Daniel Gillies is inspired by creating a magic realism by the art of acting on The Originals!
Daniel Gillies, Elijah on The Originals, cares about the work he’s grateful to do through his acting, and says he has fun by working his ass off and is inspired by his narcissism!
Daniel explains there has to be a certain amount of understanding of the universe in order to step into a role. His vanity won’t let him go to set unprepared. There’s a fluidity and ease you have to have which you can only achieve by doing a lot of unseen work. He says, “It takes tremendous energy to walk the fine line of magic realism. And, in order to stay inspired, you have to keep feeding yourself the fun.” The way he has fun is by working his ass off because he has tremendous fear of putting his work out there that is less than what he’s capable of producing. It’s the fear that helps keep him motivated.
Acting coach Raymond Hawthorne, who taught at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, gave Daniel his best advice by telling him, “Darling, get the fuck on with your acting! It’s all very well looking real and natural, but sometimes you can look so natural that you’re fake.” If he’s in a scene with an actor who is “waiting to feel” he just wants to tell them “just say your shit and get out.” Feelings come from action, so just act and the feelings will come.
Daniel also feels you have to create a certain frequency in yourself and the universe. Don’t wait for that opportunity, go to acting class, put on plays, study and train, so you’re prepared when it comes.
Whenever he has a chance, he loves dancing and singing with daughter Charlotte. “Holding my daughter is the greatest feeling I’ve ever had, other than holding my wife. There is nothing like listening to her breath next to my face and listening to her laugh when you entertain her. I am terrified at just how much I can love this person.”
Daniel reveals his main philosophy about deciding on a project is to survive and get paid. Like everybody else, he needs to pay bills, which is why he was doing Saving Hope at the same time as The Originals. After doing his movie “Broken Kingdom,” he was $110,000 in debt, so he needed the money.
To help relax, he does a form of martial arts called Muay Thai, which Charles Michael Davis also does as well as teaches. He admits it awakened something primal in him and he discovered he liked to “punch and kick shit.” He also tried Taekwondo but Muay Thai made him a better fighter and gives him a degree of peace.
He also reads and writes a lot, as an investment in himself and his future. He tends to have around 12 books by his bed and loves anything to do with space. “I love nerding out to quasars, black holes, supernovas and the structure of the universe … string theory. I love the idea of parallel universes. It is still vastly beyond me, but I love it.”
He also loves chocolate, which is his biggest vice!
Daniel on art as a form of worship
The point is we create it because we love it and we carry some inexplicable desire to say something about our place in the universe. I’m not a religious guy, but I believe that there is some sort of magic going on. Some people call it God. I don’t know what I call it the frequency that exists between, beneath and around all things. I love devoting my energy to saying thank you to whatever that is and my thank you is art. It is my version of worship. I know it sounds sort of strange but, to me, art is the highest form of worship.
Promotional video for “Exquisite Corpse”
Watch Daniel work his magic on The Originals on Mondays at 8/7c, on The CW!
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