‘A Little Resistance’ behind the scenes audio:
Charles is your typical Melbourne city guy, who has been in the acting industry for quite a few years now. He works extensively across all platforms of acting, not limited to Film, TV, Commercial and Theatre. I sat down with Charles to ask him a few questions about himself and here is what he has to tell you…
Tell us about yourself?
I’m obviously a Melbourne based and born Australian actor. I guess to sum it all up, I’ve grown up here since I came back from Sydney, when I was four years old. I went to school locally. After getting out of high school I kind of stumbled into acting. I went to university but I felt there was something more I wanted to be doing. Then, one day after seeing the movie Inception, I thought, I need to give this acting thing a go. Before I knew it, I was auditioning for drama school and was very fortunate to get in. Then it was training after that point. I started securing roles in Neighbours and the movie Blinder, then more recently it was Wentworth and Occupation. So, it’s pretty much been that process of once you get into the industry, and it’s obviously very challenging, just to keep plugging away, grinding and grinding, trying to forge a name for yourself while keeping the best version of yourself. Of course, in this industry you deal with a lot of rejection but you can’t let that get in your way. You need to be able to pick yourself up by your bootstraps and keep going. I guess for me, that’s what I’ve been doing for the last five to six years now.
Why did you decide to join the world of acting?
I guess, I partly answered that. I always loved entertaining, music and characters, that sort of stuff when I was a kid. It might sound silly, but I grew up watching a lot of movies and television and learning a lot of lessons from them. I wanted to do that too, but I didn’t know how. I knew it was a job, I didn’t know it was something that I myself could personally do. I didn’t think it was allowed or something, didn’t really fit in in some way. I come from a very creative family and they were always very encouraging. When I went to university, I was doing a plain old arts career because I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I think that kind of indecisiveness about what I was doing at university allowed my imagination to run, what about this, what about that, and it lead me to guitar and acting. Acting seemed to be what really stuck. I mean like I said, I saw Inception. In the scene where Marion Cotillard’s character (this is a spoiler if people haven’t seen it, though you’ve had seven almost eight years to see it *laughs*) jumps off the fourth story windowsill and Leonardo DiCaprio’s character looks on in horror before breaking down. I just remember seeing that and naively, maybe even slightly arrogantly, thought to myself, I reckon I can do that. It sat in the back of my head for about ten-months, then one day I woke up and thought alright, I’m going to do this. I signed up with Star Now and started going out on short film auditions. Then when I was in Sydney, to see a concert, I met with my now manager Stephen Harmon, it wasn’t meant to be anything just an introduction into the industry, but I guess he saw something in me and took me on as a young actor just starting out. It wasn’t even 24 hours later before I was off! Into the auditioning room! So yeah! That’s pretty much why and how I started to join this world.
The 2013 film Blinder is an Australian rules football drama set predominantly in Torquay, Victoria, where you played the role of Glenn Hyde. How did you feel after seeing the finished product of your labour?
That was my first ever professional job. I had been acting for a total of three months at that stage. When it came out it had been about a year and three months, but that was very early success which was very exciting, very humbling and very terrifying at the same time I think. Doing it was amazing. When I finally got to see it on film I had one of those moments. Sitting in a cinema, my mum was next to me, she was my date and when I popped up on the screen for the first time, I got tingles down my arm and goose bumps. It was a weird sensation of –wow, I’m on the screen. I remember this lady sitting on the other side of me that I didn’t know at all. She looked over at me and kind of smiled, as if thinking – Oh wow this is the guy in this film. When she smiled at me, I thought – Wow, I’m an actor now. I’m in an Aussie rules movie and I grew up loving AFL football and playing football all my life and also spending my summers down in Torquay. It was very much the first thing I got to be involved in, something I knew very intimately as well. So, to see it on the screen and to have the shining lights and all the Australian celebrities and personalities that were there as well was amazing, and then have someone come up to you and say – Hey you were in the film, really well done. I had a great supporting role, wasn’t a big role by any means. But when I saw the film I was amazed at how much they ended up putting me in. I had graduated to a really substantial part, it was fantastic, I was really moved and it was incredibly encouraging.
You’ve appeared on Neighbours as Clay Blair, Counter Play as Easton Saunders, and now, you’ve completed the Australian Sci-Fi movie Occupation, directed by Luke Sparke coming out later this year. What can we expect from this film?
It’s interesting. Occupation is essentially, what would happen if Australia came under attack from a foreign enemy. It’s kind of like if you took Red Dawn and you combine it with Tomorrow When the War Began. It’s the combination of the two with the Australian element. Luke always put it really well, imagine what it would be like to Australia, because we always see it from the Americans perspective. Imagine country Australia, small town, you walk out onto your balcony or veranda in the morning and there is a massive military force that’s just rolled into town…what would you do. Essentially, it’s a small group of survivors who have to band together, who are from all different walks of life and have to find away to battle through the apocalypse, and stay alive. It was truly an amazing experience.
I also heard that the movie A Little Resistance was made by yourself and a colleague. Can you give us a little background on what this movie is about?
