For actress Chantelle Albers, she doesn’t wait for opportunities to come knocking at her door but instead, she chases her own destiny. She has a number of shorts and films to her credit, although the film that she holds closest to her heart is The 6th Friend. We chatted with the stunning actress about her character, Melissa White, the misconception that she hears most often as an actress in Hollywood, and the best advice that she’s received about the acting industry.
Cliché: What was the transition like to film and television after getting your BFA in Theatre Performance? How do you feel acting has changed your life?
Chantelle Albers: The transition to film is another element of the artwork in acting. It’s a different style but with the same truth and meaning. Acting on stage is filling a bigger space and a bigger physical audience. Acting in film is filling a more condensed space. The intention, truth, meaning, and intensity is the same, but with a different style and a different space to fill.
Acting has changed my life by giving me a solid hold on who I am and my awareness of details. When you’re acting you need to have a solid hold on your own self-awareness, and that self-awareness has grown and matured me into the person I am today. Acting has made me aware of my own actions and instilled in me a sense of childlike wonder. I still feel like a kid in many ways because as actors we need to tap into that part of ourselves that’s uninhibited like a child.
Not only are you staring in your next film, The 6th Friend, but you are also producing it. What attracted you to this project? What was the experience like working on this film?
What attracted me to the film was meeting my friend, Jamie Bernadette. We were filming another movie together and we really hit it off on set. When she said that she had a script she wanted to make and I had the means to finance a film, I thought we would make a good team. After I read it, I loved how it was female-driven, and featured strong female characters. The role of Melissa always spoke to me because she does a 180 in her character, all the while remaining the same personality type throughout. I thought Melissa had a lot of humor in her character and I wanted to play that up, especially in the shocking ending.
Producing this film from the ground up was incredibly educating. As you said, I have a BFA in Theatre Performance, so making a movie is something entirely different. I learned so many aspects of filmmaking on the business end, the technical side, and the creative side. You learn what you are really capable of doing and what can be done when you have the determination and will power to not give up. Having a solid team and always being grateful to everyone is very important in getting the project done right. I’m ready to produce another movie from the ground up and it’s something I want to continue doing in my career.
Can you describe your character, Melissa White? Do you relate to her at all?
Yes, I do. Melissa is the life of the party who constantly needs reassurance, adding a delicate quality to her. She’s a quirky, fiery, redhead with something to say and something to do. She is the diva of the group with a big personality, but there is something tender and genuine about her. Even at the shocking ending, you realize that she never really lied. Instead, you realize this was her the whole time, we just didn’t see it. I think when you are playing a character you always have to find the personal parallels between yourself and the character. As actors, we have to relate to the character and be on their side. It’s kind of like looking at things from multiple angles and having a different interpretation of reality. Melissa certainly has a different perception of reality than the rest of the characters, so playing her made me see the world of the film from her side of the story.
What’s the message of the film and what do you hope viewers take away when watching the film?
What we wanted to create with this film is a sense of strong and powerful women. The last couple of years in Hollywood have really opened up and listened to a lot of issues that have gone on in the industry with women. We wanted to create a female-driven film where it isn’t sex and gore that we are selling. Instead, we wanted it to be about the chase, the strong relationships between these women, and show that women can save themselves and be resourceful. They weren’t waiting for a man or anyone to save them. They bonded together and relied on each other to save themselves.
Can you describe the emotions and feelings knowing that this film won several awards while on the festival circuit? What was your initial reaction once you heard that the film won these awards?
It was sort of surreal when you hear your name being called and the name of your film is called. It’s a very rewarding, thankful, and gracious feeling. We had some nights where my team and I were all smiling from ear to ear at the festivals due to the audience reaction to the ending and hearing your film being called is such a rush of thankful joy.
What’s the assumption or misconception that you’ve heard most often as an actress in Hollywood?
The assumption or misconception that I’ve heard most often as an actress in Hollywood is that actors lie. I’ve heard a lot of people say that you can’t trust an actor because you can’t ever tell if they are lying or not. But I think it’s the opposite. To me, acting isn’t just having a good poker face but it’s being truthful at the moment and showing real emotion which is not lying at all. It’s putting yourself mentally in the situation of your character and telling the truth. If you’re going to lie and have a good poker face, the lie becomes the reality. I think good actors are very truthful and genuine because good acting requires truth and genuinity.
Are there any genres that you’d like to act it in that you haven’t yet?
Yes, I would love to do western. I’m a very experienced horseback rider and I would love to do a scene where I am galloping on a horse. I grew up on a ranch and so I have also herded cattle. I would love to do an epic film like Lonesome Dove where there is adventure, love, pain, loss, and a solid heartfelt story to tell with little action.
What was the best advice about the acting industry that you’ve received and who was it from?
I don’t remember who told me this, but I heard it from multiple sources many years ago, and that is to create your own work. That seems to be where the industry is headed. It’s really great that so many people have access to quality equipment these days. Creating your own projects and collaborating on others is a lot more involved than just acting. As a creative person, I like being involved and collaborating on all aspects of art. It’s part of my love for creating a film that means something to me and I can take full pride in it. When you’re only acting in something and don’t have a creative say, that project might not represent who you are or what you’re capable of. It’s truly rewarding to collaborate and be involved in producing projects that you act in.
Are there any future projects that you are working on or will be working on?
I have several films premiering on the festival circuit and one that I am really proud of called The Desert. It was produced by the creators of NBC’s Grimm, Lynn, and Jim Kouf, directed and written by Ben Bigelow, and produced and written by Gabe Rivin. It premiered in Sweden at the Lund Film Festival and played in London in January 2019. It’s a really cool stylized sci-fi film that examines feminist heroism and was inspired by melodramas of the 1950s. I’m really excited for it to be officially released.
I’m also working on another stylized film called Waiting. I play a “mother”, and all the other characters are stock characters. The baby that I have in my carriage is never revealed because this movie is oozing with symbolism and interpretations. It kind of reminds me of Darren Aronofsky’s film Mother with Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem. I fell in love with that film because of all the biblical symbols. I thought it was so clever and creative and when I read this script I was eager to do it.
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Actress and Producer Chantelle Albers Discusses Her Film The 6th Friend and Her Bucket List. Image Credits: David Villada and Dawit Andera