Written By: Jayme Face
Evan Daigle plays Toby in TNT’s Claws alongside Niecy Nash and Dean Norris. Claws can be seen on Sundays at 9 EST on TNT.
upfrontNY: Can you tell us about Claws and your character Toby?
Evan Daigle: Sure! Claws is about five manicurists who work at a nail salon in South Florida and they launder drug money for Dean Norris’ character Uncle Daddy out of their salon. Toby, I can’t really give away too much about his arc in the first season because we haven’t really seen too much of him in the episodes that have been out. But, he starts out as the live in boyfriend of Dean Norris’ character Uncle Daddy and we all get to see him become a lot more involved in the crime and drama as the season progresses.
upfrontNY: There are so many funny people involved in the show, Rashida Jones and Niece Nash. What is set like? That must be so much fun!
Evan Daigle: Oh, it is! It’s been great! We’re getting to work with such phenomenal artists. A typical day on set is super fun, super long. Everyone’s energy is always super high even whenever we’re shooting some of our more dramatic stuff. Everyone’s spirits have always been really excited to be doing what we’re doing. All of these actors are just so happy to be working and so happy to be working with each other. So, the energy on set is super electric. They are such goofballs too, they’re constantly joking around, constantly picking on each other; it’s great!
upfrontNY: Now do you actually film in Florida?
Evan Daigle: We film principal photography in Louisiana, in New Orleans, but we did a ten/fifteen day exterior for the shoot.
upfrontNY: The show can be quite risqué, have you watched with family? What do they say about it?
Evan Daigle: I haven’t had the chance to watch with any members of my family, but they’ve been watching it as it’s been airing. I’m going to be honest I was a little nervous, especially for the pilot episode, Toby is in that really scantily clad outfit. My parents are really supportive of my acting career and they understand that it is a job. They know that just because I play a character that is one way that doesn’t necessarily mean anything for their son’s real life. So, they were into it. They thought that it was hilarious, they really like the show. They think that Niecy Nash is amazing. So, they’re honestly just really proud of me.
upfrontNY: You got the call for Claws in the middle of your last semester of school, what was it like getting that call and having to leave school?
Evan Daigle: I did. I actually auditioned for the pilot my first semester senior year of college in October of 2016. So, while I only filmed two days on the pilot in October, it wasn’t until January of 2017 when we found out that TNT had greenlit the series for a ten episode order. I got a call from my agent at the beginning of January letting me know that the producer had contacted her and that they were really impressed with the work that I had done in the pilot and they had wanted me to come back for the second episode. I was over the moon! I was so excited! I was going to school full-time. At this point I didn’t realize how many episodes Toby was going to end up being in ,so we just sort of went on a week to week basis with them. I tried to make acting in the show and going to school work for the first two or three weeks, but as soon as I was told I was going to be in more than three episodes I made the really tough decision. I talked to my parents. I talked to my acting mentor. It was just absolutely one of those things you can’t turn down. My parents were understandably a little upset, but they completely understand that this was just an opportunity that I had to take.
upfrontNY: You didn’t get into acting until the middle of college, what made you like it and pursue it? What were you studying before that?
Evan Daigle: Right, I was mainly interested in visual art growing up. I wanted to be a painter. So, when I graduated high school I went to Laguna College of Art and Design down in Orange County for a year to study graphic design and oil painting. It’s actually one of the best visual arts schools in the area and it made me realize that visual art was not fulfilling me artistically in the way that I thought I needed to be. I was really unsure of what I wanted to pursue. I knew that I was an artist. I knew that I would follow that path, but acting was always something that was in the back of my head. It was something that I thought I would be interested in. It was always just a very intimidating career path to me and so out of fear never really pursued it until I transferred from Laguna College of Art and Design to Loyola University in New Orleans. I started taking theatre classes because I was encouraged by a friend of mine and I started taking my first acting class my second year of college, I added the minor, I started studying it, I took every acting class that my school had and I’ve been pretty much nonstop since then.
upfrontNY: You mentioned you went for painting, can you describe your style of art? Do you still paint?
Evan Daigle: I do, I really like to paint realistic portraits of people. The school that I went to is based in a very Italian Classical tradition of painting and drawing which is why I was attracted to the school in the first place. So, I really just like to paint and draw portraits of the people around me.
upfrontNY: You support LGBTQ and anti-bullying organizations. Can you tell us more about those organizations and your involvement?
Evan Daigle: Sure. I like to tell people I donate and am a fan of the LGBTQ organization: The Happy Hippie Foundation. They provide aid, service, support and guidance for gender non-binary youth and homeless youth as well as any other vulnerable population. I am not directly involved with the charity other than just donating my personal money and time, but that is definitely a charity that I like to support.
upfrontNY: I also saw you have a couple other projects coming up. Can you tell us about that?
Evan Daigle: I worked on this really cool short film this past summer called Dvrker Infinity Room. It was with this really talented film maker named Jonathan Isaac Jackson. He is a New Orleans local film maker and the film premiered last month at the San Francisco Black Film Festival.
upfrontNY: Is there anything you’d like to let our readers know?