Only 16 years of age, Canadian actor Dylan Kingwell has already appeared in numerous television series. Dylan has played major recurring/supporting roles on shows such as The Good Doctor, A Series of Unfortunate Events and The 100. Some of the names Dylan has shared the screen with include Neil Patrick Harris, Freddie Highmore and Patrick Warburton.
In this Exclusive Interview, Dylan discusses his roles on those shows, the Canadian actor who most inspires him, how he began acting in the first place and more.
Welcome, and thank you for taking the time to do this.
Dylan Kingwell (DK): Yes, of course, no worries. Thanks for having me.
How have you been finding life in the pandemic?
DK: It’s been interesting. I mean, there’s been lots of adjustments to make and lots of responsibilities that everyone has now that they didn’t have before. So, it’s just been about trying to stay positive and upbeat despite everything that’s going on, whether it’s in acting, school or just social life in general.
What inspired you to pursue acting as a career?
DK: When I first got into acting, I was really young – around 4 years old. It was sort of one of those things where my parents asked me, but I was 4. So, I didn’t have the full scope – I definitely wanted to do it, but I didn’t realise. Only in the past 3 or 4 years have I realised that it’s what I want to do as my career. I’ve had the opportunity to meet and work with really great people, for who [acting] is their career. I feel lucky I’ve gotten to meet all these people, they’ve inspired me.
It’s been something I’ve known for as long as I can remember. So, whenever someone asked me all throughout the years about what I wanted to do when I’m older, I’d just say acting. It’s all I’ve ever known and I think that I’d be very lucky if I had the opportunity to pursue it my entire life.
Being originally from Canada, are there any Canadian actors or performers that you admire?
DK: Ryan Reynolds is probably the biggest one for me. What’s good about him, what inspires me about him and really all the performers that I follow is… their performance and talent is definitely up there, but it’s how they are as people which matters to me the most. I think that Ryan Reynolds, everyone knows he’s a wonderful person. I think that’s what the important thing is if you’re in this business or any business, you just have to remember to never let yourself go.
The most admirable thing about Ryan is that despite how famous he is, he’s never changed, he hasn’t wavered in his kindness. So that’s why I look up to him, for sure.
From a career perspective, is there a job you would define as your first major break?
DK: From age 4-9, I mostly did commercials. They were great for becoming educated on how to act on set and what the different roles were. I would say my first breakthrough/introduction into a longer term role was my role on The Returned, which I booked when I was 9 and filmed when I was 9, turning 10. That was my first regular role in a TV show. I was lucky enough to be able to work on all 10 episodes of that show. It was a joy and it’s what inspired me to really continue on the path of TV and Film.
It was like a family, we’d all work together so much. The adults on that show, in the cast and crew, were so nice and welcoming to me. So, it was a fantastic first experience and one that inspired me to keep auditioning for the next one that would be like that.
You played the dual role of Duncan and Quigley Quagmire on A Series of Unfortunate Events. Going into that show, did you always know you would play both roles?
DK: Initially, actually, what a lot of people don’t know is that I actually auditioned for Klaus at first. I made it pretty far in the process of Klaus. They decided to go with Louis (Hynes) for Klaus. Later on, this was maybe only weeks of them deciding Louis for Klaus, they auditioned me. The original audition was just for Duncan. I guess no, I wasn’t aware that I’d be playing two characters.
I became aware pretty fast as I did read the books when I realised I was going to be playing Duncan. I figured after reading that they were twins… I was hopeful because it would have been a fantastic opportunity. Sure enough, my first time on set was at the end of Season 1. My first ever scene was actually a scene where I played both characters, so that was really awesome.
Some of your co-stars on ASOUE included Neil Patrick Harris and Patrick Warburton. How was your experience of working with that kind of people?
DK: It was excellent. It’s always great when you have the opportunity to meet and even work with people that you’ve admired. For me, I had seen lots of Neil’s work and I had seen lots of Patrick’s work in the past. So, it was fantastic for me to have a chance to work with them because they’re so professional and so good. But even better for me is that they were great people. I always go back to that. The most important thing to me is that I look up to people like that and I stay like that.
So, yeah, it was fantastic to work with them. There was no nervousness because they were big names in the business. They were warm and like I said, great at what they did. So, it was a pleasure.
Another dual role you played was on ABC’s The Good Doctor. Unlike most other ‘patients’ on the show, your dynamic with Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore) was different because you’d played his brother in flashbacks. How much did the fact you’d played Steve Murphy affect how you played Evan Gallico?
