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Interview: The Order’s Jake Manley

by Charles Trapunski

As we have said in the past and continue to repeat, Brief Take is a major champion of the shot-in Vancouver Netflix series The Order. The show about secret societies holds a special place for us, and we were one of the few outlets to have an interview at the launch of Season 1 with Sarah Grey (that continues to be one of our most popular interviews in traffic volume).

We recently had the opportunity to speak with cast member Sam Trammell about his specific role within the series and he promised a meaningful appearance for his professor character in Season 2 of The Order. But none of this was as important until we sought out the chance to speak with the co-lead on this series, the wonderfully kind (and Canadian) Jake Manley, who plays heartthrob Jack in The Order.

We spoke on the phone with the friendly actor on a recent morning and he shared a bevy of stories about what this series means to him (and plenty of thanks for all the fan support!).

The following is a condensed and edited version of our interview with the All-Canadian lad Jake Manley of The Order.

Brief Take: The Order is such a fun ride! When did you know that it was such a cool show?

Jake Manley: When we got on set and started shooting it. I have always loved the humour. I think that the humour sets it apart from many other magical or teen drama shows. Dennis Heaton, the showrunner, is one of the funniest guys I have ever met and when you sprinkle the humorous on top of this vast world of magic and monsters, it becomes an incredibly fun ride, I think, like you said.

BT: This show was the biggest series in the world in Season 1 and Season 2 is often in top trending on Netflix. Did you predict it would be a cultural phenomenon?

JM: Well I absolutely felt that that it was something special, but I’m more than proud of what it has done. I think that Netflix did a good job of putting it on the homepage for people to watch and people gravitated toward the show. But when the first season came out, I didn’t expect that this many people would be jumping on board to watch it and a lot of people in the streets would all of a sudden point me out and say: “I love The Order!“. And it was always people I didn’t expect that would watch that show, such as middle-aged guys. It was really nice that a lot of people would be into the show and I think that is where the comedy comes into play. People perhaps who wouldn’t normally watch the show become addicted to it, because it’s extremely funny. I’m proud of everyone involved and the success that it has had and I hope that we get to keep doing more of it. I would like to bring people a Season 3 and continue to level up.

BT: When did you feel the click on set with people?

JM: Well the show is, first of all, made up largely of Canadians, who are inherently very nice people. [chuckles] Another cool part of it was Adam DiMarco, who plays Randall, we went to high school together in a small town called Oakville, so it was an amazing coincidence that we ended up on the show together and that we are playing friends. We already had that rapport which was amazing, and a lot of the Vancouver actors, again they knew each other from other projects. I don’t think it was uncomfortable for anyone starting out on this show. Everyone kind of knew each other and it was easy to break in together. A few days into shooting we knew that this was a special group and it was a really special project.

BT: What do you like most about working with Sarah Grey?

JM: Sarah, first of all she’s just an amazing actress and she’s such a hard worker. She’s very endearing and caring and she always shows up prepared, she’s ready to go, she’s dialed-in, she can help snap me out of being caught up in the scene before or when we’re shooting such long days for some of these scenes. She has such a grounded personality that it helps me really get into that moment. I think that these characters are having amazing, truthful moments in these scenes that have been really cool for me to explore. It’s been especially rewarding working with her, she’s such a great person.

BT: There are some really interesting actors that come in this season. What have you enjoyed about that aspect?

JM: Ah! It feels unreal when we get people like Sam (Trammell), or Jason (Priestley), or (Ian) Ziering or James (Marsters). I grew up watching them. I grew up watching all of their shows. It feels amazing to have them be a part of it and get to see them do their thing and hang out with them. I love how there are many different characters in this show and Matty Finochio was another amazing addition to the cast this year as the new professor. Man, he brought a whole new level of something a little bit cool for that character, and that guy is SNL funny off-camera, it’s incredible. I feel very fortunate that we show up and we have the best time. I know that a lot of shows say that, but all of us in the cast, our crew, we have a great time, which I think makes the show inherently much better. I think it creates better work. So I love that we’ve always had people that vibe with everyone and it’s extremely exciting this way.

BT: What’s been your favourite scene or episode to shoot?

JM: Oh, that’s a hard one to pick. I love the two-hander kind of scene when it’s me and another character, whether it’s the guidance I receive from Sam (Trammell), that is always very rewarding to shoot. I love the experience of shooting with a more experienced actor from whom which I can learn and they make things so easy. But there’s been many a scene in which Adam and me, or the Wolfpack, we’re dying of laughter and can’t fly straight for a take and we have to take a break. Especially in Season 2, as we know each other so well, sometimes when I actually listen to the dialogue that’s coming out of people’s mouths with such conviction [chuckles] and seriousness, I find it to be extremely funny and comical. I really like the party scene that we did, that was a lot of fun. There are so many…the sole thing that was a bit uncomfortable was the whole tree thing, (in which he was mostly nude), that was hard to do.

BT: I enjoy the amount of diversity that is present on The Order, but it does not seem to be there simply for the sake of being there. What do you think about this aspect of the show? 

JM: I think it’s representative of life, like I think that especially growing up in Canada, that’s how I have always grown up. It’s a diverse place and I think that having all of this diversity present clearly enriches the show. It all fits together as well and it doesn’t play on that, it’s not too on the nose about it, I think that it is simply representative of what it should be. Again, I think they’ve done a really good job of casting people that fit into the roles the best, but race has never been in question and I think that this is how it turns out when you do things properly.

