In Benjamin Bratt's latest film, 'The Lesser Blessed', which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, he plays a father figure to a young man who is going through a difficult time. Benjamin tells George about his character in the film, his feeling on being a father (and a son), the realities of life for First Nations people, and his memories of his mother.
In this clip, Benjamin talks about...
Jed, his 'The Lesser Blessed' character
Benjamin Bratt: He happens to be the only benevolent male figure in the film that is supportive of Larry, this teenager that is going through these issues. I'm a father myself -
George Stroumboulopoulos: You're also a son.
BB: I'm also a son. And so, yeah, it's a very complex thing. But at the end of the day, as a man in real life, I recognize the importance of nurturing, and love, and being there, just being present really in my children's life. And as a son, who didn't have a father who was present in my young life, you take all these things from your personal life and you use it in your craft. So the character of Jed, especially within a community that is rife with dysfunction, it's no secret to anyone that within native communities both in America and in Canada, part of the historical legacy is substance abuse, and domestic violence, and high rates of suicide that come as a result of being oppressed and disenfranchised.
And so, to have the opportunity to portray a character who's this positive, someone who embraces his traditional heritage, and recognizes to define who you are truly as a man is to embrace those things - they identify you, they define you - the use of the drum, and the language, and the songs, and the prayer - and he recognizes the importance of taking that knowledge, which is a gift from the elders really, and giving it to this young person who's truly in need, in desperate need of identifying himself - it was an honour for me to play someone like that.