Landon Liboiron remembers Drake's onscreen death

The star of Hemlock Grove went from small town farm to graduating Degrassi High and distinctly recalls where he was when shots were fired

Arts+Culture Q+A
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Landon Liboiron Courtesy of Netflix UK

Making the leap from backwaters farm to graduating summa cum laude from Degrassi High, Landon Liboiron is following in the footsteps of another Canadian born star whose name rhymes with 'rake'. Strange, then, that he's returning to his backwater roots in the fictional Pennsylvania town of Hemlock Grove – a town where not all is as it seems. I.e. there are supernatural forces at work. For season two, the Eli Roth-helmed Netflix original grows even darker, as the series takes a sickening twist, with a new welcoming distraction (Orange is the New Black's Madeline Brewer) and a lot more blood. We found out how Liboiron went from high school drama to high stakes bloodletting.

I heard you grew up on a farm in Jenner, Alberta. Was it a bit like Little House on the Prairie?

Landon Liboiron: No, not as clichéd as that. We weren’t churning butter, you know? It was just really humbling, a sense of community, that sort of thing. It’s one of those places where you have to drive about ten minutes just to go to your neighbour’s house. I would go to Medicine Hat (Alberta) for acting lessons and improv games.

Back home, I went to some good bonfire parties. There were two schools and at the other school there was this girl who was sort of the hot, popular girl – and this other girl – they were having a high school feud, and this girl smashed a beer bottle and stabbed the other girl in the face with the broken beer bottle. The cops and the ambulance all had to show up. I wasn’t super close with them because I went to the other school. It was just one of those crazy things that happened.

I have to ask about Degrassi because a lot of actors (see Drake) get a breakthrough after a stint on there. Is it a breeding ground for new talent?

Landon Liboiron: It’s just such a long-running franchise: it’s been going for over 30 years and it’s like, if you’re an Ontario actor, you’ve done Degrassi. It’s just a good opportunity. It’s also a really pleasant place to work at – everyone’s extremely humble and generous. I remember being younger, catching the episode of Degrassi: The Next Generation where Drake gets shot. I remember, because I was younger, being very drawn into that. I didn’t quite understand what was going on but I definitely remember where I was and what I was doing when I saw it.

“I remember catching the episode of Degrassi: The Next Generation where Drake gets shot. I didn’t quite understand what was going on but I definitely remember where I was and what I was doing when I saw it”

For Hemlock Grove, how did you feel when you heard the show got picked up for a second season?

Landon Liboiron: I was pleased. It took them a long time to make the decision, and I was excited to go back to Toronto. It’s a great place to work in and Bill (Skarsgård) and the rest of the cast are really great to work with. And I really, really enjoyed playing Peter Rumancek. We have a new show runner (Chic Eglee) and so the writing was different. The characters will still be the same but the writing definitely took on a different style with Chic and it was interesting adjusting to that and also in the first season we had Brian McGreevy the first show runner and the creator of the show he had his book as an outline and in the second season there’s no book so every episode is a surprise.

When you watch Netflix, do you binge out on anything?

Landon Liboiron: The great thing about Netflix is the documentaries. They have amazing documentaries on there. I just watched this documentary the other day called Superheroes and it’s about real-life superheroes – people who actually create their own superhero name and dress up as a superhero and patrol the streets at night saving the innocents – but these guys are kind of like the outcasts of society. One guy actually just called himself ‘The Superhero’, but it was one of the most funny documentaries I’ve seen in a long time. It’s exactly like the Kick-Ass movie, but in real-life. It’s insane.

Which Canadian actors should we keep our eye on?

Landon Liboiron: There’s a kid whose name is Calum Worthy. He’s on a Disney show right now, Austin & Ally. But his physical comedy is almost as good as Jim Carrey’s. His comedic timing is amazing. Also a friend of mine – Avan Jogia – who also started on a Nickoledeon show but he’s starting to do, this year he shot two or three independent films that – actually I wanted every role that he had in those films. He’s doing some really cool projects and he’s another one to look out for.

Hemlock Grove season two is available to stream on Netflix Friday 11 July

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