Mr.Smith Goes To Hollywood(North)

By Charelle Evelyn on June 25 2014

IF GETTING ATTACKED
BY A CGI CREATURE
WHILE YOU HAVE YOUR
JUNK OUT IS A RITE
OF PASSAGE FOR A
SUCCESSFUL ACTOR,
THEN MADISON SMITH IS
WELL ON HIS WAY TO A
PROSPEROUS CAREER.

 

It’s hard to stand out in a film that’s already called Chupacabra vs. the Alamo, but Smith goes down in the annals of TV history with the memorable part of “young, horny teen who gets his penis bitten off by a chupacabra” in last year’s Syfy venture. Spoiler alert: he didn’t make it. But hey, neither did fellow Kelowna-born actor Taylor Kitsch, who met an untimely end while smoking up and attempting to join the Mile High Club in Snakes on a Plane. Raised in Prince George, Smith, 24, didn’t have time for the dramatic arts given his busy sport schedule. He played hockey and baseball his whole life, up until the point he decided he was going to give acting a shot.

“I always had plans to go to post-secondary school, but baseball was the biggest reason I was going,” said Smith, who played two years at Okanagan College. When he decided to hang up his cleats in 2011, he was at a bit of a crossroads. It was his mother who suggested he finally give in to the acting bug. “I can’t believe I’m one of the people that’s lucky enough to have parents to have told me to pursue this dream rather than the ones who say ‘Why don’t you have a realistic goal?” Within three months, Smith was enrolled at the Vancouver Academy of Dramatic Arts (VADA) for a six-month program that he said taught him some key lessons about being an actor – specifically how manoeuvre the tricky world of being on a set. “If it wasn’t for VADA, it would have been a huge learning curve,” Smith said. 

He got to use those skills for his first gig in 2012, booking a role in the Kelowna-filmed TV movie A Mother’s Nightmare. He was technically late to the party, learning about the casting and sending in his headshot and resume a day after casting had ended, but he was so perfect for the part that (especially given that he looked so much like lead actor Grant Gustin, which was a key plot point) that he was hired. Since that first role, Smith has gone on to play the supporting lead in Canadian thriller Evangeline, which is currently on the festival circuit as well as the opportunity of a lifetime – to close out one of his favourite TV series, Psych. The USA network’s fauxclairvoyant detective comedy ended its eight-season run this spring with Smith playing the role of lead character Shawn Spencer’s replacement.

“If I never book anything again, in my mind I’m a successful actor, because I got to tell that story,” said Smith. “That, for me, is the best part.” A VADA instructor once told Smith that you know you’re an actor when you start telling people you are, and that’s something he’s taken to heart. Though he works at the Cactus Club to pay the bills between roles, Smith doesn’t say he’s pursuing acting – he’s doing it. And like his hockey scout father used to say about finding talent in smaller northern B.C. communities, Smith believes it doesn’t matter where you’re from because if you’re good enough, the world will know you. “Being an actor in Canada, you have to put in your time, put in your work and people will find you eventually,” Smith said. “As much as it’s tough to wait, you’ve got to know it’s worth it. The people who try for a bit and eventually give up, that’s not for me. I want to be happy I’ve made it, not take for granted what I get.

CHARELLE EVELYN

REPORTER FOR THE PRINCE GEORGE CITIZEN

Journalist, west coast native, music lover. Made in Canada.

A2014Norm Coyne