Interview With Actor Mike Dopud, “Dark Matter”

By Ruth on August 4, 2016 in Interview, movie, science fiction, television
0
2

At one point, I was about the most devoted Cedar Cove fan on the planet. Therefore, it made sense that I would know the name Mike Dopud since he was eventually added to the cast in the role of Roy. As I began to research his many credits, I discovered what a substantial range of projects he has done. Back in January (yes, you read that right), I asked him for an interview, and seriously, his schedule has been so frenetic that is was only recently we had the opportunity to chat. And chat we did about his multifaceted experiences within the entertainment industry as well as his upcoming works and aspirations.

11921766_10207556392931265_5762687579785301097_o-copy-1.jpg.jpg

RH: When I was looking through your credits, I didn’t realize you didn’t just act, but you do stunts also?

MD: Well, I used to. It’s kind of an interesting story. I used to do both acting and stunt work. But with stunts, things picked up for me right away. Acting wasn’t going as well at first, but stuntwise, I was working on big features and popular television shows right off the bat. And that took over sometimes. I couldn’t always get to audition for acting because I was busy working. That was pretty much my background and gave me my start.

It also seems like your path to become an actor is rather nontraditional, I guess I’d say.

Yes, absolutely.

So can you tell us about how you ended up becoming an actor?

Oh absolutely. You know, everybody has a different path when they get into the entertainment business, especially and most specifically as an actor. But for me, it was something I had always wanted to do. I was a big movie fan. My brother and I would rent and watch movies together all the time. And I guess that was the way we bonded too. He’s seven years older than I am, and I guess I probably ended up going to see movies I shouldn’t have at a young age. It was always something that I loved. But growing up in Montreal and the area we grew up in Montreal was more of a sports town, I guess I’d say. Pierrefonds–all their teams are pretty good, whether it’s hockey, football, baseball, everything goes. It ended up that I was consumed by sports. My brother played sports. My dad had played pro sports as well, so I was really consumed by athletics. But having said that, acting was something I always loved to do. Drama class in high school was something I always excelled in and enjoyed.

Eventually, when my sports career came to a halt, I was researching and I met some people who were actors and people in the industry and they wondered if I would ever be introduced in doing it too. Well, of course, but I never went to school and studied it. I didn’t think there was another way you could do it. I thought you had to go to the university and study it and get a degree. Or you had to go to some big academy in order to get into the industry. And they basically said, “No, you don’t.” And then as I was working the corporate world, I was missing the adrenaline of film work or acting work or stunt work or whatever it may be, and I started researching it. I got some headshots done and went to the union offices and asked, “How do I become an actor?” And they laughed at me. And I said, “I’m serious. I want to be an actor. How do I do this? What’s the best way? Who’s the best teacher to study with?” And that’s how it went. I did my research, and I started doing background work on TV shows. And eventually I met people. I got an agent, and started auditioning. I’m sure my auditions, when I look back, were probably terrible. Luckily, they weren’t too huge, and I got some work. And then stunt work, being an ex-pro-athlete helped me in that regard. I had played pro sports and had a bit of a fight background growing up. So that was part of your bread and butter–being a stunt man. And that’s how it all began.

So at this point in your career, what would you consider your most challenging role?

My most challenging role–that’s a good one. That’s tough to say. With each role, I try to find a new way of playing them or different things about a role. I guess the ones with accents are a little more challenging in a sense. I’ve done Parisian, German, and Russian. But Eastern European seems to be my staple as far as doing different accents go. Stuntwise, as far as physically demanding, was when I was on 300. I played one of the Spartans, but I was mostly there because of my stunt background. And that’s how I got on, though I was up for one of the lead roles. I had a bunch of callbacks for it, but the fight team knew I could fight, so they brought me in that way. That was a challenging role with the diet and training and not eating. That was really interesting. I was probably in the best shape of my life. Of course, when I was playing pro sports, I was in pretty amazing shape too. We all trained together. It was like we were a team. It was great and physically demanding.  A movie I did called  Rollerball was also really physically demanding. A bunch of us had gotten hurt, so that was tough. I can’t think of any other movies that were challenging, scared me, or took me out of my element.

So do you have a favorite role that you’ve done? I know that’s a hard question. 

