Matthew Gouveia is a Dora-nominated actor, born and raised in Toronto's Little Italy. After graduating from the Humber College Theatre Performance Program, Gouveia was blessed to travel to Africa with Shakespeare Link Canada to work on a project aimed at raising HIV/AIDS awareness; a bilingual adaptation of The Winter's Tale in collaboration with Montes Namuli – a dance company based in Quelimane, Mozambique. In 2013, he was lucky to have worked with Canadian theatre legend, Judith Thompson, in her play, Who Killed Snow White? Gouveia then gave his most notable performance as Chris Smith in the Toronto premier production of Tracy Letts' Killer Joe at the Coal Mine Theatre in 2016, which went on to garner him a Dora nomination for outstanding male performance. Most recently, Gouveia became an alumnus of the Canadian Film Centre’s CBC Actors Conservatory and among playing leads in many short films including Gabriel and Walter, he went on to book roles in his first feature and on various TV programs including American Gods (Starz), Killjoys (Space) and Murdoch Mysteries (CBC/UKTV).
Who, or what inspired you to become an actor?
My mom and Al Pacino. My mom encouraged me to take drama when I was in high school when I was filling out electives for grade 10. I intended to take it as a bird course and ended up falling in love with the art of acting. Then I watched the Godfather and was mesmerized by Al Pacino's performance. I remember saying, "Who is this guy? People can actually do this for a living? Maybe I can too."
What film can you not live without and why?
The Godfather. It's literally the perfect film. The acting is unbridled, the directing is so fine and delicate, the cinematography is revolutionary, the score is legendary and the story is not what most people think who haven't seen it. I've never seen it as a gangster film - it's 100% a film about family and the sacrifices we make to step in when our loved ones are not capable anymore.
Give us the elevator pitch for your first film and a note you would give it or yourself.
A sad clown travels the world with an empty suitcase looking for his missing dog. He meets a sad girl clown, who helps him in his search. They never find the dog, but they found each other! And they decide to go to the clown dog shelter and rescue a new clown dog together. And now they're not so sad. My note: maybe he doesn't travel the the entire world and just sticks to his own town. Clown town?
What word of filmmaking advice would you give your younger self?
You don't have to get it right. There a million ways to do this scene.
What actor has formed how you approach your own films and why?
Again, I'd have to say Al Pacino. His intensity is unnerving. I can tap into that side of me quite naturally and it's a bit of a high to be honest. His eyes are also magnetic. He's an incredible listener. When you make the scene about the other person, there's such freedom suddenly.
What's great about making films in Canada?
We're a diverse bunch of folks with tons of stories that need to be told. We live in a country that supports and nourishes its artists which is a blessing. We embrace that in our culture.
What Canadian film inspires you?
It's a co-pro of Canada and France - I'd have to say Xavier Dolan's It's Only the End of the World. I went back to see it 3 times during TIFF. His close-ups and angles are so unorthodox that they actually unsettle me, but in a good way. The acting in that film is f*cking epic, it's in real-time which I always love and out of nowhere he breaks out the throwback O-Zone Ma Ya Hi song just because he wants to. He's just so ambitious in his filmmaking and that really jazzes me as an actor. I couldn't take my eyes off the screen. And I cried at the end. A lot. All 3 times.
What do you love about the art of acting and why?
It's an outlet for my madness and at the same time puts me in touch with my sanity. It's just a mirror of who we are. It encourages community and actually has the power to change people. And when I'm acting, I continue to get vulnerable which is a great teacher in this life. I also just love dressing up in costumes and making funny voices, let's be honest.
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