Vancouver actor Wesley MacInnes understands what it's like to be lured to the dark side. He played the murderous supervillain Icicle on the TV series Smallville, another bad guy on the Showcase sci-fi series Continuum and an-up-and-coming country musician on CBC's Heartland. A singer-songwriter in his own right, MacInnes talked to the Courier about why he keeps getting cast as a villain, the trials and tribulations of being a country musician in Vancouver and his achingly heartfelt performance in Vampire Diaries as Peeing Guy #1.
1. Does having red hair have anything to do with why you get so many bad guy roles?
I'd say the hair plays. For Continuum, one of the producers definitely remarked on the inherent evil of us fiery redheads. On Smallville, my hair was bleached to white 11 times in about six weeks. That'll make just about anyone go bad.
2. What kind of discrimination have you encountered for being a redhead?
Growing up as a chubby redheaded kid is a barrel of laughs. Although it is tough at times not having a soul.
3. Apparently, Canucks goalie and redhead Cory Schneider does not like being called a "ginger." What are your feelings about the term?
I think I use the term "ginger" more than most. Can't trust the lot of us, really. I had a funny thing happen to me regarding that word and the Canucks though. I was leaving Rogers Arena after the first game of the Sharks series against the Canucks in 2011 and we had won the game. I was wearing a Canucks jersey and there was another fan on the street corner in a Canucks jersey giving high fives to everyone. When I went to high five him he stopped and was like, "No way man. You're a ginger." I was going to say something, but then realized that he was A) dead serious, B) wearing a Sedin jersey, and C) completely unaware of how funny I found this. Perhaps he and [Raffi] Torres can have a chat one day.
4. Going from the plaid shirt, jeans and farm-friendly world of Heartland to the futuristic sci-fi setting of Continuum, did you have to get into a different kind of headspace?
For sure. The location change is actually quite helpful. Heartland shoots outside of Calgary where I grew up. It has a very laid back southern Alberta feel, both on and off set, which comes in handy. Whereas my parts on Continuum were shot in South Delta, in part amidst flaming wreckage and explosions going off. Makes the whole changeup a lot easier.
5. Does your acting career influence the type of songs you write as a musician?
Certainly the experiences from time to time make their way over. The acting puts me in situations and locations that I otherwise wouldn't be in. Though more specifically, one song off of my recent album was written from the point of view of a character I was playing at the time. It just fit. Drum roll for the shameless plug... you can check it out here at wesmack.com.
6. Is it difficult being a country musician in Vancouver?
Being a country musician in Vancouver certainly is interesting. I sometimes think I can hear a subsonic grinding of teeth noise coming from Main Street when I tell someone I play country music. That aside though, I think in the end you just have to go after what you like and not worry too much about how every single person might view it. Beyond that I'm also finding that there is a lot more awesome country music being made out here in Vancouver then you might guess.
7. According to IMDb.com, one of your first roles was Peeing Guy #1 in Vampire Diaries. What kind of preparation went into that role?
Ah, the infamous Peeing Guy #1 role. Where to begin? First off, when auditioning to be a peeing guy (which in fact required an audition and then a call-back on another day) I also read to be "Make out guy," which at the time seemed more appealing, though that part later got cut... politics I'm sure. As for the acting, it was really all about being in the moment and just letting it go (speaking literally of course). Incidentally, Peeing Guy #2 was played by Curtis Lum, who I was reunited with on Continuum where we took a walk down memory lane... with shotguns.
8. At the time, did you worry you'd forever be typecast as a Peeing Guy?
I think I already have been... my friends still quote me back my line: "Whoa! Pants down, chick!!!" which makes about as much sense now as it did when I said it.
9. Is that the strangest role you've ever had?
In terms of strangeness in the acting world I think peeing guy was pretty much par for the course. I did a play a number of years ago that was a sequel to Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream where I played a split personality version of the fairy Puck/Robin Goodfellow whilst wearing no shirt and maintaining a ludicrous affinity for malicious jazz hands. So... you know... the usual.
10. Do you have any more bad guy roles on the horizon?
Right now I'm doing a lot for writing and recording with a handful of writers and producers in and around Vancouver getting my next album pieced together. I'll let the villainy go for a while and just try not to shout at anyone. Though if there's an NHL lockout, all bets are off.