Talk Nerdy With Us recently caught up with Canadian actor Craig Arnold, who is best known for Degrassi: The Next Generation, Heartland and Wet Bum, to discuss his newest project Ashes. Ashes is a coming of age story that deals with love, loss, and friendship. Keep reading to find out more about Craig and his Ashes’ character Zach.
Tell us about how you get involved in acting? What made you want to become an actor?
I started playing guitar in bands when I was about 13 years old and that started my interest in the arts. It was a few years later that I acted in a school play and really fell in love with acting. There were so many similarities between music and acting. You need to find your voice through the song you’re playing or the script you’re performing, you bring yourself to it. I always loved that, and I still do.
What was the very first part (professional or not) you played?
Mike in The Love Course by A.R. Gurney at Lawrence Park C.I. in Toronto
Have you studied acting, or had an acting coach?
I’ve trained at Armstrong Acting Studios in Toronto with Salvatore Antonio for years, he’s a fantastic teacher and I highly recommend him!!
Tell us about how you got involved with the film Ashes?
Dalmar (Abuzeid), Ray (Ablack), Jake (Raymond) and I went to Wasaga Beach two summers ago for the weekend and I think it inspired this idea for the script in Jake’s head. He ended up writing the script really quickly and sent it out to us soon after. It was nice because he wrote the characters with us in mind so the script was a great fit from the start.
What did you originally think when Jake pitched the story/started writing the script?
I thought it was great. I knew he was putting a lot of thought and effort in to it and he really wanted to get our group together to make something special.
What can you tell us about Zach?
Zach is Liam’s childhood friend. They’ve been through a lot together and in Ashes Zach needs to help Liam get through a really tough time, while dealing with his own issues.
How are you similar and different from him?
Zach is a lot of fun, so I hope that’s a similarity haha. But he also can also be a bit immature and say the wrong things at the wrong time.
How and when did you meet Jake Raymond?
My girlfriend, Julia Baldwin who plays Claire in Ashes, was taking a class with him. We went out after one of their classes and have been friends ever since.
Who from the (Ashes) cast did you not know prior to filming?
I knew everyone except for Tanya Bevan who plays Sam.
What was your favorite off-set Ashes story?
Our director, Dan Slater, told me a joke that should definitely NOT be repeated. It KILLED me. I couldn’t stop laughing. You’ll have to ask him what it was… it involves Sylvester Stallone. (laughs).
Switching gears a bit will we see Jeff again on Heartland?
I actually don’t think I’m allowed to say!
What was your audition process like for Degrassi?
Degrassi was long. My first audition was for Mike Dallas, who was played by Demetrius Joyette. It went well and I did a callback. Then a few days went by and they called me in for Luke Baker. I did one audition for Luke and got the part a few days later. That was a good phone call!
The audition process for Heartland was pretty simple. I did one audition in Toronto and that was it.
Besides Ashes, do you have any other projects you’re currently working on?
I’m auditioning for some new projects but nothing right this second.
Our website is called Talk Nerdy With Us, so what do you “nerd-out” about? What makes you nerdy?
I love blues music, and guitars. I don’t really know what it is about it, it’s just always been so attractive to me. I like the real soulful stuff. Sam Cooke, B.B. King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, John Lee Hooker, Keb Mo, Muddy Waters and the list goes on.
Degrassi character (excluding Luke) – Imogen
Degrassi Episode – Never Ever, Season 12
Ashes character (excluding Zach) – Bobby, played by Dalmar Abuzeid
Star Wars character – BB-8
Motorcycle brand – Royal Enfield
Season – Spring
Sports team – Toronto Raptors, Blue Jays and Maple Leafs
Meal – Sushi
CD of 2015 – If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late
Superhero – Batman
Super villain – The Joker