Men We Admire: Denis Theriault

 

Canadian Actor Denis Theriault stars in comedic drama All the Wrong Reasons, premiering Sunday, September 8, 2013 at 6:45 PM at Scotiabank Theatre (259 Richmond St. W.) in Auditorium One during the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). An additional screening will take place Monday, September 9, 2013 at 10 PM at Scotiabank Theatre’s Auditorium 10.

All the Wrong Reasons is an ensemble of four everyday people: a store manager, security guard, fire fighter and a clerk who struggle in the aftermath of trauma.

Starring as Radley Weil, Denis’ character is assistant manager of the big box store in line for a promotion. Being a bit over zealous and overstepping his boundaries, Radley is a neurotic, ambitious, eager but overall good guy who does not know when to let the store manager James, played by Cory Monteith, just do his job.

Written and directed by Shore Road Pictures’ Gia Milani, All the Wrong Reasons also stars The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones’ Kevin Zegers, the late Cory Monteith, Cosmopolis’ Emily Hampshire, Pan Am’s Karine Vanasse and more.

In addition to TIFF, All the Wrong Reasons is also screening during The Atlantic Film Festival on Friday, September 13, 2013 at 7 PM at Park Lane Cinemas (5657 Spring Garden Rd.) in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Denis is most recognized for his role in the feature film Growing Op as Shaun Leblanc, a high school reject who guides the lead actor through the troubles of teenage social hierarchy. Starring alongside Rosanna Arquette, Rachel Blanchard and Wallace Langham, Growing Op premiered at The Atlantic Film Festival in 2008.

His performances can also be seen on City’s Seed, HBO’s Call Me Fitz, The Movie Network/Showcase’s G-Spot and more. 

Born and raised in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Denis discovered at a young age that he wanted to act in anything and everything. His first foray into the acting world was touring with Theatre New Brunswick’s production of Peter Pan. At 14 he got a taste for film when starring in his first big TV role as Jeb in The Movie Network’s hit science fiction series Starhunter.

Editorial-Shaun SImpsonName: Denis Theriault

Age: 26

Occupation: Actor/Filmmaker

Cars? None! I just got my license last year actually. 26 years old. I know. Whatever you say, I’ve heard it all before.

Gadgets? My iPhone for sure, it’s glued to my hand. Our generation, I tell ya.

Sports? Sports? I don’t know the meaning of that word… More of an arts guy. Although, I do like to keep active and fit…so, does running count?

How did you get started on your current career/lifestyle path?

I’ve been interested in filmmaking and acting in general since I can remember. I used to make little 8mm films with my friends when I was a kid. I’d edit them on a VCR by pressing the play and pause buttons. Thank god Final Cut eventually came around. Then, at 14, I booked my first part on a TV show, The Space Channel’s “Starhunter”.

Did you have any mentors who helped steer you on this path?

We didn’t have too many electives at my high school (I went to the same French school from kindergarten to grade 12), but I did have a few teachers who indulged me in my love of movies. They would often let me hold auditions at lunch or shoot films in the school. As for who set me on this path? I think it was just inherently in me from the get-go. Although, now that I think of it, the one thing my dad and I bonded over the most was going to the movie theatre. A lot.

As for people in the industry? I’ve never met him, but one of my idols is Robert Rodriguez (Sin City). His book “Rebel Without a Crew” is what made me want to become a filmmaker.

How has your work contributed to a) your development as a person and/or b) the lives of others?

Editorial-John BregarBeing in film and theatre, you get to use your everyday life as inspiration. It’s sense memory. A lot of my job is hypothetical. “How would this character feel in this situation?” Oftentimes, you discover that there’s at least some small part of yourself in every role you play. The material I’m working on will almost always teach me something about myself that I couldn’t have discovered otherwise.

Subsequently, I hope that the work I do affects people when they see it. Maybe they’ll see themselves in a character I’ve played or that I’ve written. It’s always humbling to hear feedback from someone who was touched by your work.

If you had one piece of advice for someone just entering your field, what would it be?

PERSISTENCE! I can’t stress it enough, persistence is key in the entertainment industry. I went through a period where I auditioned for almost 4 years and booked absolutely nothing. In terms of that, this year’s been an absolute blessing.

