Ontario-native actress Gwenlyn Cumyn got her start in acting attending theatre school at George Brown College. Dabbling in both theatre and acting, her roster includes roles in Changing Valentine, The Village Green, Pure Pwange, and more. Most recently, Gwenlyn has taken on the role of Dorothy Castlemore, a brash, ambitious, and smart college student in All For One.
I recently had the opportunity to interview Gwenlyn about her role, the impact All For One has, and more.
What drew you to the role of Dorothy? She’s very impulsive and sort of just puts it all out there. She doesn’t hold back.
The most fun thing about acting is getting to play people you could never be in real life, and Dorothy is like a modern swashbuckler. What could be more fun than that?! Naïve, spontaneous, wears her heart on her sleeve and fearless, there’s nothing that didn’t draw me to Dorothy.
Are you anything like Dorothy?
To be honest, not really. I would never make it as a musketeer. Which is why it’s so fun to get to play her! I’ve never punched a person in my life, I think about what I say, and I strive to have her bravery. According to Pottermore, I’m a Slytherin (a very difficult discovery for me), not a Gryffindor like Dorothy. On the other hand, most of her clothes are mine, and I wear my hair in a topknot all the time. (laughs).
You went to theatre school. How would you compare your experiences there to the experiences that Dorothy has at college?
I would’ve been kicked out so fast if I skipped as many classes as Dorothy does. In a conservatory theatre school, there isn’t that “you’re your own boss” feel that most people get for the first time in college. There’s always someone monitoring your progress. And with classes six days a week, I wouldn’t have had time to pull off any schemes, so thank goodness there weren’t any high reaching conspiracies for me to bring down. None that I know of at any rate…
Your character is bisexual, something that really isn’t represented all that much in the media right now, especially as the lead role. How does it feel to be taking on that role of representing a community that is undeniably underrepresented?
I didn’t realize to what extent bisexuals were underrepresented until being in this show pointed it out for me, and I feel guilty that this realization came so late, especially considering I am bisexual myself. Alice Pieszecki was just about the only bi character I had to look up to growing up, and Chasing Amy was a really important movie to me. It seems like the fans are way ahead of me in terms of bi pride, and it’s been an honour and learning experience to be a part of such a groundbreaking show.
All For One deals with a lot of different issues, all things that are very present in the younger generation right now. It touches on sexuality, feminism, the legitimacy of online friendships, and college life in general. How important do you think these issues are to the series and to Dorothy in particular?
These issues are the series! I don’t know what All For One would be about if not for all these coming of age themes facing youth today. Ugh, I sound like such an old fogey saying “youth today.” (laughs). Feminism and the Inseparables are really the things that make this adaptation stand out, and differentiate it from the original books, besides the obvious time change. In a way, the notion of sisterhood, feminism and “wake up and smell the estrogen” has replaced the fraternity that was so important to Dumas’ Musketeers. Sexuality has always been a vital part of The Three Musketeers. Betrayal and heartbreak touches Dorothy and D’artagnon alike, but the Inseparables serve as a whole other support group for Dorothy. I like to think she offers them similar support?…
Dorothy recently found out that Miller was working with Rick behind her back. How will that affect her going forward?
It’s definitely been a setback for Dorothy. Having her trust broken like that, and realizing that she’s let all her friends down has forced Dorothy into a moment of self-reflection. Which is a… new thing for her. But fear not! Dorothy doesn’t get bogged down for too long. She’ll be back with a vengeance, literally.
The show is set up really uniquely; it’s all taking place through a vlog and the viewers are actually the viewers watching Dorothy, her online friends dubbed “The Inseparables.” How do you think that affects the audience’s relationship to the characters and the show?
This is another element that didn’t feel like a big deal when we were shooting, but has ended up being one of the most fascinating parts of the show. I barely got to see the “chatties” when prepping, and only really interacted with the ones I had to respond to, and to be honest, if felt weird talking to no one. Kind of like talking into a disconnected phone. But ultimately, seeing them on the show, the Inseparables feel like the most relatable characters. After all, they are also audience members. When you’re watching a horror movie, and you scream at the characters “Don’t go into the basement” the Inseparables actually get to do that. It’s cathartic to see someone saying what you’re thinking.
What do you hope that the audience takes away from the show?
Ultimately I hope we’ve created a compelling, relatable story! And obviously, I hope everyone takes to heart All For One’s moral: Don’t trust anyone that has two names. Unless one of them is a username. You know what? Just don’t trust Miller. (laughs).
Do you ship Dornie (Dorothy and Connie)?
All the way. So hard.
Would you consider yourself to be a nerd? If so, what are you nerdy about?
Growing up I certainly felt like a nerd! My neighbours and I painstakingly made 5 feature-length Harry Potter movies throughout middle school and high school. I can nerd out pretty hard about TV, podcasts, and Victorian literature. I feel intimidated in this information age though, like I’m a nerd poser. There’s so much I don’t know, and it’s hard to call myself an expert in anything.
Don’t forget to catch all new episodes of All For One on KindaTV.