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ACTING IN CANDiLAND: Part Two – My Crash Diet, & Weight Loss

Today has been hard. I officially weigh 139 pounds and it’s the first time I feel an intense dip in energy. That’s not to say I don’t feel good. I actually feel great. I’m also cognitively as sharp as ever. Though, as someone who takes pride in his inexhaustible energy, it was a blow to only make it five blocks on my morning walk.

Having lost 43 pounds, in the last 7 weeks, on a 300 calorie liquid diet of lemonade and V8 juice, the body is finally telling me to slow down and conserve energy. I’m totally fine spending more time on the couch right now because…

We are officially five days away from our last shooting block on CANDiLAND

A lot of you are probably wondering how the heck I’m doing it. To be quite honest, it’s been very hard. Losing the weight is the easy part. Once you begin restricting your calories the body naturally sheds the weight. It’s the mental aspect that’s excruciating. You don’t realize how large a part food is to your schedule, conversation, and identity until you stop eating.

Don’t worry; I’m taking a plethora of vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, and lots of water as well. And I’ve been taking note of all the #weightloss #weightgain #cleaneating #healthy (the list could go on!) advice that experts have to offer for when I start eating again.

During this time, I’ve taken a lot of comfort listening to Matthew McConaughey and Michael Fassbender’s weight loss experiences. Both reached a weight of 135lbs for their respective films Dallas Buyers Club and Hunger which I will match for CANDiLAND. There are countless interviews on their experiences and everything they relate is exactly what I’m going through. I feel like a brother to them now in a funny way. And I completely agree with their accounts of fasting being very spiritual. It is.

The experience has been extremely informative for Peter’s state of mind but has also been an invaluable learning experience for myself personally. I will write more on that later, but for now here are a couple great links to interviews on the subject with Mr. McConaughey (  and Mr. Fassbender (

James Clayton


Acting In CANDiLAND – Part One: Peter & Animal Exercise

My goal as an actor is to completely transform myself every time I play a character. My acting heroes are Gary Oldman, Cate Blanchett, Samantha Morton, Daniel Day Lewis, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and Robert De Niro to name a few. These actors fully commit to the truth of their characters and story by transforming their physicality.

Like the aforementioned actors, I pay particular attention to the physical behaviour of the character.  I’ve discovered it is an essential tool to inform emotional truth and convincingly tell the story from a visual perspective. There are a variety of physical techniques I use and  my base exercise is always the ‘Animal Exercise.’

I first learned of the ‘Animal Exercise’ while studying with Lori Triolo in the early 2000’s (Anyone who hasn’t studied with her, you’re seriously missing out. She was trained by Sanford Meisner and currently resides in Vancouver, Canada. Essentially, the exercise consist of researching every aspect of an animal you feel is appropriate to your character. After this research is done, you set up a fictional ecosystem and physically act out every aspect/scenario of that animal’s life. I like to set up the different stations in my apartment and work through them like a circuit. As I work through the exercise, I slowly begin to humanize the animal behaviour I feel will translate/inform the character.

This is how I began to build Peter in CANDiLAND. Peter has a Peter Pan complex. He’s very playful, impulsive, mischievous, and joyfully sexual. He’s also physically maimed. Because of this, I always visualized him as a wounded rabbit. As his character changes through the course of the film, so does my physical interpretation of the rabbit. By keeping this ever evolving animal behaviour in mind, the character’s behaviour naturally colors my own and a character is born.

Some notable examples of ‘Animal Work’ are: Marlon Brando’s ‘Ape’ in Streetcar Named Desire, De Niro’s ‘Crab’ in Taxi Driver, and Dustin Hoffman’s ‘Parrot’ in Rainman.

I also highly recommend Larry Moss’ explanation in his fantastic book ‘The Intent To Live.’

Here’s another cool little article I found to further explain by Jane Robbins:

I will delve deeper into the Rabbit specifics I used for Peter later this month.




Great reviews for Foodland

The people have spoken: Foodland is a hit! Check out all the reviews in one neat, organized spot by visiting the Foodland Facebook Fan Page:

Foodland to re-air on Superchannel July 2012!

Foodland has been going strong on Superchannel this year. If you haven’t been one of the lucky ones to see it, Foodland will be airing again the entire month of JULY 2012! Don’t miss this comedic gem!

James Clayton featured in Vancouver Observer

Read about James Clayton and his feature film Foodland in the Vancouver Observer.

James Clayton appears on Urban Rush

James Clayton makes his first appearance on Urban Rush to promote the network release of his film Foodland and his upcoming episode of Fringe titled “Wallflower”.

Urban Rush Interview: