Sean Kanan is an actor that has proven he can play many very different roles. Kanan produced/starred in the horror film, Hack and the independently released thriller, Jack Rio. He can also be found on The Young and The Restless, and was cast in The Karate Kid III by Oscar winning director, David Avildsen. The Italian speaking actor has had roles in Sons of Italy and on Italy’s, Dancing With The Stars.Last year he worked on the film Abracadabra (Julie Pacino), which screened at Cannes Film Festival. He currently is working on lead roles in My Trip To The Dark Side and the sequel My Trip Back To The Dark Side (Shane Stanley) which are scheduled to hit the Cannes market this year for sales and promotion.
Q: Can you tell us a little about your background? How do you think your early days prepared for your future career?
A: I grew up in a small city in Western Pa.We lived about five miles from the Amish. I knew at a very young age I wanted to move to a big city and that I wanted to act. My junior and senior years of high school were spent at the Mercersburg Academy, a private boarding school. While I was there I started to develop some ideas which later served as the basis for a screenplay I wrote years later. Eventually I was able to executive produce the film, Chasing Holden, which was distributed by Lionsgate.
Q: What was your very first role? When did you first know you wanted to be an actor?
A: My first role was “Pecos Bill” followed by my much anticipated turn as “Mercutio” in the fourth grade production of Romeo and Juliet. I have wanted to act since I was about thirteen years old. Before that I wanted to be a surgeon. I came from a family of doctors.
Q: You also have worked in horror. Did you enjoy a good tale of fright as a child? Were you fan of the classics? Do you have a favorite horror character?
A: I am a huge fan of horror films. My favorite classic horror film is “Mr. Sardonicus”. Some of my other modern faves are “Halloween”, “The Exorcist” and “The Omen”.
Q: How did you go from working in horror and acting to being a stand up comedian? Do you enjoy having the chance to make people laugh? Do you think it helps to laugh in times like these?
A: I actually started doing stand up when I was around fifteen which was before I began acting professionally. I love making people laugh and believe that humor has gotten me through some difficult times and I believe that it can do it for our country.
Q: What was it like on Italy’s Dancing With The Stars? Did you enjoy it? What did you learn from that whole experience?
A: It is hard to encapsulate the experience in a few sentences. It was a truly life changing experience for me. I made friends that have become so important to me and always will be. It was the first time I lived in a foreign country. It was exciting and romantic and occasionally lonely. The show was extremely challenging between the rehearsals and learning the language. I now speak Italian pretty fluently but at that time I struggled with the language. All I can say is that Italy is my second home and a part of me.
Q: You also study martial arts, was that helpful while doing the show?
A: The discipline that martial arts instilled in me was very helpful. I have pretty good flexibility and I am highly competitive.
Q: Do you think Italian is a challenging language to learn? How did you come to know it?
A: I love studying Italian and not a day goes by when I am not studying in one capacity or another. It is something I truly enjoy. The language is simple in the sense the words are pronounced exactly as they are written. That being said all words are assigned a gender. For Italians they know since childhood whether an obscure word like “weather vein” for example is masculine or feminine. Students of the language must learn and remember the gender. For many words it is very easy but others must be learned by memory. The grammar is not as difficult as many languages but has many exceptions. I have been studying for over six years and still have a tremendous amount I still need to perfect.
Q: What was it like to have worked with some of the best in the business?
A: I have been fortunate enough to have worked with three academy award winning directors (Jon Avildsen “Karate Kid III”, Oliver Stone “Wild Palms” and Francis Ford Coppola “the Outsiders” Fox Tv. It is always an incredible experience to work with people who are the best in the business. I have also worked with loads of great actors including my current cast-mates on The Young and the Restless.
Q: Do you ever find you have to pinch yourself from time to time?
A: I am and always will be a fan. I really do get excited whenever sign on to do a project and learn who I will be working with. That’s the great thing about what I do. I never know who I will be playing opposite from one day to the next. I love it.
Q: What was the best advice any of them ever gave you?
A: I don’t know if this counts as advice but I met Clint Eastwood once many years ago. He shook my hand and his eyes narrowed and said ” You got a good look, boy. You should go far.” I was dining out on that one for months. As far as actual advice I suppose it came from my early days of acting class with Roy London. He taught me to respect the process. By that I mean the preparation it takes to create a great performance.
Q: Did you enjoy having a lead role on My Trip To The Dark Side? Are you excited to be doing the sequel? What can our reader’s expect from the film?
A: I wouldn’t say that was the lead. I believe that the story is primarily told from Shawn Stone’s point of view. I really enjoyed everything about my experience on the first film. I have done a great deal of work and research for the second film. I was lucky enough to spend some time with a director/producer in the adult film world. I have also worked with our director Shane Stanley very closely on the script. I cannot wait to start filming. We can expect to see a lot more of Prince. We will learn what makes this guy tick and get a look at his past which haunts him.
Q: Have you written any good scripts lately?
A: I am constantly writing. Right now my writing focus has been on my book which I hope to finish this year. It is a semi autobiographical self help book entitled, “Freeing David.”
Q: How did you first become a soap actor? Do you find it amazing that have such longevity and history when it comes to the history of television broadcasting?
A: I screen tested years and years ago for a role on “Bold and Beautiful”. I did not get the role and soon after was cast on “General Hospital”. I absolutely do not consider myself a “soap actor”. That may be what I am best known for at this point in my career but I am an actor. I have done theater, film, live shows, night time television and stand up comedy. My hair bristles when I feel that I am being pigeon holed by the moniker “soap actor”. As far as longevity in the world of soaps all I can say is thank you to the fans. Soap operas are a part of the fabric of television. Unfortunately it is a dying breed. This is one of the reasons I fight to work in other mediums.
Q: Do you prefer to work on film, in television, or on stage? How do those differ?
A: I prefer stage because once the curtain comes up I get to play my role in a sequential fashion.When we film television or film it is almost always shot out of order. I prefer film to television because in film I get to read the entire script and understand the arc of my character and the story. In daytime character history will always be sacrificed for plot.We generally get one take and that is the nature of the medium.Unfortunately daytime television is the least conducive medium to producing great work. That is why I am protective of the work on daytime because I know the incredibly restrictive creative environment in which the actors are working. This is not an indictment of daytime. It is what it is. You know the rules going into it. Night time television is better but again moves at a very fast pace. Film and stage offers the most time for rehearsal and preparation.
Q: What other projects are you working on at the moment?
A: I am finishing a comedic rap video called “I’m a soapstar.” In it I rap and appear with Ronn Moss and Josh Morrow. Right now my major focus is preparing to start principle photography on DS2 (My Trip Back To The Dark Side). I am chomping at the bit.