With his debut album Variety Show now available and roles in two upcoming Hollywood blockbusters, Josh Cruddas is keeping busy.
Variety Show drops November 15
Today, the Dartmouth-born and raised actor, musician, and composer, who currently splits his time between Toronto, Ontario and Hubbards, Nova Scotia, released his debut album, Variety Show. Several years in the making, it is a project Cruddas says he is now ready to release to the world.
“I was caught in that trap where you’re excited about what you’re creating, but you want to make it perfect and perfect is impossible,” he says. “So I just said to myself I’ve got to set my deadline for myself to put this music out there because I’ve wanted to do it for so long.”
Some downtime during the pandemic also helped bring the album to completion.
“It was a strange time, but it also gave a lot of us some time to focus on things that we do usually put on the back burner,” he continues. “And so I got to do some work on it, set a deadline almost forced myself to get it out there. And I’m so glad I did because I’m so excited now.”
The excitement in creating an album of his music has been building for Cruddas for some time.
“I loved music and the radio and especially pop radio so much that I was very lucky to have my own radio show with my mom at age six at Dalhousie University’s CKDU,” he says.
Featuring children’s music, authors and artists, it stayed on the air for three years. “It was a blast, and really cemented my love of music,” says Cruddas.
Along with a single line in a stage play at age seven, they formed the beginnings of Cruddas’s career in the arts. “It’s those two things combined probably set me on this ridiculous path I’m on now,” he says with a laugh.
Coming full circle, Cruddas would eventually graduate from Dalhousie’s theatre department, moving to Toronto to continue his career.
“I had a lot more family and friends in Toronto, and L.A. seemed a lot farther away on the other side of the continent,” he says. “So I ended up in Toronto, but I’ve been very fortunate to have bought a little cottage in Nova Scotia during the pandemic and have been able to spend a lot more time there in the past year or so.”
And while he professes to love the big city, a part of him needs the water.
“There’s a song that ends the album that highlights that fact about me and is something shared by a lot of people who leave to find work or to follow a loved one or something to the big city but there is something drawing you back,” he says.
It also illustrates the diversity of the seven tracks on his self-produced album, which also includes the lead single “Be Alright,” written at the height of the first COVID-19 lockdown and “Tear You Down,” written in response to what he experienced while volunteering at Toronto’s SickKids hospital.
“If you want to be humming some tunes for a few days afterwards and tapping your feet and turning this stuff up in the car, then I think this is the album for you,” says Cruddas.
The next chapter of Resident Evil begins November 24
A week following the release of his album, Cruddas will be on the big screen in Sony Pictures’ survival horror film Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City as freelance investigative journalist Ben Bertolucci.
The seventh installment in the Resident Evil film franchise, while some may consider it a reboot, Cruddas sees it differently.
“It’s more of an origin story,” he says. “They’ve taken it back to the first two games and tells us how this world came to be and how Claire and Leon and all these characters that we know and love came to start their stories.”
The fact that they were able to stick so close to the story and the essence and spirit of the games is nothing short of monumental.
With its mature rating, as a youngster, it wasn’t the video game of choice for Cruddas, who saw titles like SIM City as more his speed.
“But now, as an adult, I am a huge fan of these games,” he says. “They are so atmospheric and spooky and they do what they intend to do really, really well.”
Knowing how exacting video game players can be, Cruddas knows the potential pitfalls of stepping into a character from the Resident Evil world. However, the aesthetic created by friend and costume designer Jenn Lantz and writer/director Johannes Roberts helped him step confidently into the role.
“It was a calculated choice because I don’t quite look like the guy in the video games with my bright ginger hair,” he says with a laugh.
Having viewed the film recently, Cruddas says the choices made were the right ones.
“They just knocked it out of the park,” he says. “The fact that they were able to stick so close to the story and the essence and spirit of the games is nothing short of monumental. I think it’s going to inject a lot of new life and a lot of new blood, pun intended, into the universe.”
To be released theatrically on November 24, Cruddas says it deserves its place on the big screen.
Sci-Fi MoonFall in theatres February 2022
If a new album and Resident Evil weren’t enough, Cruddas also appears as Scrawny in Roland Emmerich’s latest film Moonfall. The science-fiction blockbuster starring Halle Berry, Donald Sutherland and Michael Peña is the story of a mysterious force that knocks the Moon from its orbit around Earth, sending it hurtling on a collision course with humanity.
I’m a huge fan of these giant disaster movies and Roland Emmerich is the king of these movies. To work with him has been the privilege of my life.
“I’m a huge fan of these giant disaster movies and Roland Emmerich is the king of these movies,” says Cruddas. “To work with him has been the privilege of my life.”
With a rumoured budget of $140 million, it is the biggest film Cruddas has appeared in so far in his career. And while you might think that there would be added pressures with that much money on the line, he says it never trickled down to the set.
“We had an amazing, amazing producing team who took great care of us, allowing me to make some fun, bold choices,” he says.
Moonfall also allowed him to work with one of his heroes, Michael Peña.
“He is an amazing actor and also incredible in comedy, and we got to play around and, and both take some risks,” says Cruddas.
Now in post-production, while he hasn’t had an opportunity to see the finished film, what he has seen has left an impression.
“I’ve seen some pre-visualizations of some of the action scenes, which are just astonishing,” he says. “It’s going to be a spectacular looking movie, and you can watch it in IMAX, which is even cooler as it’s my first IMAX movie.”
Like Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City, Moonfall will also be released theatrically, landing in theatres on February 4 next year.
“If you like movies that are going to keep you on the edge of your seat and make you grin because of the sheer spectacular nature of them and take you on a journey, then you gotta see this one,” says Cruddas. “And you have to see it in theatres too.”
Composer and teacher
In addition to acting and singing, Cruddas is also an accomplished composer and is a three-time winner of the best score by a composer under 35 from the SOCAN Foundation, an organization that fosters, sustains and promotes the creation of Canadian music.
When not in the studio or on set, Cruddas is a children’s music and theatre instructor at Stagecoach Performing Arts in Toronto.