Jan. 2, 6 p.m. | ABC Spark
A recurring part in a massive global franchise is a dream come true for any working actor. Burkely Duffield knows what it means to be so close to that you can taste it.
The Abbotsford actor was cast as Callan, the son of Anduin Lothar (Vikings’ Travis Fimmel), in the 2016 film adaptation of Warcraft. The movie take on the global gaming phenomenon has earned over US$433 million, making it the highest grossing video game film adaptation of all time. While not exactly a critical smash, you just know there will be another one, but owing to a terminal encounter, Duffield’s character is unlikely to appear.
“That universe and video game worldwide is so well known as a huge conglomerate from the movie, and other outlets,” said Duffield. “But it would take a pretty strong potion to bring me back.”
The 24 year-old will be keeping busy, however; he has the lead role of Holden Matthews in ABC Spark’s new series Beyond. After two seasons playing the character Eddie Miller in House of Anubis, the Nickelodeon adaptation of the Dutch-Belgian series billed as a teen drama/mystery soap opera, he’s certainly prepared.
“It (the show) revolves around my character Holden, who unfortunately falls into a coma for 12 long years and, miraculously, suddenly wakes up when he is 25,” he said. “His entire world has changed, with family grown up, his friends have grown up, his city is different and he doesn’t recognize anything around him. On top of that, he has these new supernatural abilities that he’s got to come to terms with.”
Add in a mysterious woman named Willa, who warns Holden that nothing is as it seems, and the story treads down a path of intrigue and surprises. Duffield says that he’s very happy with how the show has come together as he thinks it has potential to expand its audience beyond the target demographic of younger viewers.
“It’s cool, because we had the opportunity to make this really realistic view of what these powers and abilities are,” said Duffield. “They are cool, but they put him in these really dark and dangerous situations.”
Hollywood North is well known for its forays into the moody and gloomy. From The X-Files to Supernatural, the industry specializes in sci-fi fare, and local talent cuts its teeth on these shows. Duffield has plied his trade in everything from Masters of Science Fiction to Minority Report. It’s a place he’s comfortable in.
“I enjoy watching the genre, and to embody a character in any world that takes place in that sci-fi genre, well, I love it,” he said.
” … I was in drama and the improv club when I went to Yale Secondary, and I always wanted to do musical theatre as well, but because of also seeking out acting work it was hard to go full-on into musical theatre because of the time demands.”
Music runs in the family. Duffield’s younger sister Victoria was a Top 6 competitor on season three of YTV’s The Next Star, and signed to Warner Music Canada. She released her first single Shut Up And Dance in 2011, and her most recent album, Accelerate, in 2014. Duffield says that he could never go head to head with her in a music theatre throw down.
“I’ll bet you she could go par to par with me in the acting department, but I could never do the same with her in the voice department,” he said.
“I’ve always had a passion for acting, though, and it’s really a great thing to call it my career. TV work is really something where you really get to develop your character over different situations and seasons.”
Is it different walking into the lead part?
“It’s awesome, as I’ve always wanted the opportunity to be a lead on a TV show like this,” said Duffield. “It’s a really cool project that everyone involved has shown great love for, from the writers to the directors and my co-stars. To be able to work right here, in the city that I love, is pretty awesome too.”
While Beyond is taking all of his time at the moment, Duffield is keen to keep expanding his career into other genres. With the musical La La Land possibly paving the way for film musicals making a big comeback, he might get a chance to sing and dance his way across a Hollywood North sound stage sometime soon.