Do you have a personal work philosophy?

Absolutely. When I was a child, I once had a conversation on the set of my first acting gig with a very kind actress. She told me “As actors, we’re never really working when we’re on set. It’s getting the job that’s the real work. Once you book it, everything else is just a vacation.” It’s true, we get play pretend every day. It’s a pretty charmed life we lead.

What do you do for fun?

I watch movies! TONS of movies. I’m a huge film buff. I think you kind of have to be when you’re an actor. Movies are like our textbooks, you know? Acting has come to mean so much more to me ever since I’ve started really studying it. I discover something new about it on a regular basis. If you keep discovering, your job never gets the chance to be boring.

What motivates or inspires you?

My mother, Diane. I know that sounds like a typical answer, but anyone who knows me, knows that my mom is the biggest influence in my life. She truly is the most compassionate and selfless individual I know. I bounce all my ideas and decisions off of her. She’s the one who encouraged me to drop out of university to pursue this career. Not many parents would say that. There’s absolutely no way I would be the man I am today, if it weren’t for her.

What has been your greatest achievement?

image005Definitely getting to work on an incredible film last year (All the Wrong Reasons, alongside the late Cory Monteith, which will have its world premiere at TIFF this fall)). The fact that I was entrusted with such a layered character and got to work with incredibly talented actors, was a dream come true. The director, the remarkable Gia Milani, instilled a new confidence in me. It’s the first time I’ve ever felt truly uninhibited in a role. She even got me to dance on screen. Just please shield your eyes when that scene comes on! I went full out on this one, even doing research and shadowing the assistant manager of a big box store for a day (I play that exact role in the film).

What is the one thing you hope to achieve?

It would be incredible to call myself a “working actor”, where I can fully support myself 365 days a year, simply on acting work. I’m slowly but surely getting there!

What is your super power?

I can lie really well! (Well, It’s my job to do that, so I better be good at it)

Who’s your hero?

Again, my mother. Did I tell you she was awesome yet?

 What are you reading (or watching) these days?

I’m watching the new BBC America series “Orphan Black”. Completely obsessed. Tatiana Maslany is so damn good, it angers me. And plus, she’s repping big time for Canadian actors. I’m constantly hounding my agent to get me an audition for it, since it shoots in Toronto.

Any life lesson you’d like to share with our readers?

I’ve always said to my mother, “I don’t care if I have to eat mac-&-cheese for the rest of my life. As long as I’m doing what I love, I’ll be happy”

Thinking back to a time when you had to make a hard choice, how did you decide, and do you feel, in retrospect, that you made the right move?

When I dropped out of university. I was highly introverted and had a really hard time there. And plus, I wasn’t really enrolled in a program I was interested in. Do I regret it? Not at all. Yes, I may not have some high-ranking government desk-job with a pension and health benefits, but I can say that I’m TRULY living my dreams right now. If I die tomorrow, it would ALL be worth it.

If you had it all to do over again, would you change anything?

Editorial2-Shaun SimpsonNope! I have absolutely no regrets in life. None. Everything I’ve ever done has brought me to this exact moment.

What’s next for you? What’s your next big idea, project etc.?

I’ll be appearing in an episode of the upcoming season of HBO Canada’s “Call Me Fitz”. Not only did I get to act opposite Jason Priestly, he was also my episode’s director. Great guy. Also, my directorial debut, “Sibling Rivalry” is premiering at the Atlantic Film Festival this fall. Super proud of that one.

I’m also currently developing my third short film called “The Life and Times of Syd Stone”. It’s about a super-famous Hollywood actor with a secret, who returns home for his 10-year high school reunion.

What one piece of advice would you give to your own son (hypothetical or otherwise) in the hope of making him a better man?

Treat others like you want to be treated. Such a simple concept, and yet people screw it up so easily and effortlessly. A lot of the world’s problems could be solved if we just followed that one rule.

 

Growing Op is available on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1eevNV7

Denis Theriault on IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2172589/

Denis Theriault on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/denactor

Denis Theriault on Twitter: https://twitter.com/dentheri