Demore Barnes was a shy student at Sir Oliver Mowat High School in Toronto when some friends cajoled him into hosting the school’s Christmas assembly. The performance was a hit, giving Barnes the confidence to try out for Squawk Box, a sketch comedy show on YTV. (Canada’s version of Nickelodeon) He was eighteen years old, and it was his first professional audition. He got the job. And the beginning of a career in acting was launched. The show lasted one season, by which time Barnes knew he wanted to pursue acting as a career. He applied to Ryerson University’s theatre program, but a successful audition for the CBC kids show,” Street Cents”, sidetracked his academic aspirations.
He spent the next three seasons on the show doing sketch comedy. “Street Cents” allowed him to hone his comedic talents, but he felt the need to expand his range and challenge himself. For a while, that something else was a series roles in television and movies and cable shows, including a turn as the tribal warrior, Mudo on the nationally syndicated Tia Carrere show,” Relic Hunter.” Also, in the television movies, “White Lies”, with Sarah Polley and Lynn Redgrave, “Second String” starring Jon Voight, “Blackout” with Jane Seymour In less than a year, Barnes was cast as Benjamin Hardaway on “The Associates”, and thrust into a media maelstrom. For that role, Demore was nominated for two consecutive years for the Gemini award (Canada’s equivalent of Emmy) as Best Lead Actor in a drama series. In addition, Demore was the winner of the BFV and Black Film Award for best performance in a dramatic series.
“The Associates” lasted two seasons, after which Demore he was ready for a big change: moving to Los Angeles It was a tough decision, but it was clear at that point that the roles that Demore was seeking were often cast long before they came to Canada. It was a huge decision for someone with such close ties to family and friends, who loved his career and his country, but the next logical step, nonetheless.
Demore arrived in Los Angeles in January 2003. He fully expected to step off the plane and start working; after all, that was always the case. Everything had fallen into his lap. This was not the case. What did fall into his lap, however, was an opportunity to work with the acting coach Larry Moss. Once again, he was in the right place at the right time. One phone call and he was in. Demore had no idea how extraordinarily difficult it was to be accepted into a class with the man for whom there was always a one year waiting list. For the first time, Demore was having an opportunity to study acting. He studied and waited and believed in himself. As a Canadian with no working papers he had to wait for the right project and the right role.
And then came The Unit. After Demore’s first audition for David Mamet, Mamet looked up at him and said, what you just did there is what they call demanding the part. You just demanded that part”. Demore’s response was decidedly Demore, “Well, I do want the part, David”. And the rest as they say, was history.
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