THE VISION OF AN ARTIST. Actor Daniel Sharman of “Teen Wolf” and “Fear the Walking Dead” fame talks about his passion for creating art
English actor Daniel Sharman has had quite a few memorable roles, from Ares, the god of war, in “Immortals” to the defiant Isaac Lahey in MTV’s hit TV show “Teen Wolf.” This year, he joins the main cast of “Fear the Walking Dead,” the popular spin-off (and prequel) to “The Walking Dead.” His passion in acting, however, appears to be second to his passion for directing. Or perhaps “creating” better describes what Sharman aspires to do. Either way, his work in front and behind the camera are definitely not to be missed.
DA MAN: Hi, Daniel; great to have you with us. So, we’ll soon see you on season three of “Fear the Walking Dead.” How did you end up joining the show?
Daniel Sharman: I did it the old fashioned, very unexciting way. Auditioned in November then met the producers, auditioned again and was down in Mexico in December. I had to do dummy sides, so I had no idea what the part was until I was there with a spoon in my eye.
DA: Is there anything you can tell us about your character and his role in the season’s story?
DS: I really have a gift of a part. The creators and writers have formed this very complex and intricate character, Troy. He’s a cross between Iago and Tybalt, a dynamic hot head who suits the world that he now inhabits more than most. But not only have they written a survivor and hunter, but also someone who is deeply emotional and flawed. Like I said, it really is a gift to get to play those parts. So, I’m hugely in debt to the writers and creators.
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DA: What was it that really drew you to “Fear the Walking Dead” in the first place?
DS: I loved the first season. I thought it was shot beautifully and acted impeccably. I’m not much of a gore and horror fan, so the details of the characters and events really drew me into it.
“I’m a control freak when it comes to art, because I know how I want something to look or feel”
DA: Now, the first season of the show received positive reviews, but the second floundered a bit. Do you think that season three has what it takes to make “Fear the Walking Dead” great again?
DS: From what I’ve heard, they’re very excited by this season. To me, it has a great plot and some interesting turning points. We are really into what has happened after the collapse. What rises from the ashes. Which feels strangely current and relevant now…
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DA: Now that you’re part of the show, what is that you like the most about “Fear the Walking Dead”?
DS: I love the human exploration and breakdown of social norms. Any return to a more primal hunter -gatherer society. The study of anthropology has long been an obsession of mine. “Fear The Walking Dead” dumps mankind back to pre-civilization. There are endless stories you can tell in that world.
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DA: Many people see “Fear the Walking Dead” as being a commentary about immigration issues faced by the U.S. today. What do you think about this?
DS: There are some very relevant issues thrown up by this season. Some of them make for uneasy viewing due to their truth. But I don’t think any of it as being intended to be a commentary on current events. I don’t see it drumming home a point but more using observations of trends and human nature to build a plausible outcome of the collapse of civilization.
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DA: Moving on, late last year, we learned that you were chosen to play Hardin Scott in “After.” Can you tell us the story behind your involvement with the project?
DS: You know, this has been a project I thought long and hard about. And in the end I decided it wasn’t something I wanted to do. I know that whoever takes that part and runs with it will be hugely loved and famous. I just don’t feel that’s what I want to sign up for. I’d probably lose myself in it all. Having said that, being offered the role was hugely flattering. I spoke with the writers and producers and met the studio representatives. They’re going to make it, I’m sure. I just think someone who can handle the madness of such a popular book and film will grab that with both hands. That’s not me.
“Whatever gives me the creative right to be a dictator, I’ll do that”
DA: In the last couple of years, you’ve starred in and also produced a couple of short movies. What was it that motivated you to try your hand at production?
DS: Production doesn’t interest me at all. I love creating things. I preface this all by saying that I’m only beginning to make things. So, whether that’s painting or acting or directing, it fulfills me. I’m a control freak when it comes to art, because I know how I want something to look or feel. So, whatever gives me the creative right to be a dictator, I’ll do that. Collaboration is important but I think that there has to be a clear message and that involves someone’s sole artistic vision.
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DA: So far, how would you compare working behind and in front of the camera?
DS: Like I said, all of this is relatively new. But directing and writing are so exhilarating to me because you get to make something that is your vision. I like having the power to make anything feel and look the way I want it. You don’t get to do that as an actor where you are part of someone’s story. You contribute hugely and may change it for the better, but you don’t have an overview of the piece as a whole—which, eventually, is frustrating.
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DA: Besides “Fear the Walking Dead,” are you currently involved in any other film projects?
DS: I’m in the final stages of a project that I’ve created with two other people. It’s been two years and it’s almost come together. I’m excited to show people that.
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DA: What are your long-term goals for now? Or perhaps, beyond your current projects, what do you want to tackle next?
DS: I’m going to Africa with my brother. He’s going to talk to some of the trade union leaders in Tanzania. That’s a challenge I can’t wait to begin.
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