EL: Where are you from? When and how did you get into acting?
ZP: I am from a town of 3000 people called Alfred, in Ontario, Canada. I started acting when I was 16 years old. I went online to find auditions because I wanted to start working in film and I stumbled upon an open call audition, which lead me to sign with an agency.
EL: Can you tell me a little bit about the film and television projects you’ve done?
ZP: I play the lead role of Shaun in the feature film Blackburn, a horror film about five bickering college friends who get trapped by a forest fire and a rock-slide in a small Alaskan ghost town with a horrifying history. The role was definitely physically challenging, as I had to run and fight a lot in cold weather.
I play Jay Allerson in the film Guilty at 17, which aired on Lifetime and The Movie Network and focuses on a teenager who becomes overwhelmed with guilt after lying to support a friend’s claims of sexual assault, claims which lead to the accused teacher’s suicide. I also play Erik Sanders in the film Crisis Point, and Dylan on the SyFy TV series Being Human.
EL: You get approached all the time to work on projects with people, what makes you pick one role over another?
ZP: The character, and the potential behind the role, I try to find something I can relate to and can accomplish in a great way. I also tend to look for roles I’ve never done before in order to give my career and my craft a bit of diversity. And obviously it depends on the script; it has to be a great script. I also consider the director and producers behind the projects, and their ability to turn the script into something greater.
EL: What has been your favorite role so far and why?
ZP: My favorite role so far has be the role of Shaun in Blackburn. I had permission to do 90% of all my stunts, which was physically challenging, but satisfying. I had a few fighting scenes which were pretty exciting. I had the opportunity to work with a great director with a lot of previous stunt experience, and a lot of times when I was fighting I was surrounded by fire, and a lot of special effects and blood. We shot the film in the woods and since it was a horror film it had a whole different vibe than a Thriller/Drama/Mystery.
EL: What separates you from other actors?
ZP: I have an ability to fully inhabit my characters to the point where I am often unrecognizable from one to the next in a realistic and believable way. My performances are always thoroughly engaging and truthful, and they enhance the quality of every project I work on. I am a hard worker, and I help all those in need and try to build up the people around me to help them achieve further success. I am generous and respectful to those I work with and my surroundings. When I set my mind to something I bring it to life, I walk by Faith and not by Sight. I know there’s a higher power working for me and I feel understanding that completely will take you places.
EL: What would you say your strongest qualities are as an actor?
ZP: I am perseverant, and really positive. I can get very deep into my characters where I have no difficulty crying on command.
EL: What projects do you have coming up?
ZP: I have a feature film coming up called Where are you Bobby Browning where I play the lead role of Bobby Browning. It’s about a twenty-something gal who realizes that she picked the wrong guy in high school, and travels back to her small town to make things right.
EL: What do you hope to achieve in your career as an actor?
ZP: I hope that one day I’ll get to have my star on the walk of fame, for self-achievement; and win an Oscar for best actor in a leading role, shoot one or two studio movie a year, act alongside Tom Cruise and be well rooted in the industry. I’d also like to act for directors Steven Spielberg & Martin Scorsese, & for producer Jerry Bruckheimer.
EL: Why is acting your passion and chosen profession?
ZP: I believe a passion is given to you by a higher power, God. When you love something, you yourself did not “choose” to love it, you just loved it. Therefore if you follow your passion, you do what you are suppose to do, and you are always where you’re suppose to be. If you want to know where your passion is, you follow your heart it’ll show you the way. Acting is my passion because I love it, and that is why it is my chosen profession. Waking up everyday and reading about it, watching it, and practicing it, is always interesting– time flies when you follow your passion. I’d rather try my whole life to accomplish my passion, which is my dream, than go to work everyday and not love what I do.