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Accomplished artist continues to fulfill dream as an actor

Arts and EntertainmentAccomplished artist continues to fulfill dream as an actor

For as long as he could remember, Kevin Allan Hess has always wanted to be in the movies and a few short years ago, he had an opportunity to fulfill his dream.

Hess, who is part of the Bear Foot Onondaga of Six Nations, explains getting a chance that would change his life.

“A friend sent a message through Facebook to my wife about a casting. And she thought I’d be perfect for it…So she took my picture and sent it in [and] an hour later, they called and said they wanted me for the role,” Hess continued. “[There] was someone else who had already filled the position, but even that person agreed to the casting that I fit that role better. [That actor] even said that he was willing to step down [to] let me take it. And that’s how I got started as an actor.”

Kevin Allan Hess has been an actor in a variety of productions including IT-Chapter Two, Designated Survivor (season 2), Paranormal Survivor (season 5) and the documentary Search Out The Land among others. Photo courtesy Kevin Allan Hess.

After wrapping up filming of ‘Search Out the Land,’ a documentary, Hess realized this was what he wanted to do, yet didn’t think anything would materialize.

“The next role I got was [when] one of the directors [from ‘Search Out the Land,’] asked if he could send out my profile to other agencies. I agreed, but I didn’t think anything would come of it, or at least not right away,” Hess explained. “[Then] I got a call from Kiefer Sutherland’s assistant [saying that the actor] wanted me on his show, ‘Designated Survivor.’ At first, I thought that somebody was playing a prank on me, so I declined.”

However, Hess would end up accepting the role after meeting Sutherland.

“During the time of the taping, I didn’t feel any shyness or anxiety…it just felt so natural. Like, this is where I’m supposed to be. Even talking [with any of the stars on set] I felt like I was talking to one of my old friends,” said Hess.

Hess, seen here in character for Paranormal Survivor, has been taking on many roles in commercials, films, TV shows, and music videos throughout the last number of years. Photo courtesy Kevin Allan Hess.

However, as Hess’s acting career started to rise, he still maintained his job where he worked for many years.

“I’ve been working for a cigarette company for 22 years. But if I have a film to do they let me go to do whatever I got to do. Then I just came back. They have been supportive.” said Hess.

Hess was born in Burlington and spent his childhood in Waterdown before moving to Brantford in his teens and has lived here ever since. Hess has also been a multi-faceted artist and musician, excelling as a painter and guitarist. Several of his paintings are displayed across Ontario.   

Hess is pictured here with some of the cast and production staff at the premier for ‘Little Deer’ at Chiefswood Park in Ohsweken, Ontario. Jon Elliott, Jessie Anthony and Lauren Hill were integral in casting Hess for the acclaimed film. Photo courtesy Kevin Allan Hess.

Along with landing roles in shows as well as movies including Hollywood blockbusters like “IT Chapter Two,” Hess has also been part of local productions such as ‘Little Deer.’

“I did a part for a short film called ‘Little Deer’ which was about residential schools. [The film] played in many places like New Zealand, Beverly Hills, Vancouver, and Arizona. It was directed by Jon Elliott; someone who I would like to do more projects with in the future,” said Hess.

However, Hess has also utilized his creative background to great effect during various film productions.

“The writer [and] the creator of one of the films I was part of wanted me in the film, but they couldn’t think of a dialogue for me. So, my wife and I wrote my lines, “Hess explained. “We brought it up to them and we all sat around while I did the read-over. It [became very emotional]; everyone started to cry.”

Hess is pictured here alongside Billy Merasty and Peter Commanda, who played the Shokopiwah Holy men in It Chapter Two. Photo courtesy Kevin Allan Hess.

Hess has also had a big effect on other actors; becoming a mentor to several over the last number of years.

“I’ve [helped a few] people…who wanted to give up. Because they weren’t getting the roles that they wanted or as many auditions…they were starting to defeat themselves. So, I told them to get up, dust themselves off, and go back over there, and do it,” Hess said. “You have to get out there and keep going. And that’s the only way you’re going to get better.”

Currently, Hess is exploring other elements of the film including writing about some events from his childhood.

“I’m writing a screenplay right now. All I can say is that I have experienced actors who will be a part of it and some who’ve never acted…I want to give them that chance to try it and …help them to go further,” said Hess. “I have a director who wants to read over the script when I’m done. Hopefully, I can get it into theaters. And I would say 95% of the script is based on things that happened to me. I remember when I was growing up [and experiencing some] paranormal events. And I’ll never forget that.”

Although Hess has continued to successfully pursue a film career, he has always been a gifted artist. Hess is pictured here standing beside a painting he did in 1982 at the Flamborough Centre, his old school. Photo courtesy Kevin Allan Hess.

Hess has also shared his creative passion with his children whether it has been related to acting, sports, music, or painting. One of Hess’s sons, Karl, went on to become an acclaimed boxer, fighting professionally for five years before retiring in 2022 while several of his children have become involved in film.  

“My oldest son did a Leonardo DiCaprio-produced documentary called ‘Sitting Bull.’ That was his first one. And my other son was on ‘Search Out the Land,’ with me, which was my very first role,” said Hess. “And my youngest daughter has been doing film editing. But she started when she was nine [and] doing it on her own.”

However, one of the major goals for Hess is to hone his craft and make acting his career.

“I just want to grow as an actor and do it full-time. I like my job [and] where I’ve been for the last 22 years; they’ve been very supportive, and helpful, but in my heart…I want to become a full-time actor, where I don’t have to depend on a job anymore and [where I can] put all my energy into [film],” Hess admitted.

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