Category Archives: actor profile

Actor Darren Higham, A Force to Be Reckoned with On Screen!

Darren Higham
Darren Higham (left) and David Schaal (right) in “Desperados” shot by Erick Ritchardson

 

Motivated by the opportunity for endless learning and personal development, English born actor Darren Higham both captivates and impresses audiences around the world with the unique combination of his natural talent paired with his formal education in performing arts from the renowned Manchester Metropolitan University. With a body of work ranging from TV to film, Higham has graced screens playing a wide variety of characters, proving that his creativity and devotion to the craft is as refined as it is flexible.

Far from type cast, Higham has played a wise, elder droid robot in the sci-fi horror film “Somnus,” the guitar playing guy-next-door in the romantic comedy “Modern Life is Rubbish,” and a brave first-responding firefighter at the scene of a Liverpool Street Station bombing. “I love for each role I do to be different from the last,” says Higham, “it keeps me on my toes, and means I’m constantly having to adapt. This ensures I never get complacent.”

Never backing away from a challenge, Higham recalls his experience in “Somnus” as unique and memorable. The film is about a cargo ship on its final mission flying the monotonous Earth-to-Mars route, when a mechanical failure changes the course and sends the crew to Somnus, a remote asteroid colony. Higham, having never shot a sci-fi film before, is thankful for the experience. Because of how the film was shot, Higham had minimal interaction with the other actors while filming. “It was a novelty for me,” he explains, “but acting is a profession where you never stop learning. It’s a continual process, and I love that about it. It is often hard, but never boring.”

In “Modern Life is Rubbish,” Higham’s character Solomon provides emotional support for his best friend during a bad breakup. “It’s a really touching story,” Higham explains, “it is definitely one everyone can relate with.” Believability is key in a strong actor, and Higham’s performance in this film is just that. Because of his strong and perfect portrayal, the viewer is drawn in with both a light and heavy heart all at once. “Solomon plays guitar in a band which, at one point, looked like it was destined for fame, but has ended up just playing pub gigs,” Higham says. “The band serves as sort of a warning to the main character, if he stays on the same path that he’s on. While it’s funny, it’s also a bit sad,” Higham explains.

Bringing a unique element of light to tinseltown, Higham’s values bear much weight when it comes to the process of selecting which projects to work on. He admits, “whilst it’s a privilege to work with well-known people, I’m not really concerned as to whether the director, producer, or actors are big names. As long as the story grabs me, that is the hook for me.”  The story behind the film “Dirty War” hooked Higham immediately. In the film, he plays the critical role of the firefighter responding to a bomb that just exploded in a train station. “A large part of the impact was seen through my character’s eyes,” Higham recollects, “so the audience really felt what it was like for him.” While it was a difficult story to tell, it is an important one. “In London, we’d experienced IRA bombings before, but this was being filmed in a post September 11th era, so I felt a sense of responsibility to get it right, and to portray as best as I could the sheer horror of such a situation,” Higham reveals.

Not limited to just film, Higham has appeared on many TV shows as well. When asked, Higham says that the one that stands out the most for him is probably the “Armando Iannucci Show.”

The comedy sketch show, written and directed by Armando Iannucci, leaves audiences laughing with its brilliant one-liners, hilarious situations, and impressive and flawless improv sketches.

On the other side of humor is drama, and Higham knows that field, too. He worked on a TV program called “Clocking Off,” where he played a policeman and, in effect, warns audiences against the very real dangers of drinking and driving. He also played a policeman in the hugely popular show “Dalziel and Pascoe,” where he worked alongside esteemed actor Warren Clarke of “Clockwork Orange.” In the program, Higham’s character is hired to act as security for a judge whose life has been threatened, but the judge talks him into taking a night off, and is subsequently found murdered. “This was an interesting role,” Higham mentions, “as whilst I was playing a policeman, I was also under suspicion of having played a role in the judge’s death. It was a bit of a dual character.”

As if being a successful, hard-working and overly talented actor isn’t undertaking enough, Higham has also written, directed, and starred in the wildly successful “western wannabe” film “Desperados,” which has burst through the film circuit, sweeping praise and attention as it went. Shortlisted for both the Salford Film Festival in the UK and The End of The Pier International Film Festival in England, “Desperados” engages audiences with its positively original plot, astute direction and moving acting, proving that Darren Higham is not only a force to be reckoned with, but also a necessary and invaluable talent to the industry.

Actor Cory Dagg is a Creative Powerhouse on Screen!

Some actors seem to be in absolutely everything, and for almost 30 years Cory Dagg has been just such an actor. He’s worked with many of the biggest names in the industry, played virtually every kind of character imaginable, and has left a trail of phenomenal productions in his wake. His raw talent and vast experience are complemented by an emotive and dynamic physical appearance that allows him to blend into any role. Dagg has a rare and priceless gift — the ability to flawlessly play any role in any genre without ever appearing out of place.

