Finding a passion for acting at the tender age of 10, Toronto-born actress Claire Gagnon-King has been acting ever since. Beginning with one-act versions of Shakespeare’s plays, which she performed by herself, Gagnon-King has since joined the cast of KindaTV’s webseries All For One. Playing the loveable, optimistic, and energy-filled Portia, Gagnon-King brings humor and lightheartedness to this social butterfly.
What initially drew you to All For One?
There were so many things that drew me to All For One because the breakdown of the show that I got was pretty sweet. I think the biggest thing was that it was a modern retelling of the Three Musketeers. That was a story I’d enjoyed a lot when I was younger and I knew how exciting it was, so I was really interested in seeing how that would be adapted, especially in a web series format. I also knew that it was a vlog-style webseries and I have been quite hooked on those since The Lizzie Bennett Diaries came out.
The show is filmed very uniquely. There aren’t changes in camera angles, instead, it’s all shot from the viewpoint of a web camera and the Inseperables who are watching this vlog. What is it like filming something like that?
This is actually a cool question because I had a really interesting conversation about that with our DOP, Josh Allen. I was asking him how different it was for him to shoot the series because normally, you do have all those different angle changes, and he explained that it gave him the opportunity to be more creative with the lighting in order to keep things interesting. Acting in this kind of vlog-style webseries is much the same because your acting really does change. You have to be so much more aware of where the camera is, as it can’t find you in the scene; you have to find it. I also found we had to be careful about our positioning. We had to make sure every choice was logical and that we were playing to camera but also making it seem very natural. It was honestly a little bit more like theatre than film!
All For One deals with a lot of different issues, such as sexuality and feminism. Do you think this has helped the show garner such a large and loyal fanbase?
Goodness, there is so much discussion happening right now about the media’s representation of both sexuality and feminism and there’s such a high demand for shows that portray that representation in a positive light. To be in a show that not only has a mainly female cast, but that also deals with the topic of feminism in a very strong and unabashed way, was incredible and felt quite freeing. As for the LGBTQ+ representation, there is definitely an absence of positive stories and relationships being shown that I know a lot of the fans in different fandoms are demanding. Far too many times are queer characters treated unfairly and queer fans being baited. I really think A4O merging these two issues helped establish fans, for sure.
Portia is very much an optimist and always sees the best in people. She’s the one who is always cheering everyone else up. Do you think that this is beneficial to her, or do you think that it has its downsides?
I think at times it can be beneficial to her, because there are people that look to her to bring out the positive in certain situations. It also helps her make many friends, I’m sure! But it definitely seems like there are more downsides because it’s really easy to take advantage of a person like Portia. When you have someone who barely ever puts their own thoughts and needs first and constantly agrees to do things, it eventually burns them out completely, which we saw with Portia in episode 17. She’s a great energy to be around, but she really isn’t doing herself any good by putting others before herself. I actually saw someone post about that on Tumblr; they’d made a gif of Portia saying “Well, if it makes everyone happy, I’ll do it!” from when she agrees to be part of the distraction plan in Episode 15. Under the gif they’d said something like “Portia, honey, remember to include yourself in everyone.” which she definitely does not do enough.
Portia recently had a moment of change where she spoke up for herself and confronted the others about their scheme to take down Rick. What was it like filming that, and what do you think it means for Portia?
Wow it was so great to film that part! When I got to that moment in the script I got so excited because it really seemed like she had finally found her voice. Filming it was pretty fun because so far throughout the series, you don’t hear a whole lot from Portia. She has reactions to things here and there and has little side moments with Ariana, but you really just see her supporting the group and trying to keep everyone in good spirits. That really was her big moment in terms of realizing that she needed to stand up for herself and show the group how incredibly stupid they were being with their scheme, and it was a chance for me to show the “human” side of her, for lack of a better word. Portia is a character that is really easy to stereotype because of the things she sometimes says, so it was so great to have her point out that she is aware that everyone laughs at her and that they don’t take her seriously and that she’s more than just a sorority girl. The writers (Sarah and RJ) really gave me a wonderful gem to play with there.
If you were in Portia’s position, would you have helped take down Rick?
Honestly, I’m way too similar to Portia sometimes. I am definitely the kind of person who agrees to everything even if I think it’s a bad idea. I manage to burn myself out a lot because of how much I tend to take on. If my friends were planning to take down Rick, who let’s be real, is a totally shady character, I probably would have helped up until the whole planting meth situation. My outburst would have been much like Portia’s at that point.
Portia and Ariana recently broke up. Do you think that their relationship was building towards that moment, or was Ariana’s insistence that Portia aid in the scheme sort of a breaking point for Portia?
I think that planting meth in Rick’s office was the spark that lit the fuse in their relationship. But the fuse and explosives were already in place, if that makes sense. Portia was undoubtedly already getting tired of people laughing at her and not taking her seriously, Ariana included, but she needed something to really push her towards seeing that for herself because otherwise she would have stayed unhappy and where she was. We saw a little bit of that in the beginning of Episode 15 when she talks about how she’s having a hard time convincing the MST sisters that she’s not a total airhead. Ariana was definitely someone who had a tendency to brush her off as cute and naive, and you can’t stay in a relationship like that for very long. I’m really proud of her for being able to get out of it, because that’s not an easy thing to do for sure.
There’s a lot of Portiana love from fans on Tumblr and Twitter. Is there anything you can tease about where their relationship may be going? Should we be holding out hope that things will work out for them?
I don’t blame people for that; I’m still a huge fan of Portiana, even though they might honestly be better off without each other. Man I wish I could tease things, but all I can say is keep watching the show. There’s some really good stuff coming up, and a lot of the characters change in interesting ways. Also, keep an eye on Portia and Ariana’s social media accounts. Some stuff will be happening there that should definitely be followed.
What do you hope that the audience takes away from the show?
I think one of the biggest things we deal with in the show is really going for what you believe in. Yes, Dorothy definitely takes things to the extreme sometimes which isn’t good, but she is so strong in her convictions and she really thinks she’s doing something good in taking Rick down. She sees the injustice in the system and she can’t stand the idea of it continuing. So I really hope it shows people that you should take a stand for what you believe in, no matter how small the issue. Just you know, don’t plant meth anywhere, haha. I also know that a lot of the fans have made great online friend groups through the show because of how much we show the validity in online friendships, and that’s been a really amazing thing to see.
Since our website is called Talk Nerdy With Us, what is something nerdy about you?
Gosh, what isn’t nerdy about me? (laughs). I get really passionate about ghosts and Spider-Man. Those are probably the two nerdiest things about me. I’m not a gamer, but I was obsessed with World of Warcraft for a long time, which tends to surprise people. I’m actually a really big nerd, I’m thinking about it now and there are so many things I could list here but totally won’t…
Don’t forget to catch-up with All For One on KindaTV.