A regular interview subject on our site is Wesley MacInnes, because he always does great things, whether it be acting in a role on-set or as a singer/songwriter. Recently, he’s done both of those (separately, of course) and I just had to talk about him about his experiences.
Wesley has the role of Owen Schultz, who is one of the victims of a strange experiment in The Imperfects. It has given him strange new powers, and because of that his life quickly changes into a mixture of heroic deeds and total chaos.
Wesley’s experience was great, as the cast and crew were amazing. The director in particular was very chill to hang with. When he was on set, the director’s attitude really helped set the mood and got things going.
Wesley MacInnes has also written a new song entitled Lookin For You which will be released as a new single this October. Meeting up via Zoom, Wesley and I spoke for a bit about what he was up to and had a fun conversation while doing so. Now here are the results of my latest experiment on what it’s like to interview Wesley.
HNMAG: I’d like to know more about your role as Owen. Have you ever had a role like this before?
Wesley MacInnes: Yeah, I guess I have. Many years ago, I was on Smallville and I played a complicated supervillain named Icicle. He’s a young man feeling a great deal of pain over the loss of his father and it drives him to become a bit of a rage monster. It’s not the same as Owen but both of these guys are trying to do what they feel is morally right. I find that’s a common thread. I’ve played a lot of morally ambiguous and villainous characters throughout my career and if they’re well written, they usually have something that underpins their drive to do bad things that is relatable and makes them authentic. For Owen, I don’t see him as a bad guy at all. If anything he is very much a good guy, but one whose physical condition gets away from him a little bit and transforms him – I often joked onset calling it his “copper madness”. In the end, he’s a good egg though and I’ve got a lot of love for that guy.
HNMAG: And is the show something you’d like to do for a long time? What were your first thoughts about the role and story?
Wesley MacInnes: I’m a big sci-fi fantasy fan, so anytime I get to do anything like that I’m a happy guy. I know there are a decent number of actors who don’t love that stuff as it’s not their genre of choice as a fan. It can be a lot of jargon, and interacting with CG things that aren’t there as you film. But personally, that’s my favourite stuff to watch and read as a fan, and it’s been a big part of my life. I love acting in this genre and if I get to play some more Owen in the future, I would be very happy about it.
HNMAG: What about the set? How was it working on something like that?
Wesley MacInnes: Quite cool. The scenes I was part of were in this big backlot area. It looked like a farm on approach, but they built out this massive kind of warehouse inside where you have the lab, Juan’s apartment, and many of the other interior locations. All these sets are custom built for the series. And it’s pretty neat when you see them on the show. When you walk into the spaces, you can see it’s a created space that we’re in. But when you light it up and put it in the frame it feels very real. I think my favorite set had to be the apartment Juan lived in with all the funky art set up in it, or possibly the gunrunner hideout.
HNMAG: Have you found you had a lot in common with Owen, aside from superpowers?
Wesley MacInnes: I would say a tremendous amount. I often find myself thinking like Owen. He sees himself as someone who wants to make the world better and wants to be a hero. I feel like it’s me on my better days. I actually like what he does in the episodes he shows up in – particularly with Tilda and Juan. He encourages them to use their powers to do good stuff. He rubs totally against some of where they are at mentally in the show at that moment – the cast presents this understandable but quirky take on their need to fix their situation. They want their own lives back, which makes total sense. When you plunk Owen in there, he has a different agenda. It gets kind of neat when you put those characters together, and you enjoy watching them not seeing eye to eye.
HNMAG: And what kind of powers does Owen possess?
Wesley MacInnes: Owen is essentially invulnerable. The science behind it is that he had a copper deficiency as a child so they gave him synthetic cells to compensate – or possibly overcompensate. It’s basically generated a huge amount of metal content in his body so on a cellular level he’s indestructible and then in the instance of Episode 4, he gets a little too much metal in him. That’s the copper madness I was joking about, and it makes him become a little unhinged.
HNMAG: If you had your own superpower, what would it be?
Wesley MacInnes: Man that’s a good question because I’ve always had a very basic one like being able to fly. That sounds very fun, but it’s also very self-serving. I think I would need to mull that over for longer to know. There are so many things that are cool, but something like the ability to change everything in the universe with a thought might be able to help a lot more people… is that TOO much power?
HNMAG: Given your singing and songwriting background, did you get any chances to have your music featured or any possibilities to have your character make music?
Wesley MacInnes: I’d love to hear the music Owen would make (laughs). The soundtrack used in this is quite rad and they really swung for it. They used a lot of big names and cool tunes that set a specific mood. There are a bunch of songs that I wouldn’t have guessed would show up, but work so well for this show. It’s giving me ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ vibes – like it’s even quirkier than I imagined on the page and I love that. But the thing about Owen is he’s a very simple man, so I assume he would sing very simple songs. Three chords and the truth.
HNMAG: Now I’d like to talk a little more about your musical career. Is it hard to balance out music and acting or have you found the perfect method in doing so?
Wesley MacInnes: It’s tricky… You have so many hours in the day and you use them the best that you can. I try to do stuff that is both personally fulfilling and creatively stimulating, and ideally that tells an important story. There are a lot of factors that go into it – it’s complicated like most things in life. I try to balance them in a way that works for me.
HNMAG: The new single is called Lookin For You. What is it about?
Wesley MacInnes: It’s a cool song I wrote at a songwriter camp I attended last summer. Ten or eleven of us went up to a cabin and just wrote songs. It was an idea that got thrown around, and it’s very in line with Owen (laughs). It’s a fairly simple love song but it has this element to it that I really like. The core of it is finding that one person that kind of carves through the whole storm and chaos of life and has sort of a fated quality to it. You’re looking for them, and they’re out there looking for you. You might not always be aware of that throughout your whole life, but maybe there’s some sort of gravity pulling the two of you together. I think there’s something charming to that idea.
HNMAG: What was the song’s inspiration?
Wesley MacInnes: I was taking a shower and the chorus popped into my head (laughs). My cabin mate heard me singing at some point and said “Use that today on the write!” I find with a lot of songs I write, all the best stuff usually doesn’t necessarily begin with narrating a thing that happened to you. It comes somewhere from the back of your subconscious. I find it often when doing a task like cooking or driving – anything that occupies the conscious mind. I don’t think any music is entirely original as it is an amalgamation of everything that you’ve ever heard in your whole life. It’s all floating around somewhere in your brain. It serves up notes, and melodies and I find you discover little ingredients that you go in and pull out as they bubble up to the surface.
HNMAG: Will we be expecting it to show up on an album in the future?
Wesley MacInnes: Yeah. Next year it’ll be on an album, but the single will be out in October.
HNMAG: How else do you get inspiration for your music?
Wesley MacInnes: It’s trite, but it’s life. Sometimes I like to go to my cabin and decompress and be away from the noise. A lot of people would assume that’s where you do a lot of writing, and sometimes that’s true. But I find almost more often, most of my songwriting comes out of the chaos of life. You know? When you’re reaching for it, it’s harder to grab. Whereas when you’re doing other things, that stuff just bubbles up. I find that really interesting on a brain chemistry level. Your subconscious has a lot of firepower, and you can’t necessarily aim it anywhere, but you can try to be ready when it shows up. One of the trickiest parts of being a songwriter is dropping everything you’re doing when those ideas come up and just putting them on the page.
HNMAG: Have you ever thought about making songs about characters you’ve played or on-set experiences?
Wesley MacInnes: Yeah, I think I actually did that years ago with a play I was in. It was all written about a specific scene – I don’t know if it’s a very good song. But I’m sure other roles have influenced some songs. I mean in the case of Owen, he’s a good example of that. He’s this altruistic island in a jaded ocean. That in and of itself is something you can write about. I’ve never written a song about him, but maybe I should.
HNMAG: Have you ever made music for film productions?
Wesley MacInnes: Yeah, a fair bit. Over the years, there have been a couple of my songs that were used on Chesapeake Shores and Heartland. I have a few songs that I did in this Christmas film I did last year. That was a lot of fun.
Wesley explained that one of his favorite songs for film was an adaptation of one of his dad’s Christmas songs. Wesley was in a Christmas film and the producers ended up requesting to use that song. Wesley set it up in secret so that on Christmas morning he and his family were able to watch the movie and his dad got the biggest surprise, seeing and hearing his own song fully produced and featured in the movie.
HNMAG: What kind of movie would you want Lookin For You to show up in?
Wesley MacInnes: I think it would work well in a Rom-Com. It’s got a fairly upbeat pop thing going for it, but it would definitely be in the montage of any character who was trying to sort their life out. It’s got a certain hypnotic repetitive chorus with repeated statements of all these different scenarios you have to battle through in life to get to the thing (or person) you really want.
This gave off so many facts I feel intelligent enough to perform some more experiments of my own. Be sure to keep an eye out for Wesley’s character Owen in The Imperfects as it’s currently airing on Netflix and keep an ear out for Lookin For You this month.