 

We're No Angels
Sean Penn (left), Robert De Niro (center) and Cory Dagg (right) in “We’re No Angels”

 

Dagg’s career began – and nearly ended – when he was cast in the 1989 comedy “We’re No Angels,” starring Academy Award winners Robert De Niro (“Raging Bull,” “The Godfather Part II”) and Sean Penn (“Milk,” “Mystic River”). De Niro and Penn play two escaped convicts who impersonate a pair of priests in a bid to cross the border into Canada. With the law hot on their tails, the two are almost in the clear when they encounter a rather ineffective border guard (played by Dagg) whose dream is to become a famous writer.

Few if any actors can say their first big screen role involved a hilarious exchange between themselves and two already-legendary actors like Robert De Niro and Sean Penn. Though Dagg’s scene had audiences in stitches, it was in serious danger of being cut altogether. After 15 hours on set an exhausted Penn and De Niro approached the director, Academy Award winner Neil Jordan (“The Crying Game”), and Dagg feared the worst. He found himself faced with a critical decision: say nothing and risk allowing his career-making scene to be cut, or speak up and risk angering De Niro, an acting legend whose intimidating persona is iconic.

“Imagine, if you will, telling Robert De Niro and Sean Penn that they’re making a mistake. But I knew remaining quiet could cost me a huge break. Gathering up my courage, I poked my nose where De Niro made it clear it didn’t belong,” Dagg said, recalling the fear he felt when he took that make-or-break gamble. “Finally, I walked off, certain I would be fired.”

The next morning, he received a foreboding phone call telling him that De Niro wanted to speak with him on set immediately. With a sinking pit in his stomach, Dagg reported in to learn the fate of his career and braced for the worst.

“…But when DeNiro put his arm around my shoulder and told me to get ready for shooting, I knew I’d made the right decision,” he said with an obvious sense of relief. “Two days later, De Niro and Penn approached me on set to say they had seen my scene in dailies the night before, and wanted to say what a great job I had done and that they really liked my work!”

With the recognition of two universally well-known Academy Award-winning actors, Dagg’s career blossomed. Following the success of “We’re No Angels,” he was soon cast in an episode of the iconic sci-fi series “The X-Files.” Starring David Duchovny (“Californication”) and Gillian Anderson (“The Fall”) as the inimitable Agents Mulder and Scully, “The X-Files” was considered a rite of passage for up-and-coming actors in ‘90s; Seth Green (“Austin Powers,” “Robot Chicken”), Lucy Liu (“Kill Bill,” “Charlie’s Angels”) and Ryan Reynolds (“Deadpool,” “Van Wilder”) all had guest roles on the series before becoming household names.

Dagg’s role in the series was that of a mysterious bartender with an even more mysterious past in the episode “Travelers.” The episode is critical to the backstory of Agent Fox Mulder and reveals a dark secret involving his father’s work with the State Department.

“Since the episode is partially set in the 1950’s I had the chance to do a bit of period acting, which is really enjoyable for me. I like the challenge that comes with researching a role to make it more accurate, and I can actually get a little obsessive about it,” Dagg said about the role, which soon led to a flurry of interest from casting agents. “At this time I was booking a lot of white collar roles, so it was fun playing the shady guy who takes deals under the table.”

 

Andromeda Strain Universal Pictures
Cory Dagg as General Michaelson in “The Andromeda Strain”

 

In 2008, Dagg was cast as General Michaelson in the epic four-part miniseries “The Andromeda Strain,” based on the novel by illustrious sci-fi pioneer Michael Crichton. Produced by four-time Academy Award-nominated director Ridley Scott (“Alien,” “Gladiator”), the intense doomsday thriller was lauded with praise and nominated for seven Primetime Emmy Awards, including for Outstanding Miniseries.

The series follows the efforts of scientists and by the military to stop the spread of a deadly and contagious microbe with extraterrestrial origins. Dagg’s character, General Michaelson, is the key military figure tasked with quarantining the infected town and ensuring the containment of the aggressive microorganism.

“I originally auditioned on tape for a smaller role, and sent the tape to the producers in Los Angeles,” said Dagg, recounting how he landed a lead role in a Ridley Scott production. “I got a call from my agent over three weeks later saying the producers and director loved my audition so much they were giving me the much bigger role of General Michaelson, and I ended up being in three of the four episodes! The director said later he was surprised I didn’t have military experience — that’s how convincing he thought I was.”

Cory Dagg, an industry veteran, has proven himself to be a phenomenally talented and multifaceted actor. Where others have fallen into the trap of playing “the bad guy,” “the good guy” or “the funny guy,” Dagg has expertly avoided the pitfall of typecasting. By proving his ability to play a limitless range of characters across every genre, he’s rightfully earned a reputation as an actor who can do it all. Such talent is rare in the industry today, so when an actor like Cory Dagg presents himself, casting agents are quick to take notice.