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Noel Johansen Interview photo 1“My godfather once said to me that I think we all become actors to play other people. I would refine that to say, to discover different parts of ourselves,” says stage, film and television actor Noel Johansen, before disclosing which of the characters whom he has portrayed comes closest to reflecting who he is, “I would have to turn to Shakespeare in that respect. I played MacDuff in Macbeth. MacDuff has a sense of warrior, which I think I have, because I have trained a lot in the martial arts, and I have always respected the warrior class so to speak. He (MacDuff) has immense vulnerability and leadership qualities, which I think in life, I have always had. I don’t say that with much ego attached, although it may sound that way (he laughs). I guess I have always felt like a leader, not because I wanted to be famous or in charge, but just because that is a human quality which I have always had. MacDuff is the character who greatly embodies who I am.”

Johansen, in part, because of his heritage, his mother is American, his father English and Johansen was born in Canada, has been permitted the luxury of working in American cities such as Los Angeles and New York City, throughout Canada and in London, England, but his opportunities have not come to him merely because of his natural links to those countries, but instead he has earned them. Johansen is an actor’s actor, who has worked hard at his craft and he continually works at perfecting those skills. On stage he has been cast in the lead role for the production of Alfie, he portrayed Einstein in the Broadway national tour of Picasso At The Lapine Agile, and he has also been cast in the lead roles of Romeo and Richard III in just two of the many Shakespearean productions in which he has appeared. Johansen’s television appearances include Stargate Atlantis, Smallville, Supernatural and Psych. In addition, he has appeared in several films including Under The Mistletoe.

As for the opportunities that have come his way, and his ability to work in several countries, “I am super grateful for it, and not just for the work, but because I have lived in different places and experienced different lifestyles. I think that is valuable. My wife said to me the other day that a lot of people look up to me or as a source of inspiration, and I never really think about that, because I am so busy, but I hope that I am, and I hope that is the case.”

When the question was posed to Noel Johansen as to whether he prefers the stage to film or television he admitted to a desire to do more screen work, but he also said, “Work on the stage comes a little easier to me, but only because I got started a little earlier on that. Right from the word go when I got out of drama school in New York, I started doing theater. I did tons of off Broadway shows and then I got hired professionally for a Broadway tour of Picasso At The Lapine Agile. I think it is a yin and yang thing for me, to be honest. I am one of those actors who can’t live without either. I can’t live without the screen and just do stage, and I can’t just do screen without the stage. It is not just because I like the challenge of it, which is a huge draw, screen is very different and sometimes much more subtle than stage, but it is also the different types of characters which I get to play on stage or on the screen, as well as the kind of acting that it requires of me.”   

Like most actors, Johansen’s preference when it comes to television and film is to be cast in meatier roles. “The less that I am part of a project, the more potentially disappointed or forlorn I am. I don’t mind doing the day stuff (smaller parts), but it is definitely a stepping-stone for me. I want to be playing some larger roles. For Dr. Dickenson (Stargate Atlantis), I had six or seven days (of filming), so I felt that I was part of the whole episode. I felt that I got to make some friends and to talk to the other actors on the show. I felt much better (knowing) that I was a part of the show.”

Expanding on his thoughts about working in television, Johansen says, “It is difficult for me to be only a day player, because it doesn’t afford me the opportunity to act, with the chance to really play a character, which is a better way (of describing it), because acting is a dangerous word sometimes. I like to get under the skin of characters and to expose subtleties and layers of them, rather than just doing something simple. It is kind of like, I am qualified to fly an air force jet, and you ask me to make a model airplane (he laughs), for lack of a better analogy.” Read more