SIMON KASSIANIDES [PEARSON]
Actor Simon Kassianides plays the CHARACTER OF Nick D’Amato in the Suits spinoff, PEARSON. Kassianides’ mysterious character works closely with the mayor and drives Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres) around Chicago.
In this exclusive interview, get to know the actor better, learn his love of great writing, discover which DC characters he dreams to play, and read more about his character and experiences in Pearson.
Tell us a little about your story. Who is Simon Kassianides?
I’m a South London raised Greek Cypriot who lives in Los Angeles and is very proud of his work and relationships. I’m in great place that’s come about due to a lot of focus of discipline, feels good!
As an actor, what type of roles and genres do you normally gravitate towards?
The writing comes first. Any role and genre is limitless in the right hands. If I looked at the work from a role and genre perspective I’d limit myself. Great writing can elevate any role and any genre.
Has there been a role that you wish you could’ve played longer?
There’s always a back story and world to explore that I’ve spent time on outside of the script but usually that work is done to serve the main story. There have been several times my role has been expanded by writers and directors which is the very best feeling; they’ve identified more in the character through my work and have wanted to explore that further with me. Again, as long as that expanded work serves the overall story to greater effect. I have not been a series regular prior to Pearson so it’s interesting to explore this further role and in more detail.
How did you come to land the role of Nick D’Amato?
I was seen by the casting director for the role and saw it evolve around me as the process moved along. At first my character had a different name and was far sleazier. Elements of which can be seen in the pilot. But as the story evolved the character did also.
Are you anything like your character?
I am sensitive and loyal to my family. I grew up in a big city where things weren’t always the safest. But I certainly don’t make the choices Nick makes. I aim to make his choices human and identifiable and create as much empathy in the role so you can relate to the decisions behind them.
What kind of training and preparation do you have to do for your character if any?
I went to Chicago and spent time alone there prior to some of the filming. I sought out some plain clothes cops and they sat with me; that helped with the role a great deal. I listened to tapes of the various Chicago accents so I could zero in on my choice. I also read a couple of autobiographies of cops from Chicago. But again, that’s all in order to service the story and scripts. All that work before bleeds into it through osmosis if you’re lucky.
With the seriousness of the show, how do you and the cast keep it light on set?
It’s almost autopilot. You have to release and let the tension go. Not always though and you have to be conscious of the other actors’ process; you may need to joke and be light but the next scene is heavy on your co-star. You navigate and look for the chance to joke of course. Gina and I have a blast.
What’s your dream project?
Batman. Joker. Either role.
If you weren’t an actor, what would you be doing?
I’d be a writer.
If you were a book, what kind of book would you be and why?
I’d be one of the Scandinavian Noir thriller series; a hard to put down guilty pleasure. That’s reason enough no? :)
See Simon as Nick D’Amato on Pearson only on USA Network.