From Hockey to Hollywood, Canadian Actor is making a Major-League mark

Film-TV talent starred on the ice before hitting the screen

Online PR News – 21-October-2015 – LOS ANGELES – Inspired by his mother, toughened by pro hockey and now showing premier talent as an actor, Darren Mann’s achievements to date are best described as extraordinary.

This year, the 26-year-old from Vancouver has acted in Netflix’s multi-award winning series, “Some Assembly Required,” The CW’s “iZombie” and the Emmy-nominated “The 100” and “Supernatural.” He co-wrote, co-produced and co-starred in the moving short drama, “Windfall.” And collectively, he’s established himself as a superlative actor who has caught the eye of the international filmmaking community.

But long before that, it was Darren’s mother, Lenore, who noticed something ironic that propelled her son’s acting career into motion. With her own background in acting and directing for theater, commercials, film and TV, she was aware similar experiences would be good for Darren.

"I got Darren into acting when he was 8 years old because he was shy," said Lenore Mann, who made her television debut on "The Hitchhiker" with Bill Paxton.

Darren agreed and said, "When I was a kid, I was pretty shy, so she got me into acting. It really got me to come out of my shell. It started out with a mix of classes and small theater stuff, as well as short films that my Mom was putting together."

With acting in his bloodlines, it came as no surprise Darren showed ability and promise even in his youth. "I first directed Darren when he was 9 years old in an anti-drug short film called 'The Pusherman,' which was entered in the Vancouver Film and Video Club annual contest," Lenore Mann said. "It went really well and we ended up being one of the winners. The judges said a lot of it was to do with Darren’s acting in the lead role."


Mann had another passion to follow that also blossomed at an early age and that was the game of hockey, which he played since he was 4 years old. He became a prep and junior-level star, then rose to the professional ranks when he was signed to the then-CHL’s Evansville Icemen, and finished with their affiliate, the Indiana Blizzard. Although, after tearing his supraspinatus on three separate occasions, Mann would retire from the game.

The injuries opened the opportunity for Mann, then 20 years old, to return to acting. All certainly wasn’t lost, however, as hockey provided Mann the tough skin characteristic required of actors.

"If I can get as far as I’ve gotten in hockey at 5-foot-7, I like my chances," Mann said. "It challenges you mentally. I hear people complain about a tough audition or day with a director. Nothing compares with being traded, going across the country to a new place and making new friends. You can have a bad game and you’re put on a bus for a long road trip where you’re not allowed to talk. Then, coach puts you back in your wet gear and has you skating until you puke."

Again, his mother was there to help usher in the next chapter of Darren’s acting career.

"I was working on auditions with my Mom," he said. "My brother, Tyler, would walk in and hear us practicing. At first, he thought we were just talking about stuff for me. But he would hear my lines and he knew we were acting. As time went on, he came in one day and he said he couldn’t tell I was acting anymore."

The training and repetition paid off when Mann began booking role after role. In 2012, he starred as Brad in the hockey film, “Stanley’s Game Seven 3D,” from Network Entertainment. In 2013, Mann acted in The CW’s award-winning sci-fi series, “The Tomorrow People.” A year later, he landed roles in “The 100,” in ABC’s award-winning “Motive” starring Kristin Lehman and in the Canadian Screen Award nominated series, “Package Deal.”

"I’ve done kid sitcoms to adult comedy to heavy drama. I really like mixing it up," said Mann. "Working on “Package Deal” was a blast. I find comedy to come very quickly, but I also love going up for an edgier role."

Mann said some of his favorite acting jobs have been working alongside Louis Ferreira (“Shooter”) in “Motive,” collaborating with Chris McNally (“John Apple Jack”) and Rick Tae (“Godiva’s,” “2012”) on “Windfall” and acting with the Emmy nominated "Supernatural” star, Jensen Ackles.

Tae directed Mann in “Windfall” and said, "Authentic, professional and playful is how I would describe Darren’s work. As he’s, in general, a confident and magnanimous person, it was interesting to see the skill behind his portrayal of such a timid character like Wade."

McNally said, "Acting alongside Darren was truly a great experience from rehearsal to wrap. He is a very dedicated, honest and generous actor, and I feel lucky to have had this opportunity to work with him."

Inspired and influenced by Mark Wahlberg, Leonardo DiCaprio and Clint Eastwood, Mann says the best actors can be in the moment and don’t push to act. "Something I always aspire to do is keep my stuff natural. With DiCaprio, he’s really good at his surroundings and becoming that person. He seems to be able to pull off whatever character really naturally."

Last month, Mann acted in the principal role of Kip in Bravo!’s comedy drama, "Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce" starring Lisa Edelstein ("House M.D.").

Mann will also co-star in the forthcoming feature hockey film, “Best of 7,” that he co-wrote with Kenny Wood-Schatz ("Tiny Plastic Men"). "His professionalism and brilliance makes Darren a pleasure to work alongside, both in acting and writing," Wood-Schatz said.

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