Over the weekend, The Originals star Daniel Gillies arrived as a guest for Oz Comic-Con Melbourne 2017. The Canadian born, New Zealand raised actor is best known for playing long-lived vampire Elijah Mikaelson. The show, a spin-off itself of The Vampire Diaries (which Gillies also starred in as the same character) has a legion of ardent fans. Something that Gillies hopes will help him in his upcoming cause.
I sat down with Gillies initially to discuss his show, however something had piqued my interest, an Instagram post he had made advising his fans of a forthcoming trip to Uganda he would be making in conjunction with OXFAM. The trip would be him along with a small film crew and they would be sitting down with refugees to talk to them about their circumstances, and recording and broadcasting this via his various social media platforms such as Facebook Live, Instagram and Twitter. In short, he wanted to give these displaced people a voice and a face to an enormous humanitarian crisis that in his opinion has been largely ignored by major media outlets. This reminded me of a quote by Edmund Burke – “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing”.
Normally this wouldn’t be something we would cover on our entertainment based site, however I was both taken by Gillies’ fierce and passionate determination to want to bring this issue to light. As well as this concept of a celebrity going to a whole new level of wanting to raise awareness for an issue. I follow enough celebrity social media accounts to be bombarded by their requests for you to “back their campaign for X charity” or “buy this Represent shirt for X cause” yet I never feel entirely convinced of its good intentions. In Gillies’ case though he’s going all the way, right into the heart of the very issue he feels so deeply about and is prepared to broadcast that straight back to us – the audience – so we can see first hand how dire it all is.
The combination of Gillies’ own celebrity status (even though he calls it meagre, my notifications from live-tweeting his Q&A panel alone tell me otherwise) and his request that we simply just spread the word he is sharing, he believes and hopes will make a difference and potentially assist OXFAM with their work. Educating others about issues is one of the first steps to being able to make a change. I’d like to hope we are all striving to be “good men” so it’s about time we did something rather than nothing.
In Part Two of our interview with Daniel we discuss: working on The Originals; directing, writing and acting an episode; developing particular character traits; and butting heads with writers.
Follow Daniel Gillies on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram for updates on his trip to Uganda.
To find out more or support OXFAM click here.
The Originals is available to stream Season One to Three on Netflix Australia.
Photo: The Originals