I had the opportunity to chat with Taras Lavren, whom many of you might recognize from the CBC/Netflix series Anne With an E. After appearing in season one as Nate, Lavren is returning for season two as a series regular. Beyond work on the series, he is also very musically inclined and has a number of other projects in the works. Thank you to Taras Lavren for agreeing to this interview.
Could you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
Hi NGE readers! My name is Taras and I like to pretend to be other people in front of a camera, and also pretend to know what I’m doing behind a camera by making films and music videos. I live in Toronto, but also love getting out of it to travel about.
You are currently on the series Anne With an E, which debuted its second season on September 23rd. How would you describe your character Nate?
Nate is something of a curious mystery in the world of Anne With an E, but arrives with a big impact. He is a quick-minded grifter that uses his charm and sharp wit to play the con-game to its full potential.
What changes have happened for your character between the two seasons?
We first get introduced to Nate as one of the boarders that take up residence at Green Gables at the end of season one. In the second season we discover that after being there for nine months, there may be more to him than meets the Cuthberts’ eye.
What have been some of your favorite on set moments?
One day, the show’s animal wranglers made a surprise visit with about a dozen little lambs to play with, suffice to say we were pretty behind schedule that day. Getting to work so closely with the main cast was incredible too, both R.H. Thompson and Geraldine James were like mentors to me and really helped guide me through some really challenging scenes, and Amybeth McNulty became like a fun little sister to me, we were constantly trying to out sass each other, she usually won.
What can fans expect to see in season two? (No big spoilers of course)
The scope of the second season really expands the world of Green Gables, figuratively and literally by taking the show outside of P.E.I. It gets the opportunity to explore a diversity of stories that simply haven’t been told before in the series. What’s so remarkable about this show is that it not only beautifully captures the charm of late 19th century Canada, but also retains the capacity to touch on subjects that are very relevant in our modern world.
This isn’t your first period piece style show, what was it like appearing on The CW show Reign?
Haha yeah, I’m kind of drawn to the period piece stuff I guess. Reign was a cool experience because it was the first big show I got to be on. I remember watching a few episodes the night before going on set, and then arriving there in the morning and I was just like “wow, I was literally watching this on TV last night”. What’s also interesting is the connection to Anne With an E, since I got to act opposite Meghan Follows on the show, (who fans will recognize as the original Anne of Green Gables), I technically have had the opportunity to act opposite the two generations of Anne!
Could you tell me about your upcoming shows vWars and Wayne?
So vWars is this cool new vampire show starring Ian Somerholder (and no he’s not a vampire this time) that’s coming to Netflix, based on the print anthology series of the same name. In that I play this the leader of a vampire gang that takes one too many liberties with his powers and perhaps steps on too many toes in the process as well.
Wayne, on the other hand is this crazy adrenaline-driven “Bonny and Clyde” type series coming to the newly hyped YouTube Red streaming service. It sees this 15-year-old kid (aptly named Wayne) set out on a dirt bike to take back a 1978 Pontiac Trans Am that was stolen from his dad before he died. In that I play (yet another) leader of a gang that messes with Wayne in the opening episode. I’m noticing I’m quite good at leading a gang of troublemakers.
You not only act, but you direct as well. Could you discuss your short film, My Coffee with Jim?
‘My Coffee with Jim’ was my directorial debut. It’s a short film about the tumultuous first date of Jim – an aspiring filmmaker in his twenties – and Jan – a women’s studies major of a similar age – who find themselves trapped in a debate about the controversial Woody Allen. I wanted to make it unique from other “first date” films, so I shot it all primarily in the POV (point of view) perspective from both Jim and Jan. I was also really inspired by the works of Woody Allen and Wes Anderson, so you see a lot of symmetry in the film. It was a ton of fun but also a ton of stress as it put me through the grinder of how to turn a project from script to festival in about a year. It was sort of like my filmmaking boot camp.
You’re also a founding member of Blink Twice Studios, what does this group do and where can our readers check out their content?
So Blink Twice Films is an anthology of one-minute short films, all featured on Instagram. It’s a unique production in that it is dedicated as a collaborative platform for actors, writers, composers and filmmakers, locally and internationally. Being inspired by the one-minute video upload restriction to Instagram we thought it would be a cool project to create this dedicated online space for bite-size stories. We officially launched the page in June 2018 and we’ve been incredibly fortunate with the reaction and support we’ve gotten from artists and fans all over the world. We were also featured at the young filmmakers TIFF party this year. There is an appetite for micro-form content and we are definitely trying to lead the charge on that! You can find us on Instagram @blinktwicefilms.
I saw that you play guitar and compose music, what sort of music do you focus on and do you perform?
I like to mess around a bit with the guitar, I used to be in a band called High Noon Howls and we had a pretty good run playing a bunch of shows all over Toronto for a few years. I really love just sitting back and digging into some bluesy riffs, once you get into a groove it kind of becomes like therapy.
Where can our readers keep up with you and everything you are working on online?
You can always keep up with what I’m up to next on my Instagram @taras.l. Do expect a bunch of dumb photos of me trying to pose cool for the camera though.
Share your thoughts with us in the comments or on Twitter, @thenerdygirlexp. You can find me on Twitter, @kleffnotes, on my blog, kleffnotes.wordpress.com, on my kleffnotes YouTube channel, and I run The Nerdy Girl Express Snapchat, thenerdygirlexp.