CAST A SPELL – After charming us as an immortal wizard in “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”, Chance Perdomo is having the best times in his life
The series not only went beyond expectations for being closer to a goth chronicle than some teenage soapie (like its Archie Comics older brother, “Riverdale”), but it delivered one of the things that Netflix is really good at: representing the diversity that is the world – magic or not. Thus comes Sabrina’s quirky cousin Ambrose Spellman, who instead of being played by a middle aged white man with a handlebar mustache like his comic book counterpart, is now brought to life by African-British actor, Chance Perdomo.
But Perdomo, like the series itself, proved that he’s not there to play a token wizard. Apart from the obvious changes such as his skin color, being immortal and British, this Ambrose is also depicted pansexual, and very-very witty. The latter was the deciding factor that made Perdomo one of the series’ best performer – as well as making him a fan favorite along the way. Like most British born actors, Perdomo was raised and trained in theater before getting his break in the telly. This is his story.
DAMAN: How excited are you about the great response “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” is getting?
Chance Perdomo: It’s amazing – overwhelmingly so. I try not to think about it because it’s CRAZY! Definitely pleased it’s being received so well.
DAMAN: Can you explain to us about your character – and how does it compare to the original comic book version?
Chance Perdomo: That’s the thing, it’s difficult to compare TV Ambrose and comic Ambrose . The approach has been completely different as have the inspirations been. I tried not to look at any other incarnations of Ambrose, just what Roberto would tell me.
*Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa is the series’ story developer and writer of the comic books which it was based on.
DAMAN: Not far from that, we’re just wondering whether Chance Perdomo in real life is in any way similar to Ambrose Spellman?
Chance Perdomo: Definitely less tortured than Mr. Spellman – I’d say family is of utmost importance to both of us. Especially having been away from home…it’s the longest I’ve been away from my family and we have some catching up to do. We do FaceTime every other day, though.
DAMAN: Your character seem to be hitting it off with the show’s fans – and we know that this is probably too soon, but can you give us hints on what would happen on the second season?
Chance Perdomo: Ambrose’s past definitely comes back to “bite him in the ass” as the saying goes. Much more psychologically than physically, I might add. Of course, there’s not much I can tell you on the subject of season 2 – well, season 1 part 2. Some sort of corporate thing, it works out better for them if they call it that. Whatever the case, the next set of episodes gets dark – like much much darker than it already is.
DAMAN: How did you start acting? Was it something you always wanted?
Chance Perdomo: Always. I was three when I told my mum that I wanted to be on Barney (the Dinosaur.) That and be the first Black President, but Obama beat me to that one! I’m very much a believer in “right time, right place”, but that’s not to say that you can’t influence that. Provided you work hard to be in the right place, then it’s only a matter of time! So anyway, I began acting in school plays. When I started college, I began working in a shoe-sellers, putting every penny I made into travelling to London just to find those “right places” – which in turn it worked out! I joined the National Youth Theatre, was rehearsing for a production they commissioned based on the true story of three young women who left London to join ISIL/ISIS – whichever’s the updated acronym. Unfortunately, there were threats and security concerns so it was cancelled.
After that, I felt defeated, but also felt like I had to stay, that this was the “right place.” The National Youth Theatre ended up showcasing us to industry friends as some sort of conciliation. I got signed, got my first role in “Hetty Feather” for the BBC, dropped out of my law degree as a leap of faith to pursue acting – then landed no jobs for a year-and-a-half! Radio silence for awkward laugh here. But then I joined IDSA (Identity School of Acting) to combat the lack of work, then suddenly began getting jobs back to back until “Sabrina”!
DAMAN: You were involved in two great British television productions, long-running police drama “The Midsomer Murders,” and TV movie “Killed by My Debt.” What can you tell us about them?
Chance Perdomo: I believe both are on BritBox (BBC’s version of TV series streaming service), if I’m not mistaken. I was in the 20th anniversary special of “The Midsomer Murders” and played a young polymath who becomes a key suspect once disappearances begin in his small town. “Killed By My Debt” is very much a project that’s close to my heart. It’s based on the real life story of Jerome Rogers who, quite suddenly, fell prey to the hamster wheel of “zero-hour contracts” and accumulated more debt than he could pay, resulting in him taking his own life.
DAMAN: What was your most memorable moment working in television?
Chance Perdomo: There was this moment working “Sabrina” when I’d fallen asleep with some 1940’s jazz playing in my trailer and a couple castmates came in and we ended up all napping. Fast forward, I wake up and find nearly all of us younger lot sprawled around this small trailer all passed out. If memory serves correctly, I think Ross (Lynch, playing Harvey Kinkle in “Sabrina”) fell asleep in the costume cupboard.
DAMAN: Any notable difference between working in the UK and the US that you can share with us?
Chance Perdomo: Definitely scale and budget. This side of the globe is on a whole ‘nother planet by comparison. There’s not much money in British telly. Perhaps that’s why so many Brits jump across to the States and Canada. It’s a different kind of beast. I’d dare say that the quality of actor training in the U.K. – especially for stage – is unmatched though.
DAMAN: Is there any dream role or character you would like to play one day?
Chance Perdomo: Miles Morales! If you know your pop-culture reference, Miles is from Marvel comics. After the death of comic book Spider-Man, a young half-black-half-Latino named Miles takes on the mantle. I fit the picture and I’ve been told I look like him – video game and cartoon version. Doesn’t hurt that I love to do parkour as well.
DAMAN: Similar question, is there any dream castmate, writer or director you would like to work with one day?
Chance Perdomo: It’s a directorial tie between Aaron Sorkin and Martin Scorsese. As far as actors? Denzel Washington and Robert De Niro.
DAMAN: What would be next for Chance Perdomo?
We’re focused on “Sabrina” right now – fun as it is, it’s pretty full on! Not to say that I’m not keeping our ear to the ground about upcoming projects during the hiatus.
DAMAN: Lastly, for those who are not familiar with Sabrina but fans of Riverdale, why do you think they should watch “CAOS”?
Chance Perdomo: This show has global appeal, by design. It’s a show for 2018. There’s nostalgia for the classic Sabrina, there’s more truthful representation with the characters that have been created. There’s horror, sex, comedy, family driven-values all rolled into one delicious Netflix\WB burrito. And, artistically speaking, it’s satisfying to not only partake in, but also to see the more diverse, more societally accurate representations that are emerging as a result of global platforms such as Netflix.
Photography Josh Tendero
Styling Courtney Leday
Grooming Robert Bryan
US Creative Director Mitchell Nguyen McCormack
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