Interview

Actor Samer Salem On The Hit Sci-fi Series ‘The Expanse’, Biggest Challenge and New Feature Film ‘My Fake Boyfriend’

Actor and writer Samar Salem hails from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Whilst he has amassed a significant body of work, he’s recognized for his role as Joseph in the hit sci-fi series ‘The Expanse’. As we anticipate the show’s sixth and final series, we caught up with Samar to discuss the role and his career aspirations.

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Photo by Stephen Tracey

How did you decide that storytelling and acting were something you wanted to pursue? 
One night at a party I told a group of friends that I’d always wanted to be an actor. They said they thought I’d be great at it. That night I decided I was going to try, and so I signed up for classes in Vancouver that week, as fast as I could really, so I wouldn’t talk myself out of it. 


You have accumulated an impressive body of work to date, what are your most memorable experiences in the industry?
 Working on the Expanse was an incredible experience start to finish. I made some life long friends on that show, and everyone involved was great to work with, both in front of and behind the camera. Also, working with Elisabeth Moss was a long time goal of mine, and I’m a massive fan of The Handmaid’s Tale. So working with her on that show was pretty surreal. 

How excited are you for ‘The Expanse’ to return? What should the audience expect heading into the upcoming episodes? 
SO excited! And it’s right around the corner. I think this’ll be the best season yet. Every episode is super dense and action packed. It’s going to be a wild ride. Can’t wait. 

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Did you enjoy playing the role of Josep?
 I loved it. The character is beautifully written, both in the books and in the scripts for the show. He’s a fighter and a lover and he’s got a bit of a spiritual side. It was a lot of fun to live in that space. There are a few lines from Babylon’s Ashes (book 6 of the series) that for me, encapsulate so much of who Josep is. “Every mistake, every loss , every scar….”. Everything then was preparation for now.” “That’s bullshit,” Michio said. “But thank you” “If the universe needs a knife, it makes a knife,” Josep said with a shrug. “If it needs a pirate queen, it makes Michio Pa”. And the fact that I was cast alongside some stellar actors(Cara Gee, Vanessa Smythe, Stephen Tracey, Sandrine Holt, Wilex Ly) who in the story are my lovers and crewmates made it that much more enjoyable. 

When people watch ‘The Expanse’, what are hoping they get out of it? In what ways would you like to make a positive impact? 
It’s a beautiful story. And despite it being set centuries in the future, there are a lot of parallels to the world as it is now, in regards to inequality and fear mongering and racism. In The Expanse, we get to see the consequences of all that, and we also get to see what happens when people fight against it and come together. It’s also just very entertaining and fun to watch. 

What do you look for when choosing a role?
If it’s a kind of character I haven’t played before, I’m usually game. And if I’m nervous to play the part, then I definitely want to do it. 

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You will also be starring in the new feature film ‘My Fake Boyfriend’ alongside Sarah Hayland, Dylan Sprouse, and Keiynan Lonsdale. Please tell us more about the plot and your character.
My Fake Boyfriend is about a guy who follows the advice of his best friend and uses social media to keep his awful ex-lover out of his life. But then everything backfires when he meets the real love of his life, and then has to find a way to get rid of his fake boyfriend.. The cast is great, and it’s directed by Rose Troche, who was amazing to work with.  I play a restaurateur and chef, he’s a good guy with a big heart. I can’t say much else just yet, but it’s going to be a super fun movie. A romantic comedy with a lot of heart, lots of laughs 

What was your first acting role? How would you describe yourself from your first role to date? 
My first real gig was the role of ‘Rookie Cop’ on the show Man Seeking Woman. Oh man, I feel like I’ve come a long way. I was so nervous that first day! I think when I first started I was very much trying to “get it right”. I have a lot more fun these days, I’m more playful and willing to make mistakes. I think that’s where the magic lives a lot of the time. 

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As an actor, what would you say has been your biggest challenge?
 Learning to trust my instincts and intuition. Once I did, it definitely made me a better performer. 

We are looking forward to seeing you on screen. Have you ever considered working behind the scenes writing, producing, or directing?
 Yes! I definitely want to produce and direct in the future. For now, I’m focusing on acting, but the seed has been planted. I expect that I’ll try my hand at either or both in a couple years time. 

What advice would you give to young actors embarking on their careers? 
Study. Take classes as often as you can with different teachers and different teaching styles. 

Any message for your fans? Also where can our readers find more about you? 
Thanks for all the love and support! I’m very excited for everyone to see Expanse and I want to hear what people think about the new season. I’m on Instagram @mr.samersalem and on Twitter @SamerSalem8

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<strong>Amna Mansoor</strong>
Amna Mansoor

As a parent of two children, I have exploring different countries and cultures while completing my Business Administration degree. Travelling and discovering new cultures is something I enjoy doing.  

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