Don't be fooled by their great looks, they're great con artists — Balaban and Chernck share more than a passion for movies

By Shanda Deziel
Maclean's Magazine — March 28, 2005

"Jonas usually plays a clean-cut and quiet doormat-type character. So playing a street hustler was a departure. His on-screen energy was fantastic" — Gary Yates, director of Seven Times Lucky.

Last year, actors Jonas Chernick and Liane Balaban (New Waterford Girl) lived together in a dingy L.A. hotel with — unbeknownst to them — a dead cat rotting under the flooring below their kitchen sink. Despite the wretched smell permeating their lives, they got along great. "We are extremely compatible," says Balaban, 24. "We live at the same level of clean and tidy and have a freakishly similar upbringing. If we left a mess somewhere in the house, our mothers left the mess on our pillow — Jonas in Winnipeg, me in Toronto."

The two rising Canadian stars met while filming Seven Times Lucky (released this week) during a typically frigid Winnipeg winter. They play small-time criminals who become protégés of a veteran con man, played by Hollywood actor Kevin Pollak. "Kevin gets a lot of offers of independent crime films since Usual Suspects," says Chernick, 31. "And he says flat out to everyone that all the scripts are garbage. This one came across his desk and it was so terrific he didn't care where it was shooting… clearly."

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