Christopher Sean Friel has emerged as a rising star in the television industry, leaving a lasting impression on viewers with his incredible acting abilities. Born and raised in the United States, he discovered his passion for acting at a young age and pursued his dreams with unwavering determination.
A Journey Through Soap Opera Stardom: Paul Days of our Lives
In the realm of soap operas, Christopher Sean gained widespread recognition for his role as Paul Narita in the popular NBC series “Days of Our Lives.” With his charismatic presence and remarkable acting skills, he brought depth and complexity to the character, earning him a dedicated fan following.
A Web Series Sensation: The Lizzie Bennet Diaries
Apart from his success in soap operas, Christopher Sean made waves in the web series landscape with his portrayal of Bing Lee in “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.” This critically acclaimed series, inspired by Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,” showcased his ability to bring classic literature to life in a modern context.
Hawaii Five-0: Showcasing Acting Prowess
Christopher Sean’s talent extended beyond soap operas and web series, as evidenced by his recurring role as Gabriel Waincroft in CBS’s “Hawaii Five-0.” His portrayal of Waincroft, a complex character with shades of grey, displayed his versatility as an actor and garnered praise from both critics and fans alike.
Exploring the Animated Realm: Star Wars Resistance
One of Christopher Sean’s most notable contributions to the world of animation is his lead voice-over role as Kazuda Xiono in “Star Wars Resistance.” His voice brought the character to life, captivating audiences with his portrayal of a young pilot navigating the challenges of the Star Wars universe.
Stepping Beyond Television: Notable Film Roles
In addition to his television and web series success, Christopher Sean has ventured into the world of film. While specific details about his filmography may vary, he has demonstrated his ability to adapt to different genres and characters, showcasing his versatility and commitment to his craft.
You’ve mentioned that growing up, there weren’t many people in the entertainment industry you could relate to besides Bruce Lee. How has this influenced your career and the roles you choose?
To be honest, I wish I had more options to choose from in my career. But with the limited representation on camera, that also meant fewer opportunities for mixed Asians like myself. Because I didn’t fit the Asian or white aesthetic, I didn’t work. For almost every role I’ve gotten, the category for the role was listed as “open to all ethnicities” typically meaning, I’ve had to beat out every other race and minority because the production didn’t know what they wanted. Those were my silver lining auditions. These days Asian Americans as a macro are finally getting roles in Hollywood that are relatable to major audiences and their roles are layered and multifaceted. I’m hoping that with their successes, hafu’s / hapas like myself are next in line for more opportunities. Then again, I’m not waiting, I’m doing everything I can to make it happen by writing my roles and making sure that I can also pave paths for Hapas and Hafus like myself.
You’re multilingual and speak Japanese. Has this skill been beneficial in your acting career?
To be fair, I was more conversational in Japanese as a child and since I haven’t kept up with it, it’s gotten very rusty. However, I’ve been studying with a tutor Kaori Shioma @28kkay on Instagram and she has helped me get back to my Japanese roots. I feel that anyone that speaks more than one language and or has experience with more cultures has a leg up not only in the entertainment industry but in life. It’s an enriching experience that you can take to any role that will help you dive deeper into understanding your character from multiple cultural standpoints. Japanese culture is very kind, selfless, and loving but also extremely disciplined. Lots of my choices stem naturally from my Japanese influences. I’m always finding ways to tap into my heritage and breathe those qualities into my roles.
You have a background in various martial arts. How has this training influenced your acting, particularly in action-oriented roles?
Understanding martial arts is a release of ego. It’s a beautiful practice that I encourage everyone to partake in. It helps you understand your physicality and movement which helps in storytelling and creating memorable shots for the audience. If the role is specific to martial arts then it plays a major advantage for you to bring that to the screen. Like my opportunity to play DC’s superhero Dick Grayson aka Nightwing. We did performance capture in Montreal and with my basic knowledge, I was able to bring that control and power to my character for fans all over the world.
What was it like working with me?
I think working with you is like catching a coffee with an old friend. You make the talent feel comfortable and happy. You tell amazing stories and hearing about your successes inspires the talent to want to do their best. That’s my personal experience in working with you David 😀
You’ve spoken about the struggles you faced early in your career due to your mixed ethnicity. How have you navigated these challenges and what advice would you give to other actors facing similar issues?
The challenges you face in the industry are always going to be similar to others but they’ll never be identical. What I can say is from my own experiences, I had to have lots of patience and tenacity to overcome the struggles of casting and networks not knowing what role to place me in. Sadly, with that ethnic ambiguity, it can feel like you aren’t seen or even at times not wanted. However, I would say to you, never give up, no matter how bleak or dark the situation may feel. You’re just one audition away from a life-changing role. Stick with it but don’t get complacent or stagnant. Take what works, Discard what doesn’t, and make it your own. Life is too short to live another person’s dreams. Have discipline, have courage, and always work on getting better. Focus on your one goal and make every failure a lesson to grow from and take time to enjoy every small success. This business is beautiful but it is and always will be just that, a business. Learn to run your acting career like a business.
Can you share your experience of your first major audition for General Hospital? What did you learn from that experience?
