YTV recently premiered their new show Open Heart, a family mystery series from the producers of the award-winning show Degrassi. We took a moment to chat with one of the shows stars, Mena Massoud, to discuss his role, various aspects of the show, and a bit about his background.
Open Heart airs Tuesdays at 9pm on YTV.
Tell us little about Open Heart, and how your character Jared fits into it
Open Heart is a mystery series that follows the journey of Dylan Blake as she tries to find her missing father and along the way attempts to discover who she is. Dylan has to volunteer at a hospital to fulfill her community service because of her past mistakes and there, she meets Jared who is the head of the volunteer program. They don’t get along right away but as she spends more time there I think they learn how to live with each other. Deep down inside Jared is a caring and loving person but he too has a wall of defense that prevents people from seeing who he really is. Jared is the head of the program so naturally, he has more resources than Dylan and throughout the series he’s there to help.
Open Heart mixes so many sub-genres such as medical and mystery together. Is there a lot of heavy content – especially on the medical aspect – or is it mostly focused about the mystery at hand?
It definitely focuses on the mystery and the relationships between the characters – which is always an interesting thing. Having said that, there is the medical aspect in there as well and it’s very authentic and exciting. The mystery is what brings the characters together and is what Dylan is focusing all her energy on, so that is what the story revolves around primarily.
For those who haven’t seen the show yet: what aspects do you think audiences, especially teen audiences, will love about this show?
The fact that the story revolves around a teen heroine, who is very passionate and confident, is enough reason for teens to check it out. But as you get more involved and as the story develops you discover that there are many reasons to love this show. Not just for the teens. Dylan explores parts of her life that normal everyday people explore as well. She tries to find out who she really is, how she fits in the world, what she’s good at, who and what she’s passionate about; things that everyone going through life can relate to. It’s also the kind of show that gets you really curious and you become very involved in solving the mystery with Dylan. Things get very serious and dramatic and it’s not at all what you would expect from this show. People are in for a surprise.
You of course recently graduated from Ryerson University. Congrats on that! Was acting always something you wanted to get into? How did your university journey – either academically or socially – help sculpt your future in the industry?
Thank you! Acting has always been a part of my life as far as I can remember. It hasn’t always been something that I thought I could pursue professionally – that’s why I went to UofT for a year. I left UofT after I auditioned and was accepted into Ryerson and I haven’t looked back from there. Ryerson helped me because I was around acting all the time. It was pretty much all I thought about, even if I didn’t really get to practice every day; I definitely thought about it. Actually a lot of it was just sitting and watching, especially in my last year, but I think a good actor learns from everything. A good learner learns from everything! My roommate, and best friend, would go back home after eight, or twelve hours at the theatre school and turn on a good film and pretty much continue our training there.
What’s happening next?
I just finished working on a short film with some of my closest friends in the industry called Master of None. It will be circulating festivals and it’s a dark comedy heist film. After that, we’ll see what the stars have in store.
Cover Photo: ‘Open Heart’ Still / Stephen Scott @ Epitome Pictures
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Starts August 2017.