orangism.com

Check out our interview with CW’s new series “Family Law” actor Zach Smadu who can be seen opposite Jewel Staite and Victor Garber. Season two and three have already been shot and are scheduled to air in Canada and globally next year. Zach is an avid chef, loves travel and fitness and is a huge reader and is super passionate about sharing books and ideas. He is also passionate about donating blood and advocates for blood cancers and stem cell research due to his father having been diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow).

Follow Zach @zachsmadu

Hi Zach, please tell us a little about you?

I’m a prairie boy born and raised in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. I’m the middle child of three. My mom is a Registered Nurse, and my dad is a Teacher. I’m very close to my family. When I’m not working on anything related to acting, you can find me experimenting and cooking something fun in the kitchen. I seem to have a lot of energy that I need to burn off daily, either at the gym, practicing yoga, or being outside running, swimming, or cycling. I’m also an avid reader and have a serious collection of boardgames.

Describe yourself in 3 words?

Disciplined. Open. Positive.

How did you get started into acting?

I started in theatre at ten, doing Shakespeare believe it or not. This led me to join a company called “Do It With Class,” dedicated to exposing young artists to the world of professional stage work and musical theatre. I spent my entire youth with this company, building up my singing, dancing, and acting skills while performing in multiple productions a year. It’s really where I fell in love with acting.

How has this changed your life? 

I mean, it’s given me a purpose. Acting and performing generally have been an outlet for my self-exploration, as cheesy as that sounds. Outside of my family, it’s been my life’s most significant driving force. It’s dictated the type of people I gravitate towards and call friends, it’s responsible for how I occupy my time every day, and it even provides me with a lens through which to manage the world as an Artist.

What is the best and worst part of being an actor?

The best part is that I get to play around for a living. I get to explore different facets of myself, think differently, and examine how other people live. It’s fun! The worst part is that there is often very little rhyme or reason to why you get work, nor any guarantee that you will. The acting world can be fickle in consistency, and you need thick skin. Luckily, I come from a long line of farmers who were made resilient by every unknown harvest or drought, so persistence is kind of in my blood.

How do you prepare for a role?

In general, there is basic foundational character work that I always do for each role. It’s the questions you must answer to understand who the character is deeply and the world they exist in. But after that, what other work I may do depends entirely on the role! And I think that’s part of the fun for me. Because no show or character is the same, you can try new things to bring them to life. Sometimes developing a character’s voice and specific physicality is important to me, or maybe it’s creating a playlist that he would listen to. It’s often just listening to my gut on what I feel could bring it to life.

Tell us about your work in the CW’s new series Family Law?

I play Daniel Svensson, a lawyer in his father’s prestigious Vancouver law firm. From the onset, he’s forced to work alongside his half-sister, Abby, whom he’s never met. After blowing up her marriage and professional life as a lawyer, she’s in a crisis and has no other place to land. Along with Daniel’s other younger half-sister Lucy, all three of them are forced to navigate professional and familial relationships, all while helping other families in crisis at the firm. And it’s funny!

What other projects have you been part of?

Fortunately, there’s been a lot, so I’ll only highlight a few that stand out for me. On the dark and cold detective drama “Cardinal,” I played Detective Ash Kular for three seasons. I got to be a space geologist on the hit sci-fi show “The Expanse,” which was so much fun filming crazy special effects on rough sets. And maybe my guest star role on the DC comic book show “Titans” because of all the insane action and stunt work I got to do.

What roles do you like or would like to play and why?

Honestly, I like to change it up a lot. I don’t particularly want to stick to one kind of thing, so if I can do something that I’ve never done—I’m in! Whether it’s a period piece set in the 1800s or a role that requires me to be a non-verbal caveman, I’m in. Working on “Family Law” for the past three seasons has been a dream job because of everyone involved in the show, from my cast mates to the crew. We’re like family, so I’d continue to do this show for another three seasons if they’ll have us! Other than that, my inner child wants me to lead a serious action or sci-fi feature because I grew up watching those types of films!

What is the most rewarding part of your work?

The people I get to work with. I’ve met some of this field’s most incredible, grounded, adventurous, and creative people. I’m constantly in awe of them and feel lucky to be in their company.

What’s your advice for the newer actors? 

It’s hard to advise without knowing someone specifically, but in general: Keep going and work as hard as you possibly can. If you want to do this, you’ll find a way. It’s about persistence and growth. You need to know that you never fully arrive, so you must continue to develop yourself and your skills. That being said, separating your self-worth from acting is essential, meaning your joy and happiness aren’t dictated by whether you’re working or not. Comparing yourself to others is a trap, and playing that game constantly will do your head in. Run your own race. The thing that will support you on this marathon is being grounded and surrounded by great people.

What would you say are the greatest lessons you learned so far in this business?

There is no one way to do this. There are multiple paths. And if you’re patient enough and are pursuing acting because of the joy of the artistry and challenge, you can’t lose. If you only want to be rich and famous, trust me, there are way more accessible ways to get rich and fame is fair-weather.

