VASILIOS FILIPPAKIS is excited for the premier of the Shadowlands gay series where the world will be ale to discover an array of relationship dynamics within gay culture.
Vasilios is a Toronto based actor born in Windsor Ontario. After graduating from theatre school at York University, he has trained with many coaches across Toronto ranging in technique and continues working to deepen his craft.
When Vasilios is not training or creating his own work, you may see him in a soon to be released feature film “The Lone Paddler”, or in commercials for Swiss Chalet, Gradifi, or Kit-Kat to name a few.
Tell us about your story in the new Shadowlands gay series. What were the main challenges and fears you had in your role?
Vasilios Filippakis: In Shadowlands, the story I am in is called “Mating Season”, which explores the boundaries of a monogamous relationship. A gay couple takes a few days in the woods for a romantic camping trip when they meet a harmless man who has been camping for some time .
It turns out, the man isn’t exactly as he appears ( I don’t want to give anything away). This aspect is something I really considered while preparing for this role. As real as “Daniel” (the character I played) is there are many elements of mystery with him that were interesting to find spots to incorporate into the script.
Honestly, I didn’t have many fears going into filming this project, it was all excitement. The ONE thing that was difficult was trying to be sexy in that really cold water. We really tried our best.
How much of yourself goes into a character?
Vasilios Filippakis: I always try to put as much of myself into all my work and characters. I think as a human with years of life experience you can find many correlations between your real life and the one that is depicted on the script. Sure there are some stretches here, for example, playing a murderer, but even in that case a person is much more than a killer.
You still have other human qualities that make you whole, and those are things that I look to explore and pull when creating. I believe that the best performances come from things I grab from my experience. In this case it’s all about love, loss, hope, reflection and finding peace, all things that I as Vasilios can live authentically in the moment because they are things that I feel naturally.
How much were you able to relate your own experiences to create your character? And how much did you have to research or imagine?
Vasilios Filippakis: I could relate to my character’s experience a lot. Daniel really struggled with the idea of being loved and accepted. I think that we all have had that in our lives.
He has this monologue about a past love that was “the one” for him. Again, I think everyone has a similar story to Daniel and has or will feel love the way he did.
Each story or episode is unique and has its own world of characters, time and place. And yet there are connections between them. Were you aware of these connections while filming or was it a surprise to learn later?
Vasilios Filippakis: Honestly, I wasn’t really aware of any of this until we started filming. I remember in rehearsal Charlie David was framing a shot to mimic one that is shown in the third episode. It was all a surprise until I saw the final edits and saw all three episode after each other. I think this will be fun for the audience to discover!
Romance between men and between women was common place and written about in Greek and Roman mythology. Many of the stories in the Shadowlands book were inspired by these ancient myths. Why is it important to continue sharing these types of stories today?
Vasilios Filippakis: It’s important to share these stories because love is love, no matter the time, place or gender. Every story explored in the Shadowlands gay series is very relatable to present times.
This show really just shines another light on life as it is. As much as the inspiration came from Greek and Roman mythology I think the audience will see how much these stories are rooted in today.
What was the hardest scene for you to do and why?
Vasilios Filippakis: The hardest scene for me (no pun inteneded) was for sure all the water scenes. The water was SO cold. Trying to not shiver and look good is a challenge, believe me. The rest of the shoot was so fun and easy. The cast and crew made being on set a dream! I would go back to film with these people in a heartbeat.
Who is a major influence for you and on your creativity?
Vasilios Filippakis: The major influence for me on my creativity is my own life. I just think that we all have a story, that is unique and nobody else can live it or write it. To me that’s inspiring. Who else can tell your story? Nobody! I know that I am a well of emotions and have so much to tell that I am constantly in a state of creation.
With so much going on in the world today, what’s your motivation to be a performer? Do you act to explain? To get away? To move past? To widen our knowledge? To incite a conversation?
Vasilios Filippakis: I act for my heart. It wasn’t till recently that I explored this reason. I was in acting class with the amazing Suzanne Bastien (At The Creative Space) here in Toronto, when we were asked this question “Why do you act”?
We began exploring our hearts why on why we have chosen to be an actor. For me it’s about exploring every emotion without holding back. Acting a vessel to be free and really let go.
What’s next for you as a creator/actor/performer?
Vasilios Filippakis: I am currently working on a show I created called “FAK YAASS”. I’m the creator, writer, producer and lead actor (it’s totally about my life). The show is a mix between “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and “Queer as Folk”.
We have an amazing team and we’re really looking forward to putting this story out there! We have a concept trailer out now and should have some more updates soon about the project!
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