Aleks Paunovic is a Canadian actor with a lengthy resume, including roles in Van Helsing, Personal Effects, Supernatural, iZombie, The 100, Once Upon a Time, Smallville, and much more.
The 6’5″ actor is also a skilled athlete, with a championship amateur boxing title under his belt, and a history of stunt work. Music is key to Aleks, having been discovered in the first place thanks to playing in a rock band in his youth. Additionally, Aleks is a keen philanthropist, supporting The Red Cross/Impact Anti-Bullying Campaign.
In February, Aleks will be starring in a new movie in the US called Numb, of which his performance recently won him the UBCP/ACTRA Award for Best Actor. He will also be appearing in War For the Planet of the Apes later this year.
We recently caught up with Aleks to discuss Numb, turning into a merciless vampire, dangerous stunts, his musical background and more.
Hi Aleks! Thank you for taking the time to speak to us today! Your new movie Numb is released in the US in February of this year. What can you tell us about the film and your role in it?
My pleasure! Super excited that we are going to be released in the US! It’s a treasure hunt. What I really love about this film is one of the main characters is the environment. We shot in northern British Columbia Canada in the middle of winter, and maaaaan, was it cold! You really see that in the film. It’s a character piece of wanting to change your life and when that opportunity comes up how far you willing to go? Do you sacrifice your ethics and your morals? What would you do to survive?
We’ve watched the trailer and it looks pretty cold to say the least! What was it like to film the movie?
Filming Numb was one of the most rewarding and challenging jobs I’ve had in my career. We had to not only deal with the elements but also light. During the winter we only had 6 hours of solid light hours so it was very challenging.
You’re also currently starring as Julius in Syfy’s Van Helsing, who’s known for being a merciless, aggressive vampire. You’re a nice guy, how do you prepare yourself to play such a role?
Ha! Thank you! But you’re right – Julius is definitely not nice. It’s tough to go to those places as an actor but that’s just it, I love the challenge. I love finding different ways to make Julius tick and why he needs the power so badly. It’s so great to have this opportunity to challenge. I can’t wait to dive in for more in season 2.
Apparently you like to create Spotify playlists for each role you play to help you get into character. Which one song best defines the character of Julius?
Yeah, one of my acting coaches Andrew Macolroy turned me into this idea. My Julius song is “NUMBER OF THE BEAST” by Iron Maiden! HORNS UP!
You’ve also recently completed filming for War For the Planet of the Apes. What can you tell us about your part in that movie?
I can’t talk a lot about it but I play a Silver Back named Winter. That’s the only thing I can really say. I’m busting at the seams to talk more about it, but have to keep the muzzle on. I will say it was a mind blowing experience with the cast and crew.
Your CV is incredible, you’ve starred in too many programmes and films to list! Whilst every role is special in its own way, do you have a favourite character that you’ve played, or a favourite show/movie that you’ve starred in?
I loved playing Lee in Numb. There were so many twists and turns, and I worked really hard on it. I LOVE Julius; He’s sooooo bad. I also had a blast playing Gunner Lawless in an episode of Supernatural. I was able to learn about wrestling and have fun wrestling one of my buddies while playing a conflicted character. It’s a great gang they have over there.
You’re also a stunt actor – what’s the most dangerous stunt you’ve ever been involved in?
Ha! Well, I have waaaay too much respect for the stunt community to call myself a stunt actor, but when I got started I did do some things. One of them was being in a car crash…In a car I didn’t really fit in. I’m 6’5…ya. That one kind of hurt, so I figured I would leave the stunts up to the pros but I do still love to do my fight scenes. I really like doing my own stuff if I can do it, but as far the big ones go – nope! Lol.
You were first discovered whilst playing bass guitar in a band. Do you still play and would you like to further venture into the music industry in the future?
That’s right! Playing in my home town of Winnipeg! I do still play. But not as much as I like. Actually Marie, my co-star in Numb, is a drummer and we jam here and there. I’m hoping to play more in LA with my buddy Ed Quinn. He likes to kick me out of the band when I’m not in town. Hopefully he’ll let me back in.
You also come from a boxing background. Is boxing still a vital part of your workout regime?
Yes!!! I have three generations of fighters in my family and boxing was always a calm place for me. It gets me centered. It helps me get my body moving as well as with hand/eye coordination and pushes my body and mind to the limit. I am so in love with this sport!
You’re a proud advocate for The Red Cross and the Impact Anti-Bullying Campaign. Can you tell us about your involvement with these causes and why they’re so important to you?
Yes! I’m a huge fan of this campaign and everyone involved. It really centers around not only the person getting bullied, but also where the bully is mentally, when they bully, and how we can support them in seeing how destructive it is. We help them find the love within and find someone to talk too. It has been very rewarding. I also just finished an acting workshop for kids on Vancouver Island whom I’ve sponsored called “Nanaimo” at a great school called Spotlight Academy. They have a program for underprivileged children to get them to start being creative and I’m looking forward to seeing how this year is going to help. Great things are happening there. I’m very proud of it. Thanks for the chat!! :)
‘Numb’ premieres in the US on VOD and is available on DVD on February 7.