Garrett Hnatiuk. You’ve heard of him. He’s a fluid, masculinity-breaking badass who’s looking for his next artistic role. Oh, and you’ve seen him on “Slasher” season 3. Without further ado, I’d love introduce you to a beautiful soul.
Joseph A. Federico: You portray strong male figures in the work you’ve done to-date, right? How are you breaking stereotypes and ideals on masculinity moving forward?
Garrett Hnatiuk: Masculinity is funny. I grew up in a town where you had to wear this kind of shit like armour. It took a lot of re-socialization for me to realize the dangers of what toxic masculinity can amount to, often without the person even realizing it. So, to me, as a pretty fluid person, masculinity became redefined.
When you wear it like armour, it weighs you down. So. when it comes to character choices, I think naturally they become imbued with a sort of looseness, a freedom. I like fucking with masculine characters, making choices that show the complexities of how the character interprets their actions.
Kind of off topic, but kind of on topic at the same time, I also love villains and watching how actors choose to portray villains. It can get so complex and I think that’s what is interesting to watch. Look at the film “Get Out” All around, I thought it was so well done, but the choices made by the actors was so fucking interesting. The young, white brother, Caleb Landry Jones!? Fuck, he was creepy, but his choices were so engaging.
JAF: There’s a strong resemblance to Johnny Depp and Kurt Cobain in your style. Is that what you originally set out to emulate when you broke into acting or was it by chance? Do you reflect on their lives as an influence in how you live yours?
GH: Indeed, and I hear this often! I don’t quite try to emulate any of these people, though I love Kurt and Johnny so hard. But, I think a lot of artists are influenced by the works of people they grew up watching. It kinda seeps into your DNA if that makes sense.
And I’m a serious ‘90s kid. What feels right and looks right becomes kind of synonymous with them and their work. I also love mashing styles: Marilyn Manson with River Phoenix, or flower pixie with acid death cults. I think it’s important not to try to exist as a reproduction of another artist, though. Sometimes, it just happens naturally, but you really have to stay true to your individuality. That’s what’s most defining.
JAF: Speaking of acting, you broke into the industry by accident, right?
GH: Yeah, I studied at the university of Manitoba in Winnipeg, where I grew up. I studied psychology for a whole bunch of years and did some pretty serious research work…all while taking film course electives! And they changed me, goddamn.
I met some ridiculously talented and bizarre film gurus in Winnipeg (Guy Maddin and George Toles) and they laid the foundations of the art for me. Guy Maddin was interested in casting me for this tiny role in his film “Keyhole,” and I said yes, of course. I had to go through a lot of union stuff from there, but soon, I started going out for more roles; somehow, I booked a few of them.
I started to get a more visceral taste of the film world and I fell in love. There are so many wheels turning on every set, and to create the magic that comes from all the moving parts is the most beautiful thing in the world, I think.
JAF: Dish a bit about your character on Netflix’s “Slasher,” season 3. Are you still in touch with fellow cast members, such as Robert Cormier?
GH: I got to play such an absurd character in the third season. I basically act as a ploy to establish Cassidy’s promiscuous personality. We have a real intense sex scene, and then after, I basically confess my undying love, she reveals her real age and “motivations.” Then, I get in a tiff with her Nazi-loving dad and shortly book it out of there.
It was great working Genevieve DeGraves (Cassidy); she’s exceptionally talented. She’s so cool.
And Dean McDermott was like one of the most engaging people to work a scene with. He would improvise lines with me, which left me having to be spontaneous with the moments. That’s how really creative acting works, I think.
I also originally auditioned for the character, Kit, which would have been the biggest trip to play. He’s this bisexual, drug-addled punk dude that’s all fucked up most the time. I worked so hard on it, but in the, end Robert Cormier got it.
He does a damn incredible job, too. I think he really captures the nature of this wild card character. “Slasher” is neat in the way that they re-use characters from every season to the next, but in completely differing roles. One season, you’ll be a villain, and in the next, you’re a saint. If they continue the series, I’d love to see what I would come back as.
JAF: What’s on deck for the famed Mr. Hnatiuk? Acting-wise and beyond…
GH: As of next, I’m just looking at pushing my boundaries…involving myself in projects that challenge me. I’ve really gotten into the photography medium or at least working with different photographers. You can do so much with an image, create fantastic characters.
I met this lovely woman at a party, and she wanted to adorn me in flowers, so I said yeah, let’s make something weird with it.
Before that, this artistic director asked to lather me in drag and traverse the inner working of my psyche, so we shot that.
I’m also in the very early stages of production for a short film I’m looking at taking on. It’s a desperate and gritty venture into street kid culture and prostitution in a downtown metropolis. I’m looking to cast and work with a variety of the LGBT community, whom have faced the challenges of growing up in such a way and how they navigate their family relationships. Eventually, I would love to push this into feature length.
In general, I am open to working with like frequencies, with people that want to create art that challenges. As an artist, this is what I want to invest myself in.
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