Omari Newton Interview
We would like to thank Omari for the time he spent answering our questions and we wish him the very best for the future!
How many members of the cast and crew did you get to meet? And how well did you get on?
Because my scene was a one on one with Joris he is the only actor I met on set. Montreal has a pretty small acting community though and I was familiar with many on the other actors from auditions, plays, workshops and seeing their work on screen. The atmosphere on set was fantastic. The director was very supportive and gave me the green light to run with my choices. The crew was also great. Everyone was very professional.
Did you know anything about the show prior to filming your stint on the show?
I heard whispers about Vampire High but Dalton was my first audition for the show. I guess I did something right in the audition because I was booked after my first read. I didn't know it at the time but this very rarely happens in TV and film. Normally an actor is subjected to any number of callbacks before he is given a role.
Although your appearance in the show was only brief, did you enjoy your time on Vampire High?
I really enjoyed my time on Vampire High! It was the first role I landed on a TV series and my biggest role on film or TV at the time. I had a few one liners in some obscure TV movies but getting to play an actual character with a full name was awesome. The fact that the character was pivotal in the story of one of the lead Vampires was an added bonus.
What was it like working with Joris Jarsky?
Working with Joris was great. He is a real actor's actor who I had heard great things about through friends at the National Theatre School of Canada. We were also represented by the same agency at the time. ( RMH Talent in Montreal, I am still with them today. ) We share a common background in theatre ( I started off doing plays in Montreal and took drama courses at Concordia University) and I think that helped us both connect to our objectives, obstacles and the arc of the scene pretty quickly. ( Man... that last sentence sounded REALLY WANKY... sorry guys but it's true... ) He was very focused and prepared and really helped me dive right into their world.
Are there any particular actors or actresses, either from Vampire High or just in general, that you would like to work with?
Brace yourself. I am inspired by a lot of actors...
Most of my favorite actors are Brits actually, and I am not just saying that to suck up to your readers. Daniel Dae Lewis, Kate Blanchette, Judy Dench, Ben Kingsley, Ray Winstone (Sexy beast is one of my all time faves) Gary Oldman, Anthony Hopkins. There are far too many great british actors to name them all!
There are also some North American actors I admire. Denzel, Geoffrey Wright, Don Cheadle, Forrest Whitaker, Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep are all great American actors who I would be honored to work with. Tyronne Benskin, Nigel Shawn Williams, Graham Cuthbertson, Joe Cobden, Allan Morgan, John Murphy and Simon Bradbury are all Canadian actors who I am inspired by (Simon Bradbury is originally from England I think but he lives in Vancouver now so we will happily draft him to our team.) You guys have probably never heard of the Canadian but I urge you to google them. Most of them are quite multidimensional. They are actors, writers and directors as well.
Did you realize at the time how important your role was to the character of Marty (played by Joris)?
I did get a chance to read the whole script so I knew Dalton had a key role in Marty's life. I also knew Marty was one of the leads so I was pretty happy about landing this as my first TV gig.
What made Vampire High such an original show? And even though it only made a small impact in the television word, what has made it stick with the fans nearly ten years after it first aired?
Pop culture has had a long fascination with Vampires. From countless Dracula remakes, the success of Anne Rice's novels, Buffy the Vampire slayer, Angel etc. I think Vampire high was a bit ahead of it's time by choosing to deal with teenaged vampires rather than the suave, self assured adults who normally represent Vampires in pop culture. Given the success of Twilight and the Vampire Diaries I think if Vampire High were made today it would be a big hit.
What did you think of Vampire High as a television show?
I thought it was a great show. The stories were interesting, the acting was solid and it looked great. They really managed to capture a gloomy ambience that set the tone for the series. I am also a big fan of Sci Fi/Fantasy myself. I grew up watching Dr Who, Dark Shadows American Gothic and Star Trek.
Was is scary to play the character as this was your first television role?
I was INSANELY anxious before we started shooting! I was quite overwhelmed being on a film set for the first time. There are so many people from different departments around, all types of equipment, lights wires. I wasn't about to admit that I had never done this before so I just tried to play it cool. Since my character was supposed to be in a state of fear and anxiety the makeup department splashed water all over me so I looked like I had been sweating. Well, I was already sweating buckets because I WAS in a state of fear and anxiety! A puddle ended up forming around me. When the director called action I was supposed to run onto the set and dive behind a couch like you see in the episode. When I was given my cue I tried to run, slipped and fell face first onto the ground! I held out the vintage gun they had given me to brace myself and ended up putting a large, noticeable crack in the wood... Everyone had a well earned laugh at my expense. The gun had to be replaced. After that self imposed humiliation everything went amazingly well. This was my television debut...
What have you been up to since Vampire High?
Since Vampire High I have done a number of plays, TV shows and films.( I wont list my resume but those who are interested can find it at the link posted below.) After finishing my BA in communication studies from Concordia University I moved from Montreal to Vancouver where I currently reside. Most recently I have been working on a new TV series on "Spike TV" called " Blue Mountain State ". It is a raunchy half hour comedy about college football. I play Larry Summer. He is a senior member of the Blue Mountain State Goats. For all you Sci Fi/Fantasy fans out there, the show features Sam Jones III ( Pete Ross) and Alan Ritchson (Aqua-man) of Smallville fame.
Thanks a lot for all the great questions. This was a lot of fun.
All the best.