ONE TO WATCH: Charlie Bewley On Life, Career and Role In ‘Bachelor Games’

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The best man usually has a few tricks up his sleeve for the bachelor party, but the groom has a deadly one of his own in horror-comedy ‘Bachelor Games,’ arriving on digital platforms July 8, 2016 from Gravitas Ventures. In the film, we find five friends embark on a bachelor weekend in Argentina, everyone expects the usual hedonistic business. They do not expect to find themselves stranded, wounded, and hunted through the Andes. But that’s just what happens when an elaborate scheme for revenge goes horribly awry.

‘The Hangover’ meets ‘The Hills Have Eyes’ with a Shyamalan-esque twist, ‘Bachelor Games’ stars a bright young cast led by Charlie Bewley (Twilight, The Vampire Diaries, Nashville, forthcoming The Lake with J.K. Simmons), Jack Gordon (Fishtank, Northern Soul with Steve Coogan) and Jack Doolan (Ricky Gervais’Cemetery Junction, Cockneys Vs. Zombies).

‘Bachelor Games,’ Best Feature winner at Halloweenapalooza Film Festival and official selection at World Horror Con Film Festival, is the first feature film from award-winning director Edward McGown (Great Barrier Reef with David Attenborough, David Attenborough Meets President Obama). Written by Sam Michell (BBC’s People Time, It’s Not What You Know) and Chris Hill (The Last Station), Produced by Georgina Edwards of Strike Films (Pork, Rome, Behind Bars), with Director of Photography by Lucio Bonelli (Everybody Has a Plan) and with the score composed by David Julyan (Momento, Insomnia, The Prestige).

Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with multi-faceted actor Charlie Bewley to discuss his career, evolution as an actor, the making of ‘Bachelor Games, as well as what he has in store for us in the months to come. 

Charlie Bewley

Charlie Bewley

I wanted to give our readers a little background on you. What originally intrigued you about the world of acting and made you pursue it as a career?

It’s an adventure. Stepping into a new world every so often, understanding the extremes of culture and humanity. Diverse psychologies. Gaining the ability to morph into ulterior mindsets without prejudice. It’s a great lesson in empathy. Everyone should try it.

Did you have any reservations about taking the plunge?

Not at all. I was ready for something ridiculous. Though I never saw it coming as a career option, when it did it made total sense with what I wanted from life: An unlimited, expanded learning platform, one which facilitated travel, diversity and new friendships – not to mention being a truly daunting challenge. It’s been brilliant.

Where there any influences or mentors that helped shape the artist we see today? Perhaps someone behind the scenes who gave you a push when you needed it.

I was working as an on-stage bartender at Jason Leonard’s testimonial dinner after England had won the Rugby World Cup in 2003, and John Inverdale, a British TV presenter caught me back stage and candidly said to me – “Make sure you wake up every morning and want to go to work. It’s a quick indicator of where you’re at.” People don’t tell you that when you’re a kid growing up in England. Things changed after that.

You are clearly very driven when it comes to your career. What has
kept you inspired throughout the years as an artist and fueled your creative fire?

I’m inspired by stuff that treads that fine line between reality and fantasy. It’s a place of taboo, magic and unknown. When you turn that tap on, it never dries up. I could drink off it until the day I die. You gotta want to see it.

Charlie Bewley stars in 'Bachelor Games'

Charlie Bewley stars in ‘Bachelor Games’

Your latest project is ‘Bachelor Games.’ What attracted you to film initially?

Great script – well written; convincing the audience that these guys are who they say they are – The suspension of disbelief is important in any genre, but especially in thrillers: We wanna become part of that little pack, and love them to heighten the experience of the gear changes and twists later in the story.

What did you bring to this character that wasn’t on the written page?

Leon just doesn’t get it. Morally, his head’s in the sand. His parents must have been wonderful. He simply doesn’t understand his wrong- doings but there is a boyishness about that, an ignorance to his behavior that allows us to forgive him. I’m not sure that was totally apparent on the page. But in order for Henry to forgive him and the plot to work, it required that Leon wasn’t just misbehaving gratuitously.

What did director Edward McGown bring to the table for a project like this?

Energy and focus. His job is the toughest on set and he and Lucio Bonelli (DP) worked seamlessly on an even playing field in spite of Lucio’s vast experience as one of Argentina’s best. Ed would throw himself about all day long to show how he wanted actions and shots. It was a show unto itself half the time.

What was the biggest challenge you faced with the material or while shooting the film?

