Ladner actor takes heroics to TV screen

Ladner lifesaver Shane Symons stars in new CW Network series, The 100, which premieres next month. - Adrian MacNair
Ladner lifesaver Shane Symons stars in new CW Network series, The 100, which premieres next month.
— image credit: Adrian MacNair

It’s not just in front of the cameras that Ladner actor Shane Symons can demonstrate a flair for the dramatic.

In July 2012, the McDonald’s employee was on a break when he saw a local teen in distress on the ground. Symons jumped into action and performed CPR on the 16-year-old–who was in cardiac arrest– until medical help arrived.

The quick response not only saved the teen’s life, it earned Symons a commendation of courage from the Delta Police board.

But the 22-year-old much prefers the action in his life to be in front of a film crew, where events that impact human life are scripted. Symons is starring in a new TV series for CW Network called The 100, and the season premiere airs March 19.

The 100 is a post-apocalyptic scenario where earth is simmering in radiation and people live in an ark in space.

They decide to send 100 teenage delinquents to earth to test its survivability. Symons’ youthful appearance affords him the opportunity to play a character named Jones, who is five years his junior.

“Even when you’re an adult you still feel the way you feel when you’re 17,” he says, before laughing and admitting he has to shave for the role.

Symons says he’s wanted to be an actor since the age of 11 after watching a Harry Potter movie in the theatres.

“I distinctly remember turning to my mom and saying, I don’t want to be Harry Potter, but the guy who pretends to be Harry Potter, that’s what I want to do.”

A graduate of Delta Secondary in 2009 where he performed in a stage production of Macbeth, Symons went on to take film arts at Langara College before joining the Actors Foundry in downtown Vancouver. There, he’s worked with other actors to develop his craft.

Aside from developing relationships and connections, Symons says the biggest surprise is that acting isn’t what people think.

“Some people think it’s about pretending to be somebody else,” he says. “But it’s really you in a different situation.”

Getting a role on network TV is a big opportunity, but Symons says he’s aware of how tough it is to make a living as an actor. That’s why he continues to work at McDonald’s part-time in between gigs.

“It keeps me busy, keeps me grounded, and helps me pay my bills,” he says.

The dream is to move to Los Angeles some day and make big movies, but Symons says he’ll always call Ladner home.

“I like how small it is as a community. It’s sort of the polar opposite of what an actor’s life becomes with big cities...

No matter what time or place I go I can always come back here to Ladner and everybody who sees me knows me.”

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