Meet the newest star of Heartland, Calgary's Lucian-River Chauhan
9-year-old actor plays a troubled youth on the popular CBC show
If you're one of the many fans of the CBC TV series Heartland, you know there's a new character this season — a troubled youngster now living at the Bartlett Ranch.
The character, Luke, is played by nine-year-old Lucian-River Chauhan, of Calgary.
Chauhan also starred in Theatre Calgary's Secret Garden, and ATP's Zorro: Family Code.
He caught up with Doug Dirks on The Homestretch to talk about his four-episode experience.
Here is an abridged version of their conversation.
Q: Tell us about your character on Heartland.
A: Well, I play Luke, and he is a good kid at heart, but he's going through some challenges at home.
Q: Can you tell us about some of the trials and tribulations that your character goes through?
A: Well he arrives at the Bartlett ranch and he's just he's in a bad mood, right? And he's like 'Oh, yeah. What do you want from me? I don't want to be here.' And he's always closed off but he doesn't give attitude. OK. He's just really quiet. He doesn't really warm up to Ty yet, or Amy.
Q: So when you got the call and they said you got the role of Luke, what was your reaction?
A: I was like, 'Yeeeees! My first TV role! It's so cool! And, well, during the audition, I was I was quite nervous and I was like 'You're OK. You got to get this. You're OK, you're OK.'
Q: And so your first TV role and here you are in this iconic series. Twelve seasons. I mean it started before you were born. You're nine. So what's it like to be part of this?
A: It's fantastic. The the directors are awesome, the creative team is awesome. Oh my gosh, the cast — I learned so much from them. I've done a few theatre roles and I've been like very over the top and theatrical. And I've learned how to just make that great transition over to acting for TV.
Q: What is the difference between acting on stage like you did in the Secret Garden and Zorro, and playing a role on television?
A: So, theatre is more, it's a lot of high energy. And TV is more toned down.
Q: We've known Amber Marshall and interviewed her since she was a teenager; she was 18 I think when she started the show. So what have you learned from Amber, and Graham (Wardle, who plays Ty), and Sean Johnston who plays Grandpa?
A: I've been learning the transition, and also how to say my lines like, basically, to put more emotion behind it than just blurting out the lines.
Q: So the episode that aired on Jan 20. Where did you watch that?
A: I was actually having a viewing party in my car with my family. I'm doing a show at FRC (Front Row Centre Players) called Evita right now. But I was in between a double-show day and (Heartland) was airing, and I was like 'Oh, I want to watch it!' And we were actually having pizza that day. So I had a hot dog because I can't have cheese. But yeah, I just went into my car and I was like, 'Oh, this is so cool!'
Q: When did you start acting?
A: I started acting when I was five.
Q: So, you're doing Evita now. You've got four episodes on this season of Heartland. So, what's next?
A: I actually do have another thing coming on, it's for Citadel Theatre. I'm going to be in Matilda. I'm playing Bruce, and I'm touring. I'm going to Edmonton and Vancouver.
Q: Do you have any advice for other kids who who think they might want to get involved in acting?
A: I would say get an agent, and like, basically, get your parents to find auditions, and go there and put effort into it. Not just go in there and then lie your parents and be like 'Oh yeah, I did a great job.' No. I guess you go through a whole process, like learning the lines first of all and then learning the emotion behind it, and then putting it all together and being like, 'OK I think I got this.'
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With files from The Homestretch