Craig Olejnik's striking eyes almost 'too blue' for 'The Listener'
Toby Logan’s piercing blue eyes have become a signature part of the paramedic’s telepathic visions on “The Listener.”
But actor Craig Olejnik, who portrays the show’s lead character, admits his baby blues weren’t always going to be a staple of the show.
“At one point in the beginning, before the pilot (the producers) were looking at using contacts because they thought maybe my eyes were too blue and they wanted a different colour blue, which is now funny,” says Olejnik.
Not only was his real eye colour almost not part of the show, but neither was Olejnik. The Nova Scotia-born actor, who landed his breakout role alongside Helena Bonham Carter in the film “Margaret’s Museum” when he was only 14, says he almost didn’t audition for the role on “The Listener.”
“I was living in Los Angeles and was so disillusioned. I was not happy with the industry … (you can) get very sick of the industry very quickly, especially when you’re at the bottom and you’re trying to fight your way up and so I stopped and said I was just going to hang out and be with my friends for a while.”
But after reading the script, which he says he immediately fell in love with, and encouragement from his agent, Olejnik put himself on tape and sent it back to the producers in Toronto.
“They were kind of hot on me then and I jumped through a few hoops after that and I still had to prove my chops.”
It paid off as Olejnik landed the role shortly after. He now can’t believe how well it has all turned out.
“It’s a gift to be able to have this job. I didn’t think it would ever turn into this job. It was just this little ‘pilot that could’ four years ago,” says Olejnik.
Olejnik, who has also appeared in films such as “Thir13en Ghosts” and “The Timekeeper,” as well as TV’s “Runaway,” has now become one of the most recognizable faces on Canadian television, something he admits has taken a little time to get used to.
“People see me on the street and call me ‘the listener’ … it happens a lot now. It is really nice. It is a new thing to get used to but I’ll say ‘Hey, yes of course, hi,’ … it’s an interesting practice in how to connect with people, how to be with people. This job allows me to every day see my weaknesses and see my strengths.”
He adds that acting on “The Listener,” which has just kicked off Season 3, has also given him an incredible opportunity to hone his craft as an actor.
“It’s been an amazing opportunity because I get to become better at this … it opens up what you’re able to do.”
New episodes of “The Listener” air Wednesdays at 10/9C on CTV. Full episodes are also available online at CTV.ca.