Born in Nigeria, Wole Daramola developed a passion for acting at a young age, as well as a knack for story-telling. Armed with charisma and ambition, Wole relocated to the U.S. and then Canada, intent on fulfilling his dreams. As an actor, he has been involved in a variety of projects, appearing on shows like Ghostly Encounters, Bitten and The Strain. His most well-known role is that of Mozambique in the television series XIII. I had the pleasure of chatting with Wole about his passion for movies, how he felt about Mozambique’s death and what roles he dreams of getting in the future. Check it out below!
How did you get started in the acting business?
I got started in the acting business in 2008, but I always wanted to be an actor before that. Back in Nigeria, I would watch movies, old movies, with actors like Sidney Poiter. I always told myself, “I want to do that, I wanna do what they do.” So I’d be glued to the TV and then when it was time for me to go to bed because I had to get up early in the morning to go to school, my grandma would be like “Maybe there is something that this boy is getting from watching TV…” and she would tell me to make sure I turn off the TV before I went to bed. So, at a young age, I already wanted to act. So when I got to Canada—I mean, I went to the U.S. in 2000, and I left the U.S. in 2007 and came to Canada, and most of the roles that I got were background ones, like extras, stuff like that, so that I could get a feel of what it was like to be in front of the camera. That way, if this was what I really wanted to do, I would know how it feels to be in front of the camera. So, I did that for like two years, and then I took some acting classes for training. I changed my agent because they concentrated more on modeling, which I did a little of but I wanted to focus more on acting. So, I changed my agent after three years and signed up with VWM Management in 2010. The first audition they sent me to, I got the part, so really, it worked out. It was a part for the XIII series. They were casting for a role in the second season, Mozambique. I’m from Nigeria so they really liked my audition, and then they called me back for a second time and then a third time, and then I finally got it. On my way home, I called my agent and was like, “I got the part!” and he was like “You’re kidding!” and I was like “Yeah, I got it!”
Before that, I signed up for this website called Mandy.com. They send out acting portfolios and connect people with opportunities. So, I was applying for roles on Mandy.com and doing some little projects like a music video for The Picket Brothers. I was able to an episode on Ghostly Encounter. I was able to do a small project on a movie called “Be Like Me” and other small projects, and then when I got the role on XIII, that gave me the opportunity to become a union member. When my role on XIII ended, I went for a lot of auditions and did some more training. I was able to do an episode on a show called Bitten, about vampires. I got killed pretty quickly though and was like, “Oh, man!” Then I went on to get another part on this show called The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro. It was a non-speaking role so I did it, but I didn’t like that too much. Then I auditioned for a couple more roles, but I didn’t get them. Right now is downtime for me, but I’m hoping that something will come up very soon because I’ve been going to a lot of auditions.
What was the biggest challenge that you have faced as an actor?
What I get most of the time is that I have the look, but when I get there, they will tell me that they want a certain accent, like a New York accent, and I try to make that accent possible as best as I can. What’s been difficult for me is that I can’t do certain accents the way that casting directors want, so that’s one of the things that I’ve been working on.
What has been your proudest moment as an actor?
I can’t pinpoint one….as an actor, I get to create and tell stories. When I’m in front of the camera, when I’m acting, it’s about the only thing that I can do for free. When I was a little boy, I would go to school telling people stories. I would watch a movie and then tell everyone what that movie was about. I’ve always been a storyteller, so for me, that’s my proudest moment—to be able to create and tell stories.
What appealed to you about the character Mozambique?
What I liked about him is that when I read the script, I was able to see myself as that character. He has some characteristics that are similar to mine. This guy is a smart guy and he also has a gentle side. He sympathizes with people, but he’s not a push-over. He likes to problem-solve, and also this kind of guy doesn’t like to get upset because he doesn’t know what he might do. So, those are the things that I was able to relate to, and I was like, “Oh, ok, I can definitely do this.” You know, there are just some roles that you see that you’re like “I can do that!” and with Mozambique, I believe that is what the casting director saw in me. I did what I was expected to do and then went to the casting director and asked “Can I do it my way?” and they were like “Oh, ok!” So, yeah, that role was one of the best for me.
How would you describe Mozambique’s relationship with XIII?
I think that Mozambique liked him but had his reservations about him. Sometimes with Mozambique, he might act weird. He has like this double personality and has this bad side of him that causes him to have reservations. So, he was kinda reserved about him but he liked the guy, but he also wanted to protect Betty and the rest of the guys from getting hurt.
What did you think about Mozambique’s send off on the series? Do you think it did the character justice?
Yes. He was supposed to die earlier than that, but then they prolonged the character for a bit. The way that he died, I was kind of satisfied with it to some extent because the way that they wrote it at first for the character to die, I was like, “Hmmm…” The character has this certain way about him. He’s a strong guy; he can fight people off and stuff like that. He was originally written as dying in a different way, but I talked to the writers and said, “You know, from my point of view, I don’t think he would die like a coward. He would go out like a strong dude would go out.” So the way he died, I think, did do the character justice. I kinda accepted it, but I was hoping that the character would be prolonged longer than that, but the writers’ point of view is the writers’ point of view, I guess. So I had to live with that.
You also mentioned your brief stint on the show Bitten, which I’ve watched quite a lot of; I’m kind of a vampire junkie. Were you a vampire fan before you auditioned for that show?
Yes, I was to some extent. I like all movies, but it depends on the type of horror movie—not the cut-em-up gory kind, but I think vampire movies are pretty cool. Even though they are categorized as horror movies, I like them because they have a lot of action. You have to be a strong guy to be a vampire. I like the jumping around and throwing people against the wall and stuff like that, so that for me is why I watch them.
If you could play any role/character, who would it be and why?
I’ve always wanted to play a cop, like a detective that solves cases and helps people and catches the bad guys. That is one character that I would like to play, either in a show or in a movie. Also, I’d love to play a soldier in a war movie. I have a thing for action projects and those kinds of characters. They tend to be strong characters, and I like that.
What do you hope that other actors learn from you?
You know, if someone were to come up to me and ask me how they could get into the acting business, I would ask them, “Do you want to be an actor, or do you want to be famous?” They are two different things. With acting, it sometimes requires you to work for little pay. I’d ask them, “Could you drive 10 kilometers or for two hours to get audition with the knowledge that you might not get picked for it?” and if they are like, “Uhhh, I don’t think I could do that,” I would tell them that this isn’t the profession for them. There are days when I go for auditions or get a call from Mandy.com about a project, knowing that it’s a small project and they are not paying actors and they just want you to show up and act, and I went there to do it. That’s what I would hope that others learned from me: to do it even when there is little or no people watching, because it prepares you and fosters your craft and prepares you for other opportunities when they come up. When that opportunity comes and you’re not ready, it will pass you by. If people are just going into it for the money, that is the wrong motive for this type of career.
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