How a kid from Oakville, Ont., ended up in the Louisiana swamps filming a gloriously trashy monster movie is a story in itself, but such is the legacy of Canadian actor — and sometimes writer and director — Dillon Casey.

 

Casey, already a veteran TV performer from such glossy shows as Being Erica and The Vampire Diaries, stars as one of the slew of youthful anti-heroes who come face to face with a lethal reptilian monster in Creature, a nifty new low budget shocker co-starring genre icon Sid Haig, opening across North America this Friday.

 

“The first thing I noticed when I read the script was the name (of producer) Sid Sheinberg,” says Casey, back in Toronto for his recurring role in the CTV hit series Nikita.

 

“I mean, he’s a legend … he was the head of Universal pictures. He was behind Jaws.”

 

Sheinberg’s name no doubt pushed writer/director Fred Andrew’s little horror movie that could into the higher profile release it’s getting this week, but outside of the pedigree, Creature is an eccentric, interesting, unpretentious and often eerie thriller.

 

“(Creature) looks like a generic horror film on the surface,” notes the actor.

“But there are many twists and turns and unexpected elements that elevate it.”

Casey was bit by the acting bug when studying at the University of Toronto and found he had the chops — and the looks — to make a living pretending to be other people. But originally, his role in Creature called for a very different face.

“My character was fat, nerdy and I really didn’t think I had a chance of getting it,” he says.

“But then I got the call that I did. I was surprised. Later on the set, Fred said that the reason I got the roll was that I nailed it on the call back. I kept quiet at first but I eventually told Fred that I didn’t actually get brought in for a call back. So really … he probably cast the wrong guy for the role by mistake!”