Mark Acheson Interview

Canada has many talented actors, writers, producers, and other content creators. To help our industry grow, we would like to introduce you to some talented folks who have managed to capture that magic on screen. 

This week we spoke with Vancouver actor Mark Acheson.

Mark has too many professional film and TV credits to list but some of those include Elf, Reindeer Games, Watchmen, Smallville, X-Files…etc. 



HNMAG: You’re originally from Edmonton?

Mark Acheson: I was born there but never spent time there. I grew up in The Yukon and I came down to BC for acting.


HNMAG: How old were you when you moved from The Yukon?

Mark Acheson: Fifteen. It was bitterly cold and I wanted to go to the warmest place I could think of in Canada.


HNMAG: Did you know at fifteen, that you wanted to act?

Mark Acheson: Yeah, it was something I had been doing a few years already. I started on stage when I was eleven or twelve. I was in touring shows. We did Chekhov and Tennessee Williams.


HNMAG: Did you come to Vancouver with the idea of doing more theatre?

Mark Acheson: This was in 1973, there was no film and TV in Vancouver.


HNMAG: Where did you study theatre in Vancouver?

Mark Acheson: Studio 58.


HNMAG: Did you get work in theatre after that?

Mark Acheson: Yeah but funny enough, I got my first film acting job in a movie called Skip Tracer. This was a Canadian film that did really well. It was my first summer between classes. I was then fortunate enough to be cast as Lenny in the play Of Mice and Men and that helped my career quite a bit. 


HNMAG: Was Skip Tracer also set in Canada?

Mark Acheson: Yes it was. It had some great people in it. It won some awards. It was cool.


HNMAG: You did a lot of theatre for about ten years after graduating from Studio. How did you transition to Film & TV?

Mark Acheson: I would get a TV role, then another TV role while we were performing at the Arts Club and other theatres in town. At a certain point, you have to make a decision. It’s a matter of setting time apart for theatre or being available for Film and TV auditions. That’s when I made the switch away from theatre. As Vancouver grew, you could see the industry starting to advance and realizing that would be a viable income. It was hard to go back to stage money when you got used to Film and Television money.


HNMAG: What is your most memorable part?

Mark Acheson: I’m a lunch pale actor. I’ve had supporting roles where I’m on set for the run of the movie but most of the time, I go in for two or three days and perform as a character that is going to advance the plot. I booked a role on Elf and it was just one line. When I got to set, they were improving everything. We were there for twenty-two hours. There was no turn-around because it was the last day of shooting. Jon Favreau and Will Ferrell just wanted to have fun. Never had one day changed as much in my whole life as that day. 


HNMAG: How hard is it to maintain your consistent work in the industry?

Mark Acheson: I had a really nice run. For thirty-eight years, I worked every year. I’ve had over 150 credits and in 2000, I branched out into voice-over. I got a lot of work with that too. I went to a few conventions for My Little Pony. I went to a couple of them last year and it was nice, as the fans are very appreciative. I no longer chase after work. Now I’m semi-retired.  I audition a bit and will do something when asked. 


HNMAG: What are you keeping busy with?

Mark Acheson: I just got into a serious relationship. I have a ’64 Impala and take great care of it. I take it to car shows. I still enjoy Film & TV a lot but it’s not my entire focus.


HNMAG: What was your character like on Fargo?

Mark Acheson: I played a mafia boss and the episode won three Emmys. They told us before the shoot that everyone would die. After the shoot, casting told me, they really didn’t want to kill me.


HNMAG: Is a North Dakota accent similar to a Canadian accent?

Mark Acheson: There are shades of it but it’s a little different. When you watch the Coen Brothers’ film, you fall in love with the accent.


HNMAG: Vancouver is mostly US production.

Mark Acheson: Ninety-five percent of my income came from American projects. It didn’t come from Canada.


HNMAG: Is there anything that is Canadian that you are proud of?

Mark Acheson: I recently worked on a short called Never Broken. It’s getting all kinds of recognition and awards. The daughter, Grace (Paige Phung) was five years old and it was her first time on camera. She just stole the show. It’s a very touching, wonderful story. 


HNMAG: What do you appreciate the most about acting in Vancouver?

Mark Acheson: It was always my dream to work as an actor. I have been fascinated with television ever since I was a little kid. I never had any doubt in my mind what I was going to do. I have been very lucky to have the career that I’ve had. To be able to work at something you love is a real gift.


Mark Acheson is a staple as an experienced and reliable Vancouver actor. He loves to perform and cherishes his many amazing experiences on set. Mark has been fortunate enough to book roles and consistently work. Canada has many other talented and passionate performers. Moving forward, they can help create more Canadian stories. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *