In Prime Video’s “The Lake,” Ontario actor Jordan Gavaris takes centre stage
TORONTO - Best known for his scene-stealing comedy chops in “Orphan Black,” actor Jordan Gavaris takes the lead in “The Lake” as a gay man trying to reconnect with the biological daughter he gave up for adoption as a teenager.
Gavaris admits to feeling a little jittery about the leap into a family comedy from Prime Video, but also hopeful about where his career – and film and television stories – are headed.
“I had never seen that type of character — who is usually relegated to the rear-view mirror — at the centre of the universe before, and in a story that is not about his queerness or his journey to self-acceptance,” Gavaris says in a virtual interview from the Banff World Media Festival.
“It’s just a love story between a birth father and a daughter.”
Set in Ontario cottage country, the series stars the Caledon, Ont.-born and raised actor as Justin, who is fresh off a break-up with his long-time ex-boyfriend and back in Canada after years spent living overseas.
Things get predictably messy at Justin’s old family cottage when his stepsister Maisy-May, played by Julia Stiles, arrives and informs him the house belongs to her.
Gavaris says he was keen to follow up his turn in CTV Sci-Fi’s clone drama “Orphan Black” with something funny and meaty.
“(’Orphan Black’) was a tough act to follow,” he says.
“What I needed to do next was different, and I knew that it had to be comedy, which is always just a lot of fun for me.”
The story is rooted in the real-life experience of Ottawa creator and writer Julian Doucet of CTV Sci-Fi’s “Killjoys” and Citytv’s “Hudson & Rex,” who also met his birth daughter later in life after giving her up for adoption when he was a teenager.
Gavaris says that playing a father was actually the easiest part of his performance.
“The benefit I had is that Justin doesn’t know how to be a father, he barely knows how to be an adult; he’s kind of a hot mess,” he says.
“I really didn’t have to work too hard at finding that anxiety around being a parent. But it was important to me to treat the material with sensitivity because that is some people’s story, that is Julian’s story.”
Still, Gavaris was eager to up his game with Stiles, his frequent scene partner with credits including British series “Riviera,” Crave’s “Dexter” and the “Bourne” franchise.
“She’s Julia Stiles!” he exclaims.