Low-down with Charles Terrier

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By Elliot Murphy

Charles is your typical Melbourne city guy, who has been working as an actor for quite a few years now. He works extensively across all platforms including film, TV, commercials and theatre. He has had roles in Neighbours, a movie called ‘Blinder’, and more recent roles in Wentworth and Occupation.

Why did you decide to join the world of acting?

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 come from a very creative family and they were always very encouraging. When I went to university, I was doing a plain old arts degree because I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life. I think that kind of indecisiveness allowed my imagination to run and it lead me to guitar and acting but it was acting that stuck. When I saw Inception, there was a scene where Marion Cotillard’s character (this is a spoiler if people haven’t seen it, though you’ve had almost eight years to see it) jumps off a 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 until one day I decided to go for it, signed up with Star Now and started auditioning for short films. Then when I was in Sydney, to see a concert, I met with my now manager Stephen Harmon. Although it wasn’t meant to be anything more than an introduction to the industry, he must have seen something in me and I got signed. Within 24 hours I had my first audition.


The 2013 film Blinder is an Australian rules football drama set predominately 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. At the time I had been acting for a total of three months. This early success was very exciting, humbling and terrifying at the same time. When I finally got to see my work on film I had one of those moments, sitting in a cinema, with my mum next to me, as my date, I had tingles down my arm and goose bumps! It was a weird sensation and I thought “ Wow, I’m an actor now!” The film is movie on Aussie rules. I grew up loving AFL football and played football all my life as well as spending many summers down in Torquay. It was very much the first project I got involved in and set in a world I knew intimately. So, to see it on the screen and to have the shining lights and all the Australian celebrities and personalities that were to the premiere was amazing. It was great to have someone come up to you and say “Hey you were in the film, really well done”. I had a great supporting role, not 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 and 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 combine it with Tomorrow When the War Began. It’s the combination of the two with an Australian element. Imagine country Australia, a 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, a small group of survivors band together, 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.      

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. In the course I would train for two days then rehearse the other five days or practice my craft in other classes. 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 it’s much more complicated, we learnt from different schools of thought and training; from Strasberg to Meisner to Uta Hagen. We learnt how to best utilise ourselves in service of the character and the story, through a range of different techniques and approaches. It was a great way to throw myself into the deep end and swim.      

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.     

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 later in 2018.  


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