Five years ago, Michael Mando was nominated for two Canadian Screen Awards for his roles in the TV dramas Orphan Black and Rookie Blue. The very next day, he was back at the Princess of Wales theater, again wearing a tuxedo—but this time he was going to work. “I ushered people to their seats for some extra money to be able to survive,” he says. This September, Mando was back at the storied theater, starring in a film that showed during TIFF.
The Hummingbird Project, director Kim Nguyen’s latest film, also stars Jesse Eisenberg and Alexander Skarsgård. The two play cousins and former traders who hatch a scheme to build a fiber-optic cable from Kansas to New Jersey, making them millions off the stock exchange. Mando plays the engineer hired to carry out their plan and Salma Hayek is their former boss who tries to foil the scheme.
Mando describes the film as an increasingly relevant story about ambition and greed. “We live in a world that’s moving faster and faster and where we believe that the more information we have, the better,” he explains. “It’s almost like a cautionary tale.”
Mando is also in his fifth season playing Nacho Vargas, the sympathetic villain in Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould’s Better Call Saul. “To play a character that’s so iconoclastic is a dream come true,” he says. “You end up falling in love with the humanity of a person who is a criminal.”