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Degrassi’s Landon Liboiron soars in Altitude

November 11th, 2010

Looking at his life on paper, Landon Liborion shouldn’t be an actor. Growing up on a farm in Jenner, Alberta, Landon attended a school that at some points had an attendance of only 21 students. Hours from the closest major city, Landon’s childhood was worlds away from the typical child star’s upbringing in the city, auditioning every weekend and taking acting classes during the week.

But Liboiron was raised by a family, including two older brothers, who supported his desire to act, especially his mother, who is an artist and took on the task of driving her youngest son to Vancouver, a fourteen hour trip, to take classes and audition for plays and screen roles.

Best known for his Gemini-nominated role as Declan Coyne in Season 9 and 10 of Degrassi, Landon’s biggest role in a feature film came out this fall. Altitude, starring Landon, 90210’s Jessica Lowndes and The OC’s Ryan Donowho, is a sci-fi thriller that takes five teens on the plane ride from hell.

Shooting the feature film in an old glue factory in Langley, BC, Landon spoke with MuchMusic about his experience on set and how the role prepared him for becoming a part of the biggest television show in Canadian history. Landon plays Bruce, a teenager with a dark past, who takes a plane ride with four friends. Bruce’s past catches up to the teens in air and threatens to take the plane and the passengers down with it.

Originally trying out for the role of the token jock in the film, Landon received a call one year after his audition to find out he would be playing Bruce. “My impression of Bruce was that he was one of the those guys who had so much time to himself that he created an imaginary world,” says Landon. Bruce was added to a list of somber roles that Landon has played, making the outgoing and cocky Declan Coyne a welcome change. “Before Declan I was always playing the dark character, a really tortured guy, so Declan was kind of a blessing.”

Shooting 12 hour days with a cast of five actors crammed into a twin engine plane made for quick friendships. Because the entire movie takes place within the plane “everyone had to be there…because you were still seen. For the whole shoot you were kind of a spectator as well as a performer.” Thankfully, said Landon, the cast because fast friends. “We all hung out when we weren’t working. We got pretty close.”

Another person that the cast became close with was first time director, Marvel comic artist turned filmmaker, Kaare Andrews. When I asked whether Landon felt anxious working with a director on their first project, it was a resounding ‘no’. “It’s a very vibrant energy when it’s a new director. He’s always very excited and he’s always very anxious to try things. I wasn’t nervous about it at all because we were all very confident in Karre’s decisions. It was our job to take hold of what we needed to do. He was always right there with us.”

For a movie that was heavy on impressive special effects, attempting to react to something that the actors can’t see can be difficult. Landon explained that it was Kaare’s history as a comic artist that gave the cast an idea of what the film would look like. “Kaare is such a visionary and he had sketches of things.” Landon let me in on a secret when he told me that Kaare suggested the monster that appears in the film would look like the cast was being attacked by a certain body part with teeth. Hint, it’s the body part you sit on. Terrifying, indeed.

Two weeks after wrapping up the 21 day shoot on Altitude, Landon flew to Toronto to begin shooting Season 9 of Degrassi. Says Landon of his role on Altitude transferring to Degrassi, “Each experience is a new learning curve that you have to go through. I went into Degrassi with a little more confidence and knowing that I could do a film and work with a lot of different people. Degrassi has taught me so much.”

Altitude joins an impressive resume of hugely successful Canadian projects that Landon has been a part of, including Mayerthorpe, Degrassi and Passchendaele, the highest budgeted Canadian film of all time. While Landon has had the talent and fortune to be a Canadian actor and consistently find work in the mid-sized Canadian industry, his next move is south of the border.

Landon will be working on the series Life Unexpected, playing “a troubled teen…again. (laughs) If you were to combine Bruce and Declan you may get this guy.” On making the leap to the US to further his acting career, Landon explained that it’s a much different process than what he’s used to in Canada. “It’s a whole different vibe down there. It’s (acting) something I’m very serious about. The only way to be serious about it is to make that leap into the States.”

In addition to Life Unexpected, Landon has recently wrapped filming on a horror film, titled The Howling, shot in Montreal. Fans of Degrassi and Landon can still catch the actor portraying Declan Coyne in the series right here. Without a doubt, this is one farm boy that is sure to be acting until the cows come home.

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