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July 12, 2019

Hustle and Heart

Dalmar Abuzeid helps the world of Avonlea to expand.

Orly Minazad
  • Kristina Ruddick

Before he got the thumbs up, Dalmar Abuzeid was all nerves, waiting to hear if he’d won the role of Sebastian “Bash” Lacroix.

The Canadian actor wondered if he’d pulled off the tricky Trinidadian accent. “When I got the news that I was selected,” he says, “I was just over the moon.”

Bash was the first black character on Netflix’s Anne with an E. He debuted in season two of the dark, sensational adaptation of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s beloved 1908 novel, Anne of Green Gables.

“There is a fire in his heart to do great things,” Abuzeid says of the Afro-Caribbean laborer who befriends sweet, naive Gilbert Blythe (Lucas Jade Zumann).

“I got to explore this kind of hardworking, honest but also playful character that reflects sides of myself that I really like.”

Though he’s been acting since age 11 — and won his first recurring role at 13 as prankster Danny Van Zandt in Degrassi:The Next Generation — Abuzeid says the hustle is still a challenge. His goal is to “keep working and staying positive” — and to take notes from his mom: “She has a lot of points that she would like for me to consider to improve on. She’s tough!”

The hustle, positivity and points have paid off. Besides landing the role of Bash, Abuzeid met a personal goal when he played a detective (he’s long been fascinated with that type of role) in season two of WGN America’s Pure.

The Bash character materialized because Anne creator-showrunner Moira Walley-Beckett sought to make the show’s world more multicultural. Research revealed the Bog, a real community that had been founded by former slaves in 1800s Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. There, Bash meets other people of color.

Despite the Bog’s historical accuracy, some purists protested against adding a character that doesn’t exist in the book. Nevertheless, in season three of Anne — coming this summer — the fictional world of Avonlea will continue to collide with the world of the Bog.

“It’s such a beautiful and special moment for the history of this book,” Abuzeid says. “And I can’t help but feel honored and grateful when someone walks up to me and says, ‘I grew up with Anne and never saw myself reflected in the story, but now I’m watching it with new eyes.’”

This article originally appeared in emmy magazine, issue No. 7, 2019

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