It sort of brings me back–this one was a challenging role on Durham County, a series I did, and it was on the second season. I played a police detective called Glen Stuckey. It was really challenging in the sense of the way he was written–you couldn’t really tell how this guy was. Was he boring or was he this or was he that? Which way should you take him to try to make him interesting? So that was probably one of the more challenging ones where I had to spend a lot of time asking questions and trying to figure out who this guy was. I had to talk to the creators to figure out his backstory. There were a lot of things written, and I remember a director saying, “Oh my gosh, hearing you say the words–now I get him. I know who he is.” So that made it one of those roles that was really fun to play.

I really had fun most recently on Dark Matter, playing Arax Nero. That was great. Stargate Universe was great playing Varro–that was a great one. I enjoyed also in {Stargate} Atlantis when I played Kiryk. That was another fun one. And Mistresses was also fun. A bit more of a different role since he was Parisian, and there was absolutely no action involved. Those are the ones that probably stand out to me. There’s a mini-series I did called Canada Russia ’72 which was also a blast to make. A bunch of guys playing hockey every day and having fun with all the dialogue. Creating it and trying to portray these guys like they were ’cause every character was based on the actual players, so that was another fun one. So there’s a bunch. I’m lucky and I’ve gotten to play lots of great parts.

Well, that’s good because you’ve just told me a bunch of works for me to look up. I recognized some, but some I didn’t. Of course, my readers and I know you from Hallmark. 

Yes, that’s right.

Cedar Cove was where I first saw you. A lot of my readers have seen you on that, and they still remember you quite well. 

Oh, that’s great!

Mike Dopud as Reed

Anthony Bolognese as Jeremy, Mike Dopud as Reed

And then you were in a Hallmark film just this year–All Things Valentine.

Yes, and that was one of those roles where I was doing a play, and Gary Harvey, who directed me on Cedar Cove and Arctic Air and Strange Empire and other shows as well, he called me and asked if I’d be willing to come in and do this for a couple days, and I said, “Sure.” It’s always great working with Gary. And it was great working with Sarah Rafferty, too. My first time working with her. It was fun. Anthony {Bolognese} played my little son. We had a blast. It was like three days of acting on set.

Sarah Jane Redmond (Corrie), Mike Dopud (Roy)

Sarah Jane Redmond (Corrie), Mike Dopud (Roy)

What has your experience been like working with Hallmark?

Working with Hallmark was great. It’s a bit of a departure for me ’cause I know I tend to play edgier people, I guess. And I know that was a concern when I was first on. They were looking at me as well to be a series regular, and as we were going through it and trying, I remember them saying, “You’re a touch edgy.” And when I came on again, I remember Mark Woods saying, “Okay, it’s Hallmark, so it’s a little different.” And I was like, “It’s okay. I can do it.” You just have to  play nicer. (laughs) I guess everyone’s experience with me has been this darker, edgier person. So that was a bit of a challenge as far as them having confidence that I could play nice, but it was okay. After the first few times, they realized that yes, I could be a nice guy. Hallmark has been good for me. It’s been nice to be a part of it. I never really worked with Hallmark before, so it was a nice change of pace.

Well, you certainly came off as being a nice guy. And now your audience has been widened thanks to your Hallmark fans.

Oh absolutely. I hope so. That’s the goal at the end of the day. I just hope people like my work, and if they can relate to it, that’s great. I do have to say I get recognized from Cedar Cove. And the fans have been great. From flight attendants and obviously when I travel, you start meeting people. The people where I live in Vancouver in LA know me as an actor, so they usually know what show I’ve been on. Hopefully I get to work on another Hallmark show one of these days.

Well, that’s what people were asking about. They definitely want to see you in another Hallmark show or film. So you do have fans that would like to see that happen. 

Oh, that’s great to hear.

It’s always nice to see that the Hallmark fans know you by name, they remember you, and they like you.

Oh good. Phew! (laughs)

darkmatter_gallery_201funfacts_01.jpgYou mentioned Dark Matter. I started watching last season because of Roger Cross–I am a First Wave fan. And then it was something to see you get added to the cast. So how did you end up joining the cast of Dark Matter?

Basically, they had been talking to me about that show for years–the producers, Jo Mallozzi and Paul Mullie. I’ve known about the project for a long time before it started. And it got pushed for awhile. And then eventually they asked me if I would be interested in playing the role, and I was. So I said, “Let’s go.” And I know the people there. I’ve worked with Roger, obviously. Roger and I go way back as far as working and stuff, and we’ve always gotten along really well. Then I got to meet a bunch of new people on the show. It was good. It was fun. It was great the day that I came on board and still is. That’s pretty much how it happened. I worked with the producers on Stargate Universe. And I’ve done even more than that with them. In fact, about every show they’ve done, I’ve been a part of. So I’ve been very fortunate that way.

