Northern Secondary alum talks about his enduring Reign role, and about how the show impacts the Canadian film industry
Northern Secondary School alum and Reign love interest Jonathan Keltz knew from a young age he was going to be an actor.
Though he was 10 and living in New York State at the time he made such a bold statement, he never relented.
“I was a stubborn, silly kid who said at 10 years old he was going to be an actor,” he enthuses while on the phone. “Thankfully, the direction was set.”
Indeed, as moving to midtown Toronto in his early teens proved to be a speed bump in his thespian pursuit: being a new immigrant prohibited him from working at first.
“While I was at Northern I started auditioning, and doing some work,” he notes, enthusiasm leeching into his voice. “I got to do some DeGrassi and whatever projects were coming through Toronto, and it wasn’t long after I graduated high school that I decided to go down to L.A. for my first pilot season.”
After graduation, Keltz moved to Los Angeles with fellow Torontonian Robbie Amell. With stints on Queer as Folk, Cold Case and CSI: Miami, Keltz landed his breakout role, opposite of actor Jeremy Piven, Jake Steinberg, on the HBO hit Entourage.
“I’ve gotten into a lot of different things, and at that point I had done a lot but not something that was a hit the way that Entourage was,” he says. “The fact that I was playing Ari’s assistant was really terrific as well, because all of the legwork, everything that Lloyd [Rex Lee] and Emily [Samaire Armstrong] had done before him, make that a beloved part of the show in its own right.”
Once work on Entourage wrapped, Keltz found his way back to Canada, working on The Republic of Doyle for nine episodes in St. John’s, and his current post as Leith Bayard on CW’s Reign, which shoots in Toronto.
Much like when he was on Entourage, Keltz wasn’t sure if his character was going to last, but now Leith will be a regular for Season 2, which premieres Oct. 1.
“We were sort of trying to figure out who and where and when and how I could be in it,” he recalls. “Once the show ended up getting picked up, they called and asked me to come on board to play Leith.
“So, again, it was a situation where we knew that it was a character that they were excited about, and that it could do something. When I first signed on it was going to be just a couple of episodes.”
Although Reign airs on CW, an American station, Keltz assures there is plenty of CanCon to secure its citizenship.
“I think it is important to grow the industry here, and gain some more exposure, and gain some more support within the country,” Keltz notes. “This is a show that’s shooting in Canada, with Canadians on the crew, hustling every day.
“We have a lot of Canadian actors, directors, writers and people coming in and out of the show. There’s so much that it’s doing for the Canadian industry, just being a new show that could potentially go on for years in Toronto.”
He says he doesn’t think the country really understands that the shows that are shooting here are Canadian, but “it’s important that we hold on to the shows that are here.”