The evolution of Daniel Thorp, 31, of Shepherdstown, WV, was pretty much a story waiting to be found by YEP. The man known as “Dan T” to most has certainly undergone a transformation over the last few years. From self-proclaimed disenchanted commuter to full-blown promising actor—with three films and a number of well-received plays under his belt—Thorp has done an about-face with his life and career in a very short time. We were lucky enough to sit down with him (and his wonderful wit) before he gets too famous and forgets about us all. (Author’s note: Dan T and I go back a ways.)
YEP: Well now, isn’t this something. I have to say: it’s a pleasure to see what’s going on here, truly. I’m pleasantly surprised, to say the least, Mr. Thorp. How are you?
Dan T: It’s good to be here. Thank you for having me. Is my hair okay? Do I look young?
YEP: You look fantastic, all perfectly disheveled and casually mysterious. So, let me ask you: Where did you grow up and what brought you to Shepherdstown?
Dan T: Hmm. Where did I grow up. I guess I’d have to grow up in order to have grown up. I’m afraid I can’t answer that question just yet, sorry.
YEP: Hold on; let me check “abstract” off of my list, and “cryptic,” as well. Okay, we’re already way ahead of schedule on my list of clichés for young male actors—can we slow down?
Dan T: Understandable. Honestly, the college brought me to Shepherdstown.
YEP: Hold on…(avoids initial question, check)…okay, go on.
Dan T: It was the only school I got into. I say college because, of course, when dinosaurs like you and I got our degrees, Shepherd was merely a college.
YEP: Indeed—the good ‘ol days. So fill us in on this metamorphosis. What were you doing before acting, and how did this all come about?
Dan T: Being bored out of my mind. Everything was B.S. I was working a nine-to-five and hated every minute of it. On top of that, I was commuting down 270 every day. It was a nightmare. One day, I just lost it in an employee meeting—basically got fired/quit. It was the best thing that could have happened to me. My life completely changed that day.
YEP: Now we’re talking. Go on.
Dan T: It really wasn’t that bad. Or maybe it was? I had a lot of unresolved issues at the time—things I needed to get off my chest about what was going on around me. When the words finally came out of my mouth, my path to acting revealed itself.
YEP: Fair enough. (Metaphorical and guarded about major life milestone, check.) So tell me: this acting thing—it’s a relatively new endeavor for you. Or is it? Did you act in high school, etc.?
Dan T: Everybody acted in high school. They just didn’t realize it.
Dan T: Okay, seriously. I mean, I guess what I’m trying to say is that the idea of acting has always been with me. I remember when I was like ten or eleven years old, I used to hang out with a group of kids from my neighborhood. Of course, I was the youngest and smallest, and any time those boys needed anything, well, I was there to mop it up. After a while, I noticed I was always the one doing the grunt work. So I started to stand up for myself. But my one friend, Dwight, who was probably the laziest out of all of us, would start with this big story about how his elbow would make this horrifying noise if he picked up a shovel. He was so dramatic and his facial expressions were spot on. I fell for it every time. What an actor! After a few of those incidents, I began to see it for what it really was—good acting! I guess I sort of turned it into my own craft.
YEP: I see. You learned along the way—part interest, part survival. So, at some point, you end up in the Eastern Panhandle. What do you like about this area?
Dan T: I think it’s the mountains. I think it brings another dimension to life. I drive through the mountains a few times a week and the sheer beauty of it all is enough. As far as Shepherdstown, I can’t really explain it. I think it’s something you have to experience for yourself. The thing about Shepherdstown is that it’s all great! I compare it to soup because of all the ingredients. To me, most places are “Tomato Soup,” but Shepherdstown is “Jewels of the Sea Soup”—my favorite local soup, at The Yellow Brick.
YEP: Sounds delicious. Tell me: what type of reaction do you get from family and friends, now that you’re starting to see some success?
Dan T: It’s insanely crazy. My sister, Ashley, went out and bought a Lamborghini. My dear, sweet mom moved to Portugal—literally because of the excitement. My dad retired! Can you believe it? Never in a million years did I think I would be visiting Portugal.
Dan T: Seriously, everyone has been so supportive around me. All of my family comes and supports me. And when I say all, I mean all. My cousins, Adam and Michaela; all my aunts and uncles; my mom; and my girlfriend Jenny (hi, baby)—not to mention, all my friends, who are constantly inquiring. It’s really been the fuel to my fire. One other person who always supports me, and has always taken an interest in my projects, is my friend Miss B, and her husband Phil. They come to all of my shows and I love having them in the audience.
YEP: Can you run us through the last few projects you’ve been a part of? And what’s in the works, or on the horizon?
Dan T: Do people really want to know about my last role where I played a killer just released from jail, and what he does to his brother as a little side bet? I guess I just explained it. That movie should be in local theaters soon. It’s called “Family Bonds.” Another film I just had released was a short called “Easy Way Out.” It’s about a world overrun by zombies, and some of the daily issues a human would go through in that world. I play the human. And, of course, I can’t forget “Ai Means Love.”
YEP: Let’s talk about “Ai Means Love.”
Dan T: Well, if I remember correctly, I only got the part because the other actor got sick. It was my very first project and I was only on board as part of the crew (microphones, coffee, etc.). One day, the director, Mie, asked me to audition. I will never forget the size of the goose bumps I got from that. Seriously. It was weird. The guy next to me had to go throw up. But filming was awesome. They had a wonderful crew who had been working together for quite some time. It was a family setting behind the scenes and I enjoyed every minute of it.
YEP: It’s definitely a clever little film. What’s the buzz with it thus far?
Dan T: Well it just premiered on the East Coast a few weeks ago. All the shows were great and the support was huge. After the last show, they told us that the movie was moving out to the West Coast. It was a huge surprise for me. It’s been a great addition to my resume.
YEP: Indeed. What are some of the vital lessons you’ve learned along the way—about your dream, about the industry, and about yourself?
Dan T: The one lesson that gets me from one audition to the next is knowing that I am capable and prepared. I stay very organized when I’m in audition mode. I have to have a clear mind. And I constantly remind myself that this is who I am if I want to be. I’ve learned from years past—that I am my own worst enemy.
YEP: If I gave you the opportunity to go anywhere on earth for a day, where would it be, what would you do, and what would you eat?
Dan T: Yes! I love this question. I’d probably go to Southern England—visit a town called Portsmouth. It would have to be a Saturday and I would have to have tickets to the soccer game—I mean football game. I remember watching some of their games a few years ago when they were in the top flight. Their fans were crazy. They sang and heckled for ninety straight minutes. I would do anything to be a part of that, just once.
YEP: And the food?
Dan T: Fish and Chips, of course.
YEP: What gets you up in the morning?
Dan T: Basically, I told myself I can and will do this, and I don’t want to let myself down. When you start lying to yourself, things can get a bit dicey. Unfortunately, that used to be how I did things, and I can’t be that person anymore. My girl, Jenny, helped me realize that.
YEP: Well said. Good day to you, sir.
Dan T: Good day to you.