A Fil-Canadian actor’s life: Alex Mallari Jr.
(Eighth of a series)
LOS ANGELES—“Even when I hit the lowest of lows, I never had an ounce of doubt,” said Alex Mallari, best known for his portrayal of Four (also known as Ryo Ishida/Ryo Tetsuda) on Syfy’s international hit series, “Dark Matter.”
Born in the Philippines and raised in Toronto, Alex, at an early age, honed his martial arts skills, which came in handy for his roles.
At 6 years old, Alex earned his black belt. He would become a two-time Junior Canadian National Taekwondo champion.
Alex’s martial arts expertise serves him best in “Dark Matter,” where he gets to show off these skills. The Fil-Canadian’s other TV credits include “Designated Survivor,” “Conviction,” “The Strain,” Nikita” and “Beauty and the Beast,” among other primetime shows.
In film, the actor’s credits include “Code 8,” “Robocop” and “Pay the Ghost.”
Excerpts from our chat:
How would you describe your journey as an actor so far? It has been full of growth thus far. I’ve come to discover that this art form requires the need to keep growing. It requires you to expand constantly as a human being. It can be trying, sometimes, but I love it. I can’t get enough of it.
How do you prepare for an audition? Any good luck rituals? I personally don’t have any good luck rituals. Tony Robbins explained it perfectly when he said that luck is the outcome when preparation and opportunity meet. I truly believe that.
My preparation process is very simple—know and understand the material (character and scenes) inside and out.
As I said, it’s simple. But simple isn’t a synonym for easy in my world. Hard work and dedication are most certainly necessary.
What is the most frustrating part of trying to land roles in Hollywood? I have frustrating moments, as we all do in our careers, but they don’t have anything to do with “trying to land roles in Hollywood.” I love this game, this industry, this process. People get frustrated when their expectations aren’t met.
I don’t expect anything because this industry doesn’t owe me anything. I focus on giving every character and scene put in front of me the most life and truth that I can deliver. If I continue to do that, then I will continue to land the roles.
How do you handle rejection? I handle most situations with understanding. It’s known that booking roles isn’t completely on the actor. I feel that many actors disregard the whole picture.
We, as actors, have to understand and respect that there are many hands involved in the majority of work. Each of those sets of hands has a vision. We must respect everyone’s vision as much as we respect our own.
Have there been times when you almost gave up? I’ve never wanted to give up. All I’ve ever had, since deciding to make this happen for me, was Plan A. Even when I hit the lowest of lows, I never had an ounce of doubt.
As an actor of color, do you feel that opportunities for minority actors are improving or getting worse? There’s no doubt that opportunities for everyone are improving. But to keep it related to being an actor of color, we’re being louder in our demands (to see more of us), and we’re being heard!
There are so many colored actors, producers, directors, casting directors and journalists now that it would be foolish to think that we don’t have more opportunities now than ever before.
The quality of opportunities has even increased. We’re all on a wonderful journey of unity, and it feels amazing!
What’s your stand on whitewashing—or the casting practice in which white actors are cast in nonwhite character roles—in Hollywood? I’ve been a victim of this. To be honest, it used to hurt me. Presently, I don’t focus on it. I can’t allow myself to. Focusing on the negativity and worrying if it will continue to be that way is unproductive and doesn’t serve me in any shape or form, so why bother?
My contribution to the solution is to keep kicking those doors down, keep knocking the walls down, and to continue pushing forward until my progression and success is so loud that they can’t ignore me, and in turn, us (people of color).
What can we expect about your character in “Dark Matter”? “Dark Matter” is currently running its third season on Syfy, with the first two seasons available on DVD, Netflix, iTunes and Amazon.
This season, my character, Four, recollects his memories and takes the throne of his planet, Zairon. He reverts back to being Ryo Ishida.
Ryo has some epic run-ins with his former crew mates of The Raza. I personally feel it’s our best season yet!
To people who are planning to pursue acting, what should they prepare for? If you pursue acting, I advise you to prepare to expand your horizon in every aspect of your life. Prepare to grow in your perspective, opinions, ideas, vulnerability, strengths, weaknesses, truths, passions. I urge you to begin expanding your world immediately.
You have to truly love understanding and empathizing, because that’s where creation finds its fuel.
Above all: Prepare for a journey that belongs to no one else but you. Embrace it unconditionally.
(To be concluded on Sunday)
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