A new Netflix series features a Kamloops born-and-raised actor.
It was on a stage at John Peterson secondary that Genevieve Kang learned she wanted to become an actor.
“I was 14 and it was my first high school production — The Wizard of Oz — and that’s when I really fell in love with being on stage and performing,” Kang told KTW from her Vancouver home.
Kang’s most recently released work has a little more production value behind it. She plays Jackie Veda in nine episodes of the 10-episode Netflix series Locke & Key, which premiered on the streaming service on Feb. 7.
The series is an adaptation of an American comic book series by Joe Hill. The story follows three siblings who move to their ancestral estate after their father is murdered, finding magical keys and encountering what they unlock.
For Kang, the role is a big deal.
“This is probably my most prominent role to date, both in terms of my involvement or presence in the story, but also in terms of the production itself,” she said.
Locke and Key poster
While her character also appears in the comics, Kang said the two aren’t much alike and she’s decided to stick to the adapted script version of her character.
“I didn’t see reading the comic books as necessary to prep for Jackie — not to say I won’t read them, because it’s such a good story and they’re beautifully illustrated,” she said.
Kang’s career kicked off in Kamloops. Not wanting to go alone, a swim team friend asked Kang to come with her to a talent scout event in the city.
“I’m still very awkward, but I was ultra awkward as a kid and a teenager. I wasn’t one of those young girls who wore makeup or did my hair, even. I think I showed up in soccer shorts, running shoes and a T-shirt,” she said.
So imagine her surprise when she got the nod from talent scouts, especially with just one play under her belt. After connecting with an agent in Vancouver, she eventually landed a role on the ABC series Beautiful People, which ran from 2005 to 2006.
“I was in Grade 11 at that point [during filming] and I had to leave the school year early, missing important year-end exams and stuff. My teachers were incredible and so understanding,” she said.
Kang relocated to Toronto to study theatre after high school, where she lived until this year. She’s now located in Vancouver, where she said she can more easily visit with family — her parents still live in Kamloops.
Another notable role coming up for Kang is her spot in Run This Town, the story of former Toronto mayor Rob Ford starring Ben Platt, Mena Massoud and Damian Lewis.
The name of Kang’s role in that film is a mysterious one. She’s billed as The Squirrel.
“I auditioned for a different character and felt so great about it. I thought I nailed it. I didn’t get it, but [writer/director] Ricky [Tollman] came back and said he wanted to include me in the project regardless,” Kang said.
-Sean Brady/Kamloops This Week