"I got my first break performing at a magic gig, where I was swallowing razor blades and hammering a 6” nail up my nose" We chat with Charlie Bond
British actor Charlie Bond is forging herself a career in crowdfunded British horror movies. Having appeared in the likes of the Danny Dyer vehicle, Vendetta, we'll next be seeing Charlie starring in British horror Dead Air. She took some time out of prepping for her next role to have a chat with us.
Hey Charlie, hope you're having a fantastic day. So, first question, where are you right now?
At current, I’m in a BrewDog pub in Shepherd’s Bush, London. I’m awaiting the arrival of my mate, horror actress/producer Jessica Ann Brownlie, whilst I sip a sour ale - I’m really into my craft beers, and sours are my latest obsession. This one is a Gooseberry flavoured sour called Trolltunga – and I might just be having another shortly, it’s going down so well!
And what have you been up to today?
Today I’ve been meeting with an actor bud of mine, James Hamer-Morton, to work on a project that we’ve been writing. We’ve been cast in a few projects together over the past year, and always end up chatting about our dream projects so we decided to get our heads together and write one.
How did you get into acting?
I’ve been performing since I was a child, but took a break over my teens to study the sciences, which fascinated me. Then when I hit 21, I returned to acting training via a series of classes and courses, which I did alongside working as a magician’s assistant and fire-breather to pay my way through my studies. I had a lot of friends who were student filmmakers back then, and would come and help out on their student films where I was getting to practice screen acting, too. However I got my first feature break whilst performing at a magic gig, where I was swallowing razor blades and hammering a 6” nail up my nose, and I was scouted by an indie film producer for the role of the hapless strip club magician Carrie, in 2012 schlockbuster Strippers vs Werewolves. Not your typical big break story really.
You’ve quite a list of skills on your Spotlight page, which of those is least useful?
Honestly? As I live in central London, my driving licence gets the least use, which is a shame as I adore driving. I have a very particular (or should that be peculiar) set of skills, but they are pretty useful - I still do the odd fire-breathing gig, for example, and I still meet with a belly dance troupe, and I guess you could say my experience in escapology gets me out of all sorts of sticky situations!
Your Twitter profile says “British Actor & Voiceover Artist, featured mainly in the indie horror section of your friendly local video store” from which I have two questions… first, do you miss having a local video store?
If we’re talking video rental stores, then I really don’t. I do think people tend to glamourize that a bit (I know, I’m expecting the hate mail here) – but I personally only remember late return fines, or carefully selecting the perfect movie, getting it home, ordering the pizza and there being something wrong with the tape! I think the ability to have huge amounts of entertainment on demand is wonderful. I do miss affordable pick n mix sweets though.
And two, how have you been involved in so many horror movies?
I have a HUGE love for horror movies, and so I tend to move in those circles quite a lot and have a lot of friends who make horror movies, too. Plus when you get into horror, you start to build up the most wonderful niche fanbase and because you come with that, filmmakers rightfully like to capitalise on that and reuse actors who do well with the fans. It’s a beautiful symbiotic relationship that works.
What part are you most proud of so far?
I’m really proud of the role I did in Dead Air, which was an homage to 80’s creature features such as Critters, Gremlins etc. Written by Peter Hearn and produced by Geoff Harmer, between them they created a fabulously sassy strong female line-up, which was an honour to be part of. Dead Air will be coming out in October and I can’t wait to see the reaction! The job came about in a really nice way after the guys saw my demo reel, and reached out to me on Twitter.
How do you select which roles to take on?
I tend to enjoy a lot of variety in my workload, so if a part is something I don’t do often, or if it scares me a bit because it’s a challenge, I’ll absolutely throw myself into it head first. Or if I’ve worked with a team before and it’s been great, I like to return to the same production companies often as it’s always a great reunion.
You also act on stage, which is your favourite?
Playing Lucy in a sold-out run of Dracula at the Leicester Square Theatre was an absolute dream for me. It was a sexy, scary production and I very much enjoyed working with Primeval’s Andrew Lee Potts as Jonathan Harker.
When was the last time you were starstruck?
Meeting Mark Hamill on the set of Airborne. He’s so lovely and sweet and I’m a huge Star Wars fan so I totally went to pieces. I lost every shred of dignity and just fangirled him, hard, grinning like a fool and listening to his beautifully melodic voice just talking about his journey over to the UK. I’m just about to start filming Echoes of Darkness – a Star Wars fan film directed by Sneaky Zebra’s Gary Scullion, and when we were doing the Kickstarter I reached out to Mark on Twitter for a bit of support – I was so excited to get a great tweet from him that I printed it straight out and it’s on my fridge. I might make a t-shirt. He’s a legend.
