Entertainment

New rom-com is an Entanglement of 'real emotion'

B.C.-raised Thomas Middleditch takes a break from popular show Silicon Valley to promote Vancouver-shot dramedy.

Thomas Middleditch stars as a recently divorced outcast alongside Jess Weixler In the Vancouver-shot dramedy Entanglement.

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Thomas Middleditch stars as a recently divorced outcast alongside Jess Weixler In the Vancouver-shot dramedy Entanglement.

Entanglement isn’t your average romantic comedy. After all, it’s not often you find a love story that begins with a suicide attempt.

In the Vancouver-shot dramedy, Thomas Middleditch (HBO’s Silicon Valley) stars as a recently divorced outcast who sets out to uncover where his life went wrong. Instead, he stumbles into a relationship with a girl who seemingly may be his adopted sister.

“I actually have trouble watching it because it’s earnest,” said Middleditch. “I’m like a jaded comedian — when there’s too much real emotion, I’m like, not for me!”

But “real emotion” isn’t the only thing getting Entanglement noticed. More than a quirky rom-com, the movie features a protagonist who prominently possesses a mental illness that’s been classified as a bi-polar sub-type called schizo-affective disorder.

“I don’t think this movie’s statement is about mental illness which maybe helps,” said Middleditch of the comedy’s charm. In fact, the 35-year-old actor insists minimizing the disorder in the plot was key to connecting with audiences; understating the character’s illness may have assisted in deflating the stigma associated with mental health among moviegoers.

“We talked about not playing an intense affectation so I wasn’t going to be having crazy ticks and put-ons; you wanted a way into this romantic story that didn’t feel like you had to take on too much,” said Middleditch. “(So) it just sort of has it lingering in the background.”

In truth, Middleditch’s motivations were more modest in making Entanglement, insisting the part was simply “weird and different and on the list of things that I will occasionally look for.”

Perhaps more importantly, however, the dark comedy enabled the Nelson, B.C.-born comedian a break from portraying entrepreneurial software designer Richard Hendricks on Silicon Valley and offered an opportunity to simply come home.

“A chance to get back to Canada was part of it,” admitted the Emmy-nominated star of joining the low-budget production. “It’s cool to get back to something a lot more stripped down and say, look we all believe in this, let’s make something really cool here and it doesn’t even matter if you have a crap buffet.”

Thomas Middleditch on...

His upbringing: “I’m happy I came out of Nelson,” said Middleditch of his modest B.C. upbringing. “This little hippie town in the East Kootenays that’s very arts supportive, very LGBQ supportive — I feel very fortunate.”

Offbeat over ordinary: “The more off-kilter stuff is usually the stuff that I like,” said Middleditch of choosing roles. “It doesn’t matter what the budget is (but) I tend to look for stuff that is a little bit more interesting.”

Canada vs. America: “(We filmed) two years ago before all these wonderful changes started to happen in (America),” said Middleditch of filming in Canada in the pre-Trump era. “I’d like now more than I ever to get more gigs up there just to have a breather.”

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