Updated: Jan 10
Kevin Davey by Kevin Stenhouse Photography for I'm Here With Magazine's 2018 edition. He was a part the cover story spread for the 40 Stars of Tomorrow and Their Sage Advice.
Kevin Davey's 17 Questions about being on Hell On Wheels and his real life experiences! Find out more about this solid British – Alberta Star!
1. What do you want to achieve this year?
My original hope was to receive my 0-1 visa, thus allowing me to audition and work down in the US. Fortunately, I’ve now received my 0-1 letter of approval, so my new plan for this year is to book a lead or supporting role in a major production – or to land a more prolific recurring role than the one I was fortunate enough to have on AMC’s Hell On Wheels.
2. Where did you grow up in England, what was it like growing up there?
I grew up on the Southwest coast of England, down in Cornwall, and myself and my brother were solely raised by our Mum – a truly amazing woman. It was a wonderful place to grow up, and it was a terrific upbringing. I vividly remember in the summers, myself and my brother would race home from school to grab our swimming gear. We would head down to the beach where we’d often jump off the pier into the harbor with all the other kids!
3. What did you want to be when you were a kid?
I always wanted to be an actor from as young as I can remember – but living way down in Cornwall – about a 5 hour drive from London – there wasn’t the same opportunities as there would’ve been if I were living in the big city, so I never pursued it.
4. How did you get into an entertainment career?
In 2008 myself and my children suffered a personal tragedy in the form of losing my wife – their Mum – very suddenly and unexpectedly. This made me realize how short life can be, and that if you have a dream, it’s a sin not to chase it. As I said, I’d always wanted to act, so this tragedy caused me to finally gain the courage to chase that dream.
5. What are your other passions in life?
Apart from acting, I’ve trained in the Martial Arts since I was a kid – over 40 years now – and I was teaching for over 25 years, so I’m still very passionate about that. Also, six years after the loss of my wife, I met someone very special (above, with myself and the awesome Chad Oakes), and for only the second time in my life, I fell in love – so I’m very passionate about my (now) fiancé Tracy, and our amazing kids.
6. What do you do when you are not acting?
Obviously I love watching movies because of my chosen craft, but I also love spending time with my partner and our kids – and believe it or not, I quite enjoy helping out around the house – folding the laundry, filling and emptying the dishwasher, helping to raise my partners little ones as well as my own – that kinda thing.
7. What was your experience like on Hell On Wheels playing an Irishman?
It was a wonderful experience from beginning to end – the experience I gained, the friendships and connections I made, and the way I was treated. As far as playing an Irishman goes – I’ve always been a good mimic, so the accent wasn’t much of a stretch for me, and I absolutely loved playing the character “Paddy Quinn” – he was a good, solid character, who had a lot more interaction with the show’s hero, Cullen Bohannen, played by the wonderful Anson Mount, than a lot of the other characters on the show.
Kevin Davey on screen of AMC's Hell On Wheels as Paddy Quinn.
8. How did you prepare for you roles?
Short answer – in the mirror.
Long answer – as a fan of the show, I didn’t want my viewing pleasure to be compromised, so I would simply look through the script until I saw my character name, then I would just concentrate on those scenes and lines. That way, although I’d prepared my lines and scenes, I wouldn’t necessarily know the entire storyline for those episodes, and I wouldn’t have my viewing pleasure spoiled.
9. What other projects have you been a part of recently?
Straight after we finished filming the final season of Hell On Wheels, I worked on two post-apocalyptic films – one was called “Marauder”, and the other was “The Northlander” – which has actually been selected for this years Cannes Film Festival.
Kevin on The Northlander.
10. What are some of the struggles you face in entertainment?
The nature of this business, is that if you’re not acting, essentially you’re unemployed, so this is something you need to prepare for. Also, if you win one out of every ten auditions you go for, you’re doing pretty well – so you can’t take things personally if you don’t win a role, and you have to stay positive and have faith that the right role is on it’s way to you.
11. Your favorite passage or quote?
Ironically, my favorite passages and quotes aren’t necessarily from film or TV. For example, my favorite quote is from the founder of the Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford. He said “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” And of course, I try to live my life by the golden rule – “Treat others as you want to be treated”.
12. What is something most people don’t know about you?
Most people – apart from those closest to me – may be surprised to know what a big softy I am. I can be a sensitive and emotional soul, but a lot of people just tend to see the tattoos, the shaved head, and the broken nose – thus giving them the impression that I’m a “tough guy” – which I’m not.
13. What roles do you like to play in film?
I think most guys want to play the action roles – and once again, because of my look, I know there’s the likelihood of me being cast as the bad guy, the cop, the secret service agent, the MMA guy, etc. But although I like to be stretched as an actor, I’m also happy to be cast in the aforementioned types of roles. After all, certain actors who have a similar look to me are making extremely lucrative careers out of those types of roles – Jason Statham, Andrew Howard, Bruce Willis, etc.
14. Do you ever incorporate your Karate Skills in film?
My Black Belts are actually in Karate and in JuJitsu, and now, due to the popularity of MMA through the UFC and so on, JuJitsu is becoming more familiar to the masses. However, so far, I haven’t been able to use my martial arts skills on camera….. but I’m hoping I will at some point.
15. Who are your idols in entertainment?
“Idols” is a strong term – but who would I like to work with? There are many – but my preference would be to work with the more diverse actors, such as Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Johnny Depp, Denzel Washington, Leonardo DeCaprio, etc.
16. What are your favorite film?
I sometimes want to simply be entertained. That’s when I’d choose a good action flick.
Sometimes I want escapism, so I’d choose a good Sci-fi.
If I want to be moved, I’d choose something like “The Green Mile” or “The Shawshank Redemption."
And if I want my brain to be engaged, I’d probably go for something like “Lucky Number Slevin”, “The Usual Suspects”, “Se7en”, that kinda thing.
17. How has being on AMC changed things for you and your path in your career?
I heard a statistic that stated that Hell On Wheels is seen in 20 countries by around 50 million viewers. That’s pretty substantial, so I think being on the final 3 seasons of that show has allowed my face and name to be a bit more recognized within the industry, and it’s given me a certain credibility as an actor – especially when you bear in mind that when I auditioned for the role, I was only ever meant to have one line in one scene of one episode, and then I was meant to be gone – a throw away character – but the production saw something in me that they liked, hence I was written in as a recurring character, so my one line turned into 3 seasons.
You can see Kevin on Netflix on Hell On Wheels, The Northlander on ATPN, Wynonna Earp as Lord Bondicus and Heartland on Netflix as a Poacher.