Acting requires one to step outside of themselves and into the persona of someone completely different. The best actors can make this process appear seamless on film and stage. Canadian actor Christopher Heyerdahl has had a propensity for roles in science fiction and horror projects, but it may be his portrayal of a deaf individual in the SyFy network series Van Helsing that may just be his best acting to date! How did the actor pull off such a performance? Keep reading below to get familiar with Heyerdahl and see how he prepared for this challenging role!
The future Van Helsing actor was born in British Columbia, Canada, on September 18, 1963. Heyerdahl’s family first moved to Canada in the 1950s from Norway, and the actor is a descendant of both Scottish and Norwegian ancestry.
Before making it big on the stage and screen, Christopher Heyerdahl studied at the University of Oslo. He is also fluent in the Norwegian and French languages. A talent he has put to use in several roles!
While Christopher Heyerdahl has done plenty of adventuring on the screen, he does have a famous relative that did his adventuring in the real world! Christopher’s father was the first cousin to the renowned adventurer and explorer Thor Heyerdahl. Thor Heyerdahl was an ethnologist who organized, then led the Kon – Tiki and Ra transoceanic scientific expeditions in the 40s and late 60s, respectively.
Christopher Heyerdahl’s career is not loaded up with romantic comedies or slapstick. The Canadian actor has spent much of his career taking on projects that focus on the macabre and science fiction. It is a career choice that has paid off for the actor and has kept him constantly busy throughout the years!
Heyerdahl has an extensive resume of television appearances. Some of his more well-known works include his role as Marcus in the Twilight Saga and his portrayal of Swede on the AMC series Hell on Wheels. You can find Heyerdahl on the cult classic Nickelodeon series Are You Afraid of the Dark? He was in the episodes The Thirteenth Floor and as the vampire Nosferatu in Midnight Madness.
If you like your dramas off-planet, you can check out Heyerdahl as a regular on the science fiction series Stargate Atlantis and he made an appearance on Stargate SG-1. Staying with the out-there theme, you can check out Christopher Heyerdahl’s performance of the horror fantasy writer H.P. Lovecraft in the late 90s television movie Out of Mind: The Stories of H.P. Lovecraft.
If this hasn’t been enough, you can catch Christopher Heyerdahl on a vast number of other television series! Among the most popular include his work on Supernatural, Smallville, Kingdom Hospital, Sanctuary, and True Blood.
Christopher Heyerdahl has played a number of complex and interesting characters throughout his long career. In recent years, it is his role as Sam on the SyFy Network series Van Helsing that has gotten him the most notoriety. This is primarily due to the fact that Heyerdahl, who can hear perfectly well, is playing a deaf character.
Heyerdahl has stated in past interviews that he understood the importance of portraying the character accurately and wanted to give a performance that the deaf community would enjoy and appreciate. The actor says that he worked hard and learned American Sign Language, ASL, to provide a more authentic portrayal of the character.
While being interviewed during the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con, Heyerdahl says he prepared for the deaf role by blocking out what he could hear from the other actors as much as possible. He stated that he took preparing for the part so far as to ignore those on the set if they weren’t looking at him directly! Christopher Heyerdahl had this to say as well during the convention in San Diego:
“It was always an issue with remaining true to the reality of someone who can’t hear. And if most everyone is communicating orally…it doesn’t really do him much good unless he is able to…see the person’s lips moving. So that was always a challenge with the piece and with all the other actors. You know, if I can’t see you, I can’t hear you.”
Even if you are not familiar with the name Christopher Heyerdahl, if you have watched any television in the last few decades, especially science fiction, you will know his face and work! The actor brings a passion and a desire to give the best performance possible to every role he takes. He certainly put the work and effort into the part of Sam on Van Helsing! And while haters may be upset over an individual who can hear portraying a deaf character, Heyerdahl gave the role the attention and respect it deserved!