Many actors play characters that are opposite to their personality. We can all likely assume that Sir Anthony Hopkins famous role as Hannibal Lecter required a bit of a stretch from what he was used to in his day-to-day-life. Reese Witherspoon is far from the ditzy Elle Woods in Legally Blonde. Canadian actor Kyle Meagher knows this well, as he has played many roles that go against his entire personality. Throughout Meagher’s successful career, the majority of his roles have been playing the bully.
Meagher’s career, at just the age of 14, is filled with achievements. Many of these achievements have been playing the bully. In the film The Big Crunch, he plays a member of a group called “the goons” who bully the main character. In the series Anne, he again will play a bully, picking on the character of Anne and her friends.
“It’s funny because I’m totally the opposite. I don’t think I have bullied anyone in my life, but I have been bullied myself, so I sometimes think about the people who have behaved this way with me to create the character,” said Meagher. “A lot of friends of mine that I go to school with laugh that I play the bully because I’m fairly quiet and focused at school.”
The bully trend continued when Meagher played the bully in the Christmas film Northpole. The film is about Kevin, a young boy who wants to save the cherished traditions of Christmas in his town and enlists the help of his mom, teacher, and an elf named Clementine. Meagher plays Norman, one of the kids that bullies and makes fun of Kevin for trying to get people interested in Christmas.
“I would actually be the first guy to join the Christmas club and join in on the fun,” joked Meagher.
The film has an all-star cast of Tiffani Amber-Theissen (Saved by the Bell, 90210, White Collar), Josh Hopkins (Quantico, Cougar Town), Bailee Madison (Good Witch, The Fosters, Trophy Wife) and Max Charles (American Sniper, Spiderman, Peabody & Sherman).
“At first I was really nervous because they were actors with so much experience, and I had to act like a jerk, making fun of Max Charles’ character. Great first impression!” he joked.
“But of course, they understand – they are people too - nice people. I loved working with such great actors - it’s exciting to learn from them, and to see how they handle it if they think a line didn’t come out right. You get a picture of what celebrities are like and you might feel nervous, but when you meet them, they are great people focused on their careers,” said Meagher
After performing in Northpole, Meagher once again played the bully in Janelle Monae’s music video Heroes, from the Beats of a Beautiful Game LP. It was a compilation album sponsored by Pepsi for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Janelle Monae covered the David Bowie’s song Heroes and a short film supported it as the music video that was produced and directed by the Young Astronauts. It focused on a group of kids that were constantly bullied and at the end of the video, the kids stand up for themselves against the bullies. For Meagher, playing parts like this is a chance to show that it is not okay to bully, and this project embodied that mentality.
“The video confronts the problem of bullying. Often, people are made fun of for being different, acting different, being smart, looking different, having interests that are fairly unique or unusual, it can make you feel alone and down. But sometimes you don’t realize there are other people who are also different, who accept differences and celebrate them, and those are the people you need to find. Having a supportive group to be with can make you feel less alone. And you don’t have to fight to stand up to bullies. There are many ways to deal with it by getting help, support and talking to people that you trust.” said Meagher. “I have been made fun of in the past for my acting, so I know how it feels. It makes me proud to be in a video like this, because I think it sends a message that there are lots of people who get bullied and you aren’t alone, and there are different ways of standing up to bullies without fighting.”
Not only does the video send a powerful message, but for Meagher, it was great to be part of a music video. He really enjoys music, and especially likes classic rock and pop, so he was already familiar with David Bowie’s song. Working on a new version done with Janelle Monae was an amazing experience for the young actor.
“There are no lines. It’s all acting. And it gives people strong feelings in such a short time. Music on its own is powerful but a video can make it even more powerful,” he said.
Regardless of the parts he plays, Meagher’s personality is immediately recognized by those he works with. He is known as a kind, optimistic boy, who is also a hard worker and a naturally talented actor. There is no doubt that we will continue seeing him on our screens for years to come.
“As for Kyle playing the bully, he is just a versatile actor so he can play any role - he is so confident, and so diverse for a young man. This confidence gives him an edge that can certainly bring to life a villainous character. However, he is far from being a bully so I love seeing him stretch himself with these types of roles,”said Meagher’s acting coach Mike Migliara, who is also a casting director. “Kyle is just great to work with. For him to be so well spoken and understand the craft at such a young age, and he can adapt to any situation, it is hard to find. He has never disappointed. On set, people rant and rave about how much they love him. They always ask for him to come back. When an actor is humble, they are sensitive by nature. If they are sensitive and wonder about the world, and have an appetite for the emotional plane and human nature, which Kyle has, you are already starting with that naturally gifted talent. He has the right spirit and is such a nice person. He has a fearless attitude, and doesn’t think about things, he just does them. He is amongst the top, and that’s rare to find.”
You can view Meagher in the Heroes music video here.