EXCLUSIVE : CLAWS Scoop: Shining The Spotlight On Evan Daigle

Getting his first big break in the new TNT drama series CLAWS, Evan Daigle is eternally grateful to be surrounded by a diverse and stellar cast from whom he can hone his craft and develop his acting skills while working with each on screen. It is a dream project to be working with Emmy-award winning actors such as Niecy Nash, Carrie Preston, Dean Morris and more.  CLAWS may be set up as a small crime drama set in a Florida nail salon, but it is more about the strength of the human spirit and tenacious desire to carve out a piece of power in a world where the obstacles seem insurmountable.  In an exclusive interview, Evan talks about landing this career-making role and what he is learning through this extraordinary experience working on TNT’s CLAWS.

What initially appealed to you about the role of Toby?
EVAN:  The role of Toby came about rather gradually. I first went in to audition for what I was told was a character with one scene. I got a call back with Eliot Laurence (the creator), Janine Sherman Barrois (the show runner) and Nicole Kassell (the pilot director) and a few days later found out I had gotten the part. I was initially drawn to the character and the project because I had been a fan of Eliot since I saw his film “Welcome to Me” a couple of years ago. I was stoked because I knew whatever he was writing would be amazing. It wasn’t until the show was greenlit for a full series that they decided to develop my character further.

How would you describe who Toby is and his arc in the first season of the show?  
EVAN:  I can’t give away too many specifics about Toby’s arc just yet — I don’t want to spoil it — but I can tell you he is involved with Uncle Daddy, the head gangster of the story, played by Dean Norris. They have a very unique relationship that takes some interesting turns in Season One.

What do you most admire and/or like about Toby?
EVAN:  I admire the fact that Toby truly does not care what others think about his life choices and the person he is. Playing this character has helped me deal with some of the self-conscious issues I have. Getting into the skin of someone so confident has been super rewarding.

What is it like working alongside such a talented ensemble, including Niecy Nash and Carrie Preston?  
EVAN:  The greatest thing about working with such stellar actors is that they make you better. It’s simply way easier to act with actors who are top notch. Niecy and I have some really fun one-on-one scenes in season one. Working with her is such an amazing learning experience. She’s incredibly talented and has been in the business doing great work for years. I’ve learned so much getting to act along side powerhouse actors like Carrie Preston, Jenn Lyon, Dale Dickey and Dean Norris. It’s been a real dream come true. A huge reason why I’m pursuing this career is because I want to work with the best actors around and I can’t believe I’m getting to do just that. Hearing their stories about how they all got started in the business has also been great. They’ve all given me so much advice about acting and life, I feel so incredibly lucky to have such a welcoming and mentoring cast.

Any favorite scenes that you can share yet?
EVAN:  I do have a favorite scene! It’s super fun and involves water, but I can’t say anything else about it yet. Look for it in episode 4!

What has been your favorite part about working on this project?
EVAN:  CLAWS is my first professional acting gig, so my entire experience is so new and fun. It’s difficult for me to single out one favorite thing but I would have to say, the fact that this project has given me the opportunity to work with such a talented, diverse, and hilarious group of artists has been the greatest experience of my life.

What has been the one thing you as an actor have taken away from working on CLAWS so far?
EVAN:  I think the most important thing I’m realizing working on CLAWS, with it being my first TV show, is that this career seems quite impossible to most people (me included), but if you believe that, then it will always will be. As soon as I started to believe I would make this happen for myself, things began to fall into place. CLAWS has helped me come into my own as an actor and has helped me realize the only limits in our lives are the mental ones we place on ourselves.

What do you hope viewers to take away from watching CLAWS?
EVAN:  I really hope viewers are ultimately entertained. The show has so many amazing themes all working together to create a crazy, yet uniquely thought-provoking viewing experience. I love how much diversity is present on screen in our show. At the core of the story are these five women whose bond holds them together under extreme circumstances. It’s about female empowerment and it’s about unique stories that we don’t see told often enough. I would also love for viewers to know that the diversity they see on screen is equally reflective of the behind the camera crew as well. We’ve had mostly female directors, and anyone who works in this business knows that’s amazing and rare. We have such a great group of collaborators and I hope viewers feel that energy in the work.

What has surprised you most about your career so far?
EVAN:  I’ve always wanted a career as a professional artist. I thought for a long time I would be a visual artist. I’ve experimented with many different art mediums. I think the most surprising thing to me is that I’ve made acting the most active way I express myself artistically. The nature of this career is full of surprises, it’s why I love it so much.

At this stage of your career, what do you think you have learned from the roles and projects you have worked on?
EVAN:  I’m at the very beginning stages of my professional acting career, which is why CLAWS has been such a blessing. I learn invaluable life lessons through the projects I work on and the characters I play. My approach to creating characters is very psychological: I map out their entire life prior to the start of the story. In this process I attach certain aspects of my own being and experience to the characters and vice versa. Working this way allows me to get into places in my own mind I would not have otherwise explored. Acting is artistic therapy for me. I’ve also learned not to take everything so seriously which is sometimes difficult when the pressure to do good work is constant. It’s a pressure I put on myself. I’m learning to find balance.

Has there been any great advice you have gotten?  
EVAN:  “Don’t play the result, live in the moment.” My acting coach, Ann Mahoney, gave me these words of advice when I started CLAWS. It’s an acting mantra I try to live by.

What advice would you offer to other upcoming and aspiring actors?
EVAN:  If you can see yourself being fulfilled doing something else, you should. Committing to the life of an actor is just that: a life commitment. We all know how hyper-competitive this industry is. If you cannot imagine your life without acting, go full force, study theatre, watch great films, see plays, nourish relationships, and try and live an experience-rich life. When you get the opportunity to display your talent, be so good they can’t say “no”.

You seem to be actively involved with a number of charities and acting support endeavors. Which do you work with most? And which would like to see your fans become more involved with and support?
EVAN:  The older I get the more I realize how important being socially and politically conscious is. We currently live under an administration which threatens many groups of people’s individual rights. I’d love for anyone who follows my work to explore organizations that work to protect all Americans like the Human Rights Campaign, the ACLU and GLAAD. I also personally support the charity The Happy Hippie Foundation, which works to provide aid and resources to gender non-binary youth, LGBTQ+ youth, homeless youth and other vulnerable populations.

Do you have any other upcoming projects that you can share that fans should keep an eye out for?
EVAN:  I’m actually working on a short film with a fellow actress friend, Marisa Nieto. We start production this summer and will release it on the festival circuit later this year. It’s untitled as of yet, but be sure to follow my Instagram (@evandaigle) for updates on all my current and upcoming projects!

To see Evan in his big breakout role, be sure to tune in for the premiere of CLAWS on Sunday, June 11th at 9:00 p.m. on TNT.