I’ve interviewed a few people connected with Dark Matter. It seems that it’s been well-received. Are you getting a good fan response from your end?

Yeah, it seems like everybody is enjoying the show.

Well, hopefully there will be a third season and you can continue to be a part of the show.

Yeah, that would be good. That’s always the thing, isn’t it? At this point in my career, I’m looking for more steady things and doing more features. If there’s no rhyme or reason, you just go where it takes you.

I’ve noticed you have been all over the place this year, it seems like.  You’ll be tweeting out that you’re in this country or that country. It’s been really something.

Yeah, you go where the jobs take you. And so instead of always shooting in Vancouver or LA this year, I was shooting everywhere else. I shot in Spain. And within the last couple years in Bangkok. I did New York, Toronto, Montreal. Auckland, New Zealand was great. Halifax, Nova Scotia. Went to Minneapolis. It was really interesting the different areas I got to shoot this year, so it was really fun.

Since you have a family, how do you keep things balanced between your work schedule and your personal life?

The balance is a hard thing. It’s what I work at. We try not to be apart from each other for more than three weeks. If I can take them with me, I will. But there’s been a couple times–like in Paris, I was there for five weeks. And that was one of the only times I didn’t bring them. With Paris, we were shooting nights for two and a half or three weeks. My wife wasn’t interested essentially in me sleeping all day and then being there and being alone the whole time. I know my work schedule is crazy. So what I do when I get home is try to be as much a part of their lives as I can, from coaching to driving them to school to doing activities with them. That’s what I try to do ’cause I believe in family, and I try to do the best I can. When I’m home, I’m home. And of course, they understand if I have auditions or such–they know. My son now is helping me read a bunch of the stuff sometimes. He’ll read the off-camera dialogue which sure helps. He’s getting into it, so it’s been great getting to work with him, especially in the last couple months. And  I took my son with me on the last shoot I did. I was finishing a TV series called Mr. D in Halifax. I brought him, and they brought him on as a background performer, which was great. And then we’ve done Project Eden. That was another one where I brought him with me. So he got to see how the traveling is. It’s not all glamor and all that. In fact, every single flight was delayed, and every connection was missed because of the delays. There was no sleep, but we were on adrenaline and we had fun. And my son, Dane, said he had a blast. But he appreciates what we go through sometimes.

Well, as hard as it is to get that balance, it seems like you’ve made it work, so that’s good.

Aw, thanks. Yeah, so far so good. I think it’s all comin’ together, so that’s a good sign. Everyone is still happy to see me–how’s that?

Well, that’s what you want, so that’s great. (pause) So I think you’ve mentioned some of your upcoming works, but what ones can we be looking forward to?

 I just booked a role on a show called The Strain. And that will be coming out either in August or September. And there’s a movie I did called Virtual Revolution that I filmed in Paris. That’s running the festival circuit right now, but we’re hoping to get a theatrical release. We will get it worldwide, but we’re trying to get a North America release. We should know within the next couple of months. But we won some awards at the film festivals around the world. We’ve got a few more festivals coming up. We’re going to be at Dragon Con, and we’re hoping to get into Tiff. The response has been great with that movie. Project Eden should be out hopefully within the next six to eight months. That’s another feature I did, and I think both movies are excellent movies. I’m lucky that way. I’m excited for you guys to see those two. And there’s another series I’m doing now, but I can’t announce it just yet. They just asked me to do another episode, so hopefully I’ll be able to talk about it soon.

darkmatter_gallery_204recap_15-1.jpgI really look forward to those independent films. I’m a big proponent of them.

Yeah, I’ve seen both ends of the spectrum of indie films. Some of them can be great, and some of them can be just terrible. But having said that, it’s not an easy way to make a movie. You don’t have the funding. You don’t have the money or the studios behind you, so it makes a lot of things more difficult to get done. But having said that, I think the great thing about indie films is you’re able to keep your creative influence on it. For most of these directors and producers, that’s all they want is to create their vision and show their vision of what the project is. I really think we knocked it out of the park with Virtual Revolution, having seen it now, and I think Project Eden is on the same path. Two great directors I worked with on that show. You hope it’s received well and that people respond to it, and basically you need some studios and some distributors to respond, whereas for them, it ends up being more about money and names. That’s the only downside of doing an indie film, but hopefully we get enough buzz with it, and people will go and see it. The movie is done–we’ve done the hard work. Now it’s just getting the word out. But the thing I love about indie films to me that is great is everybody’s behind it. It’s clearly a passion project for the creators and anybody that’s on the movie–actors, directors, DP’s, the crew–it’s usually ninety-nine percent a passion project. People believe in it. I tell you the buzz when working on a movie like that is great. Everybody comes to work happy. I mean, maybe the location isn’t right or the costuming isn’t right–what, you’ve only got one pair of pants? But at the end of the day, it’s a great way to make a movie.

