It has been a busy year in films for Joey Munroe.
The Cawston native had two roles in upcoming Bruce Willis films, a starring role in the Star Wars fan series Bucketheads, a role in the third season of Netflix’s Virgin River and another feature film that starts filming in June.
“It’s been a crazy last six, eight months,” said Munroe. “The film industry right now, it’s crazy, crazy busy.”
On top of the two movie roles and short series, he wrapped up production on the Cawston filmed Walk With Me, and has two other projects touring film festivals.
In both of the Willis movies, Munroe’s role is that of an antagonist, who meets their end at the Willis character’s hands.
“I got to be killed in both movies and it was fun,” Munroe said, laughing. “There’s not very many places where you can say that and have it make sense. Definitely, with movies it’s always fun to die.”
Being in the same film with Willis, whose film Pulp Fiction Munroe cited as his favourite movie, even in a small role has been an incredible experience for him.
In Bucketheads, the Cawston actor takes on the role of an imperial stormtrooper from the planet Coruscant, shortly after the second Death Star is destroyed at the end of Return Of The Jedi.
It’s a role that he sunk his teeth into, going out to the library and hitting up their Star Wars section in order to buff up his knowledge.
“Everybody’s a hero in their own story,” said Munroe. “I did so much research into the character, why I became a stormtrooper, I have to say, Dark Side all the way.”
The series is an expansion on a short film by the same directing duo that was uploaded to Youtube several years ago, where it gathered over two million views. Already, the first chapter of the new series has picked up over 400,000 in just over a week since it was uploaded. The crew, actors, and everyone involved are volunteers who shoot the series when they can.
“Having the comments from people, they’re so stoked about it, just being part of something that has a big fan base like that is really exciting,” said Munroe.
The biggest perk for the filming of the Star Wars series for Munroe is getting to get fully geared up and costumed for the role.
“Acting is one thing, but when you get to act and dress up and be in another world, I love it so much,” said Munroe.
The first chapter was shot on a paintball course in the Lower Mainland, and Munroe hinted that a future chapter may feature a desert planet, one that he hopes might find a fitting representation in the South Okanagan. In addition, they are also doing work on a digital screen, like the Mandalorian, that is on the cutting edge of film technology.
“Instead of a green screen, its a digital shot of the inside of the ship, so they can film it like it is the inside of the ship. Marco (Bossow) and Andy (Brown) are innovating here and are kind of the first ones here in Vancouver trying it out,” said Munroe. “Because the studios doing the screens are so new as well, they want people to test it out too. They love the project and they get to test out the technology.”
Bucketheads director Bossow was also the cinematographer on Walk With Me, the short film that Munroe, his production company Joyline Pictures and directing partner Connor Lang, brought to Cawston in 2020.
Walk With Me, the short film he and his father Lance Munroe also starred in, is currently in post-production.
A couple of weeks after the shoot was interrupted due to a COVID-19 case in the crew, they were back and wrapped up the final shots and reshoots. Even in that short period of time, the seasons had shifted and snow settled over the film set.
“It was Canadian filmmaking at it’s finest, we had hockey sticks and shovels and a tire torch flamethrower, because we had to get the corner of yard clear,” said Munroe. “We made it look like summertime in that corner of the yard and no one will ever know.”
In July, Munroe takes on a lead role in a boxing film he’s been working on for years, including serving as a co-writer for the script. In that film, he will again be playing the antagonist, although this time in a larger position.
“It’s fun to be bad. I look for things that are far away from my life, and it is very fun to throw that all out the window and be a bad guy,” said Munroe. “My goal is to get the audience to empathize with my plight, and to catch themselves rooting for this guy. If I can do that, I’ve won.”
You can see Munroe ‘die’ in Apex this fall, in American Siege next year, and survive the first chapter of Bucketheads right now on Youtube.
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