Read YV Media's interview with Neil Whitely who's starring in the new season of When Hope Calls. He talks about his experiences playing his character on the show and his biggest hurdle as a Canadian actor.
What’s challenging about bringing a script to life?
Having the courage to bring yourself to the story. Acting is not about hiding behind a character. It's about revealing yourself through the character.
Do you ever wish you would’ve pursued your acting career earlier on?
You know, I think starting my career later in life has been a real blessing. I have a real appreciation of how fortunate we are to be able to do this for a living. My previous experience in business has prepared me to navigate the challenges of this industry. I love being an example that it's never too late to follow your dreams. So, I feel this is the right time for me.
Is it easier to play this character, Harley Lawrence in "When Hope Calls" or to be yourself on stage/on film?
Whenever I play a character, I feel that I'm playing myself in imaginary circumstances. Of course, I'm using words that were written for me so in some ways that is easier. In many ways Harley is me.
What can viewers expect from your character this season?
I can't say too much yet, but I can't wait for fans of the show to see what's in store for Harley. He has a dry sense of humor and is a bit of a troublemaker which will lead to some really fun moments.
As a Canadian actor what would you say was your biggest hurdle when trying to break into the industry?
A lot of Canadian actors feel that we are taken less seriously than our American counterparts even though we are equally as talented. This sometimes develops into a bit of an inferiority complex. This is something many of us have to overcome. Once we do, the sky's the limit!
You are also starring in the movie, Sisterly Christmas; can you share a little about the movie and your character with us?
A Sisterly Christmas is my first project for the OWN Network, so I'm really excited about it. The movie centers around two sisters Kristina and Vicky who have been estranged since the death of their beloved Mother. Their Aunt Debbie decides to send them to an exclusive ski resort for Christmas in an attempt to help them rekindle their love for each other. My character Colton Fisher is the owner of the resort who plays a key role in trying to bring the sisters together. As you might expect, things do not go smoothly which leads to some pretty hilarious moments. It's a really fun movie.
Tell us something about one of the best experiences of your life?
I've had many great moments in my life. I have been very lucky. My wife Vicki and I adopted our daughter Nicki when she was five days old. The moment she was put into my arms is my greatest moment so far. Sorry it's not an acting-related answer, but it's the truth.
What would you suggest to the aspiring actors and artists out there? Make sure the reason you want to get into this business is that you respect it as a craft, not for wealth or fame. The vast majority of us are not household names but are just working men and women who happen to have a really cool job. Take care of your body. Take care of your mind. Take care of your money.
Written By Amber Hawkins @ambbamm_