Maury Chaykin has made a career of supporting turns that make an impact.

Though he’s more than capable of playing the lead, as his Genie Award-winning performance in Whale Music proved, the Brooklyn, NY-born actor is arguably better known for small but pivotal parts – the self-destructive Major Fambrough in Dances With Wolves, or, more recently, temperamental movie producer Howard Weingard on the hit series Entourage.

At this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, Chaykin appears in two highly anticipated films - Fernando Meirelles’s Blindness, about a mysterious illness that grips a city and brings out the best and worst in human behaviour, and Atom Egoyan’s Adoration, which centers around a class project that escalates into a heated debate about a controversial subject.

Writer and director Atom Egoyan on the set of Adoration

Chaykin is an Egoyan regular - he’s also appeared in The Adjuster, Exotica, The Sweet Hereafter, and Where The Truth Lies.

“I’ve worked with Atom (Egoyan) five times. This is the fifth one, a film called Adoration, which is an extraordinary film,” he tells CityNews.ca.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOcE4i7KfZ0

The 59-year-old actor, soon to appear in the series Less Than Kind, airing this fall on Citytv, describes Egoyan’s latest work as “very complex, and very odd in a fascinating way, about our culture.”

Chaykin’s role, a few lines at most, is once again key to the film’s central theme. It also makes up one of the most innovative sequences of Adoration, which won the Ecumenical Jury Award at Cannes for promoting spiritual values.

“Atom asked several of his friends and fellow artists to come and participate in a group discussion on the Internet which he was incorporating into the film,” Chaykin notes. “What we did for two or three hours is we improvised a discussion about this incident that’s the focal point of the movie.”

“It was extraordinary, what he chose to use of those three or four hours and how he condensed it into a very, very dramatic, interesting section.”

Adoration and Blindness are both included in the Special Presentations programme of TIFF08.

Screening at TIFF08:

Adoration
Mon. Sept. 8, 6pm
Visa Screening Room (Elgin)
Wed. Sept. 10, 12:45pm
Scotiabank Theatre 1

Blindness
Sat. Sept. 6, 9pm
Visa Screening Room (Elgin)
Mon. Sept. 8, 11am
Visa Screening Room (Elgin)

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Top left image of Maury Chaykin by Brian McKechnie. Still from Adoration courtesy Maximum Films.