Behind the Lens with ABC Spark All For One’s Claire Gagnon-King

An unmistakable redhead walks into a coffee shop secretly tucked away in a comic book shop on Yonge Street. Claire Gagnon-King of ABC Spark’s groundbreaking web series, All For One is meeting me for an interview.

“You found the place!” I greet the actress and am immediately met with an aura of warm energy. Claire radiates this sense of kindness and down to earth vibes that put you right at ease. We set up a couple seats in front of an artsy mural beside a life-size Batman figure and start rolling the camera. Check out the fully transcribed interview below or scroll to the bottom for the video where Claire talks LGBTQ representation and shares her top acting secrets!

Can you tell us a little about the character you play on All For One?

All For One is a web series based around The Three Musketeers. So Portia Vallon is a re-imagining of Porthos but in a female respect. I would like to say we stayed quite true to the character Porthos—she’s very outgoing, very bubbly, very much the kind of ‘partier’ of the group I would say. I think Porthos is an alcoholic in the original Three Musketeers. So we’ve kept that party person attitude but she’s also extremely loyal and she loves her friends and sisters in the sorority they’re all apart of.

How different are you from Portia?

Haha, there’s this huge joke going around: where does Claire end and Portia begin? Because I’m obnoxiously similar to her. I like to think I’m an outgoing person. I love people and talking, but I’m also quite different from Portia in that she doesn’t really think before she speaks. She kind of just blurts things and sounds a little ditzy sometimes. She’s definitely a challenge to play in an honest way, I would say because she’s very easy to stereotype. She comes across as ditzy, she’s a party person, she’s always taking selfies. It was really a fun challenge to bring her down to real life and make her into a kind of human being I would say. But the writers also made her very easy to play with.

ABC Spark All For One

All For One has a wide range of diverse characters from different backgrounds and different stories. What does it mean to you to be a part of something that is probably helping a lot of people?  Whether it’s gay, trans, or bisexual, you’re representing characters who are extremely relatable and we’re actually seeing these types of characters being represented on screen now…

 
I think it’s about time that we see that representation and I think one of the amazing things about our series is that our lead character is bisexual. The character of Dorothy states out loud that she’s bi and I feel like that’s a first for a mainstream show. It’s kind of something that’s strayed away from a little bit and just to have so much normal relationships happening in the show—like my character is a lesbian and she has a very solid relationship—it’s amazing to see normal people. There’s no crazy drama and people don’t die in our show so it’s really cool. It’s kind of a personal topic for me as well. I’ve always felt the need for a voice in the LGBTQ community in the media for sure.

What’s a typical day in the life of Claire look like? You must have a pretty intense filming schedule with episodes coming out 3 times a week?

 
Typically days on set are quite long. So when we were shooting the web series, we were getting there at 8:30 in the morning and staying as late as 10 o’ clock at night. So it gets kind of hectic when you’re shooting all day but it’s amazing and you have so much fun doing it.What would your dream role or dream character be? Who would you love to work with?I’ve always wanted to play someone completely twisted because I’m so not that. I’m such a giggly happy person, I just really want to play someone completely messed up and dark and full of angry energy. I think that would be so challenging. But I also want to be on a teen show like Teen Wolf! I’m obsessed with Teen Wolf! It sounds kind of weird, I don’t have a specific person I would love to work with  because I admire so many different people for so many different reasons. At the end of the day, for me, I want to be able to be in a scene with someone who is just as passionate about their work as I am, which almost all actors are. So every time you’re on set, you’re just like, aw man, this is why I do it! Cause you’re so passionate about this it’s amazing. But Anna Kendrick. I really wanna be in something with Anna Kendrick!
 
Claire Gagnon-King
 
What advice do you have for someone wanting to become an actor?
 
Don’t be afraid of school. I think a lot of people are hesitant to go to school because they want to start right away and I understand that feeling but school taught me so much about myself as an actor and also about the craft and how much passion and work you need to put into it. So don’t be afraid of school and take anything that comes your way. There’s too many people that are like, “I wouldn’t play this role.” I’m like, “meet people!” Do things on set that you’re scared of. Don’t be scared to jump in and make friends with the people on set that don’t even talk to anybody like the lighting crew. Talk to everyone and do everything!Are you pursuing other projects? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?Everyone wants to be successful. It’s an industry where if you’re not working, you’re not relevant. My goal is just to be doing things that I’m happy and proud of doing. I really want to get to a spot where I’m not picking everything at random. I want to be picking passion projects and be able to put myself entirely into those. I want to get to a point where I’m pushing myself. Currently I’m not pursuing anything specific but I have big goals in signing with a big agency and getting to a point where I don’t have to work a real job on the side and acting is the only thing I’m focused on.
 
Claire Gagnon-King
 
What do you do before to prepare yourself for a role? Do you have any getting-into-character type rituals?
 
Because I went to school for 7 years, I’ve kind of developed this really meticulous process. So as soon as I get a script I hand write all my lines. It doesn’t matter if it’s a play and I have a hundred pages worth of lines, or a 2 page script. I’ll write them all out by hand and then I like to write mini monologues or diary entries from my character’s perspective to try to get into their head. That’s the beginning process, then I do a lot of: “What do I want in this scene?” “What is my character fighting for?” “What is the most important thing to them in this moment?”
 
We bloggers love morning routines, so tell us about your morning routine!
 
Oh gosh. I usually set an alarm, but I don’t wake up when my alarm goes off cause I wake up really early. I lay in bed for a bit and take it easy. Then eventually I’ll get out of bed and feed my cats. I can’t shower in the morning. I hate showering in the morning—it puts me to sleep so I shower the night before. So I take time doing my makeup and hair and stuff. I don’t really eat breakfast. But I’m a fan of taking things easy before you start your day. I think it’s important to reflect a little bit and mentally prepare yourself for the day ahead of you.
 
Claire Gagnon-King

FAST FAVE FIVES:

Favourite show other than all for one:
Teen Wolf
Go-to spot in Toronto: The West End High Park Area
If you turned on your iPod right now what would be playing: Something by Børns
It’s your day off, what are you doing: Sleeping in, seeing my boyfriend, and eating food

Favourite beauty product: Lipstick

Watch the video version of this interview here!

Don’t forget to follow Claire on Twitter and catch new episodes of All For One on ABC Spark here or watch the show on Youtube every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday! Have a question, comment, or response to this interview? Comment down below or Tweet me your thoughts!

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