How would your best friend describe you?

They would say something about being dedicated and persistent. Yet, despite my work ethic, I don’t take myself too seriously. They surely know how much my family means to me and how they are truly valued in my life as friends. I try to make quality time for those I’m close to. Whether by phone calls, boardgames nights, or hosting dinner parties—regardless of the activity, I put much value on being present. I’d assume they’d say something in that vein.

If you are a book, what would be the title of the book and why?

Great question. I love books. Oh boy, maybe “Prairie Giant”??? hahaha (For readers who don’t know, that’s a term for those iconic grain elevators that stand out in small towns across the flat prairie skyline.) Where I grew up and the people I was surrounded by seriously impacted how I see and act in the world, hence the “Prairie.” And “Giant” well…I’m tall. And the hope is always that your impact can be significant and meaningful. And it probably speaks to my ambition because if you’re going to aim at anything, you should set your sights on the highest, brightest star.

What advice would you give to your younger self and why?

I’d tell him to stop waiting for people to tell him what to do. It’s not about being invited; it’s about showing up. There was a period after theatre school when I was so used to being guided by teachers and instructors on the next “thing” to do or work on. And once out in the real world, waiting for my agent to call to give me “permission” to start working was a waste of time. It wasn’t until years later that I learned how to do the work I needed to do on my own. It’s made all the difference.

What book should every entrepreneur read?

“The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield

What’s next for Zach Smadu in the last months of 2022 and for 2023?

We wrapped shooting Season 3 of “Family Law” in early Fall, so I did some travelling in Europe with my girlfriend for about five weeks. For me, it’s vital to fill the well with food, travel, and friends after working so hard. My co-star Jewel and I just did an extensive Family Law press tour for Latin America which was fun. And as always, there are a few potential projects in the air. Part of the fun is never knowing what I’ll be up to a week from now.

What is your favorite healthy food?  

The simple answer is vegetables! I eat a garden’s worth every day, and there’s nothing quite like fresh sliced tomatoes with a bit of olive oil and salt. WOW!

And your favorite cheat food?  

Pizza 100%. It would also be my last meal if I had the choice.

What is your own definition of happiness?

Happiness is transitory but comes from pursuing and engaging with something meaningful.

If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?

I want to meet any of my great-grandparents. I would like to see further back into where I come from. I’d love to talk with them and learn about their life events, decisions, and why. I’d love to witness their behaviour, how they speak and their mannerisms and see how much of them are alive in me. I want to thank them, despite the certain hardships they faced, for the life I get to live now.

Best advice ever given?

“Stop worrying so much about other people liking you. Most people don’t even like themselves.”

Where do you see yourself and your career in 5 years from now?

I see the trajectory trending up. I’m unsure what that looks like because who knows in this industry? And there’s that joke: If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. But, I’m confident in my attitude, work ethic and tenacity, and as Curtis Mayfield says, “I’m going to keep on keeping on.”  I’ll continue to act. (Hopefully, a few more seasons of Family Law will be included). I’m interested in writing and making a film, but that’s a whole new itch to scratch. And I’ve had the impulse to return to the stage, maybe even musical theatre again, so I may have some singing and dancing in my future.

Favorite song? Why?

That’s too hard. I’d say one of my favourite songs is “Into the Mystic” by Van Morrison. It’s beautifully written, calming, and inspirational, yet it has a little angst to it, and it’s an excellent karaoke jam to crack out.

What do you think of Social Media?

I don’t. Suppose I spend five minutes on it weekly; that’s too much for me. I’m a bit weird with it all because I’m private. I can see its purpose on some level—yes, it’s cool to connect with people you know or don’t know and have a glimpse into their lives or interact with them. But if I’m being honest, I think the cons outweigh most benefits. It’s such a distraction and time-sucker—the digital Bermuda Triangle of attention—and your attention and focus are a massive part of your well-being. We all know the benefits of a healthy diet, the food you eat matters. It impacts you. Your attention is the same thing. Pay attention to what you’re attending to. It matters.

Where we can follow you?

Oh god, the worst follow-up question to my answer above, haha. @zachsmadu on all platforms.

Speed Round – Favorites

Book: That’s not fair. Too many to pick between. But I’d answer with my most recently read favourites:

Fiction: “A Gentleman in Moscow” by Amor Towles
Non-Fiction: “Breath” by James Nestor

Quote: “Fortunate are we who have been chosen to be tested, even put down and doubted, so that we might be challenged to go where we would have never gone, to see not who we are, but who we were meant to be.” Teddy Atlas

Movie: Spaceballs

Tv Series: The Wire

Favourite Food: There is a Vietnamese pancake called “Banh Xeo.” It’s incredible.

Travel Destination: Portugal

Sports Team: The Toronto Blue Jays

 


 

Photo credit: Richie Lubaton