So do you have any interest in writing or directing?

Yeah, there’s a couple projects. I think directing is something I’d like to do. Not right now ’cause it’s all-encompassing. I have a lot of respect for directors. The work they have to do. It’s not about one thing, it’s the whole enchilada, so to speak. They have to know the lighting. They have to know the look of the show. They have to know everything, so it’s really challenging. Easier on a series, I guess, ’cause you have the DP and the people that are there who already know how it’s supposed to be. But it’s interesting, and it’s something I’d love to do.  Writing is another thing I’d love to do, and I’ve started writing different things. Hoping to come up with some projects. I’ve got some projects in mind which I’m looking forward to. So hopefully we can get those rolling this year.

Oh good! That’s something I find that most actors eventually get to the point where they want to write. 

You know what I think it is? I think you get to the point where you’ve figured it out–especially when you’re in a series. You’ve figured out your character and how to play him, and I think it’s a progression to be more involved. I’ve been fortunate to work on some shows that have some great writing, so I’ve learned a lot from them. Hopefully I can come up with some great ideas. I’m not an avid writer. I’m not great at getting it on paper. I tend to talk about it more and figure it out. I think it’s going to be more of a team process with me. I have to have a partner. Having said that, I’m putting together some stuff as we speak. I think it will be good. It’s exciting. A little nerve-wracking too–do I know what I’m doing yet? But hopefully I do.

Well, you’re learning as you go. You’re doing it, and you’ll probably learn a lot more that way than sitting through a class with people telling you how to do it.

Yeah, I’ve seen it. And it’s funny sometimes you get on a show, and you’re dealing with new directors, and you think, “Hold on a second, I think I can help this situation out. I’m not quite sure he knows what’s goin’ on.” And then you’re like, “Okay, how about this?” And he’s like, “Yeah, that’ll work.” But look, directing’s a real challenge, and one that I’m looking forward to.

Well, I could see you doing that. Definitely.

Aw, thanks. Yeah, I hope so. Who knows?

img_2791.jpg

When one speaks with an actor the caliber of Mike, one can often get a sense of the things about which he is truly passionate. And indeed, I did. Although he absolutely loves everything about his career–whether it’s performing stunts, creating memorable roles, traveling to exotic places, or meeting people who share his ardour for the industry, at the heart of everything he does is his family. And I don’t say that glibly. As he spoke of how significant his wife and children are to him, there was no doubt that the role of being a husband and father is his favorite role of all time. In my opinion, his success in this sometimes fickle business is certainly based upon his talent, his determination, and his ability to work with people who have a variety of personalities and outlooks. That is undeniable. But if I had a guess, the very essence of himself as a person is his family. His family is his rock, his firm foundation, that keeps him grounded and balanced. Without them, I don’t believe he would be where he is now, and their support has enabled him to follow and fulfill those ambitions and dreams. If you could have heard the pride in his voice as he spoke of his son working alongside him, you would have been as touched and as confident as I am of their substantial influence on his career, but more momentously, on him as a person. As Mike continues to persevere in his chosen profession, I greatly anticipate his writing and directing endeavors (there is no hesitation in my mind that he will accomplish all he has envisioned), and in the years to come, his works will only continue to increase in proficiency and recognition by his peers and the general public. But at the end of the day, he is a husband and a father first and foremost, and his devotion to his family keeps him humble and focused in a very real sense. Be sure you follow him at all the many links below as I predict magnificent things on the horizon for Mike!

FOLLOW MIKE

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

IMDB

 

 

 

 

 

Interested in subscribing to all my site's updates? Subscribe below!

Subscribe to My Devotional Thoughts

About the Author

RuthView all posts by Ruth
42-year-old single mother of an active 13-year-old girl Born in Tacoma, WA; lives in Yelm, WA Entertainment Writer Available For Interviews and Reviews Substitute Teacher

0 Comments

Add comment

Leave a Reply

Please know that comment moderation is in effect on this site. Comments may not appear immediately. Also, please note that any negative attacks on people, networks, or other comments that are deemed "inappropriate" or "overtly negative" may be removed and/or edited by the administrator.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

CommentLuv badge