Acting is the family biz for Paul Braunstein
The local actor on being the latest victim in the Saw movie franchise
Braunstein’s breakout role was in the Canadian series ‘Train 48’
© Denise Grant
Even though Toronto actor Paul Braunstein grew up in an acting family (his parents are actors Jeff Braunstein and Maja Ardal, and his sister Inga Cadranel is also an actor known for Orphan Black), Braunstein, whose upcoming projects include American Hangman with fellow Canadian Donald Sutherland, says he resisted following in his parents’ footsteps.
“I felt rebellious for a long time, not wanting to do what my parents were doing.”
It wasn’t until high school at Northern Secondary School that he gave in to the acting bug.
“In drama class I found a group of like-minded misfits, and I had to begrudgingly admit these were my people,” he says.
Following high school and two years in Ryerson’s theatre program, Braunstein started his career on the stage, which was his main focus for a decade and something he still loves.
“Every production is so different. To be part of a well-written play with a good company makes you feel like you’re part of something bigger than yourself.”
His first onscreen role that felt significant in terms of Braunstein’s career progression came in the early 2000s with Train 48, a popular Canadian series about commuters, which he describes as a very special experience.
“We were writing our own parts every day. I was very lucky to have so much freedom in that role.”
The next big turning point in his career came with a role in The Thing prequel, an experience that helped Braunstein grow as an actor. “I was on set every day and got to see up close how more successful actors operated.”
He will soon be seen in Jigsaw, the upcoming eighth installment of the Saw movie franchise, directed by Michael and Peter Spierig.
“I had a blast on this movie,” he says. “I was happy to get the gig, and my experience making this movie went well beyond my hopes of what it would be. The quality of work happening around me was second to none, from the other actors to the entire crew.”
After watching the trailer for Jigsaw, Braunstein is certain horror fans will be satisfied with what they see on screen.
“There’s going to be some good scares in this movie. I know that for sure,” he says.
To anyone just starting out in the industry, Braunstein’s biggest piece of advice: find a way to enjoy auditioning.
“Trick yourself into enjoying the process. Don’t try to guess what they want. Do what you want,” he says. “As an actor, much of your time is spent looking for work. Find a way to make the not working time more satisfying, and then once you audition, forget about it.”
Up next, Braunstein is currently shooting CBC series Burden of Truth in Winnipeg, and he provides the voice of Frankenstein in the animated television series Hotel Transylvania.