Beyond Acting with Casey Deidreick
Casey Deidrick maybe one of the CW’s newest stars but when it comes to acting Casey is no rookie. We were able to catch up with the veteran actor and ask him everything from how he came into acting, how he managed a career while having a Type 1 Bipolar disorder diagnosis and valuable advice for young artists just starting out.
T: Tell us a bit about your background, and how you got into acting?
CD: I was born and raised in Northern California. I spent most of my childhood in a small farm town called Hollister. I believe I gained most of my work ethic from skateboarding my whole childhood. Skateboarding taught me a lot about persistence and hard work. If I couldn’t land a certain trick, I’d be outside all day and night if I had to until I got it, I was always very stubborn that way, which I think is a key ingredient in making it as an actor.
My parents divorced at an early age, so I split my time between both parents. At the age of 14, I moved to Denver, Colorado to live with my mom and during that time my mom saw my acting potential. After I dropped out of college, I made the decision to enlist in the Marine Corps. However, before I did, my mom shared her concerns, asked if I’d try out acting, and helped pay my way through this acting convention called AMTC. I ended up getting noticed by a few agents there even though I had zero acting experience. About a month later, I took a trip to LA by myself and was signed to an agency within a few days. This happened about 13 years ago, and I’ve been in LA ever since.
T: What was an experience you had early on that made you certain acting was what you wanted to do?
CD: As a kid, I would always lock myself in my room and obsess over films. I would watch the same ones over and over again. I remember watching The Lord of the Rings trilogy in my room and thinking, “this is exactly what I want to be doing.” I was obsessed with the way films moved me emotionally. I think I’ve always been a pretty emotional person and through acting, I’ve learned to control it.
T: Audiences may know you from your tenure on Days Of Our Lives. How did that role help in your career trajectory?
CD: Days of Our Lives was a great foundation to build my craft on. Sometimes we filmed 2-3 episodes a day, which helped me get comfortable in front of a camera and also with line memorization. Throughout my time on the show, I made many mistakes and also got to work with a lot of great people, both of which helped prepare me for my future roles.
T: Tell us a bit about your new show “In The Dark”, what are you most excited about?
CD: I’m really excited for the world to meet all the characters on In the Dark. This show is unlike any show The CW has ever done, and I’m so proud to be a part of such a diverse and talented group of individuals.
The series is about a blind woman in her 20s who is investigating the murder of her best friend. She’s the definition of a ‘hot mess.’ She sleeps around, she’s an alcoholic, and she smokes cigarettes. Corinne Kingsbury, the show’s creator, and the rest of the writers have done such a beautiful job crafting this story. Eighty percent of the show’s writers are female, which I think is amazing. I’m really excited for the conversations I hope this show generates about alcoholism, depression and relationships.
T: What are you hoping viewers experience when they tune in?
CD: I think this show is about pushing the boundaries. I love that a network like The CW is taking risks and giving our show a chance to shine. I hope viewers feel something after watching our show, that they find characters they can relate with and root for, and that the show sparks conversations at home.
T: How is it playing Max with the rest of the cast?
CD: Max was a character that was added after the pilot was shot, so I think there were a lot of discussions on how Max would fit into the series. I think Max was brought in to break down Murphy’s walls and shine light on her guarded vulnerability, but he was also challenged by every character is different ways. I learned more about myself in the 5 months of filming In the Dark than I have on any other role I’ve done. I learned a lot about who I am as a person/actor and who I am not, and I think that’s the greatest gift in and of itself. This role taught me a lot about toxic masculinity and also taught me to always respond from a place of love. I love being on a series because you have so much time to explore your character, and you get to witness it grow and evolve over a period of time.
T: Who/ what inspires you? Why?
CD: The strong group of women on this show inspires me. Working with Perry Mattfeld and Brooke Markham, and with our talented writers, was a blessing and it gave me a lot of pride in what we were creating. As far as other inspirations go, I love getting lost in films, and right now Tom Hardy and Shia LaBouf’s films are my “go to” when I want to be moved by a performance.
T: What are you up to when you're not acting?
CD: I love Crossfit. I don’t know where I’d be without it. I’ve recently started training in Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu, it’s something that really calms my mind and I’m falling in love with it. I also take my dog on hikes a lot, I read, and watch a lot of films and shows. I’ve been spending a lot of time with my friends, really trying to figure out what I like, and what I want out of relationships and out of life.
T: A lot of readership is aspiring actors and artists. What advice would you give to a talented, driven actor who’s just starting their career?
CD: Out of my 13 years in LA pursuing acting, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to quit, and how many times I’ve been told “no” — it’s probably in the thousands. You just can’t fucking give up. I never had a plan B, I was too stubborn to quit. I’d cry myself to sleep some nights, wake up the next morning, and go to another audition. You never know when something is going to hit, or when you’re going to get the call. But, it’s also important to find a hobby, a group of people that inspire you, to volunteer, paint, make music, or wait tables if you have to at night, just know that your dreams need time to breathe and manifest. Don’t give up and keep pushing.
T: Can you tell me the biggest obstacle you've faced in your career, and how you overcame it?
CD: My biggest obstacle has always been myself, getting out of my own way. I was diagnosed with type 1 bipolar disorder in my early 20’s. Being in a career where you’re constantly disappointed and having a mental illness is not a great combination, as you can imagine. I feel like I’m going to war with my mind everyday, it’s a constant battle. But in acting I find peace, I find belonging, and I find comfort in knowing I get to create and share a little piece of my soul in each character. I want to keep creating characters that would’ve helped the 7 year old Casey get through what he went through as a child, and that help every kid growing up and experiencing childhood traumas. This is what excites me as an actor and what drives me to keep doing what I’m doing.
T: What’s your process for preparing for a new role? Can you share any routines or habits you practice to approach playing a new character?
CD: I don’t have any set ways of approaching a role. I don’t think there are any rules in acting. Still, I always start off by reading the script 4-5 times before I feel like I get a sense of the characters. I’ll make notes and ask questions in between the lines as I’m reading it: who’s my character? What’s his relation to the story? Where’s he coming from? What are my character’s thoughts? I learned that from my acting teacher, Lesly Kahn, who has been a mentor and mother figure to me for the last 3-4 years. Then, I try to relate whatever the character is going through and see if I have ever experienced something similar in my own personal life. I’m also a firm believer in the importance of imagination; my years studying Meisner with Alex Taylor taught me how powerful our imagination can be. There are so many different approaches to acting, and I think you just got to stick with whatever works for you.
T: What qualities do you think make a great actor?
CD: I think one of the qualities that make a great actor are those that are unspoken, yet still communicate exactly what the actor is thinking and feeling. For example, when an actor is still, it draws the audience to their eyes and the eyes say everything. I think that’s why I’m so drawn to actors like Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy, because there’s so much going on behind their eyes. There are many different styles of acting that I respect of course, but for me, I’ve always felt the most with those unspoken qualities.
T: Are there Any other projects you're involved in or looking forward to, besides what you’re working on now?
CD: I’ve mainly been focusing on promotion for In the Dark. I also have a couple of roles in music videos coming out soon that I’m excited about; I'll share more about them closer to their release dates.
Editor: Ana Merino
Photographer: Marc Cartwright
Clothing provided by: Gabriel Langenbrunner