Erik Canuel Dead; ‘Bon Cop, Bad Cop’ Director Was 63 5

Veteran Quebec director Erik Canuel, best known for his box office hit Bon Cop, Bad Cop, has died. He was 63.

Canuel died on June 15 in Montreal after complications from secondary plasma cell leukemia, according to Montreal-based communications firm Annexe. He was first diagnosed with multiple myeloma seven years ago.

“Erik Canuel left an unforgettable mark on the film and television industry both in Quebec and across Canada. His breakout, crossover hit Bon Cop, Bad Cop remains not just a Canadian favorite, but a groundbreaking benchmark in bilingual film,” Directors Guild of Canada president Warren P. Sonoda said in a statement.

The Quebec bilingual buddy movie Bon Cop, Bad Cop, directed by Canuel and starring Patrick Huard and Colm Feore, earned the Golden Reel Award as the highest-grossing Canadian movie of 2006 and broke Canadian box office records by grossing $10.3 million at the local multiplex.

His other French-language movie credits included his debut feature La Loi du Cochon, Nez Rouge, Le Survenant and Le Dernier Tunnel. Between films, Canuel directed French- and English-language TV, where his credits included episodes of TransplantRansom, Flashpoint, Big Wolf on Campus and The Hunger.

He was a go-to director in Quebec for Disney, Showtime and NBC as he worked with Christopher Plummer, Paul Sorvino, Kenneth Walsh and Colm Feore, among others.

Directors Guild of Canada, Quebec directors representative Tristan Dubois added his own tribute to Canuel: “In a world where the role of the director is forever eroding, and where the profession is increasingly treated as technical, not artistic, few are those who take a stand and resist that pressure. Erik knew how to defend his convictions at all costs and, through hard work, forged a well-deserved place in the popular imagination of Quebec cinema. Erik left his mark for the benefit of all.”

Canuel was born in Montreal in 1961 to actor Yvan Canuel and Lucille Papineau, so he grew up around performers and filmmakers. After directing music videos, Canuel studied film at Concordia University in Montreal and in 1988 co-founded Kino Films with Pierre Gill and Marie-France Lemay.

In a 2012 interview for Spectacular Optical, Canuel recalled landing a directing gig on The Hunger while dressed as a vampire at a costume party.

“It was during a Halloween where I was dressed up as a vampire that I met one of the producers of the series The Hunger, co-produced by Ridley and Tony Scott. I had one hell of a vampire make-up on and told him about directorial ideas for over an hour. It was only once I had left that I realized I had just treated the guy in front of me to a pitch deliverd by what must have looked like a demon from hell,” he recalled.

Canuel is survived by his partner Julie and children Elodie, L’amie and Justine.

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