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Actor Kevin Durand poses with his Ford F-150 Harley-Davidson 100th Anniversary Edition.

Ann Johansson/ann johansson The Globe and Mail

Kevin Durand

Profession: Actor and singer

Age: 37

Hometown: Thunder Bay, Ont.

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Notable achievements

  • Landed his big break in the film Mystery, Alaska with Russell Crowe
  • Performed on the CD Gaslight with Russell Crowe’s former rock band, 30 Odd Foot of Grunts
  • Appeared in Edwin Boyd, winner of the Best First Canadian Film award at TIFF in 2011
  • In 2009, nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Guest Starring Role in a TV Series, Lost
  • Has appeared in I Am Number Four, The Butterfly Effect, Wild Hogs, Smokin’ Aces, Legion, Winged Creatures, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, CSI Miami

Upcoming

  • Appears in the film, Real Steel
  • In 2012, will appear in Cosmopolis – a David Cronenberg film
  • Currently filming The Truth with Forest Whitaker and Andy Garcia in Northern Ontario
  • Also shooting Resident Evil: Retribution

He's a Canadian success story – a small-town boy who hit it big in Tinseltown.

Kevin Durand's acting credits are impressive – Real Steel, Robin Hood, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, 3:10 to Yuma, Dark Angel, Lost. The list goes on and on.

But despite his success, the Thunder Bay, Ont., native remains true to his roots. He doesn't drive a flashy, fancy sports car. His Hollywood ride is a 2003 Ford F-150 Harley Davidson 100th Anniversary Edition pickup truck.

You've made it big in Hollywood – isn't it time to dump that eight-year-old truck and get a new, flashy car?

My friends say that.

I can't imagine myself in anything else to tell you the truth.

I don't know if it's the Thunder Bay in me, but where I grew up everybody drove pickups. It's rare to see a good-looking pickup truck down here. You see a lot of work pickup trucks, but people really don't drive them casually. I feel special in my F-150 Harley.

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Looking at it, the lines are so great. I dropped it four inches in the front and four inches in the back. And I put a rear sway bar on the back axle. I cleaned it up so its all black and chrome. It's like my personal little Tonka Truck.

Did you do any modifications yourself?

No. I wish I could. I have a seasoned professional do it for me because all I'm good for is acting.

I had a friend who said he'd set me up with a microchip to put in the engine and soup it up even more. But I don't need more than a 5.4-litre supercharged engine. It's already more than I need.

Do you like to drive fast with that supercharged engine?

I mostly drive it like a grandpa.

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My wife always says, 'Will you stop driving like a grandpa?' I like to take care of it. I open it up every once in a while just for kicks. I'm pretty good to her.

What does an F-150 Harley say about you?

I think because it's a little older it blends into the crowd a bit more. I don't really like to stand out in my everyday life.

My wife says the truck is me. It's very strong, very masculine. She says she can't imagine me in any other car. And I agree with her.

Do you like driving?

Oh God, yeah. My dad was a truck driver for years and years. I guess it was bred in me that going on long rides is fun.

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He used to drive 18 hours a day and I'd go with him. I thought it was the coolest thing, riding next to my dad listening to Johnny Cash. That's what I do now. I drive in my truck listening to Johnny Cash, Hank Williams. We call the truck Cash Black. I dedicated it to Johnny Cash cause he never wore anything but black. So it reminds me of him.

Do you rehearse behind the wheel, too?

Oh, sure. The truck has a built-in recorder in the sun visor. If you press play, you'll either hear rampant melodies because I write music or you'll hear me doing lines or working on a different accent. … It's a work truck – a different kind of work truck.

What was your first car?

I had just shot my first movie, Mystery, Alaska, back in 1998. I was still a young fellow – 20-21.

I went back to Thunder Bay to pick out a car because I knew my dad would lead me in the right direction to get a solid car with the small amount of money I had. I ended up with a red Sunfire GT and they had to extend the rails on the front seats all the way to the back seat because I'm a little over 6-foot-6.

It looked ridiculous. So when I would look out to the left, I'd be looking out the back window.

It was the first car that my dad and I jumped in and drove together from Thunder Bay, Ontario, to Hollywood. We did it in just over two days, which tells you how much we were driving that thing. That car took me into this journey down here.

I remember parking it in the neighbourhood where I just bought my house. I parked down from the Hollywood sign and my dad and I sat on the hood. My dad was surely terrified for me; he's going, 'What the hell are you doing here? How are you going to make it?' I remember in my cocky youthfulness – I don't know if I believed it or if I was just trying to assure him, but I looked up at the sign sitting on that Sunfire GT and I said, 'Pop ,don't you worry. You see that D [in Hollywood]I'm going to claim that D for us! They're going to name a street after us! And it cheered him up. Now, 12 years later, I'm living right down from that Hollywood sign.

Have they named a street after you yet?

Honestly, the street that runs very close to my street is Durand Drive. Swear to God!

I moved to Hollywood about three years ago. … I was between jobs and kind of bummed out, waiting for the right job. So I started running the hills and when I got to the top of the hill, the street that's on that segment of the Hollywood Hills is called Durand Drive – the exact same spelling. And behind Durand Drive is the Hollywood sign in the distance. I got some random passerby to take a picture of me and I sent it to my pop and said, 'See, we're on our way!' They didn't really name it after me.

What did you own after the Sunfire?

I bought myself a Mustang convertible and I drove that for a couple of years. And then, when I was bringing it in for servicing, I saw Cash Black. It was love at first sight.

I guess it was the look in my eye – the guy ran out of the building and threw the keys at my chest and said, 'Let's go for a spin.' …

He had seen me in a couple of movies at that point and probably thought I had more money than I did. He said, 'What do you think?' I said, 'I really like it, but let me think about it.'

He said, 'Okay, keep the truck and think about it. Bring it back in a week.' I was, like, 'Are you kidding me?' Now I know I'll never be able to give it back.

Now, nine years later, I have no intentions of giving it back or giving it to anyone. I'd like to keep it until I'm an old, old man – take it out on Sunday drives when I'm 75. If I got a second car along with the truck, I'd probably want a '67 Camaro – all jacked up.

The interview has been edited and condensed.

pgentile@globeandmail.com

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