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  • Writer's pictureSophie Stekel

Big Fish in Vancouver's Casting Pool

David Kaye

David Kaye is nothing like his character in Prodigals. He is not a killer and he is certainly not a psychopath. On the contrary. 

On the telephone cross-country from Whistler, Kaye speaks with excitement and panache, making it abundantly clear that he is a nice guy who is proud of his work and loves what he does.

Kaye is in the majestic Canadian Rockies at the Whistler Film Festival for the premiere of his new film Prodigals. In the movie, Kaye plays Benny, a suspected killer on trial for murder.

According to Mia Kaye, “David was not the star, but he fully stole the show.” 

Kaye had an influential hand in making Prodigals. Not only did he deliver a stellar performance, but his Vancouver-based production company Whiskaye films co-produced the film as well. It was the first feature film that the company has ever worked on. Kaye and his business partner/fellow cast member Jameson Parker (who started in the original stage production) absolutely loved the play written by Sean Minogue, and jointly decided to help bring it to life. 

“It was a deep learning curve,” Kaye says, “It was pretty much like 4 years from the time we decided to turn the play into a movie to the premiere.” It was a tremendous challenge that now enables Kaye to continue to search out exciting projects that he can now produce as well as perform in.

Producing was one of the only areas of the business that was novel to Kaye. Kaye began acting at the age of four and has not stopped since. 

David Kaye has an impressive resume, showing a high caliber of talent for a wide variety of roles with different demands. He has guest starred in television shows like Supernatural, done cartoon voice work for Firehouse Tales and Sabrina: Secrets of a Teenage Witch, and worked in feature films and plays, loving all types of acting for different reasons.

Playing Samuel Decker in Legends of the Fall in 1994 kickstarted Kaye’s memory. He claims that he vividly remembers hanging out with co-star Brad Pitt between takes who taught him how to skip a stone at the river and threw him his very first surprise birthday party. Kaye says: “I have a picture of me and him and the cake. It was lots of fun.” 

Despite this premature breakout role, the average Vancouverite may not recognize Kaye at the grocery store. “If I do get recognized,” Kaye says, “it’s really novel because I’m such an obscure person.” 

This obscurity could be due to his ever-changing look which Kaye says “maybe isn’t so good for my branding.” 

Within the industry, Kaye is known to be a sort of chameleon because he is able to drastically change his physical appearance from role to role. For his role in Prodigals, Kaye gained 20 pounds of muscle, had three different hairstyles, and sometimes sported a beard. For the film Cadence, he had a weird facial hair style, and in his role on Siren, he had close cropped hair and a bushy beard. 

Kaye uses this talent of changing his looks in his personal life too. He often can’t resist trying to see how long his friends take to recognize him in social settings.

Although he has the west coast part down, some may say he lives a bit too far north to climb the next step for increased success in the movie biz. 

Kaye begs to differ. According to Kaye, Vancouver is the new film industry epicentre. Shows like Riverdale, Arrow, The Good Doctor and The Flash are currently filming in Vancouver. The Hollywood film executives have long recognized that the strength of the American dollar compared to our weak Loonie and the terrific tax incentives make Canada an ideal location to do business. 

Kaye has deliberately not relocated to LA because he is concerned about getting lost in the sea of wannabe actors looking for their “big break”. Kaye has a strategy: “There is such a large amount of people in the casting pool in LA. I’d rather build my momentum in a smaller casting pool (Vancouver) and then go down there as a bigger name, instead of going down there as a nobody.”

Whiskaye Films creates a pro-active opportunity for Kaye to rebel from the ‘struggling actor’ stereotype. He is not waiting tables in Beverly Hills like other millennial actors while they anxiously await a ‘the call’ from Hollywood casting directors. He is always working on a film project in one capacity or another. Kaye has made a conscious decision to take control of finding success and making his own dreams come true on his own terms.

When it comes down to it, Kaye goes back to say that Prodigals is a movie about second chances. He says, “Whether or not somebody deserves a second chance or whether or not being deserving comes into the equation, there are a lot of characters in the movie that all either get or don’t get a second chance at something in their lives.”

And speaking of second chances, Kaye says, “I’d love the opportunity to work with Anthony Hopkins again if that opportunity ever arises again. And I would be like ‘Hey you played my grandfather 20 some odd years ago. What’s up? I’m still acting!’

Prodigals comes out in Canada January 1, 2018.  

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