Connor Price is enthusiastic about his latest film, "Cinderella Man." And why wouldn't he be? The film is
a heartwarming and respectable biopic of Depression era boxer, James Braddock. And it features some of the
industry's hottest filmmakers in Ron Howard and Brian Grazer. In
the film, Connor plays Braddock's oldest son, Jay, who struggles to deal with his family's lack of necessities
during the Great Depression. And it's a standout role because it demonstrates his abilities against
the best in the business, Academy Award winners Russell Crowe and Renee Zellweger.
Born in Ontario, Canada, Connor began his career just three short years ago. Following in the footsteps of his twin brother, Ryan, Connor
made his debut in the Paul Gross production, "Men with Brooms." Playing
Molly Parker's son, Connor was swept away by his co-stars; in particular, a brush with comedy great, Leslie Nielson.
And once bitten, there was no slowing down. For Connor's enthusiasm and confidence helped secure numerous television
appearances on "Sins of the Father," "Crossed Over," and "Evel Knievel." Not to mention, a starring role opposite
Jason Priestly in 2002's "Fancy Dancing" and a critical role in Deepa Mehta's adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize novel,
"The Republic of Love."
As an actor, Connor loves meeting new people. Because "every person you meet always tells you something new...and it helps
you become a better actor." And a better actor, he will become. His next role in David Cronenberg's "A History of Violence"
puts him in more great company, opposite Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen. And when I had the chance to talk to him, I couldn't
help but wonder if this was just the beginning of his own cinderella story.
Reel Questions, Reel Answers
First, tell me a little bit about yourself and how you got involved in show business.
Well, I'm 10 years old. I love to play hockey and love to play basketball with my best
friends. I got started in acting shortly after my brother started, my twin brother
Ryan. And I figured it would be fun, so I tried it. So when I finished my first
feature film, "Men with Brooms," I just knew. I played Molly Parker's son and when I
finished that film, I knew acting was right for me.
You were born in Toronto, Canada but maintain dual citizenship with Canada and the United States.
Yes. My Mom is from New Jersey and that's how I received my United States citizenship. It's
really good because I can audition for films in the United States as well as Canada and have
more opportunities of getting into feature films.
Do you do most of your auditions in New York?
Well, I go on tape first and then the auditions are sent to either New York or Los Angeles.
How did you become involved with "Cinderella Man?"
I received the script from my agent and really found Jay Braddock an interesting
character to play. So, I auditioned. And, on the third and final call back, they
brought me, my Mom, and my brother and sister in the film, Ariel Waller and Patrick
Louis (who play Rosemarie and Howard Braddock), upstairs and they gave us the good news,
saying how we were going to be a family. And I remember just looking around and
thinking, "wow, what a lucky kid."
Were you familiar with any of Ron Howard's previous works?
Actually, I've seen many movies he's directed. But what I remember most about him is
from a few childhood shows my Mom used to tell me about. Especially, "Happy Days," when
he played Opie. It's funny how everybody always tells me about that.
In the film, you play Jay Braddock, son of the legendary boxer Jim Braddock, who fights
to support his family during the Great Depression only to become a world champion. What
do you find most appealing about the story?
That Jim Braddock kept fighting to provide for his family and to give them a better life, even
during bad times, like the Great Depression. And I just loved how he kept battling and
never gave up.
Very little information can be found about the life of Jim Braddock and his family outside of
the ring. How did you go about preparing for your role? What kinds of things did you
learn along the way (history, boxing, etc.)?
I was told most about the story of Jim Braddock from Ron. In particular, he sat all three of us
kids down and showed us a tape - real footage of Braddock, his family, and his fights. And
Russell taught me a lot about the guys he was fighting and how to fight. I learned a lot
about boxing from Russell. And in one scene in the movie, where I'm punching his hand, he actually
showed me some boxing moves and how to make a good punch.
What kind of direction did Ron Howard give you to help portray the role of Jay Braddock?
Ron Howard was always reminding us before each scene, 'we're poor, but we're really happy.' And in one
scene in which I had to cry, he helped me remember to cry by telling me some sad
stories. Like one time, to help him cry, he thought about his dog that had just passed
away. And so, he told me a lot of sad things like that to help me cry on cue.
Your parents in the film are played by Academy Award winners: Russell Crowe and Renee Zellweger. What
was it like working with them?
It was a lot of fun, actually. Russell was always allowing us to throw punches at him
and jump on him and stuff. And we had a lot of fun with him. And Renee was really nice
too. Both of them were always playing with us. And Renee always wanted to give the
kids hugs - she's really such a nice person.
I remember one day, while shooting, it was Ariel's birthday (she's the youngest of the
Braddock children). And she was taken to a cabin that Russell had specially filled with
100 balloons and he gave her all these presents. Both of them were always doing nice
things like that.
Did they give you any advice?
Yes. They taught me a lot of different techniques on how to act and how to improve and
do things a little differently. But most of all, I remember Russell teaching me how to
make a good punch. He told me, "to make a good punch or to know that you're making good
punches, after a while, you should develop a scab on your middle knuckle."
What was your favorite memory or moment from the making of "Cinderella Man?"
One of my favorite moments was when I first auditioned and met the cast and crew for the
first time. I was just amazed at how nice they were. And another favorite moment was
the one scene I had with Russell when I learn all about him and how to box.
Did you have to audition in front of Ron and Russell?
Yes, but only on the final audition. They called us up to the room where Ron, Russell,
Renee, and Brian Grazer (the producer) were. And we had to do some scenes with them.
Were you scared?
I was a bit nervous at first because it was probably the biggest audition for me. But
when you start doing your lines and stuff, you get into it. And they (Renee and Russell)
make it seem really normal. It doesn't sound like they're memorizing lines, but that
it's coming off the top of their heads. And your nervousness just goes away after doing
a few lines with them.
What was your worst or least favorite part?
My least favorite memory was all the waiting around. Sometimes they would keep us
for a very long time and in between you're on and off, on and off. But that happens
on most movies. So you get used to it.
You've played a variety of different characters in both television and film. What's been your
favorite role so far?
My overall favorite character is Jay Braddock. But I also liked playing Brandon in
"Men with Brooms" because I got to work with Paul Gross and Leslie Nielsen. Both are
really funny. And in "Fancy Dancing," I played Jason Priestly's son and he was funny
too, always making jokes.
What do you find to be the hardest part about being an actor?
Being an actor, after you do it for a long time, becomes normal. You get experienced
and are able to get into character and memorize your lines easier. And you love doing
it. So the more you do it, the easier it gets, and the more fun it becomes. But I don't
really find anything really hard about it.
Is it hard with school?
Well, sometimes I get pulled out of school early, but our teachers always know what we're
doing. And oftentimes, I'll bring them tapes so they know what I'm doing. But usually,
my agent tries to get it so it's after school, so it doesn't interfere with anything.
What's your favorite part about being an actor?
I think my favorite part about being an actor is meeting different people.
Because every person you meet always tells you something new. And you
improve and it helps you become a better actor. Meeting new people is just a
great experience for kids.
Do you plan to continue acting in the future?
Yes. I hope to continue doing what I'm doing now and become more successful in
Outside of acting, what do you hope to be doing down the road?
If I couldn't be an actor, ten to fifteen years from now, I'd probably be playing hockey. Hockey is my favorite
sport and I'd love to play in the NHL.
Apart from hockey, what do you like to do in your free time?
I like to play with my friends, play basketball during recess at school, and go
camping. I also like to play at home with my three brothers and my older sister. And
we have two cats and a dog to keep us busy.