Actor Matthew Finlan joins us on Close-Up Culture to chat about his recent work on the vampire series, EZRA, and horror film, Orphan: First Kill.
You are one of the stars of Luke Hutchie’s upcoming vampire series, EZRA. What drew you to this story and the role of Cade?
As soon as I saw the breakdown for EZRA I knew it was a project that I wanted to be a part of. I have always dreamed of being part of a “Vampiric Universe” and I crossed my fingers that Cade would be my ticket in.
Besides the nature of the show, it was the duplicity of Cade that got me most excited. Without spoiling any plot, I’ll just say that there is more to Cade than we first realize. I wouldn’t classify myself as a character actor, but I do enjoy playing roles that are heightened by intense needs and circumstances; and Cade certainly falls into that category.
Can you tell us more about Cade and your experience playing him?
Cade is part of a thought-to-be-extinct lineage. Though not a vampire himself, he is closely related to the immortal breed. He is driven by a deep sense of responsibility to his family’s dynasty; but all of that remains under the surface–until it doesn’t. Questioning his own sexuality he finds himself torn between his sacred duty and personal desires. He’s like that quiet kid in school who you can only assume has a dark brooding secret…
Cade has long, bleached blonde hair. How much fun did you have with Cade’s style and any other ways you built his character?
When I auditioned for EZRA I had long brown hair, and every intention of cutting it off. However Luke and Chelsea (the creators of the show) said they actually liked the length of my hair and asked me to keep it. I believe their exact words were “you can do whatever you want with your hair, just please don’t cut it–or dye it green”. So I took that request and ran with it. I decided that if I was going to keep the length I would pay homage to Buffy and go blonde.
It was the first time I have ever dyed my hair, and I freakin’ loved it. It helped me get into character so much because even when I wasn’t on set, I’d look in the mirror and be like–“That’s Cade looking back at me”.
What did you love most about working on EZRA?
Honestly, the cast. It is such a treat to work with young, talented and driven performers–who I now consider to some of my dearest friends. Everyone brought their A-game, and it was inspiring to be part of a production with so much new blood (pun intended). Going to work felt like hanging out with a bunch a friends and I think that chemistry will read on screen. I also loved working on a show in my hometown! A lot of jobs require actors to travel for extended periods of time, but with EZRA I got to walk to work from my front door; there’s almost nothing better.
Aside from Ezra, what is your favourite vampire film or TV show?
Tough call, hmmmm. Okay. It might be a tie between WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS and BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER. They are two totally different approaches to the genera but each equally successful.
You recently starred in Orphan: First Kill. What was your experience like working on this film?
Working on Orphan: First Kill was a dream come true. I was a huge fan of the original film and when I learned that Isabelle Fuhrman would be reprising her iconic role, and that William Brent Bell would be directing, I just about threw up with excitement.
It was a challenge to make this complex film in the height of the pandemic. There was actually a tense moment where we thought we’d have to relocate to a different city (other than Winnipeg) or be shut down–but our crew was stellar, and we prevailed.
Gunnar Albright was such a delicious character to unpack–similar to Cade, he has a dark secret and he stops at nothing to keep it hidden. Playing off of co-star Julia Stiles was also unreal–she is a legend, and a joy to work with. I learned so much on this set that I have carried forward with me. I’m really pleased (and relieved) to see that fans of the franchise are enjoying the film as much as we enjoyed making it!
What are your hopes and ambitions for the future?
Beyond the usual life goals of buying some property and a nice car (maybe a cool vintage truck), I want to move into producing my own work with my very talented friends. I’d love to create the type of content that draws an international audience and help build Canada’s reputation as The Hollywood of The North. I believe it’s high time Canadian content started getting the recognition it deserves. Hopefully EZRA can help with that too. I am excited to be joining the writing team for subsequent seasons of EZRA and hope to contribute in whatever ways I can to an already killer show.
EZRA is set to make its premiere on OUTtv (Canada) and the OUTtv Apple TV Channel (USA).
Follow Matthew on Instagram – M A T T H E W F I N L A N (@matthewfinlan) • Instagram photos and videos