'Degrassi' star plays modern 'Juliet'

By ANN MARIE MCQUEEN — Sun Media

There has been an unusual amount of kissing on the set of Too Young to Marry, a modern-day Romeo and Juliet movie-of-the-week wrapping shooting this weekend in Ottawa.

“I don’t think there is one scene where we don’t make out,” male lead Dillon Casey says with a laugh. “There’s a whole lot of what we call ‘roofing,’ which is ‘rolling out of frame.’ Sort of implied sex. PG stuff.”

The 23-year-old Casey plays suitor to 18-year-old Nina Dobrev, who Canadians will recognize from her role as Mia Jones on CTV’s Degrassi: The Next Generation. Dobrev smiles when asked about the kissing.

“Yes, maybe. Well, when you watch it, you’ll see,” she says. “There’s quite a bit of passion and fun.”

The movie, which has been shooting since late February, will air on CTV in Canada and Lifetime Television in the U.S. and is a co-production between Ottawa’s Sound Venture Productions, Montreal’s Muse Entertainment and West Egg Studios out of Los Angeles. The will-they-or-won’t-they tale is directed by Michel Poulette (1999’s Bonanno: A Godfather’s Story) and has a pair of high school sweethearts deciding to marry only to run into roadblocks from their parents and later from each other.

Dobrev found a kindred spirit in her on-screen mom, American actress Polly Draper. Draper earned an Emmy nomination in 1988 for her role on the seminal series thirtysomething.

“It was off-camera, on-camera,” said Dobrev. “I felt like she was my second mom, and she kept saying she wished she had a daughter like me, I’m the daughter she never had. She has two sons.”

The three-week shoot provides some nice exposure for the two up-and-coming actors. The Bulgarian-born Dobrev, who says she gets recognized by Degrassi fans more in the U.S. than in Canada, is due back on that show’s North York set early next month.

As for Casey, he recently learned M.V.P., the pilot he shot for CBC last year, has been picked up for 10 episodes. He plays a Sidney Crosby-like hockey phenom overwhelmed by the world of pro sports. The Dallas-born actor would like to make the move to L.A., but for now is just trying to cope with — and even enjoy — the uncertainty that comes with the life of an actor.

“I’m the sort of person who really overthinks things,” he said. “Even though this show got picked up, I’m still thinking ‘what am I going to do after?'”

As for any Degrassi fans who might object to his passionate on-screen fling with Dobrev, he smiles again and jokes “they can bring it on.”

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