Gabriel Darku – Grateful

Words + Interview By Lucky Smith 

Gabriel Darku is an actor who has appeared in a few TV series such as “Shadowhunters”, “Reboot: The Guardian Code” and “Impulse”. During our conversation, we spoke about what he learned while attending the Toronto Film School, his career, working on the TV series “Slasher” and more. Gabriel can currently be seen starring as Geoff Allen in Netflix’s “October Faction”.

How did you catch the acting bug? 
When I was in high school I had the opportunity to enter a contest for McDonald’s employees to star in their next commercial. I ended up being one of the winners and found myself working on a set for the first time. That’s definitely where I caught that bug. Once I started film school I fell completely in love with the craft. 

Name 3 things that you learned about the film industry or life while attending the Toronto Film School. 
Right away I learned just how collaborative the process of filmmaking is. There are so many different departments and roles to play by so many different people, which makes the final product that much more special. I also learned that the film industry is harsh and can easily chew you up and spit you back out. But, I believe the most important thing I learned was the importance of empathy, not just for the work but for life in general. Empathy is what truly connects us and allows us to relate to someone else’s emotions in a given situation. I’ve come to cherish this sense within myself and further understand what the world could do with more empathy. 

What has been the hardest thing for you overcome in the world of Hollywood and what advice would you give other aspiring entertainers? 
Rejection and unemployment are absolutely the biggest struggles most aspiring entertainers will be dealing with from the get go. Never hearing back from casting no matter how great you thought your audition was. Not knowing where your next pay solid paycheck is coming from, let alone when. During times like this, it’s very important to make sure you’re attentive of your mental health because that sense of rejection can be very hard to handle. Something I did was learn to view the audition as the job. Get in there and show them what I got then on to the next one. This keeps me looking forward to the next audition, continuously excited to show what I can do rather than continually waiting by the phone just eating away at my own emotions while I wait for a callback or an offer. Another piece of advice would be to create your own content! We live in an era of unprecedented technology and there are so many ways to create your own content and get it out to consumers. If you’re struggling to find work then make your own work! We’re not just entertainers, we’re creatives. So create! 

Tell us about “October Faction” and your role as Geoff Allen. 
October Faction is a story about a family of monster hunters, based on the graphic novel series of the same name. In the show, Fred and Deloris are career monster hunters, hiding their true identity from their children Geoff and Viv who are now dealing with yet another relocation and attending a new school. My character Geoff is the more boisterous one of the group, very charismatic. Also very blunt — he’s definitely not afraid to speak his mind about whatever is bothering him. Still young and developing, he’s fairly self-absorbed at this point in his life, ready to finish high school and take on the world, yet at the same time he’s dependant on the relationship he has with his family, specifically his sister Viv. This is the reason I love the show so much — despite all the fantasy elements, it’s really a show about family, these characters and the relationships they have with each other, and how they navigate the waves through all the turmoil they’re about to face.

In real life would you or have you ever tried a “real life séance”? 
I don’t think I am brave enough to try something like that, lol. I may not be religious but I definitely believe in the supernatural. Very much like Viv expressed in a scene with Cathy, just because we don’t yet understand it doesn’t mean it can’t be explained. That being said, I have no interest in disturbing the dead.When I was much younger I once expressed interest in trying a Ouija board and my mother warned me not to do it. She had apparently tried it with some friends when she was a teen and it didn’t go well and that’s all I needed to hear to keep me away from that stuff. 

Speaking of Sci-Fi, monsters, zombies and things of that nature, one thing that is happening in real life right now is this Covid-19 issue. Being that it has gotten pretty serious, what are your thoughts on it? 
It’s definitely got me worried. Not for the end of the world, we should all know that humanity will live through this just fine. But the impact will undoubtedly be huge, especially in terms of confronting all the broken parts of our social and economic system currently being exposed. A lot of low-income citizens are going to really struggle through this and beyond that I’m obviously worried about the health and safety of everyone exposed to this virus. I myself have asthma as well as multiple members of my family, who also happen to be immunocompromised. The idea that you passing on the virus could mean someone else’s suffering is a terrible truth and it’s one of the many reasons why social distancing at this time is so very important. If we want to lessen the impact this will have on us all, we need to be taking the warnings from health officials seriously. If everyone stays inside and does their part to follow the proper protocols, we should be just fine. To be honest, I’m looking forward to seeing how to governments of the world will act after this is all over. Will they better prepare themselves for the next inevitable outbreak? What about climate change? Will they start taking the warnings from professionals seriously? Probably not, but it’s worth hoping for.