A Little Resistance is a story originally conceived by my colleague Michael Loder. He had been thinking about it for fifteen years. He grew up loving war films and that kind of work and right around the time we became friends, it was the first time I ever went around to his house, he said “I have something I want to show you”. We go out to the backyard, he opens the gate and shows me this trench that he’s built. He asked “What do you think?” and I replied “This is great”. He said “Thank god, you’re the first person to ever say that”. After that we were talking about it for, I think, close to two years. When I came back from America last year I said to Michael “We’ve got to do this now, or we’re never going to do this thing”. We wrote the first script, then we shot the entire film in about a month to five-week period with friends and other actors we knew. We directed it, we produced it and just recently we’ve decided to re-shoot a couple more things before we release it to round it all out and everything. It follows the story of an imaginary nineteen-fifties world. It has elements of the Vietnam War and World War Two kind of put together, we have two warring factions known as Preanna and Nantio. It’s like a Nazi regime vs the Viet Cong resistance, a guerrilla army, and they’re fighting over a small island in the middle, which is essentially a resource rich hub. It not only represents that but also liberation and freedom. We follow this one individual character Sophia Oleander, the king’s daughter, who after the death of her mother the queen, seeks to run away from the Preannan Kingdom and in her efforts to get as far away as she can, she ends up running into the revolutionaries and all hell breaks loose.
You studied acting at the 16th Street Actor’s Studio in Elsternwick, Melbourne. What kind of training did they put you through?
Rigorous. It was one of the best experiences of my life to put it shortly. From having no formal experience and then doing that course. It was a year and a half that I did a part time program. I had two days of training, then I was rehearsing the other five days or working on my craft or through scene study class or voice or movement or things like that. It was amazing, we learnt so many different methods of acting as well. A lot of people think that method acting is where you become the character but there’s a lot more to it than that, it’s much more complicated, what we learn from different schools of thought and training, from Strasberg to Meisner to Uta Hagen, for those out there who know what that is, is how to best utilise ourselves in service of the character and the story, through a range of different techniques and approaches. When I graduated, it was kind of the perfect jumping off point to take the next step in advancing my knowledge, my craft and my ability. It was a great way to throw yourself into the deep end and teach yourself how to swim, then move to the bigger pool and then throw yourself off the high-dive.
If you could make any type of movie with 3 actors, living or dead, who would you choose?
I love Australian film. But I’m also a big fan of Christopher Nolan. I loved Interstellar, Dunkirk, and Inception obviously, and I also love Guillermo Del Toro and Tom Ford so I guess I’d have elements of that. So, I’d start with Jessica Chastain, I think she is absolutely fantastic. She is so strong and a wonderful actress bringing such presence to her performances. Leonardo DiCaprio because he is great, he’s amazing. I guess if I could bring someone back from the dead, it would be Gene Wilder. I think he was so great and he had that ability to make you laugh and cry at the same time. I’d have them all engage in something weirdly humorous yet slightly dark. It would have to be a Tarantino sort of style to make it work. So, Gene Wilder, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jessica Chastain in a kind of raucous, yet incredibly dark futuristic kind of drama.
Outside of work, what do you like to do for fun?
Outside of acting I’m a guitarist, I love music so I’m very big into that. I grew up loving sports and that was the first thing I really wanted to do, from AFL to Grid Iron and to Baseball, everything. It didn’t matter what it was if I could play it I would, and if it was competitive it was even better. I was horribly competitive. So, I love playing sport, keeping fit, and keeping active sort of thing. I guess music and sport, being able to see friends while doing that, going to concerts and sports games. I’m a massive fan of North Melbourne, we had a rough year last year, but it will pick up this year.
Do you have any charities or causes that you are passionate about?
Yeah. I’m a big fan of Beyond Blue. As someone who’s dealt with a lot of anxiety and depression in the past, I think what they do for not just kids but for men and women alike is fantastic. As I’ve grown up, my mum runs an Indigenous art gallery and has done a lot of outreach programs to help in the foreign community. So, I’m a very big supporter of Indigenous causes. Making sure everyone is getting a fair go, that sort of stuff. St Vincent’s as well, the Salvation Army they’re all fantastic and Lort Smith Animal Hospital is another big one. I’m a very big animal guy, so anything I can do to help animals. There are so many charities out there that do so many great things and really deserve the support. That’s just to name a few.
What would you say to a youngster that came up to you, and asked for some information on making it in the world of acting?
Interesting. For me, one of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from my manager and he said “Just do it, just do it, you’ve just got to do it”. It didn’t click at the time. A couple of years later I get what he was saying. Don’t think about it, don’t go oh maybe it could be a bit hard or how do I do it. Reach out to people who are doing it and ask questions. Then put yourself in a position where you just have to do it. Go to an acting school audition or go to a short film audition. If you don’t know where to find them Star Now is a great place to start. Facebook has a lot of groups and everything now, but I would say don’t get disheartened if it doesn’t pay off right away, as most people always say “If it’s something worth doing, it takes a while.” It does, you hear the stories of someone sitting in a café and someone comes along and says “You’re great. I’m going to make you a star”. You also hear people say that Margot Robbie appeared out of nowhere. No…no…no she busted her ass in Australia for years and then went overseas to America and worked her ass off and has an incredible work ethic. Jackie Weaver’s the same, Joel Edgerton and Jason Clark. All these great Australian actors. They will call you an over night success but that’s not to discredit all the hard work you’ve done. If it does happen for you right away, fantastic, keep going, be humble about it. Because if you are humble and keep working, that’s how you maintain your career and keep moving forward. My advice is if you really want to do it, then do it and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise, don’t let anyone detract from you, those who say you can’t are just scared for themselves or because they never went after it themselves. That’s not to put any shame on them, you just have to listen to that voice inside of you. Do what makes you happy and you’ll never work a day in your life.
It was fun chatting with local actor Charles Terrier. Hope this helps you to understand him a little better. Also don’t forget to check out his movie Occupation, coming out this year.