Sebastian Deery: The Use of Acting as a Catharsis
A great performance can prove to be an emotional release for any viewer. However, what is often forgotten is how important a great performance can be for the actual artist themselves. Character actor Sebastian Deery has become one of Toronto’s most acclaimed independent film actors, because of his ability to take on the utmost challenging of roles with every fibre of his being. One notable example is his work in the short Hole, which dominated various festival and awards circuits; this includes a Canadian Screen Award win for Best Live Action Short Drama (as well as a Toronto International Film Festival screening). Deery has connected with fans and members of the indie community in a variety of ways, including his ever-active account on the image-sharing website Imgur (his account is Ophiukus, in case you want to follow).
Deery’s successes come from a place of hardship. “The raw version of it is that I was homeless from the age of 14 [to] 18”, Deery told me. Having battled with addiction and vagrancy, Deery looked towards the arts and the act of giving for solace. “I escaped homelessness by leading a charity, which got me into music college”, Deery continued; he then followed this up by stating he was in a band that was signed “right out of college”. At the age of twenty five, Deery finally pursued acting. “[E]very day is a blessing”, Deery said, when it comes to his success in the independent film industry. This is all after Deery worked up “the courage” to become a performer.
Now, many of Deery’s passions get mixed together. He has starred in a variety of music videos, including for artists Ed Sheeran, Billy Talent, and Fall Out Boy. He continues to share his on-set experiences online, with a resonating response. He is still taking over the Toronto acting scene, this time with two new films on their way (Beyond Hell, which is finished production, and Absolute Anger, which is still in its production stages). After hard work and dedication, Sebastian Deery has been a magnet and an inspiration to many. With so much happening with Deery in his personal and professional lives, he is grateful. “[T]he future is exciting, but perhaps a little more so given where I’ve come from,” he concluded, after telling me his history. Seeing as Deery granted me the opportunity to ask him about his experiences, I aim to help continue to spread his impulse with you.
Films Fatale: What would you like the readers to know about you and your story?
Sebastian Deery: There’s an expression in film that goes something like “Show them, don’t tell them.” I’m really not invested at all in what people think of me, but I stand by my work.
FF: In what way have you found the arts a catharsis?
SD: I’ve often said that acting is the first drug we ever take, even before spinning around until we get dizzy. I‘m a junkie. I get high from an intense scene executed with brutal honesty, and I can be intolerable when I can’t do it every day.
FF: What particular aspects of the acting industry do you think the public misunderstands the most?
SD: “Pay me $10M and I’d have a six pack and learn to dance and sword fight, too.”
Do it first, do it alone, do it broke; then maybe someone will pay you to do it again.
“If you want to do something the world has never seen then you must do the work when nobody is watching.”
FF: You have two new works coming out: Beyond Hell and Absolute Anger. How would you describe them to the readers?
SD: Beyond Hell: an 80’s b-movie style stoner horror film drizzled with brilliantly bad music and super cheesy special effects.
Suggested pairings: LSD, A big gulp and some nerds.
Absolute Anger: A sex and drug fuelled one-man war against himself.
Suggested pairings: Red bull and cocaine.
FF: How do you feel about the Canadian film/television industries? Are there improvements that can be made? Are there benefits that are being overlooked?
SD: I don’t know anything about the Canadian film industry, while I hear that expression a lot I’m not entirely sure what it means. All of the major film studios are American studios, Big Canadian shows/movies hire American actors, “Canadian content” really just means “no immigrants” or at least “American accent” which is as un-Canadian as it gets, and as soon as anyone out here gets big... where do they go?
I’m happy in this city, and grateful for the thousands of individuals from all over the world I have been fortunate enough to work with here in Toronto.
I wish more people felt the same.
FF: What has been your favourite festival circuit that you have been a part of?
SD: Seeing my movie “Hole” at TIFF was pretty special.
FF: We like to send interviews off with the most basic question, based on why we are all cinephiles. What are your top five films of all time, and why?
The Dark Knight, 300, Human Centipede II, Life is Beautiful, Drop Dead Fred, Gangs of New York
SD: You know... good movies. They are all the pinnacle of their genre.
Films Fatale thanks Sebastian Deery for his time. Be sure to check out Beyond Hell and Absolute Anger in the near future. You can find Sebastian Deery’s complete IMDb profile here.
Andreas Babiolakis has a Masters degree in Film and Photography Preservation and Collections management from Ryerson University, as well as a Bachelors degree in Cinema Studies from York University. His favourite times of year are the Criterion Collection flash sales and the annual Toronto International Film Festival.