DK: Well, I think the largest part of that, as you said, the dynamic was different. The thing was that I had to remember that Evan, the character I was playing, he wasn’t aware that he resembled Shaun’s little brother. He didn’t know that. Obviously, Shaun recognised him and recognised the face, even the characteristics. So, for me, it was important to, essentially, act a lot like Steve and capture those mannerisms I had done with Steve; the way that he spoke, and his optimism.
It was more on Freddie, I think, as he would be the one playing the character who had experienced both. It was important for me to know that so I could recognise in the scene… it was a very emotional episode for sure. I think Evan was just a warm person that would’ve bonded with any doctor the same way. It was special in that Shaun, up to that point, had not really developed any personal relationship with a patient.
In both cases of playing multiple roles, what kind of conscious choices did you make in how the individual characters related to other characters in those projects?
DK: Well, it depends on the role and on the context, for sure. I think for A Series of Unfortunate Events, reading the books really helped because they obviously… Daniel Handler, the author, does a great job of describing and developing each character – Duncan and Quigley. In that case, it was all about reading the books as best as I could to capture the the different personality traits.
For example, I had always played Duncan as more of an optimist. Whereas Quigley was someone who had been through a lot, so may have been a bit scarred and rough around the edges. That’s definitely the main difference that I tried to capture in those characters.
But then, as we just spoke about, Evan and Steve were meant to be sort of similar. Evan was meant to remind Shaun of Steve. So, in that respect, you might say it was a little less challenging in that I didn’t feel like I had to play 2 entirely different characters. Then again, it was challenging to make sure that the importance of Shaun’s emotional connection with Evan was portrayed. For those situations, they required different work to be done but it was lots of fun to get the chance to do both.
As of 2020, you have a recurring role as ‘Sam’ on Netflix’s The Baby-Sitters Club. Did having a prior relationship with Netflix (with a Series of Unfortunate Events) affect being cast on this show or was it separate?
DK: I’m not sure, I actually couldn’t really answer that. Those are all conversations that happen with the executives of the show. So, I’m not sure. They were entirely different production companies and producers. There are Netflix personnel, people who work for Netflix, not the production company, on every Netflix set. So, it very well might have been, it very well might not have. Unfortunately, I can’t really give a yes or no to that.
Both ASOUE and The Baby-Sitters Club are based on novels. As an actor, do you prefer having source material to work from or starting from scratch with the character?
DK: I don’t really have a preference. Like I said, I loved having the opportunity to read the books for A Series of Unfortunate Events because that really gave me a lot of insight, along with listening to the direction of Barry Sonnenfeld and all the directors and writers that we had. So, in that scenario I was really, really glad to have some source material to work on.
But then recently, I worked on The 100 with the role of ‘Luca’ and that was something where there was no source material. That was a joy too because it’s equally as fun I think to work with the directors, work with the producers to create the personality that they want. We helped each other in that process. I think that they’re both very much fun.
As you mentioned, you’re also currently recurring on The 100. Were you a fan of the show beforehand? Could you describe your character, to anyone who’s unfamiliar?
DK: I had seen the show before. Not that I wasn’t a fan but… I wasn’t following it too closely. Once I did get the audition, I started watching it. If there are prior seasons or like we talked about, source material, I like to see that. As for Luca, I think that he was meant to be sort of a relief for Madi (Lola Flanery). She had been through so much in the past seasons. At the beginning of the season, the purpose or goal was to help Madi move into a normal childhood. No spoilers, but as we saw later on in the season, it didn’t exactly work out, unfortunately.
I think Luca was written in to be a source of positivity and normality for Madi. He was a cool guy, a honest person, one that would’ve become very close with Madi had they had the chance. You know, I think one of the best parts about acting him out for me was that he started out as as this positive, happy person. A few episodes later, something tragic happens to him, his community and his family. So, it really changes him. For the remainder of the time that we have with Luca, he’s catatonic, almost unresponsive to anyone or anything. It was a really challenging but rewarding experience playing… again, it wasn’t playing two characters but it almost felt like it was because of how much someone’s personality from a traumatic scenario like that.
Obviously, the world is dealing with challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you could send a message to your fans or followers of your work, what would it be?
DK: I would tell everyone to just remember to be kind to everyone. Put life into perspective and be thankful for what we have. It’s really easy in times like this to think that everything’s unlucky and down. Just be thankful for the things you do have – family. going outside, going for walks, all the simple things. Remember that those won’t be taken away from you. Try to stay optimistic and it’ll probably be the best way that we can get all get through this.
Follow Courageous Nerd on social media:
Follow writer/Editor-in-Chief, Conor O’Brien on social media:
Follow Dylan Kingwell on social media: