Since starting out in acting, Dylan Kingwell has appeared in many screen roles around the world including The Returned in 2015 and more recently as Steve Murphy in season one of The Good Doctor, which stars British actor Freddie Highmore. Last year, Netflix began airing the new series of Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events, and alongside Neil Patrick Harris in the role of Count Olaf, Dylan can be seen playing the characters Duncan and Quigley Quagmire. Answering our questions, Dylan tells us about appearing in The Good Doctor, acting alongside the many disguises of Count Olaf and his preparation before a role.
You play Duncan and Quigley Quagmire in A Series Of Unfortunate Events, what’s it like on set of the Netflix series?
A Series Of Unfortunate Events was a great show to work on, and the sets were one of the best parts. Things like the self-sustaining hot air mobile home from The Vile Village were so cool to see in person (yes, they actually built it!). It was also cool to work on a show where there are lots of other kids around, because it gave me the chance to make some really good friends that I would not have met otherwise. I enjoy being on any set, but A Series Of Unfortunate Events definitely stood out to me, and I will always cherish the time I got to spend on set.
Can you tell us about the Quagmires?
The Quagmires are in a situation very similar to the Baudelaires. They had lost their house, their parents, and even their brother, and ended up living in the Orphan Shack. That is, until the Baudelaires arrived, when they got upgraded to a broom closet. The Quagmires immediately understood the situation the Baudelaires were in, and made it clear that they were on their side from the start. Duncan and Isadora were immediately loyal to the Baudelaires, even going so far as disguising themselves as Violet and Klaus and pulling a bag of flour dressed as Sunny so that the three Baudelaires could pass their exams. Even though they didn’t know Duncan and Isadora long enough, the Baudelaires recognised them as their best friends. Their unwavering loyalty and selflessness towards their friends really sets the Quagmires apart.
How much do you remember from your first day on set of the show?
My first day on set of A Series Of Unfortunate Events was in Series 1, Episode 7. It was particularly exciting because I got to play two characters that day. We would do one scene where I would do my lines as Duncan and a body double would be Quigley, then, once we finished the scene, I would change into Quigley’s clothes and Quigley’s hair and deliver Quigley’s lines. I remember it being fast-paced and lots of fun. Also exciting was that I got to work alongside Cobie Smulders, and I was a huge fan of her role on How I Met Your Mother. All in all, it was a great day and definitely set the bar for many more days to come on A Series Of Unfortunate Events.
Had you worked with any of the cast or crew in previous roles?
Yes, I had worked with one of the assistant directors before on The Returned, as well as one of the people in the props department, also from The Returned. Additionally, I had done a pilot with Rose Lam, one of the executive producers of the show.
How was it seeing and acting alongside Neil Patrick Harris when he was in different disguises?
Working with Neil and seeing him in all of his whimsical disguises was a super cool experience, and one I will definitely cherish forever. Not only was he a very nice person, but a brilliant actor whose performances were a pleasure to watch.
Have you had a wrap party for the end of filming?
Yes, we did have an end of filming wrap at Barry Sonnenfeld’s apartment. It was a really great celebration of everyone’s accomplishments over the past couple years on the show, and I was so thankful that we could get together one last time before everyone went home.
Did the author ‘Lemony Snicket’ visit the set of the production?
I believe he did visit the set numerous times, however I met Daniel Handler, who wrote the series under the pen name of Lemony Snicket, at the read-through for Series 2. It was really cool to meet him, as I had read the books once I found out I booked the role on the show, and thoroughly enjoyed them.
What drew you to the role of Steve Murphy in The Good Doctor?
I remember reading the storyline that was in the email I got for my audition, and being immediately intrigued. Since Shaun didn’t really have many people to turn to during his school years, I knew that playing his brother would be very interesting, because portraying such a close bond between two people would definitely challenge my acting skills.
How long were you filming your role?
For the pilot of the show I believe I worked for four or five days in April of last year, and then, after the show was picked up, I probably worked somewhere between fifteen and twenty days in August and September.
You also played Evan Gallico, how different was it playing the two characters?
The interesting thing about playing the two characters was, while they are two different people, they were very similar, and not just in terms of looks. I believe that Shaun is initially drawn to Evan because of his resemblance to Steve, but eventually it’s not just Evan’s looks that remind Shaun of his brother. For example, when Shaun finds out that Evan reads the dictionary, and instantly remembers Steve reading him words such as callipygian. There is an obvious connection between the characters. For me though, the biggest difference was playing a character who was alive, and not just from a flashback. That meant sharing scenes with other cast members of the show which was a very fun experience and one from which I learned a lot.
What was your involvement in the storyline of Supernatural?
On Supernatural, Series 11, Episode 8, I played the role of Young Sam. In the episode, Sam’s brother, Dean, called Sam last minute telling him that he could come hunting with him and his dad. When Sam finds out, he abandons his imaginary friend, Sully, in favour of hunting. The scene where Sam ran away was a good challenge for my acting. I am very thankful for my involvement in the show, and I ended up winning a Joey Award for my performance, which was a super cool experience!
Can you tell us about The Returned?
The Returned was based off of the Emmy award-winning show, Les Revenants, and followed the storyline of multiple people who found themselves coming back from the dead. As the show progresses, the audience gets a look at the backstory of every one of these individuals, including how they died and who they were. My character, Victor, was just a lost little boy at first glance. However, throughout the series, more and more is discovered about Victor, including the fact that he has some sort of powers that allow him to control people’s minds and make them see things which make horrible things happen that change the audience’s opinion of him. It was my first experience in a series regular role on a TV show, and I instantly liked the feeling of family you get with the cast and crew after months of working together. The Returned was definitely the project that made me want to pursue more TV and film roles.
What was the experience like on the set of Tim Burton’s Big Eyes?
Working on Big Eyes was a very cool opportunity. Tim Burton was a very good director, always keeping everyone on task and making sure that people knew what they were doing and that things were getting done well and on time. I also got to meet Amy Adams while I was on that set, who is a wonderful actress and a very easy person to talk to. That was definitely a highlight for me.
How do you prepare for a role?
When I’m going into an audition, I like to research what I’m auditioning for and if the story is based on anything, such as a book series. If so, I find my character in the original series. I believe this research definitely helped me get the role of Duncan Quagmire on A Series Of Unfortunate Events, as I already knew a bit about the character when I went into the room. After I book a role, I read the script and try and figure out how I’m going to play the scenes that are included. I rely on the research I have done about the character, bring my own instincts into play and work with the notes from the director to bring the character to life.
How was it filming for various commercials including Nintendo 3DS and as voiceover for Samsung?
Commercials, for me, were a great way for me to become familiar with the acting world and working on sets. Over the four or five years that I did lots of commercials, I learned as much as I could about acting, everything from the job of the sound department to how to work the camera to what a dolly is. Additionally, I learned the appropriate way to behave on sets, things like when it’s okay to talk, knowing the difference between when it’s okay to joke around a bit and when it’s time to focus and get the job done. These experiences prepared me very well for roles like The Returned and A Series Of Unfortunate Events, where I was on set for weeks or even months at a time.
When did you get into acting?
I started acting about ten years ago, when I was four, after my mom heard an ad on the radio for a casting call. Although this wasn’t right for us, eventually this lead me to meeting my agent Lissa Lloyd and I have worked with Lloyd Talent since the beginning. She sent me for my first commercial audition and I ended up booking it within two weeks of starting.
Are you able to tell us your acting plans now you’ve finished filming A Series of Unfortunate Events?
In the future, I hope to get a lead role in a feature film or TV show, and continue learning more and more about the different aspects of the business.
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