The reinvention of the Syfy network is in full swing this fall with brand new shows such as The Magicians and the female reboot of Van Helsing. Among these new fan favorites is apocalyptic, supernatural drama Aftermath.
Aftermath follows the Copeland family as they fight to survive among supernatural creatures and natural disasters. We spoke with Madison Smith, one of the show’s stars, on the new series, brushing up on military personnel, and what he might be doing in an alternate universe.
Smith plays Martin Winters, a beacon of hope for the Copeland family as they continue to survive among a new culture of deadly beings and unpredictable natural disasters. Smith, whose character has a militant background, spent his fair share of time studying former army rangers in order to more accurately portray his role.
“That on its own was big shoes to fill. As an actor you always want to make sure to showcase the heroics of the men and women who choose to serve their country. To prepare, I tried to study the essence of military personnel through videos and by talking to some veterans. But mostly I wanted to make sure that my use of weapons in Aftermath showcased a man who was familiar.”
Considering the typically strenuous nature of a military personnel’s job, Smith was not only quick to brush up on his knowledge of the role, but also spent a fair amount of time shaping up for the cameras.
“The filming of the role took place pretty soon after my audition, so luckily I had already been training myself leading up to booking. But I will say that as soon as I got the call, I went straight to the gym. And I don’t mean that week. I hung up the phone with my agent, picked up my runners and went to work out. Filming took place over the course of about eight weeks, so I made sure to stay healthy during filming. Which wasn’t always easy when the craft service table had many delicious treats. Dessert is my Achilles heel.”
However, feeling pressure to look the part was the least of Smith’s concerns. According to the Canadian actor, portraying a character in public service was much more daunting as a result of his desire to authentically represent some of the bravest men and women alive.
“You want to show as much respect as possible to those who serve. It takes so much heart to put the well being of others before yourself. And when I play a role like that, I feel heroic. I hope I showcased those heroics in Aftermath.”
While it may seem Martin would be more serious in nature given his history, Smith was quick to point out the character’s lighter attributes. These, he believes, is what will leave the audience feeling connected to Martin in ways they may not have expected.
“My favorite part of playing Martin was his little bouts of humor, which I also have in my real life. It gave him such realism and made me love his personality more and more. Even when I got the scenes for my audition, it felt as if I was reading words I would say in the same situations Martin is put in. Only with the big difference that Martin is a war hero.”
Fans of the new Syfy series can tune into the network on Tuesdays at 10/9 c to catch up with Martin and the Copelands. In the meantime, Smith’s fans can rest assured the actor will be coming to television screens once again in the new year, and can expect a change of pace for the actor. Smith is due to play a love-struck teen in He Loves You Not, directed by Scott Belyea.
“[It] was a blast to work on! We had an amazing director, Scott Belyea, and a small cast that were together in most scenes. I play a young man, [Charlie], who is a high school track star who becomes smitten with the new girl in school named Dana played by Cate Sproule. As our characters become close, the truth about Dana and her dad comes out and, as the saying goes, drama ensues. I loved working with everyone but my scenes with Chandra West who plays my mother were my favorite because we made our characters best friends.”
If you can’t tell by now, Smith’s adoration for his craft is evident even in interviews. Fans might be surprised to learn, however, that acting wasn’t always Smith’s first choice.
“I remember wanting to be an actor when I was young, but it was only ever a fun idea,” he says. “After high school, I was attending college to play baseball and perusing a career in marketing and it didn’t feel like the right path to be on. I had a conversation with my mom, who is often my voice of reason, and told her I was struggling with what I wanted to do with my life. Right away she suggested I try acting. Immediately I had a thump thump feeling in my chest. The suggestion felt right. Within eight months I picked up and moved to Vancouver and enrolled in the Vancouver Academy of Dramatic Arts. I’ve never looked back.”
Smith went on to describe an alternate universe where we might see him occupy a court room, rather than a movie set.
“If I wasn’t an actor I’d probably be a lawyer. It was something I’ve wanted to do since the eighth grade. I always got excited watching law-based TV shows when I was growing up. It wasn’t until I got older that I didn’t exactly want to be a lawyer, I wanted to be a lawyer on TV.”
Regardless, Smith is in the midst of carving out a place for himself in the entertainment industry, and that streak will surely continue. As he forges ahead with new roles and projects, he shared with us a few words of advice he received that got him through his career thus far.
“The best advice I was given was from my dad. He told me ‘it doesn’t matter where you’re from, if you’re good enough, they’ll find you.’ It’s one piece of advice that makes me want to constantly be better as an actor.”