Tyler Hynes—a Canadian boy with all your favourite Canadian traits.
Within minutes of talking to Tyler, you quickly realize how humble the man from South-Eastern Ontario truly is.
Diversely talented, he seamlessly transforms from the handsome gent who steals your heart in Hallmark movies, to the tough sergeant in Recon, to the rugged bad boy in Letterkenny. His passion for his craft and the creative entertainment industry is undeniable when you listen to him speak about the projects he’s helped bring to life as an actor and a director.
Raised on a ranch in Russell, Tyler began acting at the young age of seven. Now, splitting his time between Ontario, British Columbia, and Los Angeles, the proudly Canadian boy has honed his acting skills, became an adorable dog dad, and directed several hauntingly mesmerizing music videos, as well as a thought-provoking documentary.
Chatting with the charismatic Canadian, we talked about his new and old projects, his favourite and most frequented spots in Canada, and what it has been like filming during a pandemic.
You are a very diverse actor. From Hallmark hunk, to soldier, to bad boy, you’ve certainly worn many hats as an actor. What’s your favourite role to play—or who has been your favourite character to bring to life?
That’s a tough one. I always go back to one really formative event. It’s a project that means a lot to me personally. A movie I made years ago about a kid in Toronto—Jonathan Wamback—who got beaten up and ended up in a coma with a brain injury. The project was really special to me because it was a true story. I met Jonathan and we became very close—with his family, as well. The role was very demanding but the whole experience was really fulfilling.
To answer your question in terms of current projects, I’ve got a good little breadth of things going on, as you’ve said. Hallmark, which is on one end of the spectrum, Recon, which is on the other end, and Letterkenny, which exists somewhere in the middle. They’re all very, very different and playing these roles are all great for various reasons.
Letterkenny is amazing because it’s all my friends. We get to go smoke cigarettes and get ridiculous. It’s written, produced by, and stars Jared Keeso—a buddy of mine. He had actually written in that character for me. It’s fun because we’re basically just messing around all day and then somebody calls action once in a while.
Hallmark is rewarding because it’s a really nice, positive, inspirational thing for a lot of fans. I had so many people reach out to me and tell me how much these movies mean to them. I think especially now, during COVID, people have used these movies as a place to find some solace and escapism.
Recon was rewarding because, again, it was a true story. Based off a novel written by Richard Bausch, the story is about his father’s experiences. The movie was directed by Robert Port, who is an absolute G. Filming it was a unique experience. Being a World War II movie, it deals with some serious subject matter, but was rewarding in all kinds of artistic ways.
Which character would you think is the most like yourself?
[laughing] Well, how I ended up playing Dierks in Letterkenny was: I was on set shooting one day when I got a message from Jared saying, “I got this character named Long Dick Dierks, do you want to play him? I wrote it for you.”
I was like, “yeah, whatever man.” He comes back with, “is it okay if he talks like you?”.
So, half of Dierk’s cadence and half the stuff he says is the stuff I actually say and text to Jared. Though, there is a bunch of Jared in there too.
With that being said, I have to give it to Dierks—since the words out of his mouth are literally the words out of mine.
Letterkenny films in Ontario, Hallmark movies shoot all over Canada, and Recon filmed in the Okanogan. How has it been filming in Canada and do you have a favourite place to film?
I’m very lucky to work in Canada, it’s been a blessing. I’ve been fortunate enough to have been all over. Whether Winnipeg, Calgary, Victoria, Vancouver, or Sudbury, it’s all great. With Recon, the landscape in Kelowna was incredibly beautiful. I love Canada and really do love filming here.
Do you have any favourite local places or hangouts that you’d like to shout out?
There’s a restaurant on King Street West called Laissez Faire, with a counterpart bar called Locals Only.
My best friend Jonathan Condren is one of the owners, along with Rob MacDonald and Dave Widenmaier. I’m also friends with the chef and bartenders. It’s a beautiful establishment and always my go-to spot where I get to see all of my buddies. Our little home in Toronto.
You star in a fair share of Christmas movies. I have to ask, are you a Christmas starts after Halloween guy—or do you wait until December?
Last year, after filming a movie, Boston Hill sent me a tree. I think I ended up setting it up November 1st.
This year, I was also ready for Christmas to begin before Halloween. Halloween seemed to be a write off. It was already snowing in Toronto. We were like, “let’s set the tree up.” Though we didn’t get around to doing it, I literally pulled it out today and am probably going to get it up this afternoon.
As far as I’m concerned, the earlier, the better.
Do you have a favourite Christmas tradition?
I did a movie called Winter in Vail. After we wrapped, we ended up at a German restaurant. While we were eating, they brought us these little glass boots. They put a German alcohol in them and explained that it’s their tradition to take the shot at the end of the meal. I thought, this is amazing.
I bought everybody a little boot, so everyone who was at the dinner has one, and I brought home a few extras for family and friends. Every year at Christmas time, everyone has to take a shot out of the boot, take a photo, send it to me, and hang the boot on their tree.
You have a pretty loyal fan base, which have been nicknamed the Hynies. After filming, you give away pieces of your wardrobe to some of them on your socials. How did this start and do you have any keepsakes that you’ve kept for yourself?
The giving away of my shirts started because I noticed how many henleys I had been wearing in these movies. Every wardrobe fitting, it seemed that the only shirts that would get approved would be these three button shirts.
After one of the shows, I took a couple, and when the show was coming out, made a couple jokes about the shirts on my social media and then decided to give them away.
People ended up really liking it and it just became a tradition.
Now, after every movie, I take some of the clothes home and whenever the movie comes out, I throw them up and people comment. With a little bit of help from Ruth Hill, one of the fans, we go through the comments and distribute them. It seems to bring a little bit of happiness to folks, so I figured why not.
I think there was one shirt that I was going to keep, but then honestly just ended up giving it away too.
How has it been filming during the pandemic?
It’s been good. When we filmed On the 12th Date of Christmas, it was definitely a new thing. We were one of the first productions to start back up filming. The production company and Hallmark were very responsible, very patient, and very thorough. They created an environment that honestly felt uplifting. A lot of people really rose to the occasion. In order to accommodate the safety on set, every department had to make changes to their daily habits. It was both impressive and inspiring to see everybody being so considerate and patient with each other, as well as adapting to these changes in order for this all to come together. The experience was really positive.
You’re also a director. Can you talk to us a little about this and some of the projects you’ve directed?
I’ve been on set since I was a young kid. I always paid attention to what was going on around me, even if that aspect didn’t really concern me.
Growing up, my friends were skateboarders. I started filming that, which started to carve out that skill set.
The first thing I really directed was a 40 minute documentary, “HELP DOUG RECYCLE.” After that, I filmed a few short films, I made a proof of concept for a television series, and shot this “Star Wars” project with a really talented friend of mine in the Mojave Desert.
I’ve also filmed numerous music videos including Shaun Frank and Delaney Jane’s video for their song ‘Throwback’. We shot the video for Shaun’s song ‘Upsidedown’ and the video for ‘Throwback’ in the same weekend.
‘Throwback’ cost nothing and was me on a camera chasing everybody while choreographing the single shot. Might be my favourite of their videos.
Time permitting, directing and producing is definitely going to be something I do more of. It’s just a matter of time.
To keep up with Tyler, follow him out on his instagram, @tyler_hynes.
Check out Tyler in Recon and On the 12th Date of Christmas. For more of his directorial work, visit tylerhynes.com.