From his role as a cunning and egotistical prisoner who is hated throughout the kingdom for killing the king’s son in the mythological drama series “Olympus”, to a dark and brooding demon in the premiere episode of the hit series “Supernatural” season 10, Nigel Vonas is an actor whose ability to tap into dark and meaty roles has put him on everyone’s hot list. A shoe in for the bad guy role, the Canadian born actor has taken on an impressive list of characters over the years, appearing in practically every hit series on network television.
Audiences across North America and much of Europe have also had the opportunity to watch Vonas display his dynamic talent as a natural bad boy on screen in the Leo and Prism Award winning series “Arrow,” the Primetime Emmy nominated sci-fi series “Falling Skies,” FOX’s “Almost Human,” Showcase’s Gemini Award winning series “Continuum,” the action packed crime drama “True Justice” and many more.
In the past decade Vonas has transformed himself into the skin of hardened criminals, hired guns, unscrupulous thieves and mysterious demons– to put it simply, any character known for striking fear in onlookers is one that Vonas has probably brought to life at one point or another in his career.
In season one episode nine of Syfy’s “Olympus,” appropriately titled “Pandora’s Tomb,” Vonas gave a brilliant performance acting alongside Graham Shiels (“Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Yes Man,” “General Hospital”) who plays King Aegeus and Wayne Burns (“Murdoch Mysteries,” “Mr. D”) who plays Aegeus’ son Lykos. When Lykos, who is merely trying to protect his father and help him keep his identity a secret as he sits in prison, gets into a heated brawl with Vonas’ character, things take a turn for the worse for Lykos, who is clearly no match for Vonas’ character and is ultimately killed by him.
About the role Vonas explains, “This character is the one that really brings out both the weakness of King Aegeus, and also his belief that his ruling of the people comes before the love of family. His unwillingness to protect his son, or to even show any love or empathy when his son is dying from the wounds he received when trying to protect his father from my attack, shows the king’s lack of care for family or perhaps even his heritage.”
So much can be said about actors and the methods they explore in order to prepare for a given role. From adapting his posture to creating the right mannerisms to fit his characters, the amount of effort that Vonas has put into crafting his believable bad boy image in all of these characters is easily overlooked due to the fact that he is just so good at it. Aside from just being a talented actor though, Vonas’ humble nature and ability to trust and hold space for his fellow actors, allows true connections to form on screen, and is one of the reason why he has become such a success over the years.
About his work on “Supernatural,” Vonas admits, “I was given the opportunity to work with an incredible director and crew. Jensen Ackles, who plays the lead role of Dean Winchester, is incredible to work with. He is so relaxed and so connected to all of the actors he works with, which made my work so easy. All I had to do was listen and he gave me everything I needed as an actor to bring this character to life. This was a great role in the story, because I believe I was able to bring out even more of the cocky side of Ackles’ character. Even more so than he already was at this point in the story.”
Getting his start in Vancouver B.C, back in 2002, Vonas quickly discovered that acting is what he was meant to do. His dedication to his craft and the relentless drive to push himself to grow helped his career skyrocket with astonishing speed.
“I work very hard at my craft in order to be ready for any acting opportunity that comes my way. I learned very early in my career that you better be ready when the door opens, or you may miss out on something very big,” explains Vonas.
After getting his feet wet on set, shooting a Disney commercial, the actor quickly landed his first TV role as Ryk’l on “Stargate SG-1” back in 2003, before going on to land a series of pivotal roles in films including “The Chronicles of Riddick,” “The Gutter Diaries,” “Thralls,” “Chaos” and “The Harvest Project.”
Anyone who knows Vonas personally will recognize beyond a shadow of a doubt that the actor is the exact opposite of most of the characters he plays; but for him, that is all part of the excitement of acting. His role as Cisco in Ron Oliver’s vampire horror film “Thralls” is the perfect example of just how dedicated Vonas is to abandoning himself and fearlessly tapping into his character, no matter how repulsive they may be.
He recalls, “Getting to play such a cocky character was an interesting experience. I consider myself a very calm person, so this role was quite a challenge. I have always preferred playing characters that are the least like the person I am in life. Those roles are the most challenging. This one was definitely one of them. Day after day I was challenged on set to make sure I was doing justice to this character. But I have to admit, it was kind of fun making many of the other actors squirm at my character’s behavior at times.”
Starring alongside Golden Globe nominee Lorenzo Lamas (“Grease”), Leah Cairns (“Interstellar,” “88 Minutes”) and Siri Baruc (“Writer’s Block,” “Law & Order”), Vonas portrayed his womanizing character Cisco perfectly. Not only did he turn him into a character that audiences easily love to hate, but Vonas’ ability to show his character’s over the top cocky side also allowed the female vampires’ witty, dominating and all around superiority to shine through effortlessly.
Being a great actor is more than just being able to give a great performance, it’s about being able to hold space for other actors, to trust them and give yourself to the story with vulnerability– and Nigel Vonas is one of the rare few who is able to do this with total grace.
Up next for Vonas is FOX’s highly anticipated revival of the television cult favorite “Prison Break,” which went off the air in 2009 and is slated to return to television for its fifth season at some point in spring 2017. The actor has already begun shooting episodes for the new season with the rest of the cast, and although little has been disclosed, we do know that Vonas’ recurring role on the show will draw upon his talent for playing the kind of role that very few will want to mess with.
You can check out the trailer for the show, which was released earlier this week, below: