Talent On Tap – Wesley MacInnes Lifts the Secrecy on Project Blue Book

Years ago when I worked in Fort McMurray, I was eating my lunch outside with the crew. Somebody looked up at the blue sky and spotted what seemed to be a white square approx. 1 mile high floating in one spot. We didn’t know what it was but pretty soon there were 20 of us coming up with theories. We stared at it until our break was over and went back to work. We never discussed it again and never discovered the answer. It could’ve been described as an Unidentified Flying Object because it stayed in the one spot the entire time. That was before Youtube and cell phones. Nowadays it seems there are UFO’s spotted around the world with video proof. I’m not saying they’re all authentic but it does create conversation and debate about the question; are aliens visiting us?


The History Channel series, Project Blue Book would have you believe that. The show is based on declassified government documents surrounding sightings from Roswell to Area 51. I’ve actually driven to the gates of Area 51 years ago because of the hype… and it was on the bucket list. I only saw a white pickup truck perched on top of a hill and some warnings of lethal force if I drove any further. It was enough to persuade me to turn around and respect authority, especially US authority. 


Wesley MacInnes is an actor on the series, Project Blue Book and admits that working on the series has also caused him to be slightly suspect of what the government could be hiding. In addition to the series, Wesley has been in iZombie, Motive, The 100, Warcraft, Power Rangers, Supernatural, Continuum, The Vampire Diaries as well as most recently, Cold Pursuit starring Liam Neeson.  Did I mention that Wesley also has a successful country music career? Multi-talented and multi-interesting; I could’ve talked to him all day but the dog had run away, the chickens needed feeding and the ex wife wanted the truck back. Sound like a country song?


“In addition to being a tremendously talented actor, you’re also a very accomplished country music singer. What was it that inspired you to get into music?”

“I actually grew up not really liking country music but there was so much of it in Calgary. I actually liked the old country music like Hank Williams, Ian Tyson, George Straight type stuff. I listened to a lot of that when I was in my first band as a teenager and wanted to be rebellious. I was in a punk band and playing funk songs; we were playing a mash of stuff, I dyed my hair with kool-aide and wanted to be Kurt Cobain; I loved all of that. When I moved to Vancouver I started to miss some elements of it. There was a university student on my apartment floor that listened to Willie Nelson, Keith Urban, Toby Keith and it gradually started getting back in my head. I think the moment that pulled me back in was a Dierks Bentley concert in Calgary back in 2008.  He was just starting out but he’s a superstar now. He played a set that included great storytelling and the melodies I had missed in country music. The band that I’d played in for 8 years had ended and I’d decided to be a solo artist and felt compelled to write a country record. I followed my impulses and that was 10 years ago now. It took me 5 years to have any commercial success but when you put one foot in front of the next I’m now making the kind of country music I like.”       


“Did you move out to Vancouver for your acting career?”

“No, I actually moved out here to go to the University of British Columbia. I have a degree in political science and had excelled in physics and calculus in high school. A year in I’d decided to get a major in political science and a minor in physics. After some time mulling it over I’d decided that a minor at physics wasn’t sufficient and I turned my attention to the Arts and one of the courses was an acting class. Strangely enough, I loved it and quickly enrolled into every acting class you can take at UBC without actually enrolling into their Bachelor of Fine Arts program. I performed in some plays while there and on my last day I left, hopped on a bus and headed for The Vampire Diaries. I had 1 line on an episode but it represented a new chapter that had started in my life. I was finished with university and onto the next phase of my life.”



“I had assumed that you started your acting career in Calgary because I’d read that you were in Heartland, which is filmed out there.”

“That actually happened in inverse order. I went back to Calgary to be in Heartland many years after leaving. I had been living in Vancouver 5 or 6 years before being cast in the show. It was great because I was able to go back and stay with my parents and hang out. I’ve been lucky with a couple shows that have allowed me to go back to shoot in Calgary. I was out there at Fortress Mountain shooting Cold Pursuit with Liam Neeson a while back. We shot all over the place but I used Calgary as my base.”         


“On Project Blue Book you play a soldier named Damon. Can you tell us more about your character?”

“Damon is kind of an interesting misrepresentation that comes up against huge resistance from the institution/military that are trying to suppress information and Damon ends up in a kerfuffle with them when executing orders. It’s an interesting axis between following the party line and asking questions and they were reluctant about giving an inch. They’re a hierarchy military structure that’s part of the group chasing down a shooter in the episode, that ends up being a mysterious figure firing at them.”      


“This is a popular show. How does it feel to be part of the cast?”

“I think it’s a really cool show that’s right in my wheelhouse in terms of what I find interesting. I’m a big Sci-fi guy and it has a really strong cast. I have huge respect for Aidan Gillen, who’s very pleasant, a real good dude and not egotistical; easy to chat with. I’ve seen both sides of that from leads that I’ve worked with on other shows that have had huge egos and it makes it difficult for cast and crew. Reading the script for that show was very intriguing and an interesting nexus of classified documents, reality as well as some imagination. The creators of the show fill in the gaps and I think it’s a very interesting and compelling story.”  


“How did you prepare for the role and how did you get the part?”

“In terms of getting the part, I just auditioned but in preparation for the role I did a decent amount of reading on Roswell, Area 51 and the military of that era and time. Fortunately we had someone on set with a military background that could give us pointers. When you’re playing a military member you really want to do justice to that because those members have sacrificed enormously and you don’t want to look like a fraud. I had asked a lot of questions; such as, ‘is it reasonable that I have my hand on my sidearm, is it reasonable that I’d be looking for this, is it reasonable that I’d be popping my head up if someone was shooting at us?’ Some of it is very human behavior but the military may have other rules on how to react and I don’t want to be cavalier about it. It’s impossible to know all of it but I want it to look authentic.”


“What types of characters do you like to play?”

“There’s fun stuff in every character. I seem to get cast quite frequently as villains and musicians. Musicians is a part of my life but villains I tend to chuckle at. I can’t remember the number of times I’ve played a murderer or terrible awful people. It’s a lot of fun playing characters that are very far away from your day-to-day life. It’s also fun to try and empathize with someone you wouldn’t empathize with normally. I think it’s impossible to play a character that you’re judging. You can objectively say, I’m not a murderer, I don’t approve of that. To get inside that and play it, you can’t be judging them while you do it because it’s not how people live their lives. Even if you walk around with a degree of self-loathing, you’re still in that skin.”



“You are a multi-nominated music video director for you country music videos. Have you considered directing films?”

“I’d certainly like to. I actually have a couple of scripts that I’m plugging away at. It’s honestly a world I’d love to land in. I do like when I’m writing and directing because I’m able to take raw imagination and convert it into something tangible. As an actor, musician and director you’re able to lay out your vision. I have a real fascination with vulnerability and accepting people in their shitty state. It’s often perpetuated by social media and everyone is projecting how well they’re doing at all times. I like to spread awareness that everyone is struggling with something. I think the sooner you realize everyone in the room is going through shit, the sooner you can have a happier life, have more empathy and feel understood and less alone.”     


“You’ve had roles in so many great productions. Is there anyone on your bucket list you’d like to work with?”

“I do love Christopher Nolan’s directorial work. I think he’s a real visionary director who does things his own way. When you look at his films, they have a certain significant tone and a commonality between his films in terms of reinventing the wheel every time. I think he repeatedly brings a fresh take to his films and as far as modern directors go, he’s a very interesting one that I’d love to work with.”     


“Has your role on Project Blue Book changed your perception of UFO’s?”

“A little bit; I think I gauge it with a sense of skepticism. I don’t think it’s good to inherently reject authority. I think it could lead to an unhealthy mindset but I think it’s good to always be questioning stuff that’s coming at you because it’s not always true. In reading some of the information on this, I’m thinking it does sound strangely suspect. I think it’s a bit of a black hole you can fall into. There’s so much conjecture and literature and it’s quite hard to get to the bottom of it without some higher degree of clearance or a source you can trust. There are truly high-level people that are making totally contradictory statements about things that have allegedly happened. That’s what I find so intriguing about the show. Surely it fuels curiosity and it straddles the line between preaching and pushing conspiracies. It’s familiar watching a dramatization but it’s fascinating stuff that’s real and very interesting.”


“Where is Project Blue Book filmed?”

“The stuff that simulates Roswell is shot in Kamloops. I believe they shoot the majority of it in Vancouver. Going to Kamloops was fun and comparable to a field trip. It was in the middle of summer, it was hot without a cloud in the sky and people were almost passing out. It was very authentic looking and one of the things I enjoy most about acting is, when everyone’s in their costumes, there are props and you’re sitting in a real military jeep that’s truly from the 1940’s, in those moments you start to believe you’re there. For me, it’s where my inner-child has a great time. It’s all the stuff you loved doing as a kid; it’s playing pretend and probably a big part of why I and many others like to act.” 


“As an actor and country music singer, where, who or what do you find inspiration in?”

“I think I find it in everything. I think you’re inclined to think that inspiration will strike you from profound experiences in your life; beautiful, brilliant or whatever… I think every experience in your life however can influence/change who you are a little as a person/artist and possibly what you might create. The most interesting stuff I’ve created has come from being sad, bored and mundane moments in life. I think there’s interesting storytelling there. My best ideas come to me when I’m sitting and eating breakfast and not riding a rollercoaster. I find it an assumption that you pull inspiration from the big things. I also think its just being open to it. I wrote a song this morning in 5 minutes while eating breakfast. I increasingly do this but didn’t do it at all years ago but always do it but I’ve just started writing in a stream of consciousness while I’m having breakfast. I find that the best songs/best film ideas/best ideas in general come to me in opportune moments almost done; I don’t have to cook them or sit and think about them; they’re just there. While you’re in that moment, just drop everything you’re doing and write it down.”    


“As a country music recording artist, do you have a preference between acting and singing?”

“I don’t think so, I had gotten into music much earlier. Honestly when I’m in the core of doing one of these things I get a similar joy from them. Being an artist musician, you’re responsible for so much more than you tend to be as an actor. If you’re a musician hired by an artist to come play on an album or go on tour, then that’s more similar to being an actor. As an actor I’m hired to show up for a number of days, do my thing and then they’re going to edit it, market it and I’m not responsible for that. As a musician I’m going to write a song, be involved in the production of it, market it, be behind the social media and I’m at the core of it/the face of it and execution of it. They’re different in what I do with them and I don’t take huge joy in the marketing, the social media aspects are not my favourite things. My favourite part about being a musician is writing it, creating it, recording it and performing it. The same goes for the acting; you’re not excited to go print off headshots, update your resume or deal with the business aspects/see your accountant, you’re there for the acting. Like all things in life, it’s a balance and you can’t expect it to be all glory all the time.”      


One thought on “Talent On Tap – Wesley MacInnes Lifts the Secrecy on Project Blue Book

Leave a Reply

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