The NBA has just announced that they are cancelling the rest of the season for this reason. As a former athlete, how do you think it will affect the fans? 
As much as I love playing sports and competing, I’m not huge on watching sports through the television or following entire seasons. For me, I won’t even notice it. I know it’s going to affect a lot of people simply because now they’ve got my free time than ever to sit at home and watch a game, so its absence will be even more noticeable for them. But, it’s a necessary move. We can’t have players infecting each other, let alone pack a stadium with thousands of people. That would just be irresponsible. 

Let’s talk about “Slasher”. Break that down for us. 
Slasher is a horror anthology series on Netflix which I was fortunate to be a part of for its third season, Solstice. The story is about a young man who was murdered on the property of an apartment complex and a lot of his neighbors were, at some point, witnesses to what happened. Then, on the one year anniversary of that attack, the same killer reappears and begins to pick off the witnesses. If you’re a fan of the classic horror genre (and not at all squeamish) then you’ll love this show. I myself am a fan of horror and had been wanting to do a horror project, so getting this role was a big check off my career bucket list. Something I’m particularly proud of about that show, specifically our season, is the diversity. The representation is awesome and it’s exactly what we need to see more of in this industry. 

Was it a conscious effort to work in the Sci-Fi and Horror genres or did that just happen? Are those your preferences? 
That’s something that just happened. We’re seeing a lot of fantasy and Sci-Fi material being made right now so I do get submitted to audition for a lot of these projects. That being said, my favorite genre is undoubtedly drama. But, despite the fact that I can turn down any job I don’t want, I’m not going to turn it down based on genre. I would have to really be sick of doing it for that to happen. If I like the story and the material, I’m more than happy to get working. When I reach a point in my career where I have multiple offers on the table at once, then I can be picky on what genres I want to focus on. 

Netflix has made a lot of great strides and has become a household name. How do you feel about the programming it is producing overall? 
Netflix has been doing a phenomenal job of creating content that people want to see. They’re making serious efforts when it comes to representation and telling stories from perspectives other than a white American. They’ve also been giving a lot of opportunities to new talent in the industry, which is a far cry from studios constantly recasting the same faces for every movie. I’m very proud to have been a part of many of their shows and look forward to working more with them and watching how they continue to evolve from here. 

What are your “Top 5” Netflix Originals? 
Man, I’m terrible at picking favorites. Let’s see. Altered Carbon definitely makes the list. I am very excited to watch season two. I also LOVE Explained, such a genius concept and VERY educational. The Seven Deadly Sins is an absolutely favorite, as well as the much loved Stranger Things. Also, literally last week I finished The Witcher and I’m HOOKED so that has to go on the list as well. 

What are some of your other hobbies? 
I love music. I can play both drums and guitar. I don’t have a drum kit but I do own multiple guitars, although I admit I haven’t been practicing lately. Perhaps I’ll get back into it now that I’m stuck at home for a while! I also have a thing for fitness being a former athlete and all. I also enjoy the Yi-Gi-Oh card game. I collect cards when I can and I’m fairly interested in competing in tournaments at some point. A hobby that I would love to get more into would be photography. I recently got into it and found that I have a pretty decent eye for photos. Cameras interest me a lot and that’s definitely an area of filmmaking that I would love to explore in the future. 

What is your favorite video game of all time and why? 
Oh man, that’s a REALLY tough question. Like I said, I’m bad at picking favorites so let’s go with my favorite I’ve played in the last year; Red Dead Redemption 2. The production quality is absolutely insane. It’s just so well done and it all looks and feels so real and immersive. The story is well written, the dialogue is INSANELY well executed and the amount of attention to the details are what really made me fall in love with this game. 

Lastly, what are the 3 things that you will never understand? 
Racism, sexism and homophobia.

Follow Gabriel Darku on Instagram @gabrieldarku.

Photo By: Megan Vincent

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