Meet Actor Derek Mears – Aliens, Monsters, and Nightmares

by | Sep 24, 2019 | Cover Story

 Derek Mears is a man of many on-screen personas, primarily characters that are the stuff of nightmares. Derek is a transformative actor who frequently inhabits roles that are nothing like him. Throughout the last 10 years, Derek has starred as Jason in the 2009 revival of Friday the 13th, a predator in Predators, and the titular role in DC’s Swamp Thing — just to name a few.
An impressive 6’5” stature and intense gaze have helped Derek transform into the perfect fit for many iconic villainous roles, so it may surprise viewers to learn that the actor has a sweet spot for animals, improv comedy, and his fans.
Derek’s passion for acting started in his hometown of Bakersfield, California, where he was an avid Dungeons and Dragons player. Mears remembers his childhood best friend asking what he wanted to be when he was older. Without hesitation Mears responded, “A Jedi!” He wanted nothing more than to play D&D for a living — acting was the closest option.
As a child, Mears was not confident in his appearance. He has alopecia, a common autoimmune skin disease that causes the immune system to attack hair follicles, leaving him without hair. As a result, he felt like he was the “different kid” and always wore hats and wigs. His mindset switched only once he moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting.
“I realized what I thought was my greatest weakness was actually my greatest strength,” says Derek. He advises others to embrace what makes them different, as he did, because that factor is what makes them unique.
Getting into character for a role that appears to be utterly evil may seem like a difficult task, but Derek has found the key to understanding such characters lies in finding the special moments within them: “My interpretation [of a villain] is they do not see themselves as a villain, they see themselves as correct.”
Derek knows these established horror and sci-fi characters are important to fans, and he does not want to disappoint. He’s had many meaningful interactions with fans, such as one who told him about how much they enjoyed watching the Friday the 13th films with their late father. Derek considers himself a fan representing the fans and always wants to ensure that his role contributes to the legacy of these characters that are so meaningful to so many.
Of all the disparate and often glamorous aspects of Derek’s career, the people he meets are his favorite. Between his television and films jobs, he attends a variety of conventions to meet fans. Mears explains that his job as an actor is to understand and explore humanity. The more people he meets, the more colors he must paint with, so to speak. This has proven true in his villainous comedic roles, as well as in life.
When not filming, Derek performs with his improv group, The Resistance, at the UCB Theatre on Sunset Blvd in Los Angeles. The last Sunday of every month, The Resistance performs a completely improvised action movie — with audience interaction, a live score, and visual effects. Mears also enjoys spending time with his wife and their six animals; right here in Santa Clarita.
Derek Mears is a deeply collaborative actor whose core mission is to make his fans proud. If today was the end of his career, Mears says he would be happy because of all he has accomplished thus far; however, fans can rejoice that Derek is confident that the end of his career is nowhere in sight.


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