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A veteran actor at 16

Squamish's Connor Stanhope brings home two Joey Awards for work on historical drama
Acting Prizes Connor Stanhope with the two Joey Awards he brought home from this year's competition, following his work with the TV series When Calls the Heart. Photo by Cathryn Atkinson

Connor Stanhope may not be 17 yet, but with 27 acting credits in film and television the young Squamish actor is already a veteran.

Stanhope held a recurring role on Smallville (Young Lex Luthor), came to a gruesome end in the horror flick The Shrine, and was the child lead in the film version of the popular book The Velveteen Rabbit, made when he was eight.

He started with an advertisement for Pedigree dog food when he was six. He starred in that commercial alongside his own puppy.

"A friend of mine was doing a commercial when I was six and I thought 'that's cool, I'd like to try something like that.' I started bugging my mom about it and she eventually got me an agent," Stanhope says.

Now he's a prize winner, too, bringing home two Joey Awards.

The awards go to young actors and actresses from across Canada. The gala dinner took place in Vancouver on Friday, Nov. 14.

"I was just up against a few people," Stanhope recalls. "It was great. It was a surprise but a good one. I didn't really prepare a speech; I figured I wasn't going to win."

Stanhope won his first Joey Award in the category of guest starring or principal actors aged 12 to 15 in a TV Series, Drama or Comedy, for his portrayal of the son of a miner on the Hallmark Channel series When Calls the Heart.

The series is set in a mining village a century ago.

"I played a dyslexic kid. I had trouble going through school, so my father put me in a mine to work. My teacher, who is the main character, ended up wanting to teach me how to read and write," he says. "I was the main character in one episode and that was it but I'd love to go back."

Stanhope's second award came when the same show took home the award for Young Ensemble Cast in a Dramatic TV series.

Stanhope says he veers between drama and extreme comedy.

"I like it if it is kind of crude, harsh comedy. I'm not particularly into Disney, the more serious stuff. Like Superbad," he says. "Some horror would be nice, eventually."

In his acceptance speech at the Joeys he gave a shout out to his mother, Mandy, who has spent countless hours driving and waiting for the young actor during photo shoots. He was no less open when asked about it.

"I owe my Mom so much," he says. "Nothing would have happened without her making the time to take me places and chaperone me. She's been driving me to every audition and she's just as into it as I am."

Stanhope tries to keep busy with work, especially in Los Angeles, and has flown south for meetings in recent months.

"I've been mostly having meeting with producers and agents, for three of four years," He says. "Lately, I've been at auditions for TV and films... I just did four."

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