Antics of Quaid, wife well known on Canadian set
The antics of troubled actor Randy Quaid and his wife Evi were known on the Hamilton set of "Real Time," says producer Ari Lantos, who describes Quaid as a sweet and quiet man who deferred to his "micro-managing" wife.
Lantos, the son of producing giant Robert Lantos, said Tuesday from his Toronto office that a string of wild stories involving the couple "struck a familiar chord" with him.
"Their relationship is a strange one -- she's certainly the dominant personality," said Lantos, who spent about a month with the couple during a wintry shoot in the spring 2007.
In the Canadian feature, "Real Time," Quaid starred as a hitman out to kill a young gambler, played by Jay Baruchel. On the first day of rehearsal, Lantos recalls that Quaid insisted on portraying his character as Australian, even though the role had not been written that way. Forced to accommodate Quaid's quirky decision, the film nevertheless worked in the end, he says.
More troublesome was the constant presence of Evi, says Lantos, describing Quaid's wife as the actor's "unofficial manager/agent/lawyer."
"You can't really get to Randy without going through her in some way shape or form, first," he says.
"It complicated things for me and I think everyone, including Randy, because she's a tricky person to deal with..."
The couple remain in a Canadian jail despite being granted a release from custody last week after they were arrested on outstanding warrants in California, a Canadian border official said Tuesday.
The Quaids were arrested last Thursday in a shopping area of a posh Vancouver neighbourhood and were jailed on outstanding U.S. warrants related to vandalism charges. The Quaids are wanted in Santa Barbara, where they missed a court hearing Monday on felony vandalism charges.
The pair were ordered released from custody the next day during a detention review hearing on $9,750 bail and a promise to appear for their next hearing Thursday.
However, Canada Border Services Agency spokeswoman Shakila Manzoor told The Associated Press the Quaids remain in detention but would not disclose further details.
The Quaids' lawyer, Brian Tsuji, declined to comment on why they remain in custody, abruptly ending the phone interview.
During their hearing last week, the couple told Canada's immigration board they are being persecuted in the United States. Randy Quaid said he and his wife plan to apply for refugee status in Canada because the couple are seeking asylum from "the murderers of Hollywood."
Evi Quaid begged a Canadian immigration adjudicator not to force them to return, saying their friends, such as actors David Carradine and Heath Ledger, have been "murdered" under mysterious circumstances and she worried something would happen to her husband next. Ledger died in January 2008 from an accidental overdose. Carradine was found dead, hanging from a rope, in a suite at a luxury Bangkok hotel. Neither actor's death was ruled suspicious.
During a break in the proceedings, Tsuji approached the media to read a single-sentence statement from the Quaids.
"We are requesting asylum from Hollywood star whackers," he read, and declined further comment on the mental state of his clients.
During last Friday's hearing mandatory detention review, Evi Quaid also worried aloud about the fate of the couple's dog during the hearing. Manzoor said the pet was under the care of a Vancouver animal shelter.
Evi Quaid also said she'd be willing to wear an ankle bracelet while staying at a posh Vancouver hotel upon release from custody.
Randy Quaid said the couple came to Canada because he was being given an award by a film critics group. He said they were considering moving to Vancouver, where Randy planned to jump-start his career.
He called Canada a beautiful, welcoming nation. Randy Quaid has spent time in the country filming movies such as "Brokeback Mountain" in Alberta.
He said the pair believed the warrants were issued by mistake and had been withdrawn and the couple didn't travel north in an effort to skip out on them.
The Quaids face no charges in Canada.
Lantos suspects the couple has made poor management choices, noting that the couple seemed to handle much of their own business affairs during negotiations related to "Real Time."
"They try to do too much themselves ..." he says.
"I think he's totally estranged from his brother Dennis, I don't think there's any relationship he can turn to there and they seem to have just totally removed themselves from anyone in the filmmaking community."
A U.S. judge issued arrest warrants last week for the couple after they failed to show up at a California court hearing stemming from their arrests last month on suspicion of illegally squatting at a home.
Quaid and his wife face felony vandalism charges after more than $5,000 in damage was found in a guest house of a Montecito, California home they had previously owned.
Santa Barbara County Senior Deputy District Attorney Lee Carter had said Randy Quaid and his wife's bail increased to $500,000 apiece.
The Quaids frequently missed court appearances in an earlier U.S. case involving charges they defrauded an innkeeper. That case was resolved in April with Evi Quaid pleading no contest to a misdemeanour. The charges against her husband were dropped.
Randy Quaid, 60, is best-known for supporting roles in films such as "Independence Day" and "National Lampoon's Vacation." He is the older brother of Dennis Quaid.
"I never, ever saw Randy as being a particularly troubled or strange individual, he was always kind of quiet and gentle, you know, a friendly guy," Lantos said.