Exclusive interview with “Travelers” actor Jared Abrahamson
Blog post by Ross Munro for Wholly Cinema.
Voted one of the Rising Stars at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival, Canadian actor Jared Abrahamson has managed to climb the twin monsters of both TV and film with his intense performances in the Netflix hit series “Travelers” as well as critically acclaimed indies like “Hello Destroyer” and the upcoming “American Animals”.
Taking time out while having a much-deserved Xmas breather here in Vancouver, the down to earth and friendly Manitoba-born actor hailing from the hard-scrabble Northern mining town of Flin Flon (known for it’s most famous import: hockey legend and main Broad Street Bully Bobby Clarke) was able to chat with us fine folks here at Wholly Cinema.
Wholly Cinema: So, growing up in Flin Flon, Manitoba- what was your journey to becoming an actor?
Jared Abrahamson: I never really had any plans to do it- I was actually heading out to the rigs- I wanted to go oil rigging after high school as I figured that would be my best shot for doing anything outside of being stuck back home. I was out in Alberta for two months trying to get a job but I couldn’t get on- the patch was dry.
So a buddy who went to school in Calgary was shootin’ the shit with me and he told me he was quitting school and going to Vancouver to try acting school and I was like ‘damn’- I didn’t even know that was even an option. So I raced home and a couple of weeks later got a job at the mine and pretty much just put my nose to the grindstone for two years and saved up all my cash and came out to Vancouver.
WC: What were some of your cinematic/acting influences?
JA: Back home in Flin Flon I grew up watching a lot of good films like “The Godfather” and “Serpico”- all these old classics from the ‘70s. I kind of ended up getting my education without even knowing it. My step- grandfather was a big movie buff so he would always lend me movies and say ‘you gotta watch this’- “Made In America”, “Goodfellas” and “Scarface” and all that stuff.
For my actor influences growing up, Pacino and De Niro were legends to me. All the old guys like Harvey Keitel and Peter Falk from all the John Cassavetes films- just that whole genre- that was my shit growing up.
In the arts, Tupac Shakur was a huge influcence on me, you know? I’d take stuff from everything- even fighters like Mike Tyson and Muhammed Ali- I had all these cultural influences growing up.
WC: How’s it been portraying the role of “Trevor” in Netflix’ Sci-fi drama “Travelers” now finished it’s 2nd Season?
JA: It’s a trip kind of because I came from the world of making indie films. In indie films you’re so free to do whatever you want- I kind of equate it to being in a punk band and then going over to doing a Top 40 boy band or something. It’s a weird world, man. I try my best to fit in to the show and I’m making the most of it and everyone’s liking it so…
WC: Based on all your recent work on Canadian indies, is that important to maintain your cinematic roots?
JA: Totally. The American market’s been good to me- I’ve gotten a lot of gigs in the States and I’m based in New York now. I’ve been doing this since the end of 2010 and in the last few years there’s been a string of 4 or 5 Canadian indies that I’ve done out in Vancouver and I feel like it’s kinda where I’ve found my mojo almost. I have a lot of great directors in Vancouver that I want to keep working with- it’s important for me to keep making these Canadian movies because at the end of the day I feel like that’s where I’m going to get my best work. I do a lot of these gritty blue collar films and it just seems to really fit.
WC: Congrats on your latest indie “American Animals” by director Bart Layton that’s headed to this month’s Sundance Film Festival. What was that film like to work on?
JA: I’ve done some American indies before but nothing on that level- and a lot of the ones I did barely saw the light of day. But I feel “American Animals” is a next level film. It was a bigger indie- some of the actors in it are the biggest up and comers right now. Barry Keoghan just came off of “Dunkirk” and “The Killing of a Sacred Deer”, Evan Peters is doing all the “X-Men” and “American Horror Story”- he’s got a huge following. We were all young and hungry and just came in like a bat out of hell. I feel we really pushed each other and the movie’s gonna be pretty slick I think.
WC: Are you heading to Sundance with the film?
JA: I’m going. You know, we’re in the main competition- out of like a hundred films you only have sixteen in the main comp. We’re up against people like both Gyllenhaals- Maggie and Jake- who have movies in there. Ethan Hawke as well- these kind of names- it’s go time. It’s pretty cool.
WC: Season 2 of “Travelers” just ended. Is there a Season 3 in the works?
JA: It sounds like it. We’re moving forward as if we are. Anything can happen but it seems like the numbers are good and everyone’s ready to go so as soon as they pull the trigger I think we’ll find out in the next couple of weeks. I think Netflix likes it so I think we’ll go again. I feel like every show takes about two seasons to really get on it’s feet and I feel like we’re really finding that rhythm.
WC: Last question. What’s on tap for you for 2018?
JA: I’m actually helping my buddy out in Chicago trying to put a couple of documentaries together. I also feel like the shake-out at Sundance for “American Animals” will be pretty strong- because of Barry, Evan and Blake (Jenner). So many people are gonna be coming to see it so I feel like those guys got me through- they’re going through the door and I’m climbing through the window.
Viva La Cinema!