Maple Ridge’s Dakota Daulby knows all to well you have to take advantage of every opportunity given. The actor from Maple Ridge used an audition for a small part in the movie Black Fly to make his impression on the director. So much so, he ended up securing the lead role in the movie.
Now Daulby has been nominated for two Leo awards, announced on May 11. The Leo’s honour excellence in B.C. film and television, and will be handed out over three nights on June 6, 13 and 14.
Daulby, 20, earned the nod for best lead actor for his roles in the feature film Black Fly, as well as for best lead in the short film Roar.
Black Fly, a thriller that centers on a pair of estranged brothers who reunite on an isolated island years after their father died in a hunting accident and their mother committed suicide, was nominated for 10 awards in total.
Daulby said the road to landing the lead role in the film was not the typical path most actors take.
“It’s kind of interesting because at first I was auditioning for a minor character and wasn’t that excited,” said Daulby.
But he quickly shook off his negative vibe thanks to the advice of one of his first theatrical teachers at New Image College of Fine Arts in Vancouver, two-time Gemini award winner, Phillip Granger.
“I remember him telling me when I was very young and first starting out that it’s never about the size of the character’s role, but it’s what you put into that character,” Daulby recalled. “Some of the best roles and some of the performances have been done by actors that are only in the film for five or six minutes. You can do a lot with very little. It’s not about how many words you have on the page or lines you have. You get out of it what you put into it.”
So he went into the audition for Black Fly and made a conscience decision to take a risk with the character he hoped to portray. It paid off. A few days later he was back in the audition room trying out for the lead. The next thing he knew he was on set, landing the top role.
“I decided to do something different from the typical actor,” he explained. “ I have no interest in playing your typical character types. It’s not what interests me. I want to do something that’s risky, and that can be scary sometimes. But that’s what makes it interesting for me and for the director.”
Daulby’s fellow best lead actor nominee and Black Fly co-star, Matthew MacCaull, was also nominated in the same category as Daulby for Roar.
“I couldn’t help but laugh when I learned that Matt and I were nominated together in both categories,” Daulby said from his Maple Ridge home. “We went through this crazy and exhilarating experience that was Black Fly, and then onto Roar immediately afterwards. It seems only natural for us to cap it all off and go mano a mano at the Leos.”
The young actor said he feels so honored to be chosen as part of such an illustrious group.
“We all put a lot of heart and soul into Black Fly,” he said. “I’m so excited to see our fantastic cast and crew’s efforts being recognized with 10 nominations.”
Black Fly, which was also nominated for best motion picture, was written and directed by fellow Leo award nominee Jason Bourque. The film is currently on Superchannel and is also at Cannes, where it is being shown to potential distributors.
Roar, nominated for best short drama, was directed by Stuart Langfield and Dylan Rekert, who are also up for Leo. The short film that explores the relationship between two brothers who are brought together to fulfill their grandfather’s final wishes.
While Daulby is looking forward to walking the red carpet on award night, like any actor, life is always about the next project.
He just wrapped up a TV movie called Pretty Little Addict, directed by Monika Mitchell, and has been working on a web series with a company called New Image Entertainment. He said with the growing trend of digital movie production and the ability to market products without having the traditional big name production company, it’s important to be as dynamic as possible.
“I was able to write several episodes, as well as produce and got the chance to direct one, which is fantastic because it’s something I want to get into,” he said.