Tristan D. Lalla Talks Role In New Drama “Nurses” And What’s Next

Kat Harlton

Tristan D. Lalla is a multi-award-winning actor, born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Tristan caught the acting bug at the young age of six when he witnessed a young black actor in a play and recognized himself in him. He would go on to attend Dawson College where he graduated with honours from the Professional Theatre department. Upon graduation, Tristan won the role of Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream touring the play with Shakespeare In the Park. His big break came when he was cast as Manny in the dance drama feature HOW SHE MOVE. (MTV FILMS). The film which starred Clé Bennett and Keyshia Cole screened at the 2007 Sundace Film Festival.

To date, Tristan has amassed a significant body of work in several film and television productions including RED 2 (SUMMIT ENTERTAINMENT), QUANTICO (ABC), 21 THUNDER (CBC), 19-2 (BRAVO), BAD BLOOD (CITY), THE MOODYS (CBS), LONG SHOT (LIONSGATE) and THE ART OF MORE (SONY). Tristan has also lent his voice to over 45 video game productions including playing Adewale, the first black male lead character in the ASSASSIN’S CREED franchise. The role earned him a Canadian Videogame Award nomination as well as an ACTRA Award.

A veteran of the theatre, Tristan has starred in over 70 plays, musicals, and staged readings across Canada including THE MOUNTAINTOP (2018 META for Outstanding Lead Performance by an Actor) ANGÉLIQUE (2017 META nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Actor), and THE ADVENTURES OF A BLACK GIRL IN SEARCH OF GOD (2016 META recipient for Outstanding Contribution to the Theatre).

Currently, Tristan can be seen as Damien Sanders in the new original medical drama series NURSES, which follows five young nurses working on the frontlines of a busy downtown Toronto hospital, dedicating their lives to helping others, while struggling to help themselves. The show premiered on January 6th, 2020 on Global.

We had the opportunity to chat with Tristan, and talk about his role in ‘Nurses’, and what’s next.

Kat: Your character Damien Sanders is the head charge nurse at St. Mary’s Hospital and the “stage-manager” of the nursing squad. How did you prepare for your role? Did you find any commonalities between yourself and Damien?

Tristan: I spent a lot of time at hospitals researching the atmosphere of the surroundings Damien would be in, and the specifics of what the job calls for. It’s no easy task. I also have many loved ones who work in hospitals so I called on their experiences for reference as well. Damien is all about getting it done. Working smarter, not harder – and so am I.

Kat: Was there anything about your role that was particularly challenging?

Tristan: Because of his tough exterior, Damien comes off as a bit of a hard ass drill sergeant. He’s really coming from an empathetic place of love, but because lives are often at stake, he is easily misunderstood as being “angry”.

Kat: What have been some of your favorite scenes to shoot and why?

Tristan: The scenes where I get to come down hard on the younger nurses are always really fun to shoot. I get to crack a lot of jokes and am kind of a comedic relief in some instances, and tapping into the comedy of things is a joy. I also love yelling at Donald who plays Wolf. He just messes up so much.

Kat: What do you hope fans take away from the show?

Tristan: That nurses are real life, unsung heroes, and we should be thanking them every chance we get!

Kat: Is there a type of character that you’d like to portray, that you haven’t had the chance to yet?

Tristan: I often play the gun toting thought guy, or the sarcastic medical professional, or the nerdy tech guy, but I have yet to play the sexy huggable teddy bear. I’m open to it.

Kat: Do you have any role models that have particularly inspired you, either in your craft or personally?

Tristan: Laurence Fishburne has always been one of my faves. He can play it all and do it all. I think he’s had an incredible career so far.

Kat: You’ll be starring in the new feature film “The United States vs. Billie Holiday”, directed by Lee Daniels and also starring Andra Day and Trevante Rhodes. What can you tell us about the film and your role?

Tristan: This is a feature film directed by Lee Daniels (Empire, Precious) starring the amazing Andra Day as the title character. It goes into the life and times of the famous singer, and what led to her success and her trials and tribulations. I play a reporter named Mr. Green who challenges Billie Holiday on her views of what it means to be a role model for young black people at the time. Should be a good one!

For more info on Tristan, please visit: https://www.tristandlalla.com

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