As an individual who supports both LBGTQ communities and anti-bullying projects, actor Evan Daigle is an enthusiastic man. Most recently seen on screen in TNT comedy Claws, for which he begins filming season 2 in December, he’s a fan of Jessica Chastain and fine art. Here, he talks to ThisIsTheLatest about his early career ambitions, favourite movies and future plans.
TITL: Has acting always been the career path you’ve wanted to take or did you consider other avenues at one point?
Evan Daigle: I thought for most of my life I would be a visual artist. I was mainly focused on fine art up until I was 20 when I began studying theatre. When I discovered the power and joy that acting gave me, I made the decision to pursue a career in it.
TITL: Can you recall the first film or TV show you saw that really had an impact on you?
ED: Honestly, yes. Hocus Pocus was the first film I remember as a kid being absolutely obsessed with.
TITL: What are your three favourite films/TV shows and why?
ED: It’s very difficult for me to narrow my long list of favorites down. Right now, the first that came to my head was the 2015 film adaption of Macbeth starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard. I love it because it’s the best period accurate film adaptation of a Shakespeare play I’ve seen. I also love the second season of Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story: Asylum. Ryan is an extremely innovative filmmaker and this particular piece of his was so amazingly acted by Sarah Paulson and Zachary Quinto that it makes my list! And finally, I’ll have to add the film Prisoners by Denis Villeneuve. I love the thriller genre and to me this is a damn near perfect one.
TITL: Tell me about your new TNT dramedy Claws. What was it about the premise of the show that made you want to audition?
ED: Claws is about a group of five women who work at and launder money through a nail salon in south Florida. The women work with the Dixie Mafia, led by the head gangster, Uncle Daddy. As someone at the beginning of their acting career, you pretty much audition for whatever your agents get you. However for Claws, I was especially excited to audition because I’ve been a fan of Eliot Laurence since I saw his film Welcome To Me. It’s been such a blessing to have landed in such a great show.
TITL: How would you sum up your character Toby?
ED: I would sum Toby up as shy, expressive, and liberated.
TITL: Do you have any regrets over leaving university to film the show, and do you plan to go back and finish your theatre and communications courses?
ED: No. I ultimately do not. This job has opened the door to the career that I was in school learning to be able to do. Now that I’m in it, I’ve realized the best acting training is on-the-job training. So, as of now, I have no plans to return to school. I was however able to complete all my theatre courses before leaving school, which has proved itself incredible valuable while working on set.
TITL: Which TV show, past or present, would you most like to star in and why?
ED: Off the top of my head I would say Twin Peaks. It’s one of my favorites and it’s so culturally iconic that I would have loved to have been a part of it. I think David Lynch has mastered the film medium. I’m also loving the newest season.
TITL: If you could put your dream cast together with four actors/actresses living or dead, who would you choose?
ED: I love this question! I would have Jessica Chastain, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Oscar Isaac, and Carrie Preston and we would do a Shakespeare play!
TITL: Do you have any other projects in the pipeline you can tell me about?
ED: As of now I’m focused on building my team out here in Los Angeles. Other than that, I’ll start filming season two of Claws in New Orleans in December of this year.
TITL: Looking ahead, whose career would you most like to emulate and why?
ED: Although I believe acting to be such an individualistic journey, and attempting to directly emulate another actor’s career can be problematic for your own, I’ve always admired Jessica Chastain’s career. She’s still young but her intense power, true versatility and near flawless film acting is something I think sets her apart from many actors right now. She, as a person, also appears to be quite humble and a true artist which I love. I would like to emulate her concept of, at her level, doing projects that push issues one believes in forward and to challenge one’s self as an actor to seek roles which are pushing your own artistic boundaries. She’s my acting idol.
TITL: Away from acting, you’re a fan of fine art and are an oil painter. What is it about that art medium that you’re so interested in and do you have any plans to perhaps showcase any of your work?
ED: I grew up thinking I wanted a career as a painter, I even studied for a year at an art college in Orange County after high school. I love oil in particular because it’s an extremely challenging medium but, once mastered, the artist can achieve a high level of realism with it which I aim for. I’m super focused on acting right now but I always paint and will hopefully pursue some showcasing of it in the future.
TITL: You’re also a supporter of LGBTQ communities and anti-bullying causes. What is it about those two issues/groups that makes you want to do what you can to help? Have you experienced bullying yourself?
ED: I grew up feeling sometimes as though my natural way of being was against the norm. I was always more “feminine” than what was perceived to be appropriate. As I got older I began to feel more comfortable being myself and being around others who loved me for me.
I think we all at some point experience bullying. I unfortunately went through really rough times with it especially when I was a child. I always had the support of my loving family however. I support the LGBTQ community because, as a queer man myself and playing a queer character on television, I believe it is the natural thing for me to do.
TITL: Finally then, what advice would you give to any aspiring actors/actresses out there who dream finding their way in this ever competitive industry? Is there any one piece of advice you’ve been given that you often reflect on and what keeps you going when things get tough?
ED: I believe that acting is a sort of calling on one’s soul. It’s an artistic — as well as a spiritual — experience for me. It’s such a competitive business: it’s a lot of work for a lot of rejection. Actors who are true actors cannot live without it. It’s why we put ourselves through the rejection.
If I had to give some advice it would be to focus on living your truest self in your everyday life. Nourish relationships, expose yourself to different ways of being and people, eat well and exercise, all the while training your acting skills. Focusing on the things we can control helps us ride the wave of the lack of control we mostly have as actors. I don’t have to tell another aspiring actor not to give up, because if you really are an actor then it isn’t an option for you.
For more information and to keep up-to-date with Evan, follow him on Twitter. Header photo credit: Maiwenn Raoult.