This year’s hotly-anticipated return to Middle Earth saw a staggering quarter of a million viewers settle in for an Orc-infested ride into all things mythical, with 30-year-old actor, Charlie Vickers, leading the foray. Introducing Hollywood’s newest name, assuming the role of Halbrand, the lost king of the fictional Southlands.
After several auditions – seven, to be exact – and months perfecting the Middle Earth common tongue, the Australian actor wasted no time in syphoning the armour of the cunning character. Vickers might be worlds apart from Halbrand’s machiavellian self (spoiler alert: later to be revealed as Sauron), it’s not Vickers’ first rodeo fabricated a character far from his day-to-day life, playing Guglielmo PazziinMedici: Masters of Florenceas well as Dan in Palm Beach.Sizing up a plentiful roster, the rising star reflects on the pressure that came with signing onto the major movie franchise and setting his heights high for what comes next.
CATY PENZA: Before we start talking about all thingsLord of the Rings, can you tell us a little bit about how you got into acting? What has your journey been like?
CHARLIE VICKERS: I never really considered acting as a possibility at first because I didn’t believe it would be a successful career for me. It wasn't until a couple of years into me studying at university that I realised maybe I could have a go at acting because I didn’t feel any passion towards what I was doing. So I flew to Sydney and auditioned for a drama school and got selected. That’s kind of where everything started unfolding.
CP: Growing up, were there any actors you looked up to?
CV: I was in Melbourne and I went to see a production ofRichard III and the leading actor was Ewen Leslie. I definitely look up to him, even though I’ve never actually met him, but his performance was a real catalyst for my career. I’d love to tell him that one day.
CP: Hopefully he reads this interview and finds out!
CV: Yes! That would be incredible.
CP: You play Halbrand inThe Lord Of The Rings: The Rings OfPower, how did you come about getting cast for the role?
CV: It was a long audition process for me. I auditioned maybe six or seven times over a period of six months. I originally auditioned for another character three times, and then got moved to audition for Halbrand. It was a long process, I even flew to Spain to test shoot with J.A. Bayona, who directs the first two episodes. It was a pretty amazing day and it was the last piece of the puzzle to getting the role.
CP: What was it like switching into the Halbrand persona? Did you have to do or think about anything in particular?
CV: I spent a lot of time researching source material. Because he’s an original character, I wanted Halbrand to fit into that world and make sure he had all the talking elements. Halbrand is also very different to me, so I had to tap into things that I wasn’t necessarily used to tapping into. It was so interesting watching the show and seeing that difference.
CP: What was your reaction like when you saw the show for the first time?
CV: It was pretty amazing. We saw it for the first time as a cast in Los Angeles, with a screening of the first three episodes. It was so overwhelming and incredible to see the scope of the show and all my friends performing.
CP: GivenThe Lord Of The Rings’ hugely loyal fandom, were you at any point nervous about taking on a role in this spinoff show?
CV: Obviously there is a huge amount of pressure and expectations that come with being a part of a world that is so important to so many people, but that’s almost a good thing. Signing onto the show though, there was no hesitation. I didn’t know the full ins and outs of what I was signing onto, but there was still no doubt I wanted to be a part of it.
CP: And how has your life changed since the show’s release?
CV: I don’t go out into very busy settings that much, but, the few times I have been, I have been recognised and everyone has been very kind so I guess in that sense it has changed. But besides that, I tend to lead a quiet life so it hasn’t changed that much.
CP: Speaking of which, what does an average day in the life of Charlie Vickers look like?
CV: My work days and my days off are very different. On a work day, I’ll be picked up very early in the morning and I’ll film all day. But on a day off, I need sleep. Minimum nine hours. I do some exercise when I get up, have lunch and then just sit at my laptop and do some work. I also spend some time with friends and family and if I’m by the coast I’ll also go for a surf, but if I’m in London then I just try and do something fun for the day.
CP: You definitely cannot surf in London.
CV: There is a wave pool I think! But right now it’s limited, yeah.
CP: Where do you envision yourself as an actor in 10 years time?
CV: Working on a project of this magnitude has been amazing, but it’s also given me the desire to work on things completely different in the future. Smaller projects, like independent films or mini-series. I always look for new adventures in my work and I’m open to them in whatever form they may come.
CP: Finally, is anything else currently in the works?
CV: I filmed a mini-series in Australia based on the novel by Holly Ringland titledThe Lost Flowers of Alice Hart. It’s a story about female resilience and generational trauma. I play the father. It’s a spectacular story and it will hopefully come out next year.
Photography by Sylvain Homo
Words by Caty Penza
Styling by Yasmin Williams
Photographer's Assistant Federico Michettoni
Production Director Benjamin Crank
Producer Isabella Coleman
Grooming by Nadia Altinbas
Post-production Leila Hachou @ The Corner Shop Collective; Special Thanks to HLD Studios