BT: Has this show made you more open? Perhaps, not to the existence of werewolves, but to secret societies?

JM: What I was surprised to find out was many of these theories aren’t things that Dennis (Heaton) made up, like these are actual textbook theories and myths that have been around for a long time. I was surprised to see the amount of source material that Dennis used, it was really amazing. I was like: “Wow, this really is possible”, that something like this could exist right under our noses and we wouldn’t even know that there’s magic like this in the world. That’s what I kind of love about diving into a world that’s a little bit different from our own and believing it and buying into it.

BT: What has been your favourite fan encounter and how do you feel about being recognized more often?

JM: It’s always flattering. It is definitely kind of surreal and I try to show my appreciation for the fans checking out the show and how much fun it was to make. But this part is very rewarding. It’s really cool to see that we have done something that has resonated with people and brought them some joy, I love this aspect of being an actor and filmmaker. It’s a big part of why I got into it. It’s extremely rewarding to have any kind of fan interaction. While there’s the in-person aspect, as well, the messages that we receive through social media are really positive and nice and it’s awesome that people take time in their day to show their appreciation for the show.

BT: What has this month been like for you with The Order and your movie Infamous?

JM: Yeah, it’s been exciting. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind and I’m incredibly fortunate to have these amazing projects coming out at this time. I hope people are enjoying them and it looks like they are. But I enjoy spending time with family and making sure that I’m doing the right thing, but yeah, I’m super excited.

BT: How about promoting these projects while respecting quarantine and social distancing?

JM: Yeah, it’s kind of a delicate situation sometimes but ultimately, these two projects are going to do what they do. I don’t have a massive following or anything, the people that are going to want to see it or going to find it, they’re going to find it. But I also hope that it brings some light into people’s lives. It’s an extremely stressful time for many people, they need this kind of fun and escapism. If I can bring that to them and help out, then I hope that I can be a positive source for people.

BT: Your upcoming Netflix Christmas movie Holidate looks very exciting as well.

JM: Yeah, I mean, Christmas is in there, but this thing covers every single holiday throughout the year. That’s what I love about it, that it’s kind of relevant at any time, you can pop it on and it’s got all the holidays, it’s hilarious. It’s one of the most fun, eclectic casts with whom I’ve ever worked, I think it’s going to be a huge hit because everyone just crushes it in this, I’m excited to get that out there and for everyone to see it.

BT: Can I drink wine and watch you paint at your upcoming event?

JM: Absolutely! I am the worst painter ever! It’s going to be extremely interesting. My friend Deanna (Molinaro) she’s an amazing artist and she’s an ambassador for EB (epidermolysis bullosa), by which she’s afflicted. It is a terrible condition that not a lot of people know about. We’re trying to encourage people to come out and have fun and get a little more knowledge to the condition and bring some awareness and hopefully raise some funds to help these people that are afflicted by it.

BT: Who has been your acting mentor or someone with whom you have been happy to share scenes?

JM: Yeah, I mean so many people are mentors to me in even the smallest ways, but I’d say that a big one is Dean Armstrong. Dean is an acting teacher with whom I started working in Toronto, he actually has a studio. Since then, we’ve worked on a couple of projects and we’ve remained really good friends. I still consistently talk and coach with him all the time. He’s been more than valuable helping me to attain work and doing my due diligence for breaking down scenes and characters. I’d say that he would be the number one person.

BT: Season 1 of The Order ended on a cliffhanger, and Season 2 on even more of one. Why do you do that to us? Where is it going from here?

JM: [laughs] I don’t know where Dennis and Shelley, the writers, plan to take it, but I know it’s going to be somewhere amazing and yeah, there’s nothing cookie cutter about it. I love those big cliffhangers. I love that people are shaken about them because I think it’s the reaction which we should be going for, something very big. I’m excited to see where it goes from here.

BT: People really seem to respond to you on the show. Is there a name for the fan base?

JM: I don’t know if there is. I think at one point someone said The Order-lies, but it never took off, but I think that the people who are committed to it are extremely committed to it. They really, really enjoy it. It has been really touching to see everyone’s messages sent through Twitter and Instagram and I hope that I can bring these people more because [laughs] that’s all they want is more. The show seems to fly by. You have those 10 episodes and I watch them even and they fly by, like: “Oh, man! It’s over??”. Yeah, I’m optimistic they will have more!

BT: What sorts of things do you enjoy watching?

JM: Ooh! I like a lot of HBO stuff, a lot of dramas and dark comedies and Martin McDonaugh-type stuff, like lately I’ve been watching Sherlock, the BBC version, I love that. That’s been amazing, but yeah, usually like the high-end TV type stuff.

BT: What do you like about playing Jack that helps you express yourself a little bit differently?

JM: It’s fun to explore that aspect of myself as we all have these traits or thoughts that Jack possesses. Being able to expand on them and explore…I enjoy having truthful moments with the people existing in this world and in this space. I believe very much that the most rewarding times in my life have been experiencing genuine, authentic connections with people. As an actor, especially playing someone such as Jack, I get to do that all day long. Whether it is happy, sad- whatever- it always involves exploring the human condition, which I love.

The Order season 1 and 2 are now streaming on Netflix

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