“I don’t want to wait for someone to cast me, cause it might not happen. So, I’m going to make my own show. A series. About me. And I’m terrified. But it’s happening.”
Do you know how many times a fellow actor has told me they needed or wanted to make their own film? Yes, MANY times. Do you know how many times I’ve seen one of those actors follow through? Three. Three times. Vasilios Filippakis was the first.
I met my dear friend, roommate, and colleague nearly four years ago in Suzanne Bastien’s acting class. My memory fails to recover the fine details of our first interaction, but I remember immediately feeling the warmth and charisma that is characteristically “Billy”. Our friendship grew over late-night, post-class burgers at Fran’s. We talked about our dreams, our failing relationships and of course, who was messaging on Grindr. Cut to four years later and our conversations are eerily similar. Except instead of taking about dreams of being cast in, well, anything, Vas vents about how nervous he is for his interview on ETALK and asks for my advice when it comes to pitching season two of his series to Netflix; is it too much to bring up shooting in Greece now? I remind him that nothing is too much when it comes to FAK YAASS – his incredible show – as it is very much about how okay it is to be a little extra in your family and in this world.
We found our Toronto dream pad last fall in Cabbagetown and made the very brave decision to split the top floor into a giant bedroom space for both of us. That’s right, we are two single twenty-something professionals sharing a bedroom. And we fakking love it. I hear his alarm go off at 4:45am and it doesn’t bother me. It’s been six months and I still get stuck with a little pride hearing him go off into his always ambitious days. The thing is, the reason there’s only three actors who followed through, is because the other 96% percent aren’t willing to do the work. The reason Vasilios Filippakis and I share the second floor, is because he’s only in it from 1030pm-445am. The rest of the time he’s auditioning, taping more auditions, in acting class, teaching an F45 class, in a production meeting, in a pitch meeting, in a wardrobe fitting, at his night job, flying to Newfoundland to shoot a an episode of Hudson & Rex, or somehow finding a way to move it all around to help a friend with their audition tape. Because thats the kind of guy he is. Never too busy for a loved one. Never too broke to give his “friend” on the street the $10 in his pocket. Never too tired to push just that little bit harder.
When Vasilios sat me down two years ago to tell me he was going to make his show, he told me he’d give me a part. Another thing actors tell each other but rarely actually deliver on come casting day. But, you’ll probably guess by now that Billy’s not the ordinary actor. I don’t think ordinary was ever on his vocabulary tests. I play his sister-in-law on-screen, and while I cherish the role, what I cherish far more is having a friend who feels like a brother, that wakes up everyday and shows me exactly how much is possible when just say “FAK YAASS!!”.
-by Vasilios Filippakis’ roommate Helen Hayden
What ‘hood are you in?
I live in Cabbagetown! It is so lovely, full of families and dogs. It melts my heart how close the community is here.
What do you do?
I am an actor, writer, creator, and personal trainer at F45 Yorkville!
What are you currently working on?
I had just wrapped a role on the season finale of “Hudson & Rex” and I am currently anticipating the release of my new TV mini-series “FAK YAASS”
Where can we find your work?
“FAK YAASS” will air on OUTtv June 17th 9:30pm ET and “Hudson & Rex” airs on CityTV!