Movies & TV

‘The Odds’: A Chat With Star Tyler Johnston, Director Simon Davidson

How much are you willing to gamble?

the-odds tyler johnston

There is nothing quite like a high stakes game. As a gambler, card shark and womanizer, Desson Orr (Tyler Johnston) lives in a high school world that is darker than most when he becomes involved in an illegal gambling ring organized by teens. To risk it all is a rush–until he finds his best friend Barry dead from an apparent suicide.

Though the cops are convinced that they know the reason behind Barry’s demise, Desson isn’t. Driven by the guilt of his own involvement in Barry’s decline into illegal activities, Desson sets out to solve the mystery of his friend’s death. But there are more than a few who want the details to stay hidden.

Here’s the run down:

Tyler Johnston in The Odds

Mystery: Classic murder mystery story here with lots of twists that will have you dying to answer the question of “who dunnit?”One of my favourite scenes takes place with Desson peering out from inside a closet as he becomes privy to the inside circle.

Action: You can’t have illegal gambling without a good amount of chase scenes. Between the action and the mystery, you will be on the edge of your seat.

Romance: Watch for sparks to fly between leading man Desson and his detention buddy Colleen (Julia Maxwell), as he introduces her to his dark world.

Tyler Johnston in The Odds

Faze caught up with director Simon Davidson and lead actor Tyler Johnston to chat about the themes of this dark tale and how the story came to be.

What was your inspiration for writing this script?

Simon: I was a troubled teen. I was just one of a bunch of kids from a small town in Alberta. We had nothing to do so we went and did [bad] stuff. And I came to a turning point where I really knew that I had to choose between not doing this stuff anymore or going further and who knows where I would end up. So, that was kind of the start.

And then I discovered this world of illegal teen gambling. I started researching into it and looking around and I found out it was all over the place. I found examples of gambling rings in like Chicago, Seattle, you name it–I found it. I thought that this was a really intriguing place to set this story. I’m also a big fan of murder mysteries, so I decided to kill one of those characters and see what would happen.

Did you learn to play poker while shooting of the film?

Tyler: When I took the role on I went down to the casinos and played a few hands and lost you know, $40, $50, $60, hundred bucks; I had a bunch of losses. I did some research and I watched it on TV; you see poker on TV all the time right now, so I familiarized myself with card shuffling and chip shuffling. I still don’t really play poker to this day. It’s not really my thing.

Simon: Some play for entertainment. Then there’s the problem people and for them, gambling can be like crack. I’ve heard that if you win a lot when you first start gambling that’s not good, because people will keep coming back and because they get the taste for it.

How was the chemistry on set between you and Julia?

Tyler: Well Julia and I used to date a long time ago. We worked on the TV show Smallville together. So we were pals. We both were Vancouverites who had a lot of mutual friends so we would see each other around all the time.

the-odds tyler johnston

How do you think people will relate to this film?

Simon: Even if you haven’t been involved in addiction, I think everybody can relate to making a really stupid choice at some point in your life. Whether it lead to the death of somebody or just lead to hurting somebody.

Tyler: My character was driven from guilt. When the closest person to him dies, [he suddenly sees] his selfishness; that’s what as an actor drove me through the story. The guilt. The guilt. The guilt. I need to find out who actually did this or else it’s my fault.

Simon: He tapped into his own personal situation, which didn’t involve murder… not that I know of! (laughs). I hope that everyone understands that we all make good and bad decisions and that these kids aren’t angels or devils.

Tyler: Lots of decisions are made; it’s how you deal with them.

Any advice for aspiring teen actors/directors?

Tyler: It’s about being happy and putting your foot forward. And your best foot, no matter what the audition is, because it’s your name, your face they see representing.

Simon: Then when I started doing directing, it’s just getting out there and doing it. I think teens are so lucky now. Because they can even do it on an iPhone. There are so many softwares for you to do it. Do it. Do it bad. Watch it. Criticize. And then do it again.

Check the trailer for The Odds!

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