HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – Brett Dier has always dreamed of climbing onstage at the Oscars.
It hasn’t happened yet. But it almost felt like it back in March, when he joined the rest of the “Jane the Virgin” cast at an event at the famed Dolby Theatre, the home of the Academy Awards.
The lone Canadian in the cast looked out at the crowd of fans in attendance and was surprised at what he saw.
“I was super stoked to see a ‘Team Michael’ sign,” says Dier, who plays Michael Cordero, Jr., a detective and ex-fiance of the show’s main character, Jane Villanueva (played by Golden Globe award winner Gina Rodriguez).
Critics have been smitten with Rodriguez and equally taken by the series, which offers a playful blend of romance and comedy set to a sassy telenovela beat. It airs Mondays on The CW and streams on the digital service Shomi.
Dier was born in London, Ont. He knew he wanted to be an actor by Grade 6, when he performed in his first play.
“I liked being the centre of attention,” he says. He moved with his family to Nanaimo, B.C., when he was 14. At 16 he landed an agent and started appearing in Vancouver productions.
He nearly iced his career early when he auditioned for the role of a hockey player in a commercial.
“I lied and said I could skate,” he says. He got the part, but on the shooting day it quickly became apparent he was no Sidney Crosby. An extra took his spot.
“There was a huge debate on whether they should pay me,” says Dier. “I guess that’s a lesson not to lie in an audition.”
In 2006 he scored a role as actress Brenda Strong’s son in “A Family in Hiding.” That led to roles on Vancouver productions “Smallville” and “Mr. Young.” He also worked on a few Toronto shows, including “The L.A. Complex” and “Bomb Girls.” A main role on the ABC Family series “Ravenswood” followed.
A bigger break, however, may have been a guest stint on the short-lived series “Emily Owens M.D.” That 2013 Vancouver-based drama was created by Jennie Snyder Urman. The writer/executive producer remembered Dier when it came time to fill a role on her next series, “Jane the Virgin.”
Dier, 25, says there are plenty of twists and turns ahead for Michael.
“These last six episodes — they’re crazy,” says Dier.
The May season finale will be a mind blower, he adds. The cast all agreed not to read the script ahead of time and sat shocked at the table read before shooting the final scenes.
“At the end, people won’t know what to do with themselves. It’s insane. Quote me on this!”
— Bill Brioux is a freelance columnist based in Brampton, Ont.