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Actor Reid Janisse likes taking his Ford Focus to auditions. He finds there’s a lot more privacy for getting into character in the car compared to the subway (Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail)
Actor Reid Janisse likes taking his Ford Focus to auditions. He finds there’s a lot more privacy for getting into character in the car compared to the subway (Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail)

My car Reid Janisse

Actor focuses on function - and cargo space - over flashiness Add to ...

Reid Janisse

Profession: Actor

Age: 36

Hometown: Kingsville, Ont.

The car: 2005 Ford Focus

Notable achievements

  • Studied drama at the University of Windsor and received his Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto.
  • Second City performances include the Dora-nominated Second City for Mayor and the Canadian Comedy Award-winning productions Barack to the Future and 0% Down, 100% Screwed; wrote and directed Second City’s musical, Miracle on Mercer Street

Currently

More Related to this Story

  • Appears in Ross Petty Productions’ 17th annual holiday pantomime, Snow White, The Deliciously Dopey Family Musical, which runs until January 5 at Toronto’s Elgin Theatre

*****

A veteran of Toronto’s Second City, Reid Janisse is back on stage this holiday season in Ross Petty’s annual pantomime Snow White, The Deliciously Dopey Family Musical.

To get to Snow White’s opening night Nov. 29 at Toronto’s Elgin Theatre, Janisse will be driving his 2005 Ford Focus ZXW wagon.

Why did you buy a Ford?

We were searching around trying to find something that can fit all of our stuff in it. We drove a couple of SUVs and we drove a lot of small cars.

We got into the Focus and it just felt really good. It had a ton of space in the back. We always fill it going camping or home for the holidays. The extra cargo space really sold us on the car.

Once I was bringing a whole bunch of things to Toronto and, inside my Focus, I fit a dining room table, four dining room chairs, and a dryer all in the car. That was my proudest moment.

Every time my dad sees me, he says, ‘There’s no way you’re fitting all that into the car.’ It’s magic that way. It’s like Mary Poppins’ suitcase – you just keep throwing stuff in there.

When we test drove it, it had quite a bit more power than the other cars we were trying out. And it had this awesome leather-wrapped steering wheel that felt good.

Also, the sight lines. A lot of cars now have really bad sight lines out the back. This wagon has pretty low windows and you can see all around it.

What don’t you like about it?

It’s not the fanciest of cars. It’s not an eye-turner.

But I like people noticing me for who I am. I want them to notice the handsome actor inside as opposed to the flashy car. So all the focus is on me – that’s a good thing.

And the cockpit where people sit is actually small. The back seats are made for children. They’re very close to the front seats, which I like because I have a family of hobbits and we’re all very small. The actual cargo space is bigger because of the tiny seats.

It might be different once my kids get bigger. Right now, besides the fact I always get kicked in the back when I’m driving, and there’s no way to stop that because my kids just keep growing no matter how much I try to stop it, it works very well for us. We can fit mountains of things in the back and all fit in as well.

What does a Focus say about you?

It says I’m pretty comfortable in my own skin. I don’t need a flashy car to boost my self-esteem. I’m a family guy and that comes first for me. I like function over flashiness.

You’re a family guy – are you a car guy?

I really like cars. I would love one day to own more than one car. I’d love to own a family car and a fun car on the side.

What was your first car?

This was the first car I bought. I had a couple of hand-me-downs.

I used to drive a LeBaron GTS when I was a teenager. It was great! It was awesome! It was burgundy red and had a sweet tape deck. It had a classic Chrysler cloth interior that was pretty plush. It was a chick magnet.

I got my first speeding ticket in that car. I was going from an 80 zone into a 60 zone and I didn’t slow down fast enough. I ended up getting in trouble for it. I got a ticket and I got grounded from the car when I was 17. Because of that, every time my dad drove us anywhere, I would watch him like a hawk. Any time that speedometer went 15 over, I would ring the alarm bells! I’d yell, “Hypocrite” – that got pretty annoying after a while.

Actor Reid Janisse likes taking his Ford Focus to auditions. He finds there’s a lot more privacy for getting into character in the car compared to the subway
 

Have you had any speeding tickets with the Focus?

No. Never. It has a stealth mode which is good so I can bypass speed traps. It’s pretty much a secret agent car. I haven’t got a speeding ticket since that first one when I was 17.

What’s in the new CD player?

Sometimes we have kid’s music. Our favourite album is I Love You, Stinky Face – that tends to play over and over again.

My daughter was playing in the car one day and she put about $6 worth of change into the CD player. We eventually got around to buying a stereo and the guy asked if we still had the factory one installed. We said, yeah. He said, you got kids? I said, yeah. Coins? Yes.

Apparently it happens to a lot of people.

Do you rehearse at the wheel?

Oh, yeah! Totally.

My wife and I share the car. I actually like when I can take the car to an audition. I’m either running lines, singing or getting into character talking out loud. Because everyone uses hands-free phones now, no one looks at me like I’m crazy. They just assume I’m talking on the phone. Its way harder to do on the subway! Everyone tends to look at me funny.

What’s your favourite road?

My favourite driving road ever was not in this car.

I worked for a month in Tucson, Arizona, at a place called Tucson Studios. Every day we drove to work over this little mountain called Gates Pass. It was this little, narrow road that winded through this mountain, valley and cactus forest. It was a racetrack of a road.

I was driving this little Toyota Corolla rental car and it had a tape deck. We had one tape – it was Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Californication. So we’d play that every day on our way to and home from work. Every time I hear those songs I picture myself, pretending I’m a race car driver.

Your car is seven years old – is it time to dump it for something newer?

We’ve actually looked. The hardest part for us is we have a home that has a shared 7-1/2-foot-wide driveway. So minivans would be hard for us to do because of the size of our driveway.

I would be totally fine driving a minivan – I’m completely secure with that. Because of my housing limitations I can’t.

Really when it comes to cargo space with the back seats in, I haven’t found anything that beats the Focus. Most cars now have back seats that are larger and take up some of that cargo space. We’re just going to keep driving the Focus until it fails us.

pgentile@globeandmail.com

Follow on Twitter: @PetrinaGentile

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