Wishing you all the best with your film but I don't want to open the floodgates of RT-requests I get (on a near-daily basis) to raise money. The Force is with you Charlie- I know it will happen for you! pic.twitter.com/KW2Kpvq13I
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) 18 February 2018
What’s the best thing about being an actor?
I think that it’s wonderful that as an actor, I have been given a unique platform to reach out to both fellow creative and fans worldwide and bond over a shared love of film and stories. I’ve met some incredible people from so many different walks of life through my job, and I only hope to continue this journey and carry on making friends across the globe.
And the worst?
It’s really sad that there is still a massive divide when it comes to the roles between male and female actors. I feel that women are still categorised by their ages, especially in the indie end of the industry. For example – so often, in casting terms, a woman is a teenager, a hot college student, a mother, a ballbusting spinster or a crone. A man however, is a doctor, a bricklayer, an assassin, a lawyer. I have been to castings where I’ve been in a room full of actresses all a year or two either side of my age, and then seen the male actors being seen for the male counterpart, ranging in age from 25-60. Too many of my female friends that have left the industry or taken a break to start families for no other reason than that they had fallen into an in-between zone – slightly too old to play students, and too young to be seen for mother roles. Men don’t seem to find themselves in that conundrum. I’d love to see more diversity across the board, from actors from BAME and LGBTQ+ backgrounds. Across the world we are thankfully seeing more diversity in every industry and yet it’s not quite being reflected in the arts.
What would your dream role be?
I’d love to say a villainess, as they are the most fun, or Lady Macbeth as it’s a good, prestigious, hearty classical role – but in truth, I’d love to play Nell Gwynn. I am somewhat of a history nut and I’m obsessed with the restoration era and Charles II's reign – and Nell Gwynn is a fun, important character in that story. She was a real-life Cinderella, peasant girl turned celebrity as one of the first female actors in England as well as the King’s lover and confidante. She was a kickass feminist with an incredible sense of humour which she was loved for – that’s a character I’d love to play.
What's your view on the #MeToo & #TimesUp movements?
The Me Too movement was absolutely mammoth, wasn’t it? And it was absolutely, immediately, obvious what it was, the minute it arrived. I saw the first tweet, and knew it was about to kick off in a major, fantastic way. For weeks afterwards, I was seeing posts on facebook detailing other women’s experience of sexism and female intimidation (The Digital Fix actually posted one of mine, an article on catcalling) and the reactions to those were incredible. Both from the women (“That happened to me, too!”) but most incredibly, from so many men that reacted and said “I had no idea”. That movement created a lot of allies that day, amazing men that saw the problem and pledged to call out sexism where they saw it. I’m proud to have so many excellent male feminist friends. It gave so many women with painful stories the chance to tell them, some of them for the first time ever. How liberating. And as for #Timesup – I read the other day that it had raised $20 million, for its legal defence fund. That money means so much – it will go towards helping women that want and deserve justice, that have been frightened or unable to pursue it before. This all helps to support women whilst society catches up and we no longer need it. I’m amazed at the things that can be achieved by passionate people.
Was choosing between a career in herpetology and acting difficult?
Not at all. I’ve been a performer my whole life – the sciences really fascinated me, and I still adore exotic (and native) reptiles and amphibians –I still indulge that love by flipping the odd rock or log on any walk I go on, looking for critters. Or I watch Youtube - one of my best friends is Emma Lock, gorgeous Human Centipede actress, who is another crazy reptile-loving chick. She has made huge waves these past couple of years in the online animal community carving out her own path as an ‘Online Animal Educator’ and she makes the sweetest educational videos about all sorts of incredible creatures. I hope it inspires more people to study wildlife.
What’s the question we should have asked you today but haven’t?
If you deep fry cherries in a tortilla, do you have yourself a Chimicherry, or a Cherrychanga?
What can we expect to see you in next?
Keep an eye out for Dead Air soon!
Finally, how do you take your coffee?
Plentiful, from a huge jug that is programmed for the morning to start percolating as my noisy, gurgling alarm clock, with no sugar thanks, but if you have some handy, some French Vanilla coffee mate creamer because that stuff is crack to me. I got addicted to it out in the States and I recently learnt that Amazon sell it here. Whenever I have a birthday coming up and get the inevitable ‘what would you like for a gift’ question from my brother I just direct him to my wishlist, which is exclusively assorted coffee creamers, and perfume. I don’t need much in this life to keep me happy :)
If you want to find out more about Charlie's upcoming move Dead Air then visit the website. For more on Charlie herself you can visit her website, follow her on Twitter, or see what she's up to on Instagram.