In many ways, Rewind has been my debut as an actor. It is a funny thing to consider, as my time as a performer has actually started quite a while ago. I have performed small-time stage shows of Equus and Tis Pity She’s A Whore. I have even embraced film, taking part in student shorts and even starring as the lead in a feature film, A Fool’$ Game. The thing is Rewind is the first thing I have done that has reached the public eye. My other films are trapped in the edit (very soon you will see me star in several horror short films from Zanifare Productions, including seeing me as a lawyer for a Vampyre lord and the patriarchal brother of a psychologically damaged girl). However, it is Rewind that has introduced me to the world as an actor and therefore it is a project that I have been incredibly passionate about. In many ways, I am dreading the 8th May, as it is the day that I have to say goodbye to this series.
It was last Summer, the email crossed my path that started me on this journey. I was making waves as an actor in my little corner of Devon. A Fool’$ Game might not be finished, but I was popping up in several promo photos, clad in a sharp suit and showing off my trademark smoulder to anyone that has access to my Facebook. I am pretty sure as readers of my blog that you have been forced to see a few of these photos in my occasional vain self-promoting sprees. A friend of mine tagged me in a post on Facebook, of all places. A local director, a name I had never heard of before, Louis John Brzozka, was casting for a live action adaptation of a video game, Life is Strange. Ironically enough, I was halfway through the game and loving it. I adored the Indie feel, the warm story at its heart and the reliance of choice. It is the perfect game for both an actor and a story-teller, as there is the very real sense you are crafting your own story from the materials given. When the chance to actually take part in a re-telling of the game came my way, I jumped at the chance. I got in touch with this director, subtly expression interest in the project. The relationship between an actor and a director starts off very coy, a dance of sorts. Trying to stay the right side between friendly and formal, charming and professional. I remember going into the project, wondering which character I would get. The two obvious male figures my age were Warren and Nathan. Did Louis see me as the nerdy, likeable, potential love interest Warren? Or the unhinged, villainous Nathan? I couldn’t wait to find out.
Then Louis hit me with the gender swap. Suddenly, I was given the chance of playing Chloe’s male counterpart, Charlie Price. And this was beyond an honour. Max might be the lead character, but anyone who has played the game will be able to tell you that Chloe is the fan favourite. Blue-haired with the attitude of a charismatic pit-bull, Chloe veers from the most likeable figure in the show, to the stubborn teenage brat. It was a role any actor would dream of. Even without the game’s fan base, I was stepping into a holy grail of a character. The tragic romance of Chloe, or Charlie, fascinated me. The happy-go-lucky front that is always prevalent to the character, even if it is perhaps more of a shield against his troubles than a genuine personality trait. The character, deep down, is fuelled by a whirlwind of anger that erupts when faced with any kind of problem. Episode Three saw Charlie hurt the people he cared about the most, because of this crippling anger. He cannot control it, something I have loved embracing as an actor. I am fond of dissecting what makes a human flawed, rather than what makes them perfect. Perfection bores me. Charlie is far from perfect, which makes him such a intriguing figure for an actor like myself to take on-board and bring to life. Adding the fact, that Charlie, or Chloe, is such an iconic character in the gaming industry right now, makes it all the more vital I get the smaller details right. There is a great pressure in doing right by the fans of Life is Strange. In my opinion, this is for them. If my interpretation of Charlie doesn’t go down well with the public, then I consider my work as an actor failed. I am here to entertain after all. Thankfully, so far, the commenters of the show have praised my particularly direction with the character. This is another thing that makes Rewind such a treasured project for me. I feel a part of the Life is Strange community and it is a rather touching moment, when you are allowed to be a part of that.
And Louis’s script perfectly facilitates that character arc. I love the themes of Rewind. Max’s entire journey is based around saving the friend he abandoned. In Max’s eyes, the last time he saw Charlie was as a happy, likeable teen. When he returns to his hometown, Charlie has evolved into a miserable, bi-polar wreck, who feels helpless as his father descends into a dark business decision. Max blames himself for that and tries to fix him. For me, the moral of Rewind is, can and should you fix people? Charlie might be a broken person, but I find him beautiful because of that. He is a three-dimensional, strong figure and his dark past has made him that person. I think Charlie’s arc has helped me, and hopefully the audience, look back at the hard times in their lives and wonder if it has made them who they are today. Should we look at our struggles and see them as bricks that have helped us build into the structures we are today? Why do they have to be bad things? I love that side of Rewind. This coming Sunday, the day I finally say farewell to this beloved show, is going to be a hard moment in my career.