Humphrey Newton in "Isaac Newton: A Tale of Two Isaacs"
Kris Lemche deftly brings across the anguish of a young man tugged in two directions -- the intellectual path trod by Isaac Newton, or the sanctuary of the heart represented by the beautiful Clara.
"At the beginning, Humprey's the epitome of boyhood innocence," says Lemche. "He can be brilliant yet so simple at the same time. He understands mathematics but when it comes to life he realizes how much he has to learn, and over time he sees he has to make some hard choices."
As a teenager raised in Brampton, Ont., the oldest of three kids of a schoolteacher mother and a father who runs his own heating business, Kris Lemche idly chose to attend the Mayfield School of the Arts, not so much because he was determined to become an actor but because his best friends were going there. Somewhat to his surprise, he thrived on the curriculum and began to get an inkling of his potential, performing in such school productions as Dilatory Resolve, The Dining Room and The Outcast.
After a summer job as a lifeguard didn't pan out, but mindful of the need to make money for college tuition (he was planning to study biochemistry, with the goal of doing cancer research someday), he whimsically responded to a casting agency's newspaper advertisement. He expected to pay a fee and get little in return, and was thundertruck when the agency quickly showcased his talents to the Disney people, who promptly cast him as a TV-series regular in Fast Forward. Overnight, he recalls with delight, "I was playing Zed Goldhawk, this crazy guy with dyed green dreadlocks and nose rings!" The producers of a new series then still in the development stage, Emily of the New Moon, caught his performance, saw past the bizarre exterior to the talent beneath, and cast him as the orphaned farm boy Perry Miller.
Ever since, Lemche has been based in Summerside, P.E.I. for the CBC series, which is now in its second season.
With only a few other credits to his name -- an episode of Goosebumps; the role of Marshall Brickman (aka Neil Simon) in a stage production of Laughter on the 23rd Floor -- Lemche could scarcely believe his good fortune when producer David Devine cast him as Isaac Newton's protege for Devine Entertainment's fourth Inventors' Special. "The Newton project was so great," says Lemche. "Don McBrearty, our director, really helped me out, and I think I made a real turn in my acting." Filming in Ireland was the icing on the cake. "There's a saying that the Irish work to live, not live to work," he says. "Dublin was a fantastic place. The cast and crew all went out together at night. We had a ball."
For now, university and a career as a virologist are on hold. "I've discovered that I truly love acting," says Lemche. "I love being with creative people, working together to make a show click. I guess I used to think that acting was a form of copping out, but -- as Humphrey learns in this film -- you gotta do what you really want to do in life."
As a Mayfield School student, Lemche and his friends used to produce their own short films ("with titles and effects and music and everything"), and he remains a passionate movie buff -- liking nothing better than to stay up late to watch to "old Scorcese and Kubrick and anything with DeNiro." Currently, Lemche divides his time between P.E.I. and his parents' home in Brampton.
© Devine Entertainment