Windspeaker: What one quality do you most value in a friend?
J.R.: Honesty. Usually people that are honest carry a healthy self esteem as well. It’s a two for one.
W: What is it that really makes you mad?
J.R.: When people defeat themselves. It’s sad when I come witness to a person who stops themselves before they even get started in perusing their dreams and goals. Excuses as to why they can’t do them or start them right away. And the more time passes the easier it is to settle for less. Sometimes we are not our thoughts, and sometimes they do get the best of us. Fear of failure, fear of success stop so many people from doing what they love. And I think when anyone loses what they love they can become lost.
W: When are you at your happiest?
J.R.: When I’m on a stage, a film set, being interviewed talking about what it is that I do and love. Telling the stories through the scripts I’ve been given, and being honest with them. Also the work I do with youth. ‘Artist Inside’ Speak with your HEART~Speak through your ART is a personal project of mine that I’ve been working on for the past year. It’s a youth presentation with the sole purpose to inspire and inform. A presentation that helps reach out to Native youth and connect with them on a personal level. My time as an actor and my own personal experiences are shared with the hope that other young and aspiring artists can understand the value of pursuing their dreams. I believe we are all artists in some way shape or form, capable of anything we put our hearts and minds to. By extending a hand to the next wave of young, Native artists, I hope to show that art can save your life and make dreams come true.
W: What one word best describes you when you are at your worst?
W: What one person do you most admire and why?
J.R.: My mother. She’s the strongest person I know and the main reason I’m where I am today. Growing up she always told me I was capable of anything I put my heart into. Love you Mom! Industry wise I look up to Christian Bale in the work that he produces. The dedication and discipline of that man floors me. I hope to aspire to his level some day and be capable of playing the range of characters he has.
W: What is the most difficult thing you’ve ever had to do?
J.R.: I’ll admit I’m resisting the answer to this question. I had a severe drug addiction through high school. I was no honor student, I barely passed my classes. And it was all because I was running from who I was and the artist inside me. I overdosed a few times, almost died. Then I was touched. I realized if I continued that path I would without a doubt not be here today. The thought hit me that at that time I wasn’t surrounded by positive people that were expressing themselves in a creative way. None of my friends at that time were doing anything creative. Just getting high and getting into trouble, as was I. I needed to surround myself with positive people, so I started to do that. In my youth project I talk about how we are who we surround ourselves with. It’s the truth. The homeless spend time with other homeless, the architects with the architects, lawyers with lawyers, artists with artists. You can’t tell me that the mentality of the people around you doesn’t rub off. If you want success you have to surround yourself with it or literally throw yourself in the pathway of it.
W: What is your greatest accomplishment?
J.R.: Today I’m doing what I love most. I’m a professional actor, and this is just the beginning. I heard this saying from I forget where but it goes like this. Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. I believe it. I’m here!
W: What one goal remains out of reach?
J.R.: Who is your favorite first nations actor? Have you ever been affected or touched by a First Nations actor through performance the way that Daniel Day Lewis, Gary Oldman, Tilda Swenton, Christian Bale, or Ben Foster has? I haven’t seen that yet. I want to be that person, and some day I want to be handed that gold statue that most actors dream of. If not the first Native actor to receive it, then I’ll definitely be one of them.
W: If you couldn’t do what you’re doing today, what would you be doing?
J.R.: I’d be an architect. It’s actually why I moved out to Vancouver to attend BCIT. Then I started hanging around actors and industry people. One thing led to the next; five years later here I am. I’d probably just be graduating right about now (laughing). That’s funny.
W: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
J.R.: Don’t ever let somebody tell you, you can’t do something. You got a dream? You got to protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they want to tell you that you can’t do it. You want something; go get it. Period!
W: Did you take it?
J.R.: Every day, all day.
W: How do you hope to be remembered?
J.R.: That I made other people’s lives better and inspired them by sharing my own.
Justin Rain is a professionally trained actor, multimedia artist and public speaker of Plains Cree descent. He was born and currently resides in Vancouver and was introduced to the local film and television industry soon after graduating high school. He worked with the East Vancouver Urban Native Theatre Company for three years before beginning formal study at the Vancouver Academy of Dramatic Arts, William Davis Centre and Second Avenue Studios. Five short years later and Justin is an accomplished dramatic artist with over 10 lead supporting and recurring film and television roles to his name.
Justin has most recently taken on the recurring role of the kind and strong-hearted Alan Fraser in the new original series Blackstone. Set on the fictional Blackstone First Nations Reserve, the series is an authentic drama that premiered in January 2011 on Showcase and the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. Justin also appeared in the widely popular third installment of Summit Entertainment’s supernatural romance fantasy film series, The Twilight Saga; Twilight Eclipse (2010).
To add to the long list of accolades and recognition received thoughout his career is Justin’s recent lead performance as the stubborn and fiercely intelligent character, Adam, in Two Indians Talking. His performance in the feature length film won the Rogers Peoples’ Choice Award at the 2010 Vancouver International Film Festival and landed him a nomination for Best Supporting Actor at the 2010 American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco. Most recently the young rising star took home the award for Best Actor at the 2010 Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival and has just recently been nominated for a Leo Award by the Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Foundation of British Columbia for his leading performance.