Nathan Dashwood has come a long way since the days of high school improv and taking to the streets of Ladysmith with his friends and the school’s aging film equipment.
From these humble roots, the Ladysmith-born-and-raised lad found a new calling after an injury prevented him from pursuing athletics, and he hasn’t looked back since.
“I remember falling in love with the filmmaking part and asking the teachers if we could borrow the cameras on our own time,” he said. “Me and my friends would just go out and film our own stuff that had nothing to do with school at all. We’d make our own ‘mockumentaries’ and short films, and just had a blast.”
Since then, Dashwood has been working hard at making a name for himself in the Vancouver film industry, landing himself roles in both television and film. You may remember him from such roles as the busboy in Stan Helsing, Tommy Walker on Smallville, and nurse Ted on Untold Stories of the ER.
After graduating from Ladysmith Secondary School in 2002, Dashwood applied to Capilano University’s filmmaking and acting for television programs and was accepted into both. He decided to stick with acting and began the course in 2004. After graduating, Dashwood began working in independent films, finding a niche in horror but keeping open to other roles.
In 2009, Dashwood had one of his most memorable experiences working alongside the late Leslie Nielsen in the comedy horror spoof Stan Helsing.
“He was pretty surprised that I actually knew who he was,” Dashwood recalled. “I told him that I grew up watching his movies, and he totally liked and respected that.”
Dashwood said Nielsen even went as far as to take him under his wing, allowing him access to his personal assistants and sharing meals together.
“He was so down to earth, and he was very helpful with me and told me I was doing a good job,” he said. “We got to do a lot of improv together that didn’t make the final cut of the movie, but it was funny. The directors came up to me and said ‘whatever Leslie does, just go with it.’ It was a dream come true.”
Currently, the 27-year-old is working on shooting trailers for a new adult web series called Choose Your Victim.
It will be filming in early summer and will involve a cast of eight actors all placed on an island. Each week, the audience will write in and decide which character gets killed off the show next and how they will be killed. Then, the crew will shoot and air the next episode based on the results.
“It’s kind of like horror Survivor meets Jersey Shore,” he said. “I’m playing a DJ, and there’s a tough guy, a Paris Hilton-type girl.”
Dashwood has also been working closer to home on a short film called Seeing Red. Seeing Red is halfway through production and is being filmed north of Ladysmith and in Vancouver.
While unsure of where the road will lead, Dashwood is sure of one thing — that he plans to keep working, learning and growing as an actor as long as he can.
“I don’t need to be a superstar — if that happens, then great, but as an actor, I find character roles more exciting and I can connect more with them,” he said. “I don’t like boring roles.”
Dashwood landed his second appearance on Untold Stories earlier this year, playing the role of Ronald in the episode ‘Stabbed in the Heart’ in season six, which debuted Jan. 28. For those interested in checking it out, the episode will air again April 9 on TLC.