Emergency task force training a highlight, says 'Flashpoint' star Enrico Colantoni
In order to prepare for his role on "Flashpoint" as Sgt. Gregory Parker, actor Enrico Colantoni trained with Toronto's top secret Emergency Task Force police squad.
Colantoni tells CTV.ca that his time with the ETF "has been one of the most thrilling moments of my life."
A fictional version of the ETF, the Strategic Response Unit, is at the centre of CTV's new series, "Flashpoint."
Like the ETF, the SRU is a team made up of snipers, trained negotiations and bomb disposal experts.
Colantoni describes the ETF like "a secret ninja society" and is impressed by "how dedicated they move as a single organism."
Best known for his roles as Eliot the photographer in "Just Shoot Me" and Keith Mars in "Veronica Mars," Colantoni is no stranger to life on the Toronto police force.
Colantoni's older brother spent 30 years working for Toronto's finest; experience which the actor says gives him intimate knowledge of life on the force.
"I'm just tickled I get to make believe what he experienced first hand, for that long," says Colantoni, who remembered showing the original script for "Flashpoint," then called "Sniper," to his brother.
"He thought it was authentic and really accurate and at times close to home for him. When he saw the pilot, he loved it. Once, when he came on set and saw us in uniform and started reminiscing... the cast members reminded him of other cops he worked with, so I'm glad I can see a big smile on his face, because he's usually my biggest critic," says Colantoni.
"But when it's all said and done, we're still taking poetic licence and it's entertainment and I hope we don't insult too many of the local coppers."
Toronto for what it is
Born and raised in Toronto, Colantoni has found the opportunity to work in Toronto on "Flashpoint" a special privilege, especially considering that the show focuses on -- instead of obscuring -- local landmarks and neighborhoods.
"I love being able to reference the CN Tower for what it is. We look up and there it is, magnificent," gushes Colantoni.
"Toronto is a sexy, alive city and I'm glad we are capturing it on 35 mm film because it's gorgeous."
Colantoni originally attended the University of Toronto before transferring to an acting school in New York where he studied for three year. Later the actor attended the Yale School of Drama and won the prestigious Carol Dye Award.
Currently residing in Los Angeles, Colantoni hasn't ruled out returning to Toronto someday (especially if "Flashpoint" is a hit) and possibly finding himself moving into Leslieville, a bustling village in Toronto's lower east end.
"It's beautiful. There are families, restaurants -- if I ever move back full time, this is where I'd want to live," says Colantoni.
Make the movie
When the series "Veronica Mars," starring Kristen Bell was cancelled after three seasons in 2007, Colantoni counted himself among the legions of fans shocked to see the show end so soon.
And while many actors would prefer to move on from previous projects, Colantoni is eager to work with his former cast again.
"I really, really want to make the 'Veronica Mars' movie... I think people want to see it," says the actor, who credits the show's continued popularity to DVDs.
"The fact that people are still talking about 'Veronica Mars' means that there's a whole new audience that are out there, that haven't ever seen it in primetime, and there's still an excitement about it. I'm thrilled to have been part of such a cult show that will live in people's hearts for a long time."
"Flashpoint" debuts at 10 p.m. on Friday, July 11 on CTV in Canada and CBS in the United States.