Daniel Gillies chats about ‘Saving Hope’ Season 2, ‘Broken Kingdom’ & Canadian Talent

The Arts Guild


The 2013 Lakeshorts International Short Film Festival gave us an opportunity to chat with Canadian-born, New Zealand Daniel Gillies, who gave us quite an insight into projects he’s working on and an amazing shout out to Canadian talent.

Daniel Gillies is best known for playing Dr. Joel Goran on the Canadian series Saving Hope – along side Erica Durance and Michael Shanks – as well as Elijah Mikaelson on The Vampire Diaries. Gillies was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and moved to New Zealand with his parents at the age of five. He moved to Australia to boost his career, returning to Canada for a short bit before finally settling down in Los Angeles. He has guest starred in a number of notable shows, including True Blood, NCISand The Glades. He has been cast in the The Vampire Diaries spin-off The Originals, due to air in late 2013, early 2014.

Broken Kingdom is his directorial debut, a film he wrote as well and launched back in 2012. Now the show has been bought by Showtime and airs until June 24th, along with a documentary that focuses on the making of the film. The schedule for Showtime Showcase is below. For folks who don’t have Showtime, especially Canadians, you can watch/download the movie on their official website for a very small fee (totally worth it!) – Check it out here:

Watch the video interview here >>

Broken Kingdom

Paste Magazine
Michael Dunaway

Broken Kingdom, the writing and directorial debut of Daniel Gillies (perhaps best known form his role in The Vampire Diaries), finally gets unveiled to the world next week, along with its companion documentary Kingdom Come.

Most of the plot of Broken Kingdom, the narrative film of the two, seems at first glance underwritten—a broken, haggard, haunted man who calls himself “80” (Gillies himself) wanders the streets of Bogota, Colombia, finally falling in with a very young prostitute. Back in the United States, a woman named Marilyn (Rachael Leigh Cook) begins a romantic relationship. That’s about it, for most of the movie.

But what you’re coming for isn’t twists and turns of plot. You’re coming for, in large part, an intriguing atmosphere of mystery and momentousness. There’s a very real, unmanufactured sense that large issues are at play in each of these lives. 80’s agonizing silence and, eventually, Marilyn’s nervous energy, underscore the gravity of the situations, whatever those situations may be.

Gillies is nearly unrecognizable for fans of his role in The Vampire Diaries; his character hides behind greasy bangs, a long bushy beard, and evasive eyes. He’s a writer who’s found it impossible to write, and his frustration and self-loathing virtually drip off the screen. Stony silence is a difficult role to pull off, and in many actors’ hands in comes across as blank and shallow. But Gillies’ soulful performance imbues his struggle with a nobility of spirit that animates what could have been a very forbidding performance. You want to get behind those eyes.

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Daniel Gillies and Rachael Leigh Cook: Class acts in “Broken Kingdom”

On & Beyond

There are actors who work mainly for the fame, the glory and the big paychecks in the motion picture industry. And then there are those who work truly for the love of the craft—the art of taking an idea, working tirelessly to bring it to the screen, and who sacrifice their blood, sweat and finances to make it happen. They become the true “stars” of the industry—the real class acts.

Daniel Gillies and Rachael Leigh Cook are two of those stars. Their passion for filmmaking goes further on display with the release on October 2 of a pair of films—“Broken Kingdom” and “Kingdom Come.” Between them, they wrote, directed, executive-produced and star in “Broken Kingdom.” The companion film, “Kingdom Come,” serves as a documentary and tribute to the challenges that these two actors, who have been married since 2004, faced in bringing their film to fruition.

Neither needed to set out on this journey. Daniel stars as Elijah Mikaelson in CW’s “Vampire Diaries” and was a lead in NBC’s “Saving Hope” last season, while Rachael will soon begin filming the second season of TNT’s popular “Perception” series opposite co-star Will McCormack.  They have long, impressive resumes in Hollywood, but they share two common passions—the work ethic as actors to never rest on their laurels, and the desire to stretch themselves in roles opposite of ones they’ve played.

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Daniel Gillies Releases Broken Kingdom & Kingdom Come Films (Exclusive Interview)


The awards are lovely but they don’t mean as much to me as when… somebody tells me they were moved by my movie… that’s extraordinary to me. To me the greatest award is somebody telling me that what you did was wonderful.
— Daniel Gillies

When it comes to making movies, Hollywood isn’t what it used to be. For independent filmmakers, advances in digital camera technology, social media and crowd-funding have made it possible to bypass the bureaucracy of the entertainment studio system and opened up new distribution channels, allowing films to be shared with international audiences with the click of a mouse.

Despite its many challenges, this brave new model is something Daniel Gillies is embracing. The actor who currently stars as Elijah on The CW series The Vampire Diaries and Dr. Joel Goran on NBC’s Saving Hope is set to release his new film Broken Kingdomonline on Oct. 2, along with the companion documentary Kingdom Come, featuring commentary from some of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Both movies are currently available together for the pre-order price of $8 at

In a recent interview with StayFamous.Net, Daniel talked about his new movie (which also stars his wife, actress Rachael Leigh Cook) and the journey that led him to become a highly-successful actor in Hollywood.

Michael Aaron Gallagher: “So first of all, tell me a little bit about how you went from Canada, to New Zealand to having a career in Hollywood?”

Daniel Gillies: “My father is a doctor. He was doing some medical work in Winnipeg, Canada, right about the time I was born…. I got to almost the age of five and then my parents decided ‘OK, we’re going to go back to New Zealand.’ I grew up there, until my early twenties and then went to Australia and then went back to Canada, because I had that connection and that passport and the ability to travel there and work there. Then I went from Canada to the United States. In every country, there’s sort of a ceiling on what you can achieve. I just felt like in the United States there was no ceiling. It was kind of the obvious progression.”

Rest the rest of the interview here >>

'Vampire Diaries' Star Daniel Gillies Wants You At His Movie Premiere

Hollywood Crush

We know actor Daniel Gillies best as Original vampire Elijah on "The Vampire Diaries," but it's time to meet his filmmaker side too.

I have to make movies now. I’ve realized the pleasure that comes from it, and I’ve realized that it’s one of the few sorts of instruments that I think is a really worthy one to sort of talk back to the universe about what your experience is and has been being a person your whole life.
— Daniel Gillies

Daniel decided five years ago that he wanted to fulfill his dream of directing a project of his own. He took three years off acting and invested more than $100,000 of his own money into making that dream a reality, and thus, "Broken Kingdom" was born. Along the way he decided to create a documentary chronicling his experience and turned to fellow actors Mark Ruffalo, Don Cheadle, Selma Blair and wife Rachael Leigh Cook (yes, that Rachael Leigh Cook) to help contribute their own experiences to the project.

"Broken Kingdom" has already made festival circuits and now it and its companion documentary "Kingdom Come" are ready to meet the world. The premiere for both projects is going to take place in Los Angeles on October 2, but Daniel has invited all of us to come. He is going to livestream the premiere red carpet through the films' official website for fans to watch and, once the movie starts rolling in L.A.'s Harmony Gold Theater, viewers at home will be able to watch "Kingdom Come" on their computers as well. After, both projects will be available for purchase. We had a chance to catch up with Daniel recently to talk about where he got this great idea, which really is a first in the film community.

Read the rest of the interview here >>