You may know him from his roles as Mark Smeaton (The Tudors) or Atticus Shane (The Vampire Diaries), but that is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to David Alpay.
While at Wizard World Chicago, Alpay took a few moments of his time to spend with me — proving some of his secrets are truly worth revealing.
Alpay divulged that there is at least one thing his fans would find quite surprising to learn about him. “I used to breed silkworms. A little-known fact I don’t tell most people because they think it’s weird. There you go, now everybody knows.”
Don’t worry David Alpay, we won’t spill the beans!
Moving forward, the topic changed to television shows that inspire him, including a favorite he’s now a part of, Suits, where he plays the role of David Fox.
“I really like Suits. I was a fan of Suits for seven years before I got to audition for the series, and now I’m on it. It is weird being on a show where you revere these actors so much and the storyline. I’m recurring on Season 8 — which is out right now — so you can catch me on that.”
“It’s the golden age of television right now. Every show seems to have 2 or 3 standout performers,” Alpay added. He then cited Ian McShane (American Gods) as an actor he would love to work with.
Maybe Atticus Shane could be one of the Old Gods? That would be a strange, yet interesting twist.
One of the roles Alpay is best known for is his character on The Tudors. He said that playing Mark Smeaton on The Tudors really stretched him.
“The whole thing was so outside of my wheelhouse — acting with a British accent and with all those really talented actors,” he said.
“Playing a character from the Renaissance period was just so outside of my world, that the only way I could make it work was doing a deep dive. Researching the music — listening to it nonstop for those seven months. And traveling to Belgium, where Smeaton was from, kind of looking around these medieval towns and sort of just letting it seep into me.”
“I wanted to not just read it in a book but to also see it and feel it firsthand. So there was a lot of work that went into that, and that was very stretching,” he insisted.
David Alpay’s homework certainly paid off.
He also discussed playing Atticus Shane. “When Atticus finally starts to take his mask off, we see who he really is. Up until then, he is playing a role of this professor and he has to keep a lot of secrets. But when the mask comes off, I think we see who the character really is.”
“That allows me as an actor, to disappear as David Alpay, and become that role. So those are the moments I love. It’s a privilege that you only really get from television, because the series go on for 10 or 15 episodes — every episode you chip closer and closer to the truth,” he further explained.
He then tallked about what would happen if Mark Smeaton and Atticus Shane had a run-in with each other.
“It would be interesting if they had to be roommates. It would be like The Odd Couple.
“Smeaton would be having a lot of fun partying, bringing random people home to the house. Shane would disapprove, and have words with him — probably casting a spell on him — causing him to fall into a comatose state for the rest of their lease. That’s my guess how that show would go,” Alpay mused.
But if only one of his characters received a spin-off, David Alpay decided it would have to be Atticus Shane.
“If Professor Shane had his own spin-off series, he’d be a professor at a university. He would be training witches and warlocks, basically Dumbledore on The CW without the beard. Although now I have a beard, so maybe I could have a shorter Dumbledore beard,” he chuckled.
Once the laughter subsided, Alpay brought the conversation back to a more serious note. The dust settled on life lessons he has learned from acting.
“It’s all an act of staying loose and letting go. You do a take, you do a couple performances, but you don’t hold onto it after that fact. You don’t stress about it, and wonder what if I had done it this way,” he admitted.
Adding along with it, “Practicing — that lets you be looser when you’re acting, so then you are not as tight and controlling. Rehearse, practice, be prepared 100 percent. Know it back and forth, but then when you are done doing it, let it go.”
That then segued into what he would like his acting career to be known for.
After a moment of pondering, he said, “I’d like people to be affected by the work that I do, and to be remembered for doing good quality work.”
“Whether it’s television shows, movies or whatever. Just to say, ‘that guy really brought something to life, and he really disappeared in the role he was playing.’ That would be nice — that would be a wonderful thing.”
When the conversation started to wrap up, he took a stance on the vampires versus zombies debate before leaving.
“Vampires, because they could fly. Vampires can levitate and move very quickly. Zombies, by contrast, walk real slow, and they are always dragging limbs behind them,” he suggested.
“Have you’ve seen what we can do in the shadows?” he said with a smile.
Be sure to catch David Alpay on Suits Season 8, airing Wednesdays at 9/8c on USA.