Ed Oxenbould plays a character most people can relate to in the coming of age film The Exchange. He knows what is best for everyone and is confident in his tastes. Unfortunately, he is also socially awkward and has few friends. Naturally, he has a plan to solve his problems. Oxenbould talks about his latest movie, his character, and the importance of chemistry.
AIPT: How would you describe The Exchange?
Ed Oxenbould: I would say The Exchange is the perfect mix of a few genres. Ultimately it’s a coming-of-age movie. You get to watch this young guy develop and grow through the help of, unfortunately, this terrible exchange partner. It’s a really funny, warm, sweet film. It’s got tons of heart and heaps of great, unique kind of humor. It’s got an amazing soundtrack. I think it’s got so much going for it. I think it’s got enough for everybody to enjoy.
AIPT: How would you describe your character of Tim?
Oxenbould: Tim’s a very interesting character. It’s interesting because he’s based on Tim Long, the writer, who was there every day. So, we always had to try check with him if anything was too much or not enough. I think, at heart, Tim (the character), he’s a bit of snob, he’s a bit pompous, but he just needs someone to show him the world and he needs somebody to break him out of his shell. Ultimately, he finds that in Stéphane.
AIPT: You mentioned the writer, Tim Long. Was there anybody else that you patterned Tim after?
Oxenbould: I think I mainly based it off how I observed Tim and how Tim told me he was at that age. I brought a bit of myself into it. I think I just borrowed quite a lot of different mannerisms and quirks from even just people from my family, and even Napoleon Dynamite. Just little kind of films over the past 20 or so years. Just put little quirks into it that hopefully make it feel a bit more ’80s and give it that timeless-old feeling.
AIPT: Tim is a very complicated character. He knows what he likes, but he doesn’t know how to get it. He’s insecure, but he also seems to know what’s best sometimes. Do you ever relate to Tim?
Oxenbould: Oh, definitely. I think a lot of people will relate to Tim and I think that’s what will make it so good. Even though he’s stubborn and he thinks he’s always right, and quite often he isn’t, I think everyone can relate to that sense of wanting to be proved wrong and this weird insecurity masked by false confidence. He’s a very complex character, but I think everyone will see a bit of themselves in him. I think everyone will want Tim to grow and change and to get past this phase.
AIPT: You have great chemistry with Avan Jogia. Did that come naturally or did that develop over time?
Oxenbould: Yeah, that came pretty naturally. We were very lucky that even though there’s a bit of an age gap between us and we’re from different sides of the planet we just clicked immediately. I think we both bonded over the love of the project and love of similar things. It’s also fun being in a new city together, so we had an opportunity to go out to new restaurants and go and explore this new city of Ottawa together. We had such a great time and in doing so we formed a really great bond that then translated so well on to the screen. I think if we didn’t have that then the movie wouldn’t be as believable and it wouldn’t have that real heart that drives the film.
AIPT: What drew you to the role of Tim?
Oxenbould: I think it was a mix of things. I think I’d been wanting to do a real all-out comedy, just where comedy is the main focus… I’ve been wanting to do that for quite a while. So, when the opportunity came up that was what really excited me. I loved the people attached. Big fan of Dan Mazer so going into that I was so excited to work with him. I think just the opportunity. It gave me a chance to try something different and to do a bit more of an adult role. I just thought it’d be so interesting. I thought it would challenge me and force me to come out of my shell, personally, a little bit. I was kind of right. It paid off so well. I learned so much, I had such a great time and I’m so happy with the final product.
AIPT: You mentioned some of the other genres you’ve been. You’ve done horror also. Would you say that comedy is the favorite genre that you’ve been in?
Oxenbould: I can’t make that call yet, but I definitely want to try it again. It’s so much fun just having that lighthearted mood on-set and getting to go to work each day and just thinking, “How can I make this funny and how can I add a little bit? We all found different ways to do that, to contribute and get a piece of ourselves cemented in the film. It’s great. It brings such a great energy to the set and everyone’s so happy when you’re doing comedy. It removes nearly all the elements of stress.
AIPT: You’ve done a lot of television and you’ve also done a lot of movies, which do you prefer?
Oxenbould: Oh, that’s a tough one. I’ve been kind of tossing it up in my head the past few years. Well, actually probably the past 10 years, because I’ve been really lucky to have a good mixture of both. Both have their ups and downs and both have disadvantages and advantages. On the TV, you tend to do it a lot longer and you form closer bonds, and there’s always the possibility of going ahead for more seasons. But, at the same time, movies are great. It’s nice to feel that they’re self-contained, and you do it, and it’s done. I don’t know. Both are great. I think if I can keep jumping back and forth, I’ll be so happy.
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