Years of hard work are beginning to pay off for former Penticton actor Darren Mann, who played a lead role in the film Giant Little Ones which premiered at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).
A graduate from Penticton Secondary School in 2007, Mann has been devoting his time and energy since then into his blossoming acting career. He said while he’s happy with where his journey has taken him, it has been a long road.
“You just have to take it one step at a time. If you want something bad enough then you just gotta keep searching for a door that will open. I struggled for years as an actor in Vancouver, taking whatever side job that wouldn’t fire me for leaving for auditions that most likely I wasn’t going to get,” said Mann. “But if it’s what you’re meant to do and what you want to do, then there’s always a way to do it.
“You just gotta keep your head up and keep going for it and never stop trying to get better.”
Mann’s role in Giant Little Ones, which began production in Ontario in 2017 and was directed by Keith Behrman, is lead character Franky Winter’s best friend, Ballas Kohl. The Canadian drama film centers around these two teenage boys and an incident at a party that upends their friendship and adolescent lives.
“I don’t know if it’s coincidence or not but I’m just kind of drawn to those antagonistic-type characters. They’re the most interesting to me,” said Mann. “Not always, but often there’s just so much going on for them (and you have) to figure out what makes them do what they do. And it’s a lot of fun, so I’m always drawn to those types of characters.”
Mann’s character is a competitive swimmer, something he was able to relate to during the filming process as he was an athlete throughout high school. In the film, Kohl initiates a homosexual act with Winter which backfires, leading him to blame the entire experience on Winter.
“The writing for the film was so good, as soon as I read it the first time, I knew right away that it was something that I wanted to work on,” said Mann. “There’s a lot there for me to work with that Keith, our director, gave us. He’s an athlete as well so that were some things that I could pull from my life.
“Really, I just like to try and create that character and go on the journey with him. And great writing gives us the legs to do that.”
Mann said he’s proud of the work he did for the film, noting that it’s overall plot is an important one that needs to be addressed.
“I just hope the movie continues to get seen because I think it’s a really great message that keeps sending with the film,” said Mann. “I hope more people can see it so it can affect a lot more people positively.”
The film first premiered at TIFF in September 2018, an experience Mann said he appreciated to be a part of.
“So much stuff nowadays goes straight to streaming (online) or DVD, so to see it get a theatrical release in Canada and the US is pretty special. I’m really happy and proud to be a part of it,” said Mann.
Mann said he recently finished filming another movie in Alabama, U.S., titled Embattled, in which he plays the lead role. He said it features a “backdrop of mixed martial arts” so it was another opportunity for him to tap into his past experience as an athlete.
“Hopefully it will come out at the end of this year. Then you will see me a bit in season 2 of The Chilling Adventure of Sabrina that came out on April 5,” said Mann.
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