With the spotlight shining on the Hollywood and British talent, Cult Hub is tracking the progress of some of the younger actors to have graced the small and big screen. In the first of our series of interviews we introduce Maxwell Chase – a child actor born in Washington but relocated to Los Angeles to make his dream of becoming an actor a reality. In his first ever interview, he talks about his starring role in his first feature film Rolling, how he felt when his short The Percipient was selected at the Cannes Short Film Corner and provides some sound advice for other young actors wanted to get into the industry.
Cult Hub: Tell us a little bit about yourself?
Maxwell Chase: I grew up in Spokane, Washington with my Mom, Dad and older brother. I went to Catholic school for 6 years where I was bullied heavily because I was much smaller than all the kids in my class. In 4th grade I was the size of the 1st graders and obviously different from everyone, so in 5th grade I stopped going to school and started homeschooling. I homeschooled until last year when I finished high school and am getting ready to take college courses online in the fall. I began Tae-Kwon-Do, a Korean martial art, when I was ten and won gold medals at three tournaments in “poomsae”, or forms competition. I earned my black belt in 2009 just a few weeks before moving to Los Angeles to become an actor. I’m also a huge baseball fan! My favorite teams are the Mariners and the Yankees. I also like to skateboard on my custom longboard.
CH: How did you get into acting?
MC: I couldn’t tell you the day I decided I wanted to do it because I just remember always wanting to become an actor. My mother has told me that one day, out of the blue, I came home from school and said I wanted to be an actor. I couldn’t pursue it at the time because I was about to under go a number of surgeries for ear reconstruction. I was born with bone deafness in my left ear as well as Microtia (a congenital deformity) causing my ear to be very small compared to my normal sized right ear. I was very self conscience of it, so my parents brought me to California to have an entirely new ear created. Then 3 years ago, my mother and I finally packed our stuff and moved to L.A. while my dad stayed in Washington to work and support my career. And here I am!
CH: What was it like taking a starring role in Rolling which focused on exploring adult themes, such as drug addiction and sexual identity, on the backdrop of a high school environment?
MC: It was actually really fun! We spent 2 weeks working from 5pm to 5am almost everyday in a very beautiful school with a fantastic crew and cast. It was interesting to work with such a talented cast who fit so perfectly into the setting, each person having a distinct and very different character from the rest. We had everything from a totally shy nerd to a narcissistic snide druggy and then there was me who plays the quiet, most normal kid in the entire film! It was definitely straining on my character, Tim, to deal with all the drama and issues that went on during the film. Drake, my opposite in the film, is a wanna be movie director who is willing to do anything to make a good movie, no mater the cost. As the movie progresses we start butting heads, putting a major strain on our friendship. I loved every second I spent with those guys. “Rolling” is soon to be released OnDemand and will be available on DVD July 17, 2012! Here’s hoping for a sequel ; )
CH: The Percipient, which will be showcased at Cannes Short Film Corner later this month, is a different kind of project exploring the realms of thriller/horror. Are you experimenting different kinds of genres to see what you like to work on in the future? Will you be going to Cannes to promote the movie?
MC: I want to work on everything I possibly can in the future! As long as I am on set, working with great people, I will always be happy. I play a bully, J.R., in “The Percipient” and have had roles that are comedic and serious but what I am most interested in is much more dramatic, gritty projects. Which I will be able to start working on more as I get older.
Unfortunately, I will not be attending the film festival in Cannes this year but would like to some day. However, our producer will be there promoting “The Percipient” in hopes of making it into a full length feature .
CH: You were born in Washington but relocated to Los Angeles to become an actor in Hollywood – was it a difficult choice to make and how are you coping with the change?
MC: It was very hard to make the decision to move. It is an especially hard situation for me personally. My parents are still together, yet we are living in two seperate households, in two seperate states. My father works in Washington and my mom is a stay at home mom. My friends and family live in WA, so it’s incredibly hard not being able to see them very often. I see my Dad a few times a year, he is here visiting right now in fact and I see my friends and other family members far less than that. I have made some new friends down here and I make sure I remember how hard my dad works for me to stay here, so that drives me to do the best I can.
CH: You’ve worked on a lot of shorts and TV shows but what would be your ideal movie role?
MC: I would like to work on a dramatic crime film about taking down a mafia boss. And, if I could choose the character, I would play a troubled cop who has been put in charge of a small group of guys who are undercover in that mob boss’s gang. Real dramatic, gritty, dealing with all the stress it takes to make sure the boss thinks you’re on his side, from playing favorites with him, to testing your morality for him. Seeing how far you would go do get a job done.
CH: Would you like to emulate a Hollywood actor you admire?
MC: Well I don’t want to imitate anyone else’s acting or performances, but I would like my career to follow the way Leonardo DiCaprio’s has gone. He has been in some amazing projects, from his earlier roles in “Catch Me If You Can” and “The Departed”, to his more recent projects like “Inception”. All of those types of projects are genres I would be interested in working in.
CH: As well as being in front of the camera, you can be found behind it and observing other departments at work. Are you feeding your knowledge of how a group of people make a film or are you just curious?
MC: I like to see what kind of crew I am working with, I want to be able to get along with everyone and make sure our atmosphere is very warm and friendly. I want to get to know them like I get to know my fellow cast members. Because they are just as much a part of the movie as we are, and we all need to work together to make whatever project we are working on a success. I am feeding my knowledge about what goes on behind the camera as well, it takes a lot of work to make a film, and if sometime in the future something happens to a crew member, or they just need an extra hand, if I am available, I want to step in and help in whatever way I can.
CH: What do you like doing when you’re not working?
MC: Same as every other teenage boy, socialize, play video games with friends, and skateboard. Me and most of my close buddies can get pretty rough with each other, which usually leads to lots of wrestling. All in good fun of course! We just like to ruffle each other up because we know we are tougher than the other. : )
CH: What advice would you give to other young actors wishing to make it in the industry?
MC: Don’t do it! There is so much competition already! Haha, I’m joking! But seriously, if you do want to make it, just be yourself, take classes and take all the advise and help you can get. It’s a tough business to get into, but the rewards are absolutely worth it.
CH: What is Maxwell Chase doing next?
MC: Going to classes, making sure I keep growing as both an actor and a person, getting auditions, and working here and there. Nothing big in the works right now, but there definitely will be!
View the trailer for Rolling
The trailer for The Percipient
Vaskar S. Kayastha is Cult Hub’s contributing film writer focusing on blockbuster movies as well as independent and world cinema. Vaskar graduated with a BA (Hons) in English which focused on the Classics, Medieval, Shakespearean and Ancient Literature. He also has a keen interest in Photography, History, Technology, Theology, Poetry, Ballet, Art, riding his Vespa and eating Gelato. Vaskar is also the Creative Director for TheStyleColumn - a portal for showcasing talented new fashion designers as well as covering global fashion weeks. Find out more about Vaskar on his blog or follow him on twitter.