photos: Trevor Brady
Sometimes we follow the wrong path and then quickly see that our dreams and love for something else is where we should allow our heart’s to follow and go after. Actor Kavan Smith realized his love for the arts as a teen but decided to follow a different path and soon after discovered he needed to take a risk and follow his dreams. SayWhatNews spoke with Kavan Smith about his career journey and his latest project starring in DirecTV’s first scripted TV series, Rogue:
SayWhatNews: Good morning Kavan. Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule and speaking with SayWhatNews. First, tell us who is Kavan Smith?
Kavan: Yikes, loaded question. I suppose first and foremost a father. Hopefully a decent husband though my wife may want to comment on that. And finally a guy who is still trying to follow his artistic goals, whether it be acting or writing or whatever...
SayWhatNews: What was it like growing up with your father and brother in Edmonton, Alberta?
Kavan: Born in Edmonton and raised primarily in Calgary. It was fine. Perhaps a bit heavy on the testosterone but still not bad at all. It was rare in those days for a man to raise two boys on his own but I think my Dad did ok. We were active. I had good friends. I had friends who helped pull out my creative side. All that being said I don’t really like going back. I hate going backwards in anything. When I go to visit my brother part of me always feels 18 again. Like I’m going to wake up on a Sunday morning under an ATM on 8th Ave with no idea how I got there. Early adulthood was not my favorite time.
SayWhatNews: How did a young boy born in Edmonton and raised in Calgary, Alberta find himself creating skits with a friend and performing them on local buses and at shopping centers?
Kavan: Really it was quite simple. I had a best friend at the time. His name was Ronnie and all we did for about 10 years was laugh. We would just try to out do each other. Who would be bigger, crazier and funnier. That turned into a bit of a need to entertain. So we started skipping school, sadly lots of school. And record all sorts of crazy stuff and then come the weekend we’d take the material to parties and on public transport and malls. It was a good time. I’m still friends with him today. Though now we have a strict rule. He’s not allowed to make eye contact ever.
SayWhatNews: What inspired you to walk away from working towards a degree in Economics at the University of Calgary and eventually enroll in the performing arts program at Mount Royal University?
Kavan: The knowledge that if I kept on the road I was on I’d end up miserable. I hated all that business crap. My grades reflected that and finally the University asked me, ever so tactfully to withdraw before they’d be forced to kick my ass out. So I did. Took a year to reflect and then made a choice. I’ve never looked back.
SayWhatNews: Kavan your acting career is full of versatile film and television roles. Tell us how were you first discovered when you landed your first leading role on the Canadian Television show, “Destiny Ridge”?
Kavan: My father employed me for the summer after Theater School. I went to the audition and did well. Casting said I had a really great chance. My father was more excited than I was. Likely he wanted me out of his office. A week later they said “Sorry you’ve got no experience, we don’t want to take the risk” I was destroyed. My father cried. He really wanted me out. Another week later I got a call and they said can you be in Edmonton tomorrow morning at 9? I was there at 6. I got the gig. Not a great show but a great learning experience.
SayWhatNews: You have appeared in some of the best Sci-Fi TV shows like, Fox’s Human Target, The CW’s Smallville & Supernatural, SyFy’s Outerlimits, Sanctuary and Battestar Galactica. Do you have a love for Sci-Fi and all things supernatural?
Kavan: Actually no, not at all. Maybe Star Wars but other that that no. But if you live in Vancouver you’d better be ready to do some Sci-Fi. That being said they do have the best fans.
SayWhatNews: Kavan you also had some key recurring roles in USA Network’s The 4400 as Jed Garrity, SyFy’s Stargate Atlantis as Major Evan Lorne and SyFy’s Eureka as Deputy Andy. Which of these roles did you find more challenging/interesting to portray?
Kavan: Garrity and Lorne were fun but not much of a challenge-- secondary type roles. I was grateful for the work but still longed for more of a challenge. I really did love Deputy Andy. My kids still love watching the animated Christmas episode. He was such a detour for me and I really was allowed to play. It was like doing skits with Ronnie (my old friend from Calgary) again only they had to pay me for it.
photo: DirecTV Rogue: Kavan Smith as Tom Travis
SayWhatNews: Your latest project is starring in DirecTV’s much anticipated new crime drama series, Rogue which just premiered on April 3rd. Tell us what TV audiences can expect to see when watching DirecTV’s first scripted program?
Kavan: I hope that what they’ll see is a raw visceral exciting crime drama. Something unlike what’s out there right now. It’s something that really pushes the envelope…..a real family thrown into a horrific situation amid very dangerous and desperate people. I hope above all that the story grabs people and pulls them in.
SayWhatNews: Kavan, your character Tom Travis, is a dedicated high school teacher who is married to the very talented actress Thandie Newton, who plays your wife Grace. The couple just recently lost their son Sam and find themselves grieving in different ways which puts a strain on the marriage. How did you prepare for this role?
Kavan: I have kids of my own and the idea of losing one is terrifying. I found it somewhat easy to slide into this guy. He is a father trying to hold his family together. I was raised by a single father. It fit for me. Thandie was so great to work with. She made it easy for me to go for things. I really appreciated that from her.
SayWhatNews: Tell us about your audition process: did you have read more than once and etc.?
Kavan: I read once. Then Thandie asked to meet me. So the producer had me come in and we worked it a bit. When I left I really thought I had a solid chance. But in this business you never know. They might have gone with a talking dog.
SayWhatNews: So, what is life like on the set of Rogue?
Kavan: Long hours but fun and creative. It’s exhausting in a purely exhilarating way. Digging that deep is such a luxury. I’ve had to do so many roles over the years, to pay bills etc., which I might not have taken otherwise. This I would have done for free. Though if you quote that I’ll say you lied.
SayWhatNews: On a more personal note. I see your love for food comes from having a Thai nanny who taught at the Le Cordon Bleu cooking school. What is your favorite specialty dish to make?
Kavan: Like a favorite book or song it’s impossible to pick just one. I love to cook period…..Anything. I love to try new things. For instance I made a nice dinner for my wife on Friday night. Shaved asparagus salad with radish and toasted walnuts on a crustini with creamed goat cheese then for dinner Lobster risotto with Chervil. Desert was home made Churros with crème Englaise. It worked.
SayWhatNews: Sounds delicious! Kavan, cooking isn’t your only love. You also have a love for Martial Arts. Have you ever competed and do you have any black belts?
Kavan: I grew up with some tough kids and martial arts were all the rage. I’ve tried all sorts over the years. Unfortunately while studying Aikido I blew out my knees or rather stretched the hell out of my patella tendons. So I gave it all up at 23 or so, which was right when I got into acting. I let it go for almost 20 years. I’m now trying to get some mobility back because I’m teaching my kids and would like us all to get back into it formally. Any belts I may have achieved are meaningless because it’s been 20 years. And no I never competed. It wasn’t my goal to fight or compete but to learn to be confident in my body. That was much more important to me.
SayWhatNews: I read in your bio that you have written about 80% of least 3 books and 5 films. Do you think you will ever have them published and featured on the big screen one day?
Kavan: I’m working on a television series right now. I promised myself that I would see this one to fruition. And I will. It’s a great idea. I have ten episode outlines and am working on the pilot script.
SayWhatNews: What’s next for Kavan Smith?
Kavan: Who the hell knows?