We chat with the actor upon the release of Vampire Academy.

Sinisterly chilling peppered with a hefty dosage of fantasy, the stars aligned for Andre Dae Kim when offered his role on the American television series, Vampire Academy. Starring as Christian Ozera – the insatiably intelligent yet snarky vampire, outcasted by society at the mercy of his parent’s societal sins – Kim delivers a compelling performance that keels the audience’s hearts as he searches for answers, delving full-throttle into a quest to uncover the truth.

Far removed from Andre Dae Kim’s home life, which saw him and his parents fascinated by franchises such as Indiana Jones and Lord of the Rings, Kim’s affinity for monumental stories that create worlds of their own soon led to the cultivation of his craft. Taking on a recurring role in Netflix’s Locke & Key and starring in the critically acclaimed Paramount + series Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Andrew Dae Kim is an actor with a revolution on his radar — quickly becoming one of the industry’s most burgeoning stars on its hit list.

To celebrate the release of Vampire Academy, we sat down with the Edmonton, Alberta-born actor to find out what it takes to get inside the head of such a paradoxical character, the double-edged sword that independence can entail and what is next for him.

For a taste of Vampire Academy and for the full interview, head below now…

Hey Andre, how are you?
Hi! Doing great, thanks for having me.

What’s one thing you hope to achieve today, apart from this interview?
Have no expectations! Just looking to enjoy the time we have.

Congratulations on your part in Vampire Academy. Can you take us back to the moment you found out you had a place on the cast?
Thank you so much. Oh yes, the moment was surreal. My whole team knew that we were pretty close, so when my manager called, I picked it up and I just said, “tell me I got it” and it was actually his assistant who said “just connecting Jared and Mirjam now” which was super embarrassing! But then they told me the news and it was one of the best moments of my life. Think I literally screamed in public for a second. Then I called my mom and dad and friends right after. Unreal moment.

As a child, we read you and your family were movie buffs, and consuming classic titles fostered your own aspirations to hit screens one day. Could you tell us about one, in particular, that’s had a formative impact on the actor you are today?
Think all the movies I’ve watched have been great, but the Ghibli movies were the first movies I watched that made me feel a kindred connection with another artist. I didn’t know at the time I wanted to be an actor but as a child watching the Ghibli movies, I had a moment of realization that this weird mind I have is something that I share with other people. And that made me realize in a small way and later a big way, that this kind of world is the one I wanted to be working in.

You began your acting career straight after graduating high school. That’s pretty impressive firstly, but if you hadn’t gone into acting, what do you envision you might be doing now?
Thank you! I am not entirely sure. I think life has many branches and paths you can take, none of them are wrong, but they all lead to different endings. The Andre that chose the actor path can’t imagine what the Andre that chose another path would do or why, but if I had to guess what core part of me would stay among all these different paths, I would say that I have an innate desire to surround myself with interesting places and people. I am very lucky to have done so in my life. So as crazy as it may sound, I could see myself have becoming either a wildlife photographer or someone who works in game design. I just don’t think you’d ever find me working in an office.

Your character Christian Ozera, a Royal Morio vampire, would appear to be a mixed bag in terms of his personality traits. How did you approach depicting him on screen?
It’s a fine line, between keeping him true to his character in the books and being true to yourself as an actor. The more I grinded Christian down to finding the core of who he is, the more I realized that’s an impossible task for most humans. Which led me to realize that Christian really is just a human kid. He’s experiences while tragic and special are also very much shared and universal. The essence of what makes Christian who he is, is he’s past, but what Christian needs to learn about himself, is that he can be so much more than that. So, what helped me was playing both what Christian is and what he needs to be and finding the subtleties between both of those.

Aside from the obvious difference – you aren’t a vampire, as far as we know – where do you and Christian differ and what similarities do you share?
We’re both independent to a fault. Both of us are an only child – because of that, I think you learn at a young age you have to entertain yourself. I found that through acting and video games, Christian found that through magic and reading. Where we differ – which might be surprising to some people – is I think I would be way more cynical and pessimistic then Christian is, if I had gone through what he has in life. I truly believe I’d be way more guarded and bitter about the world, which Christian is, but what makes Christian so special is a lingering bit of hope and light that he holds onto. His belief is that if he does the right things, people will treat him with fairness and kindness. And maybe later on, the realization that none of that matters to him, and what’s truly important is what the people who care most about you think.

This is by no means your first role, notably, you also appeared in Netflix’s Locke and Key. How is it approaching new roles now you have a few under your belt?
Every new set feels like a first day at a new school. Always going to have those nerves and a little bit of self-doubt. I think now for me, it just goes away faster. I love doing what I do, and I am not going to change who I am depending on the production or set. Having the experiences I have, has, at the very least, made me feel like I’m doing something right. Which, as little as that sounds, is a big thing in this industry. And I don’t take it for granted.

Your career is going from strength to strength, however for you personally, what would be the ultimate project you would love to tick off one day?
I’d want to do a project that has more roots in Asian American and Asian Canadian stories. Working with greats like Benedict Wong, Sandra Oh or Steven Yeun. My other goal, which is kind of weird, but I’d like to play a role that no one would expect. Would love to be like, an Asian Viking or mercenary with an Irish or Scottish accent in a period piece. Or an Asian pirate captain that sounds like Davy Jones from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies! I think it’d be crazy for audiences to see that. And it would open people up to the idea that Asian actors can literally play anything in this world when given the chance.