We are happy to introduce our May Edition featuring Shadow and Bone actor Freddy Carter
Freddy Carter is no stranger to the stage and screen, and has proven that he has an infallible ability to adapt to each of his roles. His most recent show; Netflix’s Shadow and Bone (based on the books by Leigh Bardugo is a visceral depiction of divide in a fantastical world. Grasping onto the concept of struggle, Freddy’s character Kaz Brekker exists in a cutthroat world where he has to fight for what he desires. And with his capacity to build a nuanced character, we expect Freddy’s future to be extremely successful.
Styling assistant @nerealvvarez
Graphic Designer @carriebrezzo
Special thanks @ddapersonalpublicity
One of your first roles was in Free Rein, a rather different show to Shadow and Bone. How do you think your acting has changed to reflect this?
It’s a tricky thing to answer because I think I always try to approach roles in the same way and do the same leg work. Having said that, it’s so important to pick up on the tone of the story that you’re telling, and to keep in mind what your part in that story means. It definitely gets easier with experience; you see some older actors who just seem to ‘get’ stuff straight away which I think is such a skill.
Previously you spent your time on stage, what do you like and dislike about both this and screen acting?
I love the immediacy of stage work and that there’s nowhere to hide; you can’t stop and try again if you fluff a line. You have to think on your feet to make it make sense there and then. That feeling can’t really be replicated with screen work. Both screen and stage are about team work which is what I love about both of them.
And can you tell us about the short film that you released; No.89?
I’d directed some small bits of theatre before but as I spent more time on TV and film sets I wanted to try directing. I really wanted to be right at the centre of a story telling. I also wanted to keep the feeling of a team effort as I mentioned before. So I gathered some of my extremely talented friends and set about making my first short. ‘No 89’ was a huge learning curve and it’s probably my proudest achievement to date. Seeing an idea through from initial conception to its finished project is incredibly rewarding.
How has writing and directing changed your perspective on being an actor?
I like to think it’s made me slightly more aware of my part to play in the whole machine. Yes, of course it’s important that I stay true to my idea about a character or a scene but sometimes you just need to hit your mark and find your light for the whole story to make sense.
How was the experience working on a show that was based on a well-known book series? Did you feel pressures to inhabit Kaz Brekker in a particular way?
It’s the first time I’ve been involved in a high profile adaptation and there is an element of pressure, although being a massive fan of the books myself I am just as eager as the Grishaverse fandom for the TV show to do justice to these incredible books and characters.
And how did you make this character your own, whilst also being able to meet the expectations of fans?
I was really fortunate to be able to discuss the character with his creator and No. 1 fan, Leigh Bardugo. We would have conversations about events in the books but also things that Leigh imagined to be true but which aren’t canon. I would just listen like a sponge and try to bring to life what Leigh and I envisioned during those lovely rambling chats.
What attracts you to such a world of fantasy and adventure?
I’ve always loved fantasy. For me, it treads that fine line between escapism and examination of the world we live in. You can watch the show as a piece of pure epic fantasy adventure escapism, but if viewed through a different lens it can be a comment on immigration, discrimination and those left behind and forgotten by society.
How did you develop the psychological side of your character?
I used the books as a resource, I read and re-read the chapters about Kaz and his backstory to try and gather as much information as I could. I also read accounts of people who have haphephobia and how that fear of being touched manifests itself.
Kaz is cutthroat and can come across as brutal in this world. Why do you think that he is like that?
I think it’s born out of necessity. The city that Kaz operates in, Ketterdam, is full of grifters and con men who will gladly climb over you to get where they’re going. He needs to be two steps ahead of everyone and part of that is knowing when to be brutal and violent and when silence or a look is more threatening.
And how is it that we still feel on side with him?
He’s definitely an anti-hero, he does some morally questionable things but because we are given a glimpse of his humanity and his desire to be accepted or loved, we understand that he’s not committing these violent or nefarious deeds through choice, rather necessity.
What similarities do you have with Kaz?
On paper, not many. I’ve never run a gang or an underground casino. But something that was clear to me in the books and the scripts is just how highly Kaz values loyalty and that was my key to delving into his psyche.
Do you find it easy to take a step away from your character after days on end of filming?
Yes, I think so. I tend to cook and watch something stupid and totally unrelated to the project and that normally does the trick.
You began filming this series two years ago. How does it feel to finally see it released?
Like you say, it’s been a really long time coming and I’m very excited to share this new world with the world and this whole new story for the existing fans of the books.
What adversity (apart from the obvious) did you have to overcome during filming?
We were really lucky to finish principal photography the week before lockdown started! So, I’d say the greatest adversity was filming outside at night in the Hungarian winter.
Do you think that the concepts of divide depicted in Shadow & Bone reflect current societal outlooks? What can we take from the series to overcome these?
The show is set in a war torn world made up of divided factions who refuse to see each other’s point of view or accepted other people’s way of living. It’s not a huge imaginative leap to see the comparison between today’s society. My favourite thing about 'Shadow and Bone’ is the hope at the heart of the story, the hope for freedom or redemption or forgiveness, although it may falter at times the characters never lose hope. I’d say, that’s a pretty important message.
And finally, what next for Freddy Carter?
I start filming soon for a new Apple TV+ series called ‘Masters of the Air’, it’s from the same team that made ‘Band of Brothers’ and ‘The Pacific’. I grew up watching those shows so this is something of a dream come true for me. Aside from that I’m really looking forward to shooting my second short film “Broken Gargoyles” in London in the next few weeks!
Interview Claudio Harris
Words Alice Harrison
Talent Freddy Carter
Agency DDA Personal Publicity
Shadow and Bone is now available on Netflix
Link bellow to see full editorial and download the edition.