Mike Dopud on “nice and evil” role on ‘The 100’
Mike Dopud hasn’t played many cuddly characters in the course of his acting career, and his character on The 100 is no exception.
Vinson – Dopud’s most recent non-cuddly character – debuts next week in the fifth episode of the fifth season of The CW’s hit post-apocalyptic series.
The Vancouver actor can’t say too much about Vinson’s arc, although Deadline did report in January that the character is a serial killer and Dopud himself says he worked primarily with Henry Ian Cusick (Marcus Kane) and Paige Turco (Dr. Abigail Griffin).
“Vinson’s ‘generally a nice person.’ You can put that in quotes,” chuckles Dopud over coffee in Kitsilano. “He’s generally a nice person who can wreak havoc if he needs to. He can be very evil. Trying to figure him out was really challenging.”
Vinson is the latest in a string of characters that Dopud has portrayed in the last couple of years who have some degree of villainy in their DNA: chauvinistic DEA agent Ward Avery on CBC’s 1970s crime miniseries Caught (pictured above); vicious drug cartel leader Jason Micic on Starz’ Power; and what Dopud describes as an “evil prison guard” in Deadpool 2 (“I’m in one of the trailers where I get shot in the head,” muses Dopud.)
“My kids, especially my son, used to hate that I play bad guys, but now he’s 13, so he thinks it’s kind of cool,” says Dopud.
“I don’t get to play the hero very often,” says Dopud (you can peruse his lengthy filmography here). “Playing a villain, you almost get carte blanche to do more things that you would get arrested for if you did them outside, but you do them on set and everybody claps. But there’s a challenge: obviously I’m not a killer, but to play a killer, how do you find that within yourself to play that role? How do you relate to that? That’s what I always find challenging about playing these roles.”
This was true for the character of Ward Avery on CBC’s Caught, the wildly entertaining five-part miniseries that aired on CBC in February and March and can be streamed from the CBC site. Based on the bestselling novel by Lisa Moore, Caught stars Allan Hawco (Republic of Doyle) as David Slaney, a good-hearted drug dealer who makes a daring escape from a New Brunswick prison in order to attempt one more deal with his volatile former partner (Eric Johnson, Fifty Shades Freed).
Set in the 1970s and oozing with betrayal, action, intrigue, and bravado, Caught also stars Paul Gross as a jaded RCMP detective, Charlotte Sullivan as Slaney’s lost love, and Enuka Okuma as an up-and-coming DEA Agent.
Dopud’s primary challenge with Ward Avery – boss to Okuma’s character – was contextualizing his character’s chauvinism, which manifests in sexist comments and a butt slap that, at the series’ premiere screening in Toronto, elicited boos.
“It was a different time then,” notes Dopud. “Back in the ’70s, a lot of that would have been commonplace, and still, [what Ward said] is an asshole thing to say. Nowadays you say something like that, you’re out to hurt that person. I don’t think he was out to hurt anybody by saying that. It was a chauvinistic way to be, and unfortunately a lot of men were like that.”
“For women to do great things and to exceed expectations in those days must have been so challenging,” adds Dopud. “I can’t even imagine.”
Even with its historically accurate sexism, Caught succeeds in tapping into the over-arching sexiness of the era, according to Dopud.
“I think the ’70s are sexy,” says Dopud, who played Vic Hadfield in the hockey-centric period drama Canada-Russia ’72. “It was a time where people were finding themselves, doing whatever they wanted. They were living fully.”
Dopud is living fully in this decade with Power. The Starz drama – which is produced by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson – films in New York and stars Omari Hadwick as a New York City nightclub owner and player in the illegal drug scene. Dopud recurs as a Serbian-American cartel leader. “They brought me back, and the keep bringing me back, so I’m getting the chance to develop this character,” says Dopud. “I love the writing on that show, and filming on location in New York. It’s got a cinematic feel.”
Last year, MGM announced plans to bring the franchise back to television, and the aim of the social media campaign was to encourage MGM to produce an in-canon version of the show that builds on the existing 300-plus episodes of the various Vancouver-shot Stargate series as opposed to a new and unrelated incarnation.
On March 9 and 10, the hashtags #StargateRising and #StargateAlive trended around the world.
Dopud – who performed stunts on Stargate SG-1 (“I was killed hundreds of times on Stargate”) and appeared as Varro on Stargate Universe – describes the response to the campaign as exciting and “surprising, because you always think, once something is done, it’s done, and as an actor, if you’re on a series and the series is cancelled, you have to move on,” says Dopud. “But to see it come back like that, to see the interest be piqued at such a high level, was astounding.”
No official announcements have been made regarding the next Stargate series. In the meantime, fans can look forward to Gatecon, the Stargate convention that runs September 14-16 in Richmond. Dopud will be present for Gatecon, as will Amanda Tapping, Michael Shanks, Teryl Rothery, Simone Bailley, Lexa Doig, Paul McGillion, Sharon Taylor, Jacqueline Samuda, and others. Full lineup and registration information at http://www.gatecon.com/
The 100 airs Tuesdays at 9pm on The CW.