BY TÉA VAN ACKEN
The talented Evan Daigle found his love for acting in his second year of college. During that year, he had to leave his theatre and communications class at Loyola University to film TNT’s Claws. Claws premiered on June 11th of this year, in which Evan took on the role of Toby -- a former bartender, and a loving partner to ‘Uncle Daddy.’ Daigle attended university in New Orleans, and knew the acting profession was calling his name, after taking a basic scene study class. Before all of this, Evan Daigle grew up in southern Louisiana where he started expressing his artistic abilities as an oil painter. Not only this, Daigle also supports multiple charities, and the promotion of art education in public schools; a talented and giving person, he is. Evan’s artistic abilities surely pulled through, as Claws takes off, and Toby’s appearances are frequent, and well done.
Did you receive support from your family in the event of having to leave in your final semester at Loyola University New Orleans to film season 1 of Claws?
EVAN: "I did! My parents were both very supportive of me having to leave school early to begin working. They know how competitive this business is and so they understood how I couldn't pass up the opportunity to work on Claws."
You take on the role of Toby, who is in a relationship situation one doesn’t hear about everyday -- how do you feel to be representing such a dissentient relationship status, as you play Toby, especially considering Toby’s partner, Uncle Daddy, being deemed as a ‘bad guy’? Do you think society has a misconception of how these relationships can play out?
EVAN: "I think society has a narrow idea of what a romantic relationship should be. The heteronormative relationship structure simply doesn't work for everyone. I think Toby and Uncle Daddy's relationship works well for them. When Juanda was alive, I imagine they all were in a relationship together. I think it's really cool of the writers to show this sort of nonconformist relationship on Claws. It exists a lot more than what is represented on TV."
Do you find pieces of yourself in Toby’s disposition? If Toby was a real-life person, do you think you would be friends with Toby?
EVAN: "Toby and I are very different. Toby does hard drugs, lives with an extremely dangerous gangster, and doesn't have strong plans for the future. I don't think I'd be friends with Toby just because I'd be too scared to be around all the Dixie Mafia folks. They're dropping like flies!"
How do you feel you have grown as an actor and artist, having started being apart of Claws?
EVAN: "Before Claws, I thought I had a pretty good idea of what being a full-time working actor meant. Claws has helped me really understand what this career is and what goes into it and that I was wrong in many of my assumptions. I've grown in ways I didn't know I needed improvement in. I have a lot more confidence in my self and in my craft. I also am finding out I enjoy the business side of acting almost as much as the actual acting it's self."
Having first read what Claws was going to be about, and reading the scripts, what did you initially take away from the show? What is your hope that viewers take away from it?
EVAN: "My first impression was that the tone of the show seemed truly unique and I was very curious how they were going to pull it off. I really loved the female characters being central to the story. I hope that viewers take away that diversity in all forms is important to dynamic storytelling and that women over forty are still sexy and badass."
You discovered your passion for acting when you were in your second year of college, do you ever wish that you had gotten involved with acting earlier? What would you have done differently?
EVAN: "I go back and forth with myself on this question a lot. I sometimes do wish I would of gotten into acting a lot sooner. The way I feel about it now though is no, I don't wish I would of gotten into it sooner. I don't think I was ready to be an actor until it happened for me. I needed the time to try a ton of different art mediums and eventually find acting. It's hard for me to want to have done anything differently because I feel like I'm in a great spot for where I am in my life and in my growth as a person."
Being a hobbyist oil painter, you express your artistic talents visually; what sparked your interest in showcasing your talents in such a way as an actor?
EVAN: "I've always been interested in art in all forms. I grew up experimenting with pottery, jewelry making, stained glass, and all the while painting and drawing. Acting seemed like a far away concept that only people who somehow had access to it or were born into it could be actors. I'd always been interested in performing but never let the thought really come to the front of my mind frame until college. I went to college to study painting and drawing. While in school, I thought I wanted to be a production designer, to be able to bring my love of film and art together. I eventually realized I was really attracted to the film industry because I have had an urge to act since childhood. Allowing that urge to rise to the surface and take over, was the best thing I've ever done for myself. After a year studying art I switched schools and began studying acting. Three years later I was cast in Claws."
Where do you visualize and dream of yourself being, as an artist and actor, in 5 years?
EVAN: "In this business it's really difficult to say where I will be in five years or five months due to the unpredictability that is being an actor. But if I could have my ideal situation, I would have spent the last five years working consistently, playing a variety of parts and working with great actors and directors. In five years, I'd like to be on my way to establishing myself as a real force in the industry. I'm in it for the long haul. I really love my work, and I know if I continue to work hard, I"ll get the results I want out of it, regardless of how long things may take."