By Jae-Ha Kim
Tribune Media Services
July 17, 2012
Born in Canada, raised in New Zealand and now living in the United States, Daniel Gillies has roles on two current series. He co-stars as Dr. Joel Goran on “Saving Hope” and as Elijah — a character who has been killed and resurrected no less than four times — on “The Vampire Diaries.” The 36-year-old actor and his wife, actress Rachael Leigh Cook, reside in Los Angeles. Fans may follow him on Twitter @danieljgillies.
Q. What was the first trip you took as a child?
A. I moved to New Zealand from Winnipeg when I was almost five. I hated it. It was to a city in the south of New Zealand called Invercargill and there was constant rain. There was a depressing sensation in the air.
Q. Canadians and Kiwis both have a reputation for being incredibly polite. In your opinion, is this warranted?
A. The Japanese are incredibly polite. Tahitians are genuinely, uniquely and inherently polite. Kiwis and Canadians? No. New Zealanders have conventions and pleasantries, but we are direct. We are encouraged to be transparent with our behavior and not to employ passive aggression. It’s what I admire about them. Kiwis are fiercely proud of their country. If you adore New Zealand and you express that to a New Zealander, they will love you forever. Canadian humor is a whole other realm. This is perhaps where I see the greatest similarities between Kiwis and Canadians. We also live beneath the shadow of two vast countries. We’re both enormously self-deprecating. However, when we travel, we’re pretty universally loved. Tell people you’re a Canadian or a Kiwi when you travel and they’ll adore you. I have American pals who lie and say they’re Canadian in order to receive better service and treatment when they’re abroad.
Q. You’re back in Canada working. What has surprised you the most about that country?
A. Put it this way, I’ve lived in Los Angeles for a decade. I’ve been out thousands of times. I have never seen a single bar fight in L.A. Ever. I’ve been here in Canada for four months. Since I’ve been here, I’ve seen several brawls in drinking venues. To be honest, I found Toronto a little hostile when I first came. Though you could hardly call that Canada, since Toronto is just one region. I adore it now. The city is so rich with culture and activity. But it took a little time. Los Angeles was far more welcoming and warm. I’ve found that Americans, generally speaking, are more immediately hospitable.
Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?
A. Moorea and Tahiti (in French Polynesia). Hands down that’s the most beautiful area on earth.
Q. To someone who was going there for the first time, what would you recommend?
A. To never leave.
Q. What untapped destination should people know about?
A. Montreal. I don’t understand why it’s not more highly regarded as one of the great North American destinations. That city is sublime.
Q. Where was the first place that you and your wife, Rachael, traveled to?
A. London, Paris, Barcelona and Venice. Can’t remember which was first. We visited those places.
Q. What is your best vacation memory?
A. I had a perfect day on the island of Vieques, off the coast of Puerto Rico, with my beautiful girl in 2010. The food, the company, the event we attended — it was entirely decadent and criminally fun. That place is holy. Also, we found an abandoned puppy by the side of the road as the sun was setting. He returned home with us to Los Angeles and has since become one of the great loves of my life.
Q. What would be your fantasy trip?
A. Naples, Sardinia, or anywhere in coastal Italy with my perfect wife and blue water. Tom Selleck and I become acquainted after a playful rivalry on rented jet-skis. Later, I save his life after a brutal skirmish with a yellow stripe barracuda and we get tattoos together. The tattoos are of the other guy — me on Tom’s back, Tom on mine — pointing to the other guy on the other tattoo. In a speech bubble above both images we’ve written something in Farsi, which roughly translates to, “Never look back.”
Q. Which countries have the best food?
A. I will say that the food in both Japan and Italy was immaculate. I don’t remember having bad food in either country.
Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
A. New York City and Montreal.
Q. Where would you like to visit again?
A. I’d like to return to Mumbai and Tokyo.
Q. What are your favorite cities?
A. New York, Tokyo, Barcelona, Bangkok.
Q. Where have you traveled to that most reminded you of home?
A. Probably Edmonton, Canada.
Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?
© 2012 JAE-HA KIM
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