We got the chance recently to ask some questions to Alex Barima, a Canadian actor who joined the Season 2 cast of The Exorcist TV series. On the show, Barima “plays the role of Shelby, a foster child and born again Christian, who was the first to notice strange occurrences happening.” Additionally, Barima has had minor roles on a number of our favourite geek comic book shows such as iZombie, Once Upon A Time, Supernatural, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow.
I have no doubt in my mind after chatting with Barima that he has a promising career ahead as an actor and as someone who wants to pursue filmmaking himself.
Check out our interview below:
What is it about acting that draws you to the craft?
Alex Barima: I just love telling stories. Acting, to me, is really about being part of a puzzle; I want to make sure I’m a piece that fits properly!
The Exorcist is still considered one of the best horror movies of all time – are you a fan of the genre? How did you feel about stepping into a role on a property that is so highly regarded?
AB: It was definitely intimidating at first, but we had incredible producers who truly believed in the show’s potential. Once we started filming, I knew we were in good hands.
Staying on the topic of horror films, what are some of your favourites (if you’re a fan)?
AB: I usually shy away from horror, but I’m a big fan of Cabin in the Woods. I never get tired of watching it, it’s a perfect film in my opinion.
What do you think draws people to the genre of horror? Inherently you would think that people wouldn’t want to be scared when they’re trying to relax but horror has risen in popularity over the last few years—why do you think that is?
AB: I think people like being challenged and facing their fears. Watching horror is akin to riding a roller coaster; You know you’ll make it out the other side, but it remains thrilling and (hopefully) terrifying.
What sort of challenges does working in the horror genre present to you as an actor? And what was your most challenging moment while shooting The Exorcist?
AB: Real fear isn’t something you can control, so any scene where we had to be afraid was most challenging for me. I would shoot them and just pray that it would be convincing enough! I usually gravitate toward comedy, so playing this role has been fascinating. I’ve learned a great deal in the past four months.
As someone who wants to further their career into producing and directing, you have such an advantage in having potential mentors around you all the time while you’re on set. Is there anyone that would be your dream person to work with on your own project in the future?
AB: John Cho and I became close friends during the shoot, and I would love to work with him again. Seeing him work was the best training I could’ve gotten; he excels at treading the line between having fun and working with complete dedication. Seeing him get so invested in what we were making made a world of difference for me.
If I could shadow any director, I’d have to say James Cameron or Ridley Scott. I think they’re true masters of Sci-Fi film-making.
Between iZombie, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow, you’ve made the rounds on a lot of comic book TV shows— even within small roles, what was it like being a part of such a larger picture universe that ties in with more than just TV?
AB: It’s always fun to work high concept projects with all the cool special effects they use. I’ve been lucky to be involved with shows that have such large fan bases and followings. I was a big Archie Comics fan growing up though, so Riverdale is definitely on my radar!
And speaking of comic books, I hear you’re a big fan of anime as well—can you tell me a little bit about some of your favourites? What got you into anime?
AB: Like most kids who grew up in the 90’s, the first anime I ever saw was Dragon Ball. I though it was the coolest show ever, but I wasn’t aware that it was anime. I became a legitimate “Otaku” when I was around 13 years old, and I started watching InuYasha and Fullmetal Alchemist. When I was 18, I went through all of One Piece, which had about 500 episodes at the time; I still keep up with the series every week. My favorite TV show ever is Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood.
Video games aren’t exactly known for having the best film adaptations in the world—is there any game that you would personally like to see made into a feature? What would be your approach for making it work?
AB: My all-time favorite video game is the first Mass Effect. Not only would I like to see it made, but I would personally like to make it one day. I would hope to make a series of two or three films to tell the whole story. I’ve played the game so many times, and the story never ceases to impress me. The only way to ensure the film’s success would be to stick to the source material as closely as possible.
You’re stranded on a desert island (that miraculously has electricity, a TV, and a console). What video games do you bring with you?
AB: Mass Effect, Mass Effect 3, Knights of the Old Republic, and Battle for Middle Earth II.
In an alternative world, you didn’t go into acting and chose to follow a different profession instead… what would that profession be?
AB: Other than film and TV, my other great passion in life is language. I would have liked to study and teach more foreign languages. I’m working on learning some Japanese, but it’s hard to teach yourself.
Last but not least: what toppings go on your dream pizza?
AB: I like my classics like pepperoni, or bacon, but I’ll take a good Margherita pizza any day!
You can see Alex in The Exorcist, Friday’s on FOX and follow him for more projects over on Twitter.