Montreal

The Montreal real estate agent who moonlights as X-Men villain

Berdj Garabedian, a 74-year-old Montrealer, plays an early incarnation of the titular character in X-Men: Apocalypse, the latest instalment in X-Men series.

Berdj Garabedian is a real estate agent, has never taken acting classes

Montrealer Berdj Garabedian, 74, plays an early incarnation of the titular character in X-Men: Apocalypse, the latest instalment in X-Men series. (Rebecca Ugolini/CBC)

Like most people, 74-year-old Berdj Garabedian has been a movie fan for most of his life – since he was a teenager, he estimates.

Unlike most people, 74-year-old Berdj Garabedian can say that he is not only a fan of the silver screen, but was on it, too. In a blockbuster Hollywood movie. Playing a titular role.

Garabedian, who lives in Saint-Laurent, plays an older version of Apocalypse, the villain in the most recent installment of the X-Men series, X-Men: Apocalypse.

It's not a speaking role, he's heavily made up and costumed and he appears in the film for about 10 minutes, but none of that matters when you're at the movies and see your face on the big screen.

"It was a very strange feeling when they take off the golden mask and then I see myself on the screen, it's a very strange feeling. I'm not used to that I guess, but it was really awesome," Garabedian told CBC Montreal's Daybreak.

Acting isn't his day job

Garabedian is a real estate agent and does acting on the side. He's never taken an acting class.

About six years ago, he met a woman who had a casting agency. They called him to go for an audition for the new X-Men film, which was shot in Montreal, last year.

He originally went out for the role of the high priest – he wasn't tall enough – but then they called him to audition for Apocalypse, and he got it.

I'm in my 70s, so to wear a very heavy costume with three hours of makeup for seven consecutive days, I must say it was quite a challenge.- Berdj Garabedian, Montreal actor

As the story goes, Apocalyse is the world's very first mutant and rules over ancient Egypt.

Without giving too much away, there's a process where Apocalyse inhabits a younger man's body, played by Oscar Isaac, who picks up the villain role for the rest of the movie.

Acting a challenge, but would love to keep at it

The costume was hard to move in and difficult to get used to, Garabedian said.

If he had to use the bathroom, he had to give the crew a 20- to 30-minute heads up.

"I'm in my 70s, so to wear a very heavy costume with three hours of makeup for seven consecutive days, I must say it was quite a challenge," Garabedian said.

He thought about dropping out but decided to stick with it, he said.

Garabedian said he's thinking of working in real estate for another year, but he'd love to keep acting.

He says he's open to doing any projects he finds interesting, playing different personalities or characters.

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