Actor Gabriel Darku has a series currently available on Netflix called October Faction. He has also had roles in American Gods (as a young Shadow Moon), Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments and Reboot: The Guardian Code just to name a few. The series is about monster hunters Fred (J.C. MacKenzie) and Deloris Allen (Tamara Taylor) who hide their identities as members of a covert syndicate while their teenage kids, Geoff (Darku) and Viv (Aurora Burghart), are forced to live in a town trapped in the past. October Faction is based on the comics by Steve Niles and Damien Worm.
We got to chat with Gabriel about his new monster-hunting, supernatural series, October Faction and his character, Geoff. Gabriel also told us about the unique way he got into acting, what it means to be an artist and why it’s important to stay humble.
Audrey Kearns: I read that you got into acting by entering a contest for McDonalds’ employees to be in a commercial. You were one of seven employees who won a spot in the commercial! That’s pretty amazing. What was it about that whole experience, (the casting, shooting and seeing the final product) that made you want to continue in the entertainment field?
Gabriel Darku: Everything about that experience made me what to pursue a job in this industry. I think the juxtaposition of what I thought I wanted to do at the time (engineering) and what I was doing and seeing on that set made me really think about what I would enjoy more. And sitting down at a desk doing paperwork definitely lost that one. Even if I didn’t end up an actor, getting paid to operate a camera on set or even doing physical labor on set was definitely something I could see myself doing. But I enjoyed being in front of the camera so much, I ended up going in that direction.
Did you know immediately? Or did you do some soul searching about pursuing acting?
I definitely sat with the contemplation in my head for a while. Once senior year started and I really had to think about my next steps, I realized more and more that acting would be so ideal for me. So I ended up auditioning for Toronto Film School, and after doing that audition I knew I was going in the right direction. I got accepted, and it was during my time at TFS that I developed a real passion for the craft.
How was Toronto Film School for you? What was one thing you learned in your studies about acting that was totally unexpected for you.
I really enjoyed my time at TFS. They are all hands on with their programs, and you feel very immersed in a creative environment. Something that I didn’t catch onto early on but that hit me later, was just how demanding acting is, and the physical, mental, and emotional toll it can take on the performer. It was eye opening to understand just how real a situation can feel to an actor, and how hard it can be to let go of those emotions afterwards.
Let’s talk October Faction! Tell us about the show and your character, Geoff Allen.
October Faction is a story about Fred and Deloris Allen, members of an elite organization that protects the world from monsters, and their children Geoff and Viv, who don’t yet know the truth of what their parents do for a living. There’s lots of monsters and magic, but the real focus of the show is the relationships between the characters, and watching how they cope with their struggles. My character Geoff is the more boisterous of the group. Witty, smart, definitely not afraid to tell it like it is. He has plenty of self confidence, and lives his life openly and honestly. Whether it be his sexuality or his family name, he’s the type of person that will own it proudly. It’s very interesting to watch this person go through turmoil in his relationships because it makes you realize that despite his strong personality traits, he’s not that independent and he really needs to feel like he belongs.
How excited were you when you found out that you were auditioning for a show with monster hunters!?
Pretty excited! I’ve always been a big fan of sci-fi so anytime I get auditions for these kinds of shows I’m that much more pumped. I’ve been a fan of Supernatural for a while and so the idea of monster hunting definitely appealed to me!
What did you do to prepare for the role? Did you read the comic books that the show is based on?
Due to the pace on which we start started production, I took my prep day by day, scene by scene. Breaking down the scripts, associating with the material, discussions about the characters with my co-stars, even meditation. Unfortunately I was not familiar with the comics before starting, but I did end up grabbing the first issues within the first few weeks. It definitely helped me understand the world we were playing in, and the dynamics within the family.
What about Geoff Allen makes you proud?
His openness and his honesty. He doesn’t care for fake people, and he hates when people aren’t up front with him. He’ll never sell himself out to please others. That’s something anyone would be very proud of.
October Faction is not your first supernatural/genre show. Do you find genre shows more exciting to work on?
They can definitely be a lot of fun that’s for sure, but I don’t think they’re necessarily more exciting to work on. I’m still doing the same job. I love what I do, and I’d be just as excited to do a courthouse drama as I would be to do a monster hunting shoot-em-up.
What’s one thing that you’ve learned on set that has made you a better person?
I learned early on that it’s very easy as an actor to let all the attention go to your head. Lead cast members are often treated like royalty on a set, and this can have a negative influence on certain people, especially young actors. Having experienced it, ensuring I remain humble is now all the more important to me.
What do you like to do to decompress?
I play a lot of video games. For the same reason I love watching fantasy content; immersing yourself in another world, getting to escape reality and it’s stresses. Working out is also a really good way for me to decompress, as is listening to the right music.
Thanks for chatting with us Gabriel!
Check out the October Faction trailer below and if you finish the series and want to check out more of Gabriel Darku’s work, he can also be seen in another Netflix series, the anthology horror show Slasher as Connor Rijkers.
This interview was originally published 2/20/20
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