In any indie project, you’re working with finite time and finance. It’s a precision exercise which requires utter dedication from all involved. Each person recognizes all the challenges of working on a budget and everyone starts mucking in. It creates an inimitable environment – one without hierarchy or status.

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The location plays a big role in the film. How much did the atmosphere around you add to the performance?

The whole production helped in the process for me. It was immersive. We were in the middle of nowhere, shooting chronologically and enjoying in real life all the novelties set out in the script: Rugged backdrops, isolation and crazy locals. It really helps in slipping into character when the whole production mirrors the project itself.

Be it this character or any other, do you have a process you undergo when taking on a new role?

I just try everything to pretend I’m the guy. Fill in the gaps in his backstory, understand his mindset, empathize and really own the characters flaws and greatnesses. And that has its ups and downs – separation anxiety for one: I put myself in a mindset of total conviction that I am that person, and often cannot discern the difference between my “self” and the character’s. Identity crises abound.

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I was also excited to see you joined the cast of “The Lake” with J.K. Simmons, Jack Gordon and Jack Doolan. What can you tell us about the project?

Not a whole lot, but if you’re turning up expecting to see the reunification of Doolan, Gordon and Bewley for ‘Bachelor Games Round 2,’ you may be disappointed!

THE LAKE was a huge Navy SEALS project we shot in Europe last year. I probably shouldn’t mention too much, but some of the parallels with BACHELOR GAMES were uncanny: Five guys, similar energy, etc. Budgets were a little different though.

You have been a part of some awesome and very unique projects in your career. Which have had the biggest impact on you as an actor?

Each project is challenging. I prefer movies, its much more of an intense environment, like going back to school for the first few days. I learn more about the human condition – my own and others’ – in this game than in any other. It’s a pressure pot half the time and negotiating your way into the fold whilst ensuring the work remains on point is a balancing act that can make or break careers.

Is there a particular role or genre you are anxious to tackle in the short term?

My focus right now is on playing a psychopath in the feature version of TRANSCENDENCE – a short I shot with Justine Wachsberger and director Michael Nakache last year. I like playing bad guys but this is whole new arena of bad. It’s far more psychological, hence the term I suppose.

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You have worked with some amazing people in your career both in front of and behind the camera. What springs to mind as the biggest thing you have learned about your craft from others?

You gotta love it. Live and breathe whatever you do, ecause if you don’t, you won’t enjoy it in the long-run. When I stand on a set and look about myself, you can see the guys who are special. It’s a relaxedness and ease born of great preparation towards the work which acts as foundation for creative freedom.

What stands out to you as some of your creative milestones?

Our first feature project THUNDER ROAD has been an absolute feat of endeavor creatively. It’s a movie centering on the issue of veteran suicide, and with such a dark topic, we have been under intense pressure to compromise heavily with content. “Hollywood doesn’t want this movie,” etc. Exactly the reason we have had to stick to our MO in providing a truthful account of what’s going on. It’s that stubbornness towards creative compromise with the norm which breeds originality, in my opinion. And we owe it to those affected by this epidemic to deliver the truth they want the public to hear.

Looking back on your career to date, what do you consider your biggest evolution as a performer?

I feel like I’m a lot more self-aware than I once was. On one hand, that’s great because you treat the world and yourself so much better – but it also makes you ask a whole bunch of new questions of yourself. Really bad on the self-consciousness. But then beyond that place of questioning is a place of freedom I think. I can feel that approaching. The whole thing is a purging process. Damn, this interview got heavy.

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Do you have any interest at exploring work behind the camera at some point?

Yes, absolutely. All of it. Writing and directing. It’s a control thing. Specifically a creative control thing. One day I will want to operate within my dreams-coming-true, not other peoples’.

You can serve as a true inspiration to young creatives. What is the best lesson we can learn from your journey so far?

As I said, you gotta love it or you won’t love it. And that’s how people live great lives; by doing what they love. Living and sleeping it. We all have things we love. Go there even if they just look like hobbies right now. For those already on that path, pick up a Steven Pressfield book. He knows.

The roles you have taken on as an actor have been very diverse. IS there something you are just dying to try in film or on stage?

I initially set out to play Bond, but I think I missed the boat on this round. Hopefully they will go older next time around. But there are many other Bond’s out there. They are the Bonds of their own worlds. I wanna play guys that inspire me in real life in the movies of their own life stories. There are a few I would love to mention, and I truly hope to be able to do so one day.

Catch Charlie Bewley in ‘Bachelor Games’ when it hits VOD on July 8th from Gravitas Ventures. Check out the trailer for the film below.

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