Some people know they were born to be actors. Others find
themselves in the game accidentally. Demore Barnes, from CBS’ The
Unit, falls into the latter category.
“It’s probably been one of my greatest discoveries and the
greatest gift I’ve received,” Demore tells OK!. “I think going into my late
teens I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do and so I was always the kind of
kid who had trouble doing something unless I found a reason or I understood a
reason for doing it. It was pretty obvious once I started [acting] that I had a
talent and ability to do it and also the desire.”
Acting fell into Demore’s lap when, after emceeing a school
Christmas concert his senior year of high school, a teacher approached him
about auditioning for Squawk Box, a sketch comedy series in his native Canada.
He got the part and starred on the show for one season, choosing it over
college, much to his parents’ chagrin. But it was ultimately the right choice.
Now Demore stars on the CBS military drama, playing
Sergeant First Class Hector Williams, who he says is his favorite character
that he’s played because “there’s a sense of humanity about him. He’s just so
dedicated and noble. There’s nothing that I dislike about him.”
It wasn’t an easy road to small-screen success – make that
American small-screen success. After Squawk Box, Demore landed a slew of TV
projects in Canada, earning him two Gemini nominations (the Canadian Emmy), but that
wasn’t enough. Aware that the cream of the crop of roles was on U.S. soil – despite most projects being shot in Canada – the Toronto native decided it was time to
relocate south of the border in 2003. The move was tough and humbling.
“It was hard getting started because I was greatly
established in Canada
and that was a little bit of a shock and coming here and everyone’s like,
‘Who’s Demore?’” he recalls. “And they’re like, ‘No, well, we’re not sure
because we have our choices, blah, blah, blah, but we’ll see about that.’ I
think some of those people now know who I am.”
But for two years, he was merely another aspiring actor
searching for work. Demore spent that period studying under
famed acting coach Larry Moss, and going on audition after audition. Still, he was never discourage because “I’m very much
aware that there’s much to be gained in the process of getting to a destination
and it isn’t just about the destination.”
The destination for now is The Unit, currently in its third
season and “getting more and more second nature” to him. But once that ends,
expect Demore, who spends his down time working with Wing Haven, a refuge
for battered women and children, to branch out of his comfort zone.
“I’ve run a good distance in television and I’m certainly
going to be looking to parlay and springboard from The Unit to the big screen,”
he says. “I hope I have a career that is raw, and impacting and all-encompassing
in the many areas and facets of the industry. I want to do it all, I want to be
one of the forces to be reckoned with, one of these days.”
And maybe venture back up north for a project or two.
Ironically, the star has yet to film in his home country since moving to Los
Angeles and looks forward for that chance to one day, if only to retreat from
the Hollywood glitz.
“I can’t quite put my finger on it because it is kind of
intangible – it’s different. It has a different feel,” Demore says. “There’s
something a little more laidback about the Canadian set environment. Really
huge A-list actors come and they’re aware of it, but they’re very low key
about it. You’re just trying to make a living there.”
By Joyce Eng