Daniel Gillies
Daniel Gillies

Interview with Daniel Gillies, Star of New Sci-Fi Action Film ‘Occupation: Rainfall’

When I made an announcement that I would be interviewing Daniel Gillies, my social media flooded with excitement. Seems like I’m not the only super fan of this phenomenal actor. Daniel Gillies is best known for his continuous role as Elijah Mikaelson in The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, and now Legacies. He’s done several other amazing shows and films, but one of his most recent is Occupation: Rainfall (read my review – HERE). See down below what Daniel’s experience was on that film, details about his character, the impact The Vampire Diaries universe had on his career, and much more!

Daniel Gillies - occupation rainfall

PopHorror – Hi Daniel, it’s great to talk with you. I’m a huge fan.

Daniel Gillies – Thank you. It’s great to chat with you too!

PopHorror – So let’s start out by talking about your new film, Occupation: Rainfall which is coming out soon. It’s a sci-fi action film with awesome special effects and cinematography. Was this a fun film to work on?

Daniel Gillies – Omg, it was amazing. It was pretty fast. Luke Sparke – the writer, creator, and director was doing the film on a budget even though that guy can make 5 dollars like look 5 million dollars. So, it was tight for scheduling. It was fun but I pretty much hit the ground running. Once we were there, once we were in, it was just go, go, go. Before I knew it, I was on a flight home. It was fun to work on it and I loved the cast, and it was an incredible experience. I also saw the Gold Coast of Australia, I don’t know if you’ve ever been, but it’s just so beautiful.

PopHorror – I bet. I haven’t but hope to someday. Your character is Wing Commander Hayes. Can you tell us a bit about him?

Daniel Gillies – He’s a tortured individual, a loyal soldier. He fought nobly in this invasion, recently lost his wife in the conflict, and he’s pretty bitter about that. Hell or high water, he wants these creatures off his turf.

Daniel Gillies in Occupation: Rainfall
Daniel Gillies in Occupation: Rainfall

PopHorror – Most definitely. As a viewer, I felt like I was supposed to not like him because he’s a bit of an asshole, but I couldn’t help but feel bad for him. I think the trauma broke him and he just couldn’t see beyond his hatred. Do you agree?

Daniel Gillies – Yeah… I mean I wonder what that says about me as an actor too. Broken… me. Hatred… me. Just you know… overall me. (Laughs) Uh, yeah, no, apparently when the role was originally written it was for a guy who was 20 years older than me. I believe… I could be getting the story wrong, but Luke will correct me. I think Luke’s GF/wife was the one who said to him that I might be good for this, then he got that in his head, and pursued me pretty aggressively to play it for a while. I’m actually super happy I did it and got the opportunity to work with Luke. I always thought, “am I serving this as well as I could, given I’m 20 years younger than originally envisioned?”

PopHorror – You were absolutely perfect. You play bad super good and have proven this in several previous roles as well. Plus, you’re good at showing both sides, not just his bad side.

Daniel Gillies – Yeah. Speaking of which, did you get to see Coming Home in the Dark?

PopHorror – Yes. It’s phenomenal.

Daniel Gillies – Because that makes the rest of them look like choir boys. I mean it makes the rest of them look like children. Innocent, sweet, cotton candy.

PopHorror – Haha, so true! It’s one of your best roles to date!

Daniel Gillies – Thanks for watching both of the films by the way. Means a lot.

Daniel Gillies in Coming Home in the Dark
Daniel Gillies in Coming Home in the Dark

PopHorror – Of course. I’ve seen pretty everything you’ve done! So, with Occupation: Rainfall I felt like the film was about how not everything is black and white and that there’s good and bad on both sides. That hatred will blind you and if you don’t work together, history will continue to repeat itself. I also felt like that this relates to real-life all too well especially over the last year with everything that happened. Do you feel the same?

Daniel Gillies – Yeah 100 percent. I thought it was kind of potent. And these ideas and issues have been brewing, I would argue since around 2013/2014. The amount of division, mistrust, misinformation, and us vs them mentality and has been snowballing since that time, I think. I really think the film captures that. It’s allegorical and unabashedly so.

PopHorror – Completely agree. Since I’m a huge The Vampire Diaries/The Originals fan, do you mind if I ask a few questions regarding that?

Daniel Gillies – Of course not, ask away. I can also show you my dog, but we can talk about the shows first, dog later!

