More and more British actors are making their way in Hollywood and Daz Crawford, who hails from Liverpool, is one of them. Having already appeared in Blade II and had a video game character modeled after him, he made his first appearance as Kebo in last season's Agents Of S.H.I.E.LD finale. Now, with the new season premiering at the end of the month, Crawford kindly agreed to chat about his career, influences and future ambitions in this EXCLUSIVE interview.
PopWrapped: Growing up in Liverpool, did you ever imagine that you’d have the career that you do now?
Daz Crawford: Wow, great question! Never in a million years. Where I grew up I guess would be the equivalent to the Bronx, it was a very rough and deprived area of Liverpool.
PW: Did you ever want to be anything other than an actor?
DC: I had never actually thought about or wanted to be an actor. It was a total accident! When I eventually started at drama schools, this taught me indirectly how to overcome many obstacles I had in my personal life…I grew as a person exponentially. Many of the subjects taught in class I could actually use in my personal life; it opened me up so much.
PW: Was there any particular actor or movie that made you think ‘Yeah, I want to do that’?
DC: I’d moved to London and was modeling when I was asked to be an ‘extra’ in a movie. I was so green, I had no idea what an ‘extra’ was. Anyway, I went along to Shepperton studios just outside London. That first day I was hanging around on set, ‘as you do,’ extremely bored and already realizing this was not my cup of tea. A couple of actors came on set; I found myself watching intently as to what they were going to do. They did their thing and left. I thought to myself, ‘That’s what I want to do.’ Those actors were Powers Boothe and Eric Roberts. Since then, the actor that inspires me the most is Jack Nicholson.
PW: You’ve done a few modeling campaigns and the character of ‘Kratos’ in the God of War game franchise is modeled after you. How did that come about? Isn’t it a bit weird to know a company designed someone after you?
DC: I’d been asked to go to the Sony studios in Santa Monica; I didn’t know what it was for. I was escorted around and taken into the offices. I was introduced to the developers and chatted with various bosses. Then I was taken to another room and asked to show some of my skills. Then, as they say, ‘the rest is history.' It was a fantastic experience spread over two years. Touring the states with the Sony reps painted up as ‘Kratos’ at events, along with the motion capture, was great. It is a bit strange when I see people playing the game; I giggle inwardly.
PW: You’re gradually becoming a more familiar face on TV and movie screens thanks to your roles in Blade II, NCIS, and British hospital drama Casualty, among others. How has life changed for you, if at all, since you started out, and especially since your breakout role as Light Hammer in Blade II?
DC: I consider myself an extremely grounded person. These moments of success, the highs of when a show or movie is being aired, then being spotted when I am out, I still find amusing in a positive way. I do still pinch myself and am extremely humble at the place where I find myself in this career. I don’t feel I have changed much; I haven’t changed my lifestyle in any way. The role in Blade II actually brought me to America, as I felt I would have the opportunity to be able to expand my career here much more than in the smaller U.K. TV market.
PW: You’re on the hit series Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D, and made your first appearance in last season's finale. Excited much?
DC: Booking my first appearance on last season’s Shield made me ecstatic, or ‘chuffed to bits’ I would say if talking to a fellow Brit.
PW: Were you a fan of the show prior to landing the role of Kebo?
DC: I did watch the show before landing the role. I think the way it is written is amazing…such talented writers are involved.
PW: Can you remember how your audition went? Were you up against a lot of other actors?
DC: Marvel can be extremely secretive. We don’t get the script until we arrive at casting, so we basically have about 15 minutes with the script before the audition. I do remember seeing a friend of mine at the audition. We are of a similar type, I guess, so we do bump into each other occasionally. I also saw a few other guys there. I don’t think about others or the competition, that would dilute my energy. I just concentrate on my stuff and doing my best, that’s all I can do. As long as I can walk away from an audition and say ‘I did my best,’ then I can let it go and move on to the next one.
PW: What was it about the role that made you want it so much?
DC: I would have been happy to land any role in such a great show.
PW: How were your first few days on set? Was everyone welcoming? Who would you say you got along best with?
DC: The people on set are brilliant, a really great group to work with. Everybody welcomes you with open arms, and they are extremely encouraging and friendly…it was really nice. I remember getting home after my first night thinking exactly that. I would say I became most friendly with Brett Dalton (Grant Ward).
PW: Without giving too much away, what can you tell me about Kebo and what fans can expect from him this season?
DC: Ooooh, you know, I really can’t give that away, but I’m sure the fans will enjoy it.
PW: You’ve also got a film, Awaken. What can you tell me about that?
DC: Awaken is a thriller we shot in L.A. and Belize. It had a great ensemble cast, including Darryl Hannah, Eddy Furlong, and Robert Davi, to name a few. My character is stranded on a desert island with others, where we are being held captive by organ smugglers. I manage to escape the group, but am still stuck on the island. I reveal myself to two others who have also escaped. The three of us try to scheme a way to escape the island, but not before saving one other, who is in league with the bad guys. Belize was great! I even stayed a while after the production left so I could do some exploring.
PW: What was it about that film that made you want to be a part of it?
DC: I had worked with the lead actress a year before, Natalie Burn, who was also producing the movie. She contacted me directly and asked me if I wanted to be a part of the project. She sent me the script. The character, Stitch, was something I’d not done before, and I like a challenge, so I accepted. It was a great experience; shooting out in the Belizean jungle was excellent.
PW: The film looks physically grueling, judging by the trailer, so did your love of working out and cycling come in handy?
DC: My lifestyle is to keep fit and healthy, so working on something like this project, it did help! Being fit makes it easier to get through the day. This project was ‘different.' Some nights we were literally sleeping in the jungle in wooden huts. At night, you could hear the monkeys and other animals extremely close by but, as an animal lover, I really enjoyed it.
PW: You like keeping up to date with world news, so how important are the likes of social media to you?
DC: What’s going on in the world is important to me, so social media and any other outlets are extremely helpful. I like to be knowledgeable about what’s going on.
PW: Where would you like to see yourself five years from now, and what’s your ultimate ambition?
DC: I’ve never actually thought about that…as long as I’m fit, healthy, and happy I don’t need to be anywhere. I love what I am doing, and I have great friends in my life. I like to keep it simple and enjoy my journey. With that being said, I am ambitious and set extremely high goals with whatever I do. It would be great to receive a script that would give me an Oscar presence or maybe even my own TV show. How are they for goals to achieve?
PW: Finally, do you have any other upcoming projects you can tell me about?
DC: There are a couple of projects out there for me at the moment that I am being presented for, but I don’t like to jeopardize before or even if I am confirmed.
Season three of Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. premieres September 29 on ABC.