Actor Charles Halford on Moving to LA – Industry Insight

Written by | The Business of Acting

We talk to actor Charles Halford, known for Constantine(2014), True Detective(2014), Rise of the Tomb Raider(2015) and lots more, about getting his start and his journey to move from a regional market, to LA.

Photo by Marie Westbrook

RG: Hello, Charles. It’s a pleasure to talk with you. So first off, what drew you into acting?

CH:  I always had a feel for acting, before I even knew there was a name for it. I learned how to manipulate my emotions pretty early on in life. I played sick quite a bit, but I would read the medical dictionary to learn how to really pretend to be sick. As a kid, I got into Shakespeare through Shakespearean comics.

RG: What training have you had?

CH: My older sister was into drama and I would practice with her. Then I took a drama class and got an ‘A’ for the first time. I found that I had this creative energy. Acting and creativity gave me direction. I don’t know that I would have found any direction in life without acting.

RG: How did you get your start?

CH: I have a patchy memory of playing a little pig in elementary school (laughs). Actually, Catrine (Catrine McGregor, founder) hired me on my first few jobs:

Baptists at Our Barbecue(2004) 
Rich Paddlefin

The First Vampire: Don’t Fall for the Devil’s Illusions(2001) (Short) 
Bartender (as Charlie Halford)

The Luck of the Irish(2001) (TV Movie) 

Cover Me: Based on the True Life of an FBI Family(2001) (TV Series) 
James Hench

RG: You have worked at the Sundance Labs. How did that come about?

CH: I auditioned for three or four years and eventually got hired for little things, and then larger roles. I stake a lot of my success on those labs. It was a very fortunate experience for me. There are so many great directors and actors working at those labs.

RG: When did you make the move to Los Angeles?

CH: I was hesitant to move to LA; I stayed in Utah as long as possible. My actor friend Nathan had moved to LA early on. When I was in my early twenties, he kept trying to draw me to LA. I put it off until I got some personal stuff sorted out. What eventually spurred me to move was the Disney film in 2007. I spent eight years acting in Salt Lake City and accrued two dozen credits before moving to LA. Friends spurred me on, loaned me money … a truck. Then I slept on the floor for nine months (laughter).

CONSTANTINE — “The Saint of Last Resorts” Episode 108 — Pictured: Charles Halford as Chas — (Photo by: Daniel McFadden/NBC)

RG: What has been your toughest role to date?

CH: Charlie Halford, the actor.

RG: (Laughs) I think that’s a challenge for all of us. Was Charlie Halford your most fun role?

CH: They’re all fun.

RG: Is there a specific type of comedy you would like to do?  

CH: An outlandish comedy would be fun.

RG: I complimented Matt Damon on his work once. He said he was lucky.

CH: I’ve been pretty lucky, too.

RG: Do you have any advice for actors around the world, those who are dreaming of moving to LA or New York?

CH: Seriously, move to a small market that has a great incentive program like Atlanta or New Orleans. There are so many cities with talented people and great acting opportunities. There are very talented people in the smaller markets–that’s how I got my start. Look up the definition of an actor in the dictionary. Actors act. If not acting, continue with other arts–writing is a good exercise.

Acting in a small city helps you find your footing, your confidence. Everything you do enhances your acting. As I act, I become a better musician. Your sensitivity grows, your voice becomes clearer. You can do that anywhere. There can be so many great roles, on film and on stage.

RG: Yeah, the great Vincent Price said that, too. You can act anywhere. Thank you, Charles.

CH: My pleasure.


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Last modified: August 13, 2017

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