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Actor Christian Camargo Speaks at Q&A Segment in Hage Room

By Lindsey DeRoche; A&E Editor
On September 22, 2017

Camargo in the Hage Room 

An intimately-sized actor’s Q&A segment is often a chance to probe, as well as fully comprehend, the heart and soul of someone who wears the mask of others’ psychologies for a living. With an event spearheaded by PSU English professor Burrett McBee, and his wife Rhu, acclaimed actor Christian Camargo did just this. He conversed with PSU students and professors, as well as actors, casting directors, and other members of theatre from different areas of New Hampshire.

On September 18, 19 and 20, Camargo spoke in the Hage Room in the HUB. He spent his visits putting on workshops for both actors and educators, as well as participating in a Q&A segment during his visit on the 19. At the Q&A segment, Camargo spoke about his life and career as an actor.

Camargo has been in a plethora of recognizable roles, from playing the character of serial killer Brian Moser on the hit TV series Dexter, to Colonel Cambridge in Kathryn Bigelow’s 2008 war drama The Hurt Locker, to guest character Michael Corrigan on the Netflix political drama series House of Cards.

He has also worked on both Broadway and West End theatre productions in London. His most recent role was that of famous film producer Bob Evans during the middle of his career in the stage adaptation of The Kid Stays in the Picture, Evans’ autobiography.

Camargo first tried his hand at acting when he was a middle schooler, living in New York. This is where he met current PSU English professor Burrett McBee. He acted out his very first roles in plays under McBee’s tutelage.

As a fourth-generation actor, with a great-grandmother who was even in vaudeville, Camargo said that he realized the acting genes in his blood from a young age. But, at first, he did not embrace the idea of following in his family’s footsteps. He said, at first, he “pushed it away,” and focused more on athletics.

Finally, in college, as an art history major and lacrosse player, Camargo took a chance on acting. He applied to another college, the prestigious Julliard School in New York City. The renowned college is centered around the arts, and is known for producing notable alumni such as Kevin Spacey, Robin Williams, and Christopher Reeve.

He said that, if accepted, he would realize that acting was the right course for his career. In spite of the acceptance rate of under 10% at Julliard, Camargo was accepted. From there, he dove into the life of an actor.

In college, Camargo’s favorite actors were Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and other actors who played roles in “New York Grit” films, which he was heavily influenced by.

Camargo spoke about the differences in acting for television, film, and theatre. He was asked, by a member of the crowd, about how the role of the director shifts for an actor between the three mediums.

When it comes to television, Camargo said, “[It’s] a whole bag of mixed nuts that has little to do with the director.” He said that the director mainly sets the tone of the show. “They need you [the actors] to come and do part of the formula.”

Especially with the relevance of streaming television shows in today’s world, Camargo said that there are often different directors throughout a season, and the experience is “like shooting a movie,” time-wise.

When it comes to working on films, Camargo finds the acting experience to be “much more collaborative.” “You have about 100, 120 people trying to make this movie work,” Camargo said. For a small or medium-sized movie, he said that taking 28 to 35 days to shoot is typical.

Camargo also commented on what it is like acting in theatre, where he got his start and developed an interest in being a performer. He said that acting in theatre is more “actor-driven,” and he placed an emphasis on the importance of collaboration between the director and all of the actors in the production.

“You form things from scratch with your director,” Camargo said. He also added that if there is not a vibe of collaboration surrounding a production, he will turn down a part in it.

Camargo does not confine himself to performance-based positions that take place in front of a camera or on a stage; he also loves directing. He wrote and directed the 2014 comedy/drama Days and Nights, which starred famous actress Katie Holmes.

He sees being able to understand both the roles of actor and director to be helpful in both positions. “If you want to be an actor, direct something. If you want to be a director, act,” Camargo said.

When asked about how to acquire roles as an actor, Camargo said that he believed the key was a combination of word of mouth and having a good team. “At the end of the day, it’s what you’ve done, the people you know,” Camargo said.

He also mentioned the importance of having an agent to negotiate contracts, and wanting people behind a project to think of you before the actual submission stage.

When it comes to roles, it is not about the publicity for Camargo, but rather the characters themselves. Regarding the notion of being a celebrity, Camargo said, “I can’t stand it.”

“I’m more interested in the character roles, the darker roles,” Camargo said. He looks for a sort of connection, or something that he can learn to connect with. Camargo said that acting helps to shed light on “how people operate on the extreme,” and that that “helps interpret the world.”

Camargo’s thoughts on choosing roles come down to both interest in the character, as well as always improving as an actor. Regarding taking roles based on trends and current relevance, Camargo said, “Trend is fickle. What’s not fickle is honing craft.”

Camargo’s next role will be on an upcoming Netflix series entitled Wormwood, which chronicles the LSD experiments conducted by the CIA in the 1950s. The series premieres on December 15.

To follow Camargo on Twitter, go to https://twitter.com/therealcamargo?lang=en.

 

 

 

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