Adam Korson is proof that a lot can happen in five years. He last spoke to The CJN in 2008, when he was producing and appearing in local Toronto plays.
Now the 31-year-old actor, who was born and raised in Thornhill, Ont., calls Los Angeles home and stars in City’s breakout hit Seed, a comedy series about a bachelor who finds out he’s fathered a bunch of kids, thanks to sperm donations from way back when.
But unlike the act of conception, Korson’s success story didn’t happen overnight.
He owes a lot of his passion for film and TV to his parents, who held regular movie nights on Saturdays when he was growing up. They’d often rent a movie, order pizza and have a picnic on the floor. Those movie nights introduced him to comedy greats such as Steve Martin, John Candy and Martin Short at a very early age.
Korson honed his acting chops at Toronto’s Randolph Academy and got his start in Toronto’s theatre scene. He’s been acting professionally for more than a decade. In fact, it wasn’t until 2009 that he decided to leave Canada and take a gamble on Los Angeles.
“I had a massive eye injury that kind of put things in perspective and made clear what I needed to get done,” Korson says. “When I graduated, Toronto was [having] such a tough time with 9/11, the economy was changing and SARS [viral respiratory disease] really affected our film industry. People were scared to come to Toronto. It came down to ‘the moment is now.’ And if this is my career – which I always knew it was – the passion and dedication was real and is real, then I had to go where the work was.”
Unfortunately, the work didn’t come to him right away. His dwindling bank account meant he had to live in his car in the beginning. Korson remembers brushing his teeth with a water bottle in the parking lot of Mel’s Drive-In on Sunset Boulevard. But “I always had a positive outlook,” says the actor. “That’s the school of thought, and I guess that probably comes from the way my parents raised me.”
He says that aside from the friends he met there, what helped him get through the challenges was thinking of himself as a business and realizing that new companies aren’t profitable in their first year.
“So really, I started looking at myself as an actor at business,” he says. “You know, I’m the CEO of my own company. And I’m also an employee, and I have all these different departments… And so when I put it in that way, it actually made the move easier. It made more sense.”
Korson’s acting coach in L.A. taught him to think of acting as he would any other job: you need to put in at least eight hours a day to just work on the craft.
“You can only really call yourself an actor when you do it every day,” he says. “Some actors, they start acting when they have an audition and that’s just wrong – you’ll never make it if you do it that way, or you’re betting on luck more so. And so the mentality that I had was of working on it every day.”
After appearing in a number of plays in L.A., he eventually booked guest roles on the shows 2 Broke Girls and Emily Owens, M.D.
Korson says he misses his family and friends from Canada, but there’s one thing he doesn’t long for: “I can’t say I miss the weather,” he laughs. His starring role on Seed brought him back to Canada – more specifically, Halifax – where the show is filmed.
The actor says he couldn’t be happier with the reaction his freshman series has received so far. “I’ve been thrilled,” he says. “Everybody has been overwhelmingly positive, which is nice. Especially because when we were shooting the series, we fell in love with the story and with the characters and the situations – and fell in love with each other just putting it together. So the fact that people are responding in such a positive way towards it, I mean it’s really all I’ve wanted was that kind of response.”
Fans of the show have come to love Korson’s character, Harry – even though he doesn’t always do, or say, the right things. “When I read ‘Harry’ for the first time…I understood him. I got him,” says Korson. “He says some things and he gets himself into situations. And a lot of times he gets into these situations and out of these situations by manipulating certain people and the situations themselves. But he does it from a purely no bad bone in his body – it’s all heart.”
So what’s next for Korson? The actor says he just wrapped up a guest stint on A&E’s The Glades. He’s also working on a website called Awkward Moments and Misunderstandings, which he’s hoping to launch this April. “Every week you’ll get new videos that will come up on that site, and people will be able to post their own awkward moments or misunderstandings.”
Whether it is film, theatre or TV, Korson says he remains open to every acting medium. “For me at the end of the day, what’s important is that I’m challenged.”
Seed airs Mondays at 8:30 p.m. ET on City.