With his leading man smile, actor, Ryan Taerk stars in The Communist’s Daughter (CBC Gem)– a show with a fun, comedic take on the television family unit. We spoke to Ryan about the show, his upcoming projects and what got him into acting in the first place. Read more below!
Hi Ryan, thank you for taking the time to answer some of our questions! Can you tell us about your new hilarious show, The Communist’s Daughter, and your character, Boris McDougald?
Thank you for having me! I really appreciate it. The Communist’s Daughter is a hilarious new comedy about the McDougald family, a family of communists, at the height of consumer driven and capitalist North America in the 80s, trying to acclimate back into their old neighborhood. Hilarity ensues when the father of the family, Ian McDougald, announces that he is running for town council as an “independent”. The season follows the McDougald kids struggle between staying loyal to the family, and wanting to enjoy their “normal” North American high school experience. I play Boris McDougald, the younger brother in the family. I truly love my character so much. He is definitely the rogue one of the family. Boris is a very outspoken capitalist that is always looking for an edge trying to make a deal; a young Gordon Gekko in the making. Because of his capitalist views and desire to have a “normal” high school experience, Boris finds his family’s communist beliefs to be a great challenge. This causes lots of comedic moments throughout the season.
What is your favorite part about working on this show? Have you had any memorable moments on set so far?
Honestly, the entire experience was incredible. From our first table read to going in for ADR in post production, the energy surrounding our show was fantastic. We all entered this project with the mindset of making something filled with a lot of heart and even more laughs. I truly feel that that energy was the driving force to make this series. I loved every moment in between scenes when we would all laugh at the take that had just happened, and try to think of ways to create more comedic moments. The camaraderie was contagious. I feel like we kept pushing each other to make funnier choices. Getting to play with the cast in such a warm and open comedic space was such a joy. I think it goes back to our brilliant show runner, director and producer, Leah Cameron. She gave us permission to come and freely play in the world she created and to push ourselves while doing it.
What has it been like working alongside your television family– Sofia Banzhaf, Jessica Holmes and Aaron Poole– and the rest of the cast members?
I felt like I won the lottery getting to work with these incredible actors. I truly feel like The Communist’s Daughter was a masterclass in character development and collaboration and I got a front row seat for each lesson. Sofia, Jess, and Aaron are such lovely human beings to begin with, so every time someone had an idea or wanted to try something different, we all had a lot of faith and trust in each other, which is why our TV family feels so real. The amount of laughter that came from shooting our family meetings was hysterical. Those were probably my favorite moments on the show. Even after production was wrapped we still acted like we were a family, and I’m so grateful for that.
Tell us a little bit about yourself! When did you know you wanted to pursue acting and who/what inspired you? What motivates you the most to this day working in this industry?
I have always wanted to be an actor. I was a very creative child. I loved coming up with characters and performing skits as a kid for my family and friends. I grew up on a very healthy diet of Disney movies and learned the principles that Walt Disney spoke of; following your dreams and the hope of a more beautiful tomorrow. I think I stayed living in that world of optimism and fantasy until… well, I don’t think that phase will end anytime soon [laughs]. I always felt like I had a calling to entertain people through different forms of art whether it be through characters and skits I created to music or even through writing. I knew I wanted to pursue acting as a career when I was nine years old. I went to my dad and asked him, referring to this “playing pretend” thing that I did, “What is this thing I do?” He said, “It’s called acting. People who do that are actors.” I asked, “Can you make money acting?” He said, “Yes, if you work hard.” From that moment on I started referring to myself as an actor. The one continual driving force for me in my career is the joy that comes from getting to “play pretend” for a living. I feel like acting has been such a cathartic and therapeutic tool for me. Being someone who grew up starting in the business at a young age, I got to learn a lot of life lessons that I don’t know if I would have been able to learn doing something else. Learning to see through the eyes of different characters has been one of my greatest teachers.
Do you have a dream project you would want to pursue and work on one day?
I would love to be a Marvel superhero. The MCU is incredible, and brings joy to so many. It would be an honor to take on one of their characters. I would also love to direct a feature film one day. I recently co- directed my first short film, and I really loved the experience. I learned so much from shooting that short and I felt like I caught the directing bug a little bit.
Are you working on anything else now that you can tell us about? Where can people find you for any news online?
I am currently co-creating/developing a new series with my writing partners and brothers, Josh and Matt Taerk. I honestly can’t wait to share more as we continue the development process, but until then, know that we are creating something special to share with you. Hopefully we will all be able to share some exciting news on that really soon.
Now we must know– if you could have one super power, which would it be and would you use it for good or evil?
I think this is the most important question of all! If I could have one super power, I’d want to be able to fly. I love helping people, so having the ability to fly would allow me to reach people in need quicker. I also think that getting to see things from a different perspective can help any human grow in their own personal development, and flying is the physical embodiment of that experience. There’s also so much freedom that comes with that gift. I am like 99.9% sure I would use this power for good…I promise you that!