Another Thursday, another brand new TV show to binge watch. But this time, for Gabriel Darku, things are a little different.
Darku, who grew up in Yellowknife, plays one of the lead roles in the new Netflix series October Faction, which premiered Thursday. It follows the Allen family, which includes Darku's character Geoff, his TV twin sister Viv, and their mom and dad — who have secretly spent their careers hunting monsters.
"It's a fun ride," Darku chuckled.
He says at his home in Toronto, he and friends nearly watched the whole series in one sitting. It's a far cry from where Darku was in high school, when he auditioned for his first role through his job at McDonald's in Yellowknife.
From dancer to actor
Back in 2012, 17-year-old Darku didn't have time for drama class. He was an athlete and a musician — and he loved to dance — but acting wasn't on his mind.
"I never really thought of it as something I'd be really passionate about."
But then he came across a contest that McDonald's Canada was putting on: it was asking its own employees to audition for a commercial for the franchise by competing in a dance competition.
Darku's colleagues convinced him to audition. He won.
"It was just that whole experience, you know — I've never been on set before and all of a sudden I'm in front of a camera doing something that I love to do and I'm getting paid for it," he said.
Luck and never giving up
After that, Darku decided to apply to the Toronto Film School. He got in and says that's really where the opportunities opened up for him.
Casting directors and producers were regular guest speakers at the school. He says that's how he met his current agent.
"I was just fortunate enough to have been going to the school and had attended that [speech] and I'd gone up to ask him a question in person. You know, he took an interest in me.
"As soon as I graduated the film school he got me into the casting rooms for some of the bigger shows that were happening at the time."
If you're passionate about something ... don't let anything else stop you from pursuing that. - Gabriel Darku, actor
Darku says any young person in the North that's considering an acting career should follow their passion, try not to get discouraged and never give up.
"When you start to, you know, seek work professionally, you always get so many no's before you get a yes."
But that shouldn't stop you, Darku said.
He says now that filming for October Faction is over, it's time to start auditioning again for another role. He says one day, he'd like to be on the other side of the camera and direct or film a movie or TV show himself.
"If you're passionate about something, let that be your focus and don't let anything else stop you from pursuing that," Darku said.