Toronto’s Jonathan Keltz, star of the historical fiction TV series Reign, chats with City Life on his love of acting and the big part romance plays in his life

Q When was the first time you realized you loved acting?

A Birth? No, but luckily I started falling in love with acting at a young age. I remember being 10 years old and going to an amazing school called Poughkeepsie Day School in Upstate New York. Our drama teacher was really inspirational and she lit the fire in me. I then saw Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet and said, “I want to do that.”

Q What was the pivotal moment of your acting career?

A There are countless moments that have been pivotal but one that really stands out is when I moved out to L.A. My dad and I packed up my car and we drove out together. We did it in just under three days. It was a beautiful, exciting and emotional moment.

Q If you could do it again, what part of your movie/ acting career or roles would you do differently?

A Hmmm. I don’t know. I’m grateful for the experiences I’ve had, both positive and negative, because I’m now the sum of all of them. If anything I would love to have been more present and more confidant. But I’d tell that to the future me as well [laughs].

Q Why do you think people love tuning into historical shows?

A I think there’s a different level of escape that we get when we watch period pieces. We get to immerse ourselves in a different world and a different time. That’s the fun part about being in them as well.

Q Do you think romance is something of the past?

A Absolutely not. Romance is a big part of my life. I believe in flowers and chocolates and dinner dates and lunch dates and movie dates and holding the door open and saying ‘I love you’ as many times as you can fit into a day. My girlfriend and I have been together for a few years and we do as much as we can to spend time with each other, or at least let each other know we are thinking about one another. There’s a lot of struggle and joy in the world. I love having a partner for all of it. Yup, I’m guilty as charged: a hopeless romantic [laughs].

Q What lesson have you learned about acting that you have been able to apply to your real life?

A I have to be as present as possible between action and cut, and I try to be as present as possible in my life.

Q Describe a typical day when you’re not on set

A I try to get some sleep, some physical exercise, spend time with friends and family if I’m in the same city, and then work on getting the next gig.

Q What qualities do you look for in a friend?

A Loyalty and honesty are big. I’m lucky I have a lot of longtime friends. My friend Davey and I have known each other since we were one.

Q Where do you like to shop and eat when you’re in T.O and the U.S.?

A Terroni is my favorite restaurant both in Toronto and in L.A. I used to work for the company and I still get the same pizza every time I go. The Good Son on Queen Street is also great. Shopping wise, I love Penguin, Zara, H & M and there’s a lot of cool vintage places in the west end.

Q What is your favourite line or saying?

A “Everything happens for a reason.”

Q Share a quote with us that best describes life

A “Don’t forget to breathe.”

Q What is on your night table?

A A digital photo frame of my girlfriend and I, a phone charger and eucalyptus candle.

Q What is on your play list?

A I like massive playlists on shuffle so I don’t know what I’m going to get. I’ve got soundtracks from movies like Drive and Inception and then I’ll have Clapton or the Rolling Stones pop up. T.I., Jay Z, and other hip-hop will also be in there, and probably a sprinkling of Beyoncé and Sam Smith. Oh, and the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack [laughs].

Q What is your all-time favourite movie and why? Book?

A If I have to pick a movie I’ll go with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. I’m a big Newman and Redford fan. I’d say my favourite book is Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse.

Q If you could do anything you wanted to, what would that be?

A Thankfully I get to do it for a living!

Q What makes a good gift?

A It’s gotta be something unique to your relationship with the person; something respectful but fun.

Q What is the best surprise you have ever received, and why?

A My brain is really good at figuring out surprises even if I don’t want to, so my girlfriend got me good a couple years ago with a birthday dinner. She psyched me out by making me think I had figured out the surprise and then turned it around into a real surprise. She’s a crafty, beautiful gal.

Catch Reign’s third season on Thursdays at 9 p.m. EST on CTV, The CW

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