Talk Nerdy With Us had the pleasure of chatting with Canadian actor Joe Dinicol. Joe is best known for his roles on Betas, The L.A. Complex, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, The Virgin Suicides and Diary of the Dead. Keep reading to see what Joe had to say about joining the cast of Grey’s Anatomy and reuniting with writer/creator Martin Gero for NBC’s hit new series Blindspot.
How did you originally get into acting ?
I was born into a family of actors. My grandfather on my Mom’s side was an actor in England and then in Canada. My Dad was an actor as well, or still is an actor. I kind of got it from all sides. I grew up in a town called Stratford, Ontario where they have the biggest Shakespearean theater festival in North America, and I was in the Company when I was a kid. I’ve just kind of always been around it.
What’s your favorite Shakespeare play?
I love Othello. It’s probably my favorite. It’s intense. It can be funny. It’s also very streamlined. It’s a smaller show. It’s just a very lean show, and I love that play. There are a lot of great speeches in it too.
What was your audition process like for Grey’s Anatomy?
Surprisingly fairly simple actually. They play their cards pretty close to their chest, and I auditioned for what I thought was just an episode. I didn’t really know much about it and then ended up kind of being invited back a number of times. I think they kind of build things as they go and see where they want to take the show as it grows. Grey’s has been on a long time, and I think they have a pretty good grasp of what they need on the show, what’s missing, and kind of build it as it happens. It was one of the simpler processes that I’ve ever been a part of. It was, I think, one audition, and that was it.
For season 12, did they tell you how many episodes they wanted you around for?
No. Like I said, they play things pretty close to the chest. I’ll be in and out, and we’ll see. If they need to keep me around, I’ll sure I’ll be there, (laughs) and if not, they’ve got no shortage of amazing actors on the show! I’m happy to be around as much as I am, and if they want to keep me around, that’d be wonderful, but we’ll see! They’ve got a lot of story to tell, and a lot of amazing people on the show.
What was it like joining a cast that had been around for 11 years?
It’s cool. It’s rare, certainly having come up in Canada, where shows typically don’t last that long or even remotely that long. Especially to be on something that so many people watch, it’s just such a cool thing. My sister, who is quite a hilarious cynic, is crazy about the show, and she just lost her mind. (Laughs). People really know Grey’s, and it’s been a big part of their lives for a long time, and so to be a part of something like that is … especially nowadays in television, it’s just getting more and more rare for shows to be around for that long and to have that kind of reach. It’s a real privilege to get to be around that.
Once you got the part, did you go back and watch any of episodes to kind of familiarize yourself with the original characters who you’d be working with?
Yeah, I watched the first sort of handful of episodes, and actually our first couple of episodes directly mirrored the pilot, so it was kind of cool to go back and see. The sort of head doctor was doing the same speech she did in the pilot, so it was nice to kind of see the original show and see what they were kind of trying to replicate a little bit and show sort of a new group of people who were going to come in and hopefully take a similar kind of journey. Yeah, I went back and watched the first 4 or 5 episodes to kind of familiarize myself with the show.
We’ve heard that the medical terminology can be the hardest part of Grey’s, but what’s the most challenging part for you about playing an intern?
The medical jargon is tough. But, there’s a lot of surgeries on the show, there’s a lot of technical stuff to actually physically do, and also to sort of fit in to that world is hard. Like I said, there’s a lot of very talented people on the show and often scenes will be a great number of those people in one scene. So you’re just trying to find your footing and trying to find your place within that world, and all while making it look like you’ve been to medical school, and you know how to be a doctor, so there’s always a lot involved in the air, which is challenging but also a lot of fun to have. It’s not often as actors, you get to sort of do so much, to have to come in a take someone’s pulse and then do an ultrasound and check the monitors and to be able to sort of have all these things that you have to do, it’s a nice challenge.
