Transporter goes techie

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Transporter’s second season came with some big changes. The Canadian co-production based on the Jason Statham films kicked off earlier this fall with devastating loss. While new face Caterina Boldieu (Violante Placido, The American) has been doing her part to find new gigs for Chris Vance’s Frank, he’s been down his usual banter buddy, Deitre (Charly Hübner, The Lives of Others).

But Sunday cues up another addition for Frank’s team, the tech-savvy Jules Faroux, as played by Canada’s indie darling, Mark Rendall. Rendall, who tends to dabble in everything from 30 Days of Night to Charlie Bartlett to Hannibal, figures the witty Faroux just might be the sort of friend who can (almost) fill the void left by Deitre’s sudden departure.

“I think from the get-go, he’s sort of that odd man out. But I think it works, that dynamic sort of needed to be there,” he explains, saying Jules’ wackiness balances out Caterina’s more stern approach to their work. If nothing else, he provides the kind of computer expertise that’s a necessity in crime fighting these days, and brings back some of the comic relief.

But there’s one department Jules falls short in, and Rendall has no problem admitting it.

“Jules is not the action here, he’s the techie,” he laughs, before wistfully thinking up some ways his character could be a hero. “I think there’s gotta be a good, awkward fight sequence with him. Or [he] inadvertently saves the day. Like I accidentally drop something off the edge of a building that hits the bad guy.”

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Of course, Jules’ general plan of doing his part from behind the safety of a computer screen fall apart pretty quick into his first Canadian appearance. His sassy prelude with Caterina gets cut short once he’s taken hostage and forced to look after himself out in the field. Without giving too much away, it does not go too well.

But while Jules may be out of his element, the four-country production (Canada has teamed up with the U.S., France and Germany for the series) works for Rendall. Even though he’s one of a rare breed of Canadian actor who shuns L.A. to stay local and work on any number of small, but as he aptly describes them, great projects, the international twist to Transporter happens to tie in with one of the things he enjoys most about his profession.

“I love traveling with work,” he says. “I’ve been all over the world with acting, which is such an absolute privilege. Especially if you’re not the lead, you generally have a couple of days off here and there so you can explore and really get to know a town. I’ve gotten to go to New Mexico and Baltimore, and I’ve filmed on the West Coast and all over Canada, and Italy. It’s cool. It’s a unique profession in that regard.”

Transporter: The Series airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO Canada.