealing his diagnosis publicly in 1998. He has been semi-retired since then, using his celebrity status to bring support and awareness to the disease.
#9 – Kiefer Sutherland
As the son of a famous acting father, it’s no wonder that Keifer Sutherland went into the family business. Kiefer was born in Paddington, London, England, UK on December 21, 1966. Son of actor Donald Sutherland (and grandson of Canadian politician Tommy Douglas), Kiefer’s first break into the world of the sci-fi genre was as David in 1987’s Lost Boys and then in 1990’s Flatliners. He has done a wide variety of voice over work in the genre as well, in Armitage III: Polymatrix (1996), Dragonlance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight (2008), Call of Duty (video game, 2008) and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (video game, 2015). Oh, and he did a little tv show called 24.
#8 – Ryan Reynolds
Doesn’t he just look like the type of wholesome, polite, gentlemanly type that you would want to bring home to mom? Hailing from Vancouver, British Columbia, Ryan was born on October 23, 1976. While we ALL know him now as “the merc with a mouth”, Ryan actually took his first sci-fi footsteps into a couple of television shows, namely The Odyssey (1992), The X-Files (1996) and The Outer Limits (1995-98). After his Van Wilder days, he took on the role of Hannibal King in Blade: Trinity (2004), X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), Green Lantern (2011) (where he met his future wife Blake Lively) and Self/less (2015). He has a couple of new projects coming out including his Deadpool sequel.
#7 – Keanu Reeves
We seem to have a love/hate relationship with Keanu Reeves. Either you love his work or you don’t. Personally, I love the guy. While not born in Canada (he was actually born in Beirut, Lebanon on September 2, 1964), he moved to Toronto at a young age and is a Canadian citizen. His role in the 80s movie Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989) was one of his most popular roles, but his first real sci-fi role was as the title character is 1995’s Johnny Mnemonic. However, it was the The Matrix in 1995 that propelled him to a bonifide sci-fi star. Constantine (2005), A Scanner Darkly (2006) and The Day The Earth Stood Still (2008) followed. His next project is a sequel to John Wick and is due out next year.
#6 – Cobie Smulders
Born on April 3, 1982 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Cobie became a familiar face due to the success of the television show How I Met Your Mother. When she took on the role of Maria Hill in 2012’s The Avengers, she quickly became as familiar a figure to the franchise as her more “heroic” counterparts. This has led to appearances in the Marvel show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and she even voiced Wonder Woman in The Lego Movie (2014). She will be appearing in the sequel to the Tom Cruise movie Jack Reacher this October.
#5 – Evangeline Lilly
Born on August 3, 1979 in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta. Evangeline Lilly, like many other actors, hit the “big time” in television with the success of Lost. She then appeared in 2011’s Real Steele with Hugh Jackman. Her jump into the world of fantasy came as the character Tauriel in The Hobbit trilogy, a role that was created just for the movie version of the books. Like Cobie, she held her own against her more familiar costars and in 2015 took on the role of Hope van Dyne in Ant-Man. She will be reprising the role again in 2018 in the sequel Ant-Man and the Wasp.
#4 – James Doohan
I could list James Doohan’s many other accomplishments, but to all sci-fi fans he will always be Scotty from Star Trek. Born March 3, 1920 in Vancouver, British Columbia, the world lost their best engineer on July 20, 2005 at 85 years old. Appearing not only in the movies, Scotty even made an appearance in one of the Star Trek spinoffs, Star Trek: The Next Generation in an episode called Relics. He summed up his character best when he said: “I really didn’t have to work, shall we say, with Star Trek. It was a natural. When I opened my mouth, there was Scotty. It’s like I tell people what you see in Scotty is 99% James Doohan and 1% accent.”
#3 – Christopher Plummer
Christopher Plummer was born in Toronto, Ontario, December 13, 1929. His career in film and television began in 1953 and continues on today. There are too many roles to mention here. Immortalized as Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music (1965), Christopher has had a varied career. Just a few of the sci-fi movies that he has done is Starcrash (1978) and Dreamscape (1984), but it is the 1991 film Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country, where we meet General Chang. It was his hatred of the Federation and his fondness for Shakespeare (a nod to Plummer) that made him such a memorable character. Christopher Plummer will be starring in an animated film Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom, coming out this October.
#2 – William Shatner
What is there to say about William Shatner that he hasn’t already said about himself! 😉 Charming, suave, a bit of a smart-ass….He was born March 22, 1931 in Côte Saint-Luc, Montreal. His career spans both years and genres, but he is and always will be Captain James T. Kirk. When he took on the role in 1966, he had already been in the industry for over a decade. He has had immense success both on the small and big screen. Aside from the Star Trek films (and the documentary The Captains) Bill has starred in other sci-fi films such as 1977’s Kingdom of the Spiders, has done various voice over projects such as Quantum Quest: A Cassini Space Odyssey (2010) and the recently released Range 15 (2016). He is starring in Creators: The Past, an Italian fantasy film, due out later this year.
There you have it..19 of my top 20 favourite Canadian Sci-Fi actors. So who has snagged the top spot on my list? Well my #1 favourite, I would be tongue-tied if I ever met him, sci-fi actor is….
#1 – Donald Sutherland
Donald Sutherland was born on July 17, 1935 in Saint John, New Brunswick. From Castle of the Living Dead with Christopher Lee in 1964 to 2015’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 2, Donald Sutherland’s screen credits are incredible. He starred in Virus (1999) with Jamie Lee Curtis has done voice over work for Final Fantasy: The Spirit Within (2001) and Astro Boy (2009). Some of his most memorable sci-fi film roles has been as the lead in 1978’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers and playing a battle of wills with Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) when he took on the role of President Snow in The Hunger Games movies. He has crossed multiple genres in film from thrillers to horror, comedy to sci-fi. He just recently starred in Forsaken with his son Kiefer, their first film together despite the long and successful careers that they have both had.
I hope that you have enjoyed my list of some of Canada’s great film sci-fi actors. Agree with my list? Disagree? Wondering why I didn’t include what’s his name? Click on my About Me link below to connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, or leave a message on my site.
HAPPY CANADA DAY EVERYONE!!
*all pictures and biographical information are from my favourite source for movies and tv: http://www.imdb.com/ .*
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