Ian Verdun @ianverdun
Photographer by Hanna Bixel @hanna_bixel
Grooming by Allie Ellis @allieellishair
Styling by BeBe Couri @just1_bebe
Interview by Ashira Provost @_ashiraprovost
What originally inspired you to take on an acting career?
It was when I was 13 and I did a staged production of Mulan at my junior high school. I didn’t get the role I wanted and the production in general was pretty awful, but I was bitten after that. I managed to get myself involved in every play I could all through high school and then went to college for acting. I remember making a solid decision at a young age that this was absolutely what I wanted to do with my life. It took me 20 years, but hey, here I am.
What are you proud of?
I’ve got a lot of things I’m pretty proud of, but at this point I’d definitely have to say that “Life’s a Drag”, the pilot I created, is at the top of the list. I’m a creative person and I like to have as many outlets for that creativity as possible. Being able to act, write, and produce something that I’m so happy with is a feeling of pride I hadn’t experienced before.
Who are some of your biggest influences?
I guess it depends on what they’re influencing. As an actor I’ve looked up to Jeffrey Wright for as long as I can remember. I remember seeing him in Basquiat and Angels in America and being in absolute awe. As a writer, I’d say Alan Ball and Aaron Sorkin are pretty monumental influences. And in life in general, let’s just say I worship at the altar of RuPaul. *laughs*
Do you have anyone you admire and would love to work with in the future?
Oh, I admire plenty of artists; Ian McKellen, Ian McShane (who I’m named after) Judi Dench, Derek Jacobi, Bryan Cranston, Meryl Streep, Viola Davis. Mostly actors that came from the stage and have a certain gravitas to their work, no matter how subtle. I’d love to work with each and every one of them on stage or in film. I feel like I would learn so much. You gotta work with the greats while they’re here, especially if you plan on being one of the greats some day.
What were the biggest struggles you had to face to get to where you are?
I’d honestly say poverty in general, and that sounds like a joke, but I’m serious. I think a lot of people can relate to the realities of living check to check, where the slightest disruption could be catastrophic to you. When you come from nothing; no money, no industry connections, it feels like every industry obstacle is wholly insurmountable. Balancing two jobs, struggling to survive while trying to get your foot in a door that seems intent on staying shut, it’s a lot. Facing that battle and all the hurdles that go with it felt like the biggest obstacle.
How do you stay in shape?
I think i have to get in shape first, right? *laughs* Honestly right now I spend a lot of time excercising at home. Insanity and P90X may be a little dated, but they still get the job done. Now I just have to lay off the cookies.
Do you wanna do any directing or producing in the future?
Absolutely, I want to do it all! I’ve written and produced before, but never taken on the director’s chair. I guess I’d been more wary of not taking on too much. I always thought that over-extending yourself was a sure-fire way to dilute the quality of your work. But with time, as I grow and my career develops, I think I’ll be able to tackle it all. God knows I want to.
Is the second season of Siren different the first season?
I think it’s actually better than the first season. It's like we finally got our sea legs. We spent the first season establishing the world and all the fun characters in and now we’re just running with it.
Are you and your character alike in anyway?
I’m a fiercely loyal person and I think Xander and I definitely have that in common. He has an inner warmth and strength that I totally identify with. But Xander’s incredibly impulsive, especially when it comes to his emotions. I like to think I’m a little more level headed than that.
What other new projects are you working on?
I have a few things in development that I’ve been working on for a while, a feature and a TV series. I think people will really get a kick out of both when they finally see the light of day. I’m certainly getting a kick out of making them.
Do you believe in mermaids?I think there are some things in this world that are unexplained, and even the explained stuff is kind of ridiculous. I mean, come on, we all live on a floating rock. Like, really, a giant floating rock. Mermaids don’t seem all that far-fetched.
What goals do you have for 2019?
I’ve never done a movie before, so that’s definitely something I want to tackle this year. I’m also really dedicated to bringing my own projects into the real world. I’ve been developing things for years, and I’m eager to see how much further I can things this year.