In the Season 4 premiere of Falling Skies, we met an interesting new character, Kent Matthews, otherwise known as “Team Leader” at the Espheni youth re-education center where we find Matt Mason. Dakota Daulby is the young talent playing Kent, and we had a chance to speak with him about his role, joining the series in its fourth season, and his other pursuits behind the lens as a director and writer.
I wonder if you could share with us a bit about joining an established cast in the fourth season of a series, and the challenges that can pose.
It can definitely be intimidating — it is a big cast and a massive production — because they’ve been working at it a long time. When I found out that I was going to be part of this, I went on IMDB to check out who I was going to work with. It was kind of surreal to me because I’m seeing all of these actors that I’ve watched while growing up, like Doug Jones and Noah Wyle, and knowing that I’m going to work with them is crazy. When I got to set, and especially when I got to the readthrough, it was a neat feeling because I’m sitting there with all of these people — the actors in that episode, the director, producer and writers — we’re in this massive studio, and it’s kind of a cool feeling because you know you’ve earned your spot there amongst such an incredible cast. It was intimidating, but once I got there, everyone was just super nice and such a joy to work with.
Had you watched Falling Skies before joining the cast?
I’d seen it on TV and I’d auditioned for it a few times. It’s such a new [direction] for this show and for me to kick that off is a cool thing.
Are you a fan of the sci-fi genre in general?
I’m a fan of any genre really when there’s good production and it’s done well. I enjoy it all, but sci-fi is cool because the limits in which you’re held back by aren’t bound in reality, so you have aliens and so many other things that are coming out of people’s minds. Anything can happen which makes it fun as an actor.
Some of your castmates have discussed working against a green screen, or with characters / objects that are added in later. Does your role require you to do any of that type of work?
I was lucky enough to have everything that I needed right there. Everything that relates to my character I could interact with and talk to face to face. I wouldn’t mind doing both, but for this particular character, it’s a little bit different.
Our first impression of Kent is that he’s not a likeable character, although it is clear from the beginning that he’s doing what he needs to do to survive in this world. Will there be a point when we may see a different side of him, or make us feel sympathetic toward him?
That’s a funny thing. I remember when I first got the character and I was reading it and breaking it down, I never really — and I still don’t — viewed him as a bad character necessarily. I never saw him in that light until I got to set and everyone kept commenting on how evil he is. It was a funny realization for me. This guy is actually not a very good person in people’s eyes. In terms of what you’ll see with him, without giving anything away, I think he’s quite consistent in terms of his values and his beliefs. He’s very dedicated to those things.
The immediate comparison that comes to mind, and is even alluded to in the season premiere, is the comparison to the Hitler Youth during the Nazi regime. Did you notice that parallel, and did you do any research into that period in history to fuel your performance?
Yes, that was extremely apparent to me. I know a lot about that [era]; I studied history quite a bit and what went on in that time period, so off the top I already knew quite a bit in terms of what went on with the Nazis and brainwashing camps and Hitler Youth. Once I got the part, I definitely looked into it [further] because there’s a certain way that those type of people carry themselves, the way the project themselves, how they act in the way that they try to convince people. There’s a certain charisma to that. I definitely tried to model it around that. His motives may be a bit off to the audience, but I think in his mind what he believes is very true, and in a way he’s trying to help people.
In the season premiere, we see that Kent is firm without being cruel. Does that carry throughout the season, or do we see another side of him?
I don’t think that carries throughout. You will see another side, that’s for sure.
Are you prepared for the level of fan interaction, especially through social media, that comes with being a part of a sci-fi series like Falling Skies?
I’m excited for it. I’m definitely gearing up for it and I’m totally thrilled to be a part of it. The fans of these types of shows are extremely passionate about everything that goes on, and sometimes know more than you do about your character. I’m extremely excited to see where it takes me.
Is there any indication if you’ll be at any of the fan conventions along with the cast?
I’ve been talking to production and they haven’t given me a firm answer yet, but I’d love to if it comes up. I’ve done modelling at those conventions so I know quite a bit about them. The fans are super into their stuff, and the costumes are incredible. They are very dedicated and extremely passionate.
Is there a specific episode this season that you want to tease and that you’re excited for viewers to see?
I’m excited for about midway into the season. There’s some cool stuff that goes on and I have some performances that I’m quite happy about and quite proud of. I’m excited to see people’s reactions because I think their view of Kent Matthews will definitely change. Whether it’s good or bad, it will definitely leave them with a feeling of uneasiness.
You’re based in Vancouver, a city that has so many great shows in production right now. Are there any specific series that you would like to be a part of?
The 100. That’s one that I definitely have my eye on. I would love to be a part of that show. It’s a very cool premise. Arrow’s another great show. The Killing I’m quite fond of and I’m a fan of. I’d definitely like to be a part of that cast because of the incredible actors and production crew.
Are there any other projects that you’re working on that we should check out?
I have some films that are coming out that are quite different. I have a film that just won two Leo [Awards] in Vancouver, called Sitting on the Edge of Marlene. It’s about a daughter and her mother that is an alcoholic and addicted to gambling and raising her daughter in that type of environment. The character I play is named Drew and he’s trying to save the daughter, played by Paloma Kwiatkowski. My character is quite religious and passionate in that regard. In trying to save her, he finds that the world is not all peaches and rainbows.
I also recently finished a film that I’m quite excited about called Black Fly, based on a true story. It’s about a brother and his younger brother, which I play, and the brother turns out to be a serial killer. It’s our relationship with that, my [character’s] survival, and my loyalty to him as well because he’s my brother. [My character has] a moral fight within, whether he should stick by [his brother]. It’s a psychological thriller and I’m really happy with it.
I’m also starting the other aspect of my career which is writing and directing. I think it’s important, especially for a young guy. I’m not [good] at waiting so I like to take [my career] in my own hands. Every artist should think about making their own stuff happen. I’ll be directing a film that I co-wrote this September.
Because you are also pursuing writing and directing in addition to acting, do you find that it has an influence on your performance in front of the camera? Are you more aware of certain things that if you had never stepped behind the camera?
Yes. When you start to understand every different side of the lens … you start to understand the different aspects of it and how everything has to combine and flow perfectly for a film or a show to work. You start to understand what your writers and what your directors are looking for and gives you more insight into your [performance] and what they need from you.
Photo Courtesy of TNT