It can be very stressful, but it’s also a lot of fun to try to … it’s almost like doing a play, like you’re learning so much blocking. Once you’ve hit your stride, it’s actually a lot of fun. It actually gets you out of your head to have so much physical business to do while trying to connect with people and be in the scene. It’s challenging, but it’s a lot of fun.
In the last episode, your character had to cut into a brain but had difficulties doing that, so what’s one body part that you would never want to cut into?
Brain’s a good start! (Laughs). It didn’t require a lot of substitution work. The technical advisors and the medical advisors on the show are amazing. You really get a sense of what it is that you’re doing, so I don’t know. An eyeball seems equally as disgusting to cut through, but the brain is up there, number 1 or number 2 at least.
I know this is a loaded question, but what is your personal favorite Canadian TV show?
My personal favorite Canadian TV show? I was on my favorite TV show. I love the LA Complex a lot. Short of that, I would say Slings and Arrows (it’s based on the town I grew up in), which I think is probably up there as number 1, but I have a soft spot for the LA Complex because I was in it, and we all loved doing it so much.
Speaking on LA Complex, you’re working with Martin (Gero) again, have you guys talked about what Nick is up to, like while on the set of Blindspot, have you talked about LA Complex at all?
Yeah, we always talk about it! There’s a good LA Complex contingent on the show. There’s Brendan Gall, who wrote on the show. Chris Pozzebon who also wrote on LA Complex. They’re all working on Blindspot, so it’s a nice little reunion crew of us. What is Nick up to? I don’t know. There’s always some jokes that I’m maybe playing a relative of his, but that’s … there’s a lot of jokes going around. Who knows what ends up making it into the writers’ room. We’ll see, but, yeah, we talk fondly about the LA Complex and that experience because it was such a special one for all of us.
For Blindspot, was it also a normal audition or did Martin kind of reach out to you? How did that come up?
Yeah, Martin sort of reached out to me and said he had a thing he thought I would be right for, and then we sort of went through the channels of getting approved by everyone at the network and whatnot. But, it was certainly a little different from most of the jobs I get due to the fact that Martin is a fan and a friend and thought I would be so right for the job. He’s the big boss guy, he gets to have a little more sway than I do certainly in these scenarios so … yeah, it was a nice little reprieve from the normal auditioning process, but I feel like in some way, I’ve been auditioning for Martin since we started the LA Complex, so I feel like I’ve done a lot of that work already. (Laughs).
Your role was kept under wraps and nobody knew who you were playing, but now we’ve met David. Will he be sticking around?
I can’t say anything about that. I don’t want to ruin it! A big part of Blindpsot is experiencing the mystery of the whole thing. You’ll get a good dose of me for sure, and how long I’ll be around for is … I don’t want to spoil it because that’s part of what makes the show a fun ride.
Besides Blindspot and Grey’s Anatomy, what else are you currently working on?
Not much really. I write stuff with my friends and take classes. I live the work of a jobber actor in Los Angeles, constantly auditioning and looking for the next step. Right now, I’m lucky to have a couple of gigs which keep me fairly busy. However, you can always be busier, so it’s just always looking for the next thing. Right now, other than the 2 shows, nothing is set in stone, but I’m just trying to find the next thing.
Since our website is called Talk Nerdy with Us, what do you nerd out about or what makes you a nerd?
Oh, man. I’m a big Batman guy! I’m a big Back to the Future guy. I’m trying to think what else … I’m actually a big comedy nerd. My biggest obsession is stand up comedy, so I’m pretty obsessive and nerdy about comedy. I think that fits into that category.
Who is your favorite stand up comedian?
It’s hard for it not to be Luis, but I don’t know. There’s so many great comedians. I love Pete Holmes. He is probably my favorite right now. I love his podcasts, and his stuff is so joyful and hilarious and so full of energy. He’s also sort of spiritual and … I don’t know. He makes me think and feel and all that stuff in a really joyful way which is sort of rare in comedians. I’d say probably Pete Holmes right now.