PopHorror – (Laughs) Deal. I love dogs. You’re best known for your iconic character as Elijah Mikaelson from The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, and now Legacies. These shows have a huge fan base. How has this show impacted your career and how does it feel to have such a loyal fan base?

Daniel Gillies – They’re passionate. It feels incredibly gratifying. It makes me so happy that these shows give people so much joy. And it makes me happy that I worked as hard as I did, ya know I worked really, really hard, without fail, to the very end. I’m proud of that – that I gave that show everything, everything that I had. I danced around new babies and flew back in forth between cities, and other shows. It was a privilege to be a part of it and it still is.

I didn’t realize how globally it would invigorate the passion for these shows during the pandemic, but during the pandemic, it blew up again. Suddenly we had a whole new audience, ya know. And it’s been very sweet and it’s hard for guys like Joseph and I… to sort of escape from being branded as those guys. I only feel sad for fans who meet me. I must be disappointing. I’m kind of a slob and not nearly as poetic and put together as Elijah Mikaelson.

PopHorror – Doubtful, but I  can relate, haha. So, time for a fun question. If you were stranded on a deserted island, which cast member from The Vampire Diaries or The Originals would you bring with you and why?

Daniel Gillies – This is hard. It’s going to sexual if I choose a woman.

PopHorror – I don’t care. (Laughs)

Yusuf Gatewood, Joseph Morgan, Daniel Gillies, Charles Michael Davis, and Phoebe Tonkin in The Originals via CW

Daniel Gillies – I’d probably choose Leah Pipes because we’d laugh our asses off the whole time. She’s also an extraordinary actress. If you’re on a deserted island and death is imminent, I kind of want to be laughing until the end. Although… I laughed with all of them. Phoebe Tonkin is outrageously funny. Joseph is hilarious. Charles is… like amazing. I couldn’t choose between the guys. I love Yusuf Gatewood, Riley Voelkel. I love all of these people. I mean who wouldn’t want to be with Josh on the island, sexy Josh. I don’t know. Who would you pick?

PopHorror – That’s entirely too hard for me. Maybe Damon Salvatore aka Ian Somerhalder. But really anyone.

Daniel Gillies – Yeah exactly. Candice King is great. Paul Wesley is a funny man. I truly treasure them all.

PopHorror – Completely agree. If you could be any other character from the series, who would it be?

Daniel Gillies – I’ve actually been asked this question a lot and the answer is always the same. I wouldn’t play anyone else. I wouldn’t have stuck around with him so long and certainly wouldn’t have done the second show, if I didn’t think he was the best character on the show. I really like him. I think he’ll age well. Although I haven’t nor have my haircuts on that show.

PopHorror – (Laughs) Oh stop, you look fine! And speaking of haircuts, I’m getting one tonight and covering up these grays!

Daniel Gillies – You know, I’m letting mine flourish. I got these guys here and a strip here.

PopHorror – But gray works for you!

Daniel Gillies – Let the gray reign!

PopHorror – (Laughs) Okay one last question. You’ve directed a few other films, would you like to direct more films in the future?

Daniel Gillies – Yeah, that’s kind of mostly what I want to do and what I’ll end up doing. Look, I love being an actor and that love won’t ever go away. But it’s time for me to create my own content. I’ve been writing pretty seriously for the last few years, and I think I finally have something that I’ve never really seen before. I’m excited. It’s pretty simple too, actually. It’s a dark subject matter, but I don’t think it’ll be particularly complicated to orchestrate. I’m incredibly interested in making my own stuff.

There’s a wealth of great television out there now too and unfortunately or fortunately it’s become more cinematic than a lot of these other tentpole movies. I think that’s the area, to sound a little lofty here, the human condition is best explored right now in terms of cinema.

PopHorror – Yeah I agree. Well, it’s been great talking with you, but our time is up. Thanks again for chatting with me and I look forward to all you do in the future.

Daniel Gillies – Thank you so much. It was lovely to chat with you. Buh-bye!

Occupation: Rainfall. It is now available On Digital and On Demand from Saban Films.

About Tori Danielle

Tori has had a passion for Horror and music ever since she was a little girl. She got bit by the writing bug in high school where she was involved in both the school newspaper and the yearbook. While getting her Bachelors degree, she took Journalism and Creative Writing classes where her passion grew even stronger. Now, in between work and family, she spends all of her spare time indulging in music, Horror movies, and nerdy fandoms, all while running/assisting one of the biggest Horror groups on Facebook and writing for various websites.

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