ComingSoon Associate Editor Spencer Legacy spoke to Shoresy stars Jonathan-Ismael Diaby, Terry Ryan, and Ryan McDonell about their characters and the show. Shoresy will debut on Hulu on May 27, 2022.
“Foul-mouthed, chirp-serving, mother-loving Shoresy join the Sudbury Bulldogs of the Northern Ontario Senior Hockey Organization (The NOSHO) on a quest to never lose again,” says the official series synopsis.
Spencer Legacy: Jonathan, how did adding your hip-hop career as part of Dolo’s character come about?
Jonathan-Ismael Diaby: Honestly, it’s just amazing. It was just amazing for me. So I go by the name JoDolo on stage. So I’m an ex-professional hockey player and I make music by the name JoDolo. So Jared [Keeso, co-creator of Letterkenny and Shoresy and actor for Shoresy] stumbled upon my story and kind of liked it. And he literally wrote something specifically for me. That’s why I’m playing Dolo, I’m literally playing myself. And yeah, having some of my music in the show is just huge. It’s a big blessing for me. I thanked Jared and the production so many times, but honestly, yeah, it’s just a big thing for me. We got music playing in episode two and six and yeah man, I already see it helping my career, helping the numbers. I already see the impact on it, so I can only be thankful.
Ryan, Michaels has a really wide range of emotions. He’ll be extremely sad and then extremely angry. How hard was it to hit those extremes?
Ryan McDonell: I don’t know. I hope that’s not just speaking of what I’m like! I mean, the way it was written, it was just … as soon as I got through all six scripts, I could tell that there was like just a huge meter on him. Especially being like an ex-NCAA guy, has coached, but has also had some life turmoil as well. He’s kind of the brunt of some jokes for sure, but I wanted to give him a little bit of a human kind of touch, too. So like I said in another interview, you’re only as good as your material and Jared obviously wrote some amazing scenes for him. It’s just super fun to play. I wouldn’t say it was super hard necessarily, but a lot of it’s really situational, so it was a hoot, going to set and doing those.
Terry, having played in the NHL, what were your thoughts when you were approached by the show to play a hockey player?
Terry Ryan: It’s interesting because I’m actually … of the hockey players, I’m in the acting union. I started doing locations in the early 2010s set deck, and I talked my way into some stunts on the show Frontier. The very, very first scene of Frontier, I largely got, because I had no tooth and it called for a soldier to be beat up. So anyway, I started there, but I still didn’t really expect any of this. It’s a job around here. I live in St John’s, Newfoundland. It still was all really surprising, and the way it all went down, being a hockey player coming in … yeah. Like I said, it’s odd because I’ve probably done nine or 10 things, you know? I played a crackhead, a drug dealer, a soldier, a lot of things without the tooth, but other than a hockey player so I got the call, I didn’t see it coming.
Like I said, I’m in the acting union, but it’s all around here, St. John’s. We’ve got a lively scene for that. And it was basically just connecting dots and making a paycheck. To get the call, to travel to Sudbury, and all three of us here are big fans of Letterkenny. So it was surreal, you know? I’ve often said to people, I expected my first NHL game to some degree because I played hockey. Like it was a dream, it was overwhelming, but I kind of expected it, but 10 years ago, I’m not even an actor. I’m a huge Letterkenny fan. So being in the scenes with people that … and the crew with a lot of overlap there too, there was a big flavor of it. It was surreal on every level. I can’t really explain it other than that.
Jonathan, you said that Dolo has your name, how much more of the character is similar to you in real life? Was it very much informed by who you are or was a lot of it kind of written by Jared beforehand?
Jonathan-Ismael Diaby: No, honestly it’s 100% who I am, you know what I’m saying? Maybe let’s say 98% because I pushed the Quebecois accent a lot in my speaking, you know? That’s what they wanted. And I think it’s pretty cool, but honestly, Everything from where I’m from to my name, to me smoking weed, everything is just me. Literally, Jared wrote about me. Honestly, when I got the call, I was just super amazed. At first, I thought it was a joke. I left Kara on read and she had to my friends in order to contact me because I thought it was a joke at first, but no, I can only be thankful, like I said.
Ryan, what about Shoresy drew you to the project initially?
Ryan McDonell: I’m not any of the pro hockey players here, so I was just auditioning and my managers sent it my way and I saw who was all involved and what it was. And I was like, “oh my God. I want this!” I’ve known Jared over the years too, so that made it even more special. The prospect of getting on there was super exciting. I found out it was a long process, but I found out about halfway through that they were interested, that they liked my tape essentially. So what it was drawing me to, I was just honored to be a part of it. So I count my lucky stars that I’m here with everyone. So very grateful.
Terry, you’ve been a hockey player, an author, an actor, a podcaster. Are there any other career routes that you’re interested in trying out or are you satisfied with where you’re at?
Terry Ryan: I tried stand-up comedy too, if you can believe it.
Jonathan-Ismael Diaby: [I could be] your partner on stage!
Terry Ryan: You know what? That would be great. I really do love Dolo’s music. My favorite is Je Suis Diaby, check it out now wherever you can get your tunes. Je Suis Diaby. I still say I’m gonna get the tattoo and it’s not going to make much sense. I tried standup comedy, which morphed into public speaking, but I don’t know. It appears on the surface that this guy is great. He takes all these chances that are positive. There are a lot of ups and downs. I’m a first-round pick. I did not live up to my NHL potential, and then I got hurt and I couldn’t go back. It really affected me, mentally and physically for a while.
I battled back, I got my degree, and these things happened because I’ve got people in the right places that I guess took a shining. When the opportunity came, I figured I’d seize the day if I could, carpe diem. A lot of it … it’s opportunistic and it was to pay bills. I’ve got a 12-year-old daughter that’s been through all of it with me and she’s happy and I’m happy, and this is a good time for us. I know it looks interesting, but a lot of it was to pay the bills, to be quite honest with you.
Jonathan, what has more pressure, hockey or acting?
Jonathan-Ismael Diaby: Hockey, but I mean, I would say hockey because acting, I was having more fun doing it, you know what I’m saying? Hockey was a lot of stress for me. It could be a whole other interview. Hockey opened the door for me to play in Shoresy, but like Terry, a lot of ups and downs, lot of frustrations, lot of tough moments, lot of good times too. But 100%, hockey was more stressful for me. Acting was just like living for me, it’s the DNA, it’s having fun. You just learn your script and you show up ready. But I can say that hockey prepared me for acting very well
Ryan McDonell: Comes across on screen, man.
Jonathan-Ismael Diaby: Yeah right! But nah, hockey was a lot of stress.