I auditioned for Mark Teschner a while ago and he was so kind. He told me, “You’re in the right town kid.” I thought I booked the role. Never got a call back. But years later, I was called back in and I thought, I’m gonna get this one! I auditioned for the role of Sunny. I got to the producer session with Frank Valentini. It was my first ever big producer session. I was so nervous that I bombed. I mean bombed lol. I left there so upset with myself. A vowed to learn from that and have the courage and discipline to not allow that to ever happen again. A couple of months down the road… I got the call for Days of Our Lives and now I’ve been on and off with Days playing Paul Narita for almost a decade. Love my Days Family.
Your role as Bing Lee in The Lizzie Bennet Diaries was a significant part of your early career. How did this role shape your acting skills and your approach to future roles?
I got lucky with Bing lee in The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Bernie Su believed in me and it was one of my first gigs in Hollywood that turned out to win Youtube’s first Primetime Emmy. I had no idea what I was getting myself into but I do love it when I run into people that wrote their college thesis on our show and they are excited to talk about it with me.
Your character Paul Narita in Days of Our Lives was involved in a groundbreaking storyline. How did you prepare for this role and what was the audience response?
One of my very first acting classes was with Michael John Gonzales Acting Workshops Unlimited and he prepared me for Soaps. I was doing around 54 scenes of memorization and jumping up and down on stage in my acting class three nights a week. It was one of the greatest training grounds for soap opera acting. When I got the role of Paul Narita I was driven to not only be able to keep up with the best on the show, like Deidre Hall and Drake Hogysten but also not get lost in the vast amount of dialogue day in and day out. I was lucky to be surrounded by professionals that always supported my acting choices and built upon them. Maria O’Brien was the on-set acting coach and I worked with her daily to make sure that when I took that stage my performances were colorful, rich, and honest. Working with Freddy Smith and Guy Wilson and Chandler Massey was truly a gift and an honor. I’d say thanks to Ken Corday, Marnie Saitta, Albert Alarr, Janet Spellman-Drucker, Ryan Quan… the list goes on but because they believed in me I had the amazing opportunities that led me to where I am today in my acting career.
You reprised your role as Paul Narita in the limited-run series Days of Our Lives: Beyond Salem. What was it like returning to this character after a few years?
It was nostalgic. I always wanted to come back but I needed to make sure I brought value if I did. Jumping back into the role of Paul after so many years just felt right. Like a nice warm cup of hot chocolate on Christmas Eve. The excitement and joy was palpable. I’m honored they would have me and I just love getting to work with my dad on the show Drake Hogysten.
Your voice-over role as Kazuda Xiono in Star Wars Resistance brought you into the Star Wars universe. How was this experience different from your on-screen roles?
In working on Voice Over, you have to create more since you can’t rely on what the audience sees in your expressions. So you have to bring it when you are in the booth. It’s my job to give life to a cartoon so I make sure that when I’m playing/acting, I am pushing it to the limit. When I first began I was so nervous, so much so that I almost got fired lol. I was asked to take a voice-over intensive with Mary Elizabeth McGlynn. She saved my career. She gave me the permission and confidence I needed to get back out there and shine. I owe her a lot of thanks for helping me find my place. Speaking of Star Wars though… Yeah, aint nothing cooler than being in the canonical universe of SW. I always ALWAYS will hold my head high knowing I was lucky enough to be a part of the Star Wars Universe.
In 2020, you joined the cast of the Netflix series You. How was your experience working on this psychological thriller series?
I knew nothing of the show aside from my audition at the time. I had just driven home from Arizona and I was exhausted and to be honest I was in a bit of a mood. But my lady Laneya, she reminded me… “Isn’t it amazing that you get to do what you love on your birthday?” It was that reminder and her coaching that helped me book the role of Brandon in Season 3 of You. Sera Gamble, Silver Tree, and Penn Badgley are incredible. They have a vision and drive, unlike any team you work with. It was a lot of fun to portray a supporting role to such geniuses.
Looking back at your career, which role do you feel was a turning point for you and why?
The biggest turning point for me was having the opportunity to play both Paul Narita on Days of Our Lives and simultaneously playing Gabriel Waincroft on Hawaii Five-0. I found myself jumping in and out of roles. A good guy in Day time and the main antagonist on Prime Time. It was amazing when both shows were airing the same day too. I think that was a great win in my life that we all celebrated.
What are some of the challenges and rewards of working in both live-action and voice-acting?
The challenges of working in both fields… well I’d just say schedule. If you commit to voice you miss out on live-action opportunities and vice versa. But the goal is to be consistently working on projects that feed your soul and your fanbase. I love both fields though because you can always learn new tricks that you can even apply to the other canvas when you are creating art. The only negative is that when you are doing voice the fan base doesn’t always know the voice actor as much as if they are watching you on camera.
Can you share any upcoming projects or roles that you’re particularly excited about?
Well, I have many projects that I’m working on now. But keep an eye out for my first published work with DC, “Ghouls Just Wanna Have Fun.” It’s their Halloween Anthology that comes out on Oct 3, 2023. I have some other announcements I can’t wait to share but until I legally can I will sit tight and let you know on my Instagram, @MrChristopherSean