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INTERVIEW: Evan Daigle Talks TNT’s Claws

Photo Credit: TNT

The world of TNT’s Claws is filled with murder, money laundering and manicures. And it’s so bats–t crazy there’s even an episode specifically titled “Bats–t.”

Five women work together in a nail salon but their lives are super intense, often awkward and highly dangerous. That’s what happens when you’re closely connected to a family of pharmaceutical drug pushers that’s headed by the bisexual crime boss, Uncle Daddy.

Yes, Uncle Daddy has a wife and a young fetus of a boyfriend. Actor Evan Daigle plays Toby, the third party of this unique relationship.

Photo Credit: Maiwenn Raoult

Daigle was attending Loyola University New Orleans when acting became his priority. While studying theater and communications, he booked Claws and left college in his final semester to shoot the series.

Photo Credit: Tyler Golden/TNT

So far we haven’t learned much about Daigle’s character other than he’s an expert synchronized swimmer and can seriously pull off a one-piece swimsuit with matching swim cap (see “Fallout”). Daigle told us we’re going to learn more about Toby as the season progresses (especially episode 7) when he so kindly answered a few of our questions via email.

TV GOODNESS: How did Claws come into your life? What was the audition experience like?

Evan Daigle: Claws came along just like any other audition. My agent got me into the room with the casting director and then I received a callback with the creator, producer, and director of the pilot. After a few weeks, I was told I had gotten the part! In January 2017, TNT announced it had greenlit the series and so I spent six months in New Orleans shooting.

TV GOODNESS: Why is Claws a perfect summer series? What about it will appeal to TV fans?

Daigle: I think the visual aesthetic of the show really lends itself to the summer vibe. Aside from the visual, Claws is really about this core group of women trying to better their lives… sometimes by any means necessary.

TV GOODNESS: Toby’s the boyfriend to Uncle Daddy, who is married, which is an awesome twist. Talk about how this relationship works.

Daigle: In some of the initial conversations I had with the creator, Eliot Laurence, we discussed the relationship of Uncle Daddy and his wife Juanda, and how Toby fits into it. All three love and respect each other. Toby lives with them. All are consenting to each others’ presence in the relationship. Showing this kind of multi-layered, non-conformist relationship, especially with the show’s lead bad guy, is a really interesting character study that I don’t think we’ve seen on television much. It’s been great fun to play.

TV GOODNESS: Was this twist what excited you about taking on this role? What appealed to you most about playing Toby?

Daigle: As someone in the early stages of their acting career, it’s always exciting when you have the opportunity to audition for big shows like this. Initially, I was just ecstatic to have been cast. Claws is my first professional TV job. After we began shooting and I was able to build my character, playing Toby’s arc in this first season has been challenging but very rewarding artistically. I can’t give anything away, but I felt blessed to be playing a character that’s pushing a conversation forward in a unique way.

TV GOODNESS: What can you tease about Toby’s story? What can you tease about the Toby/Uncle Daddy story? How will his character be integrated into the story further?

Daigle: Toby’s story is rather difficult to talk about without giving away plot points. The relationship between Toby and Uncle Daddy is strong and stable. Uncle Daddy has created a safe space and environment where Toby is free and feels comfortable being exactly who he is. As a queer guy in south Florida, this is ideal for Toby. As far as his involvement with the overall story, that will come to fruition in episode seven!

TV GOODNESS: How much are we going to learn about Toby as the season continues?

Daigle: We will learn more and more about Toby with each episode!

TV GOODNESS: Talk about working with Dean Norris. What have you learned from him?

Photo Credit: TNT

Daigle: Working with actors who are as talented and have as much experience as Dean is such a learning experience. All of my castmates have been so mentoring and helped me out a lot through this process.

TV GOODNESS: Talk about working on Claws in a big picture sense. What have you enjoyed most about it? Have there been any challenges?

Daigle: I think what I’ve enjoyed most is having the opportunity to work with such talented cast members. It made me a better actor getting to play with them. My biggest challenge has been going from never having been on a professional film set (other than two days on a small indie film) to working weekly on camera. Film acting is a unique medium and, coming from having mostly done plays, finding that rhythm with the camera was difficult but rewarding.

TV Goodness: What’s your ultimate goal as an actor? Is there a perfect project you’re striving for?

Daigle: I’ve spent a lot of my career trying to set specific goals and, in doing so, have found out that it’s better for me to just focus on the work and on my real life experiences and relationships which in turn manifest into career success. This business is way too unpredictable to set very specific goals in my opinion. My real goals are to be as good and sharp with my acting as possible to be able to work with the best actors and filmmakers in the biz.

Photo Credit: Maiwenn Raoult

TV GOODNESS: You champion organizations like The Happy Hippie Foundation, which rallies young people to fight injustice facing homeless youth and LGBTQ youth. How do you choose to help? And why is this such an important cause for you?

Daigle: I choose to help by bringing awareness to organizations such as The Happy Hippie Foundation and by making small donations when I am able. I believe this to be an important cause because these populations are some of the most at risk and at the least advantage in society.

TV GOODNESS: We always like to ask the actors we interview about what they like to watch on TV. So what is your favorite TV show to watch and why? What’s a show that’s on your binge list once you get the time and why?

Daigle: I have far too many favorites to name just one, but right now I’m really enjoying [the recently cancelled] American Crime on ABC. The entire series has been so top notch from all departments. I love the socially charged messages the show brings to light. I also think some of the best acting and editing work on television right now is being done on American Crime. As far as binge worthy shows, I’m currently obsessed with Blackish and Shameless.

TV GOODNESS: What is another TV show you’d love to guest star on and why?

Daigle: Great question! I think about this a lot actually just because there’s so much great TV out there. Off the top of my head, I’d love to be in Stranger Things on Netflix. I love the aesthetic of the show, but the writing is amazing. One other one would be absolutely anything Ryan Murphy makes. I would play anything for him; I think he’s the most talented filmmaker and writer working in television right now.

TV GOODNESS: What else are you working on?

Daigle: Right now I’ve recently moved to Los Angeles and am working on building my team!

Catch Daigle when he stars on Claws which airs Sundays at 9/8c on TNT.

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