Will Bowes vs. The World

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Photo by Maayan Ziv

[W]ill Bowes is clutching a red, plastic cup. His eyes wander around him in a fake drunken haze. Around him is a party at a University of Toronto frat house — but it’s not just any party. Standing in front of him is actor Michael Cera, who looks at Bowes as he leans against a wooden doorframe. “She’s on another level,” Bowes tells Cera, who is trying to find out more about a girl named Ramona Flowers. The two are filming the party scene for the film Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.

Bowes is sitting in a crowded movie theatre when he sees this exchange of words. Surrounding him at the Toronto premier of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World are the cast and crew — but right beside Bowes is a close friend. “I’m making it seem like it was a big deal, but really it was only four seconds,” Bowes laughs when he describes the scene. Still, the moment is a big deal in his career. This is the first time Bowes sees himself on a movie screen.

Bowes, a recent Radio and Television (RTA) graduate, has been acting since he was 14-years-old. The graduate recently starred in a film with Oscar-nominated actress Jennifer Lawrence in House at the End of the Street. But before that, he was playing roles on television shows like Degrassi: The Next Generation, Copper and Saving Hope. Bowes credits some of his success to his studies. When he talks about Ryerson, his face lights up with a dimpled grin. “It just seemed like a wonderful, diverse atmosphere,” Bowes said about RTA. “I chose RTA because of my interest primarily in filmmaking and for how incredibly broad it was.”

Bowes was invited back to Ryerson in the fall to speak to RTA students working on their practicums. His film, Hunting Season, was awarded Best Practicum in 2012. “Use the resources and equipment to the fullest,” he told the students. “Take it as a great learning experience.”

[B]owes remembers the first time he held a video camera. He was eight-years-old. Clutching onto the device, he would make films with his sister about an evil pineapple called “Piney on the Loose.” Bowes said that during his childhood, he was amazed by the art scene around him. Both of his parents, who were actors, introduced him to the world that would later become his passion.

“I was always surrounded by arts, culture and different flavours of people and different perspective of things,” Bowes says of his childhood. “All the wonderful things that comes with creativity.”

Although known primarily for his acting, Bowes has a passion for filmmaking and writing. When he talks about his favourite directors, his brow furrows in deep thought. Bowes says that writers, like Guillermo Arriaga, who interweaves several story lines into one, fascinate him. “I love how he takes a multi-narrative, and brings them all together and allows them to totally change and shape each other,” Bowes says of his favourite director.

[I]t started with Tad. After being discovered by an acting agency in Toronto, Bowes got his first acting job with the show Naturally, Sadie. Alongside fellow Ryerson graduate Charlotte Arnold, Bowes played the reoccurring role of Tad. The role cemented his passion for acting.

“[Naturally, Sadie] affirmed that I liked doing it and I wanted to do more for it. It gave me a hunger for it,” Bowes says. “I just knew that I wanted to be a part of it. I didn’t know in what way, but I knew it was the industry I wanted to be a part of.”

Q&A with Will Bowes
What fictional character do you relate to most?

Harry Potter. I felt uneasy about expressing creativity growing up until I found an environment where I could nurture it…aka art schools.

What is your favourite place in Toronto?
I grew up in the Beaches, and I just love being by the water.

What is your dream job?
A dream role would be somebody that completely changes in their behavior and nature. I love watching actors who take their character and by the end of the film they’ve done a total 180. It’s just intriguing to see someone drastically change at the end of a two hour period.

Do you have a guilty pleasure when it comes to music?
Some really catchy pop songs. I would be embarrassed to say that I’ve listened to “Teenage Dream” more than I maybe should have.