Chase Coleman’s Original Self

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According to Ingrid Bergman, it’s important to “be yourself [as] the world worships the original.” Chase Coleman, actor, director, singer and musician, definitely exemplifies this notion. Not only is he sexy, charismatic, confident and extremely talented and creative, but he is honest and down-to-earth. Having been born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and raised in Monroe, Louisiana, this sexy 5’9″ Southerner knows all too well how important it is to keep it real. While he is certainly known to make the girls swoon with his natural good looks and charm on the small screen, Coleman is definitely no one trick pony.

Chase_ColemanThe multi-talented and highly versatile, Chase Coleman caught the performing bug when he began singing and playing music in the high school, where he performed in the rock band, Crawl Space and later on Fallstaff in college. However, it wasn’t until he attended the University of Louisiana at Monroe, majoring in Business Marketing, that he developed an interest in acting, performing on stage. It was this interest and passion, which saw him winning several awards at the Mike Beauty Model and Talent Expo in Dallas, Texas, where he was discovered by a talent manager.

Clearly, it is apparent that Coleman was destined for massive success. He gained numerous roles, appearing in many highly successful and renowned television shows including the soap opera drama, One Life to Live, Gossip Girl, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and The Good Wife, as well as having many starring and supporting roles in independent films such as New York City Serenade, Catahoula, and God Don’t Make the Laws. However, it was his role in season one of the HBO series, Boardwalk Empire as Billy Winslow which gained him notoriety. In 2014, he won the role of werewolf Oliver in the CW’s The Vampire Diaries spin-off series, The Originals, which ultimately catapulted his career. H

He has founded the production company, Bloodstone Productions and created the short film, Into the Rose Garden which he wrote, directed, and starred in. When he isn’t busy creating his own projects, he makes numerous appearances at The Vampire Diaries sci-fi conventions across America and Europe. Coleman’s popularity is certainly on the rise. It’s no wonder that he’s achieved so much success at only merely thirty years of age.  Chase Coleman truly epitomizes that “one can achieve all; it’s not a matter of if, but when.”

 

Natalie: Chase, you have proven yourself to be a multi-talented performer. Not only are you an actor, but you are also a singer and musician. In fact, you began singing and playing music in your second year of high school. What is it about music which allows you to express yourself creatively? 

Chase: Unless an actor also writes and directs [their] work, [their] form of expression is much different than that of a musician.  While an actor definitely makes [their] mark and communicates [their] voice through a character, the creation of something from nothing through writing is indeed a true magical feat.  Music, written by the musician, is that expression of magic.  Beyond just writing, however, getting to sing and create the sound of something that is meaningful, will always have a different impact than recreating it through acting.

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 Natalie: Chase, did you first discover your interest in music whilst in school, or did you exhibit musical tendencies at a very early age?

Chase: I remember the first time I ever tried to really sing, I was at the beach with my friend Carolyn who played guitar.  She started playing my favorite song and she strongly urged me to try singing to it.  That was the first time I actually heard someone say they liked my voice, and it all went from there.  I was probably a sophomore in high school at the time.

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Natalie: Chase, at what age did you decide that you wanted to play the guitar, in comparison to other musical instruments?

Chase: In high school while singing with the band, I knew I wanted to be able to accompany myself, and not worry about having to have other musicians around me if I wanted music.  So, I picked up the guitar and slowly taught myself over time.

Natalie: Chase, you were born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, but grew up in Monroe, Louisiana. Did your strong Southern roots and upbringing influence your style of music, and if so, in what way?

Chase: Well, I definitely love hearing some good ol’ Creedence Clearwater Revival when it comes on, because that reminds me of my southern roots. But I’m definitely more influenced and inspired by rock music.  More than perhaps my actual location of where I grew up, I feel that my family, mother, father, and brother influenced me with the music I started to like while I grew older.

Natalie: Chase, can you describe your musical style, and how does your guitar playing help you to tell a story? 

Chase: I love rock music.  Everything from soft rock like Coldplay to hard-rock like Tool, Deftones, or even Mudvayne.  I also am extremely fond of soundtracks and scores to films, and I love such composers as Hans Zimmer, Thomas Newman, James Newton Howard, John Williams, James Horner, and Harry Escott.  I believe all music helps tell a story, as it moves your heart and brings tears and joy.

Natalie: Musically, who do you admire? And as such, whose footsteps (e.g. singer/musician) would you like to follow in, so to speak?

Chase: I’m a big fan of Maynard James Keenan from Tool and A Perfect Circle.  His lyrics are very intelligent and he sings about thinking for yourself and questioning authority.

Natalie: Chase, do you write your own material? Is there a subject/theme/muse that predominantly features in your music?

Chase: I’m working on original material, slowly.  I’m always interested in things that are bigger than me, and bigger than the immediate visual or what’s right in front of you.  I like to explore philosophical viewpoints in music and I love listening to songs that inspire me to think outside of the box, so that’s probably the best description of my focus as a musician.

Natalie: Chase, you attended St. Frederick Catholic High School where you played in your first rock band, Crawl Space. Was Crawl Space essentially your brainchild, and what type of musical genre did you and your band perform?

Chase: Crawl Space was my first real experience every playing music with a band and playing live, so yes it was the catalyst that began everything. Rock music was the genre.

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Natalie: Chase, throughout your college years, you then went on to play in the local band Fallstaff. Would you say that your experience with Crawl Space essentially wet your appetite for playing in front of a live audience?

Chase: It absolutely did!

Natalie: Did any of the original members of Crawl Space move over to Fallstaff, or was this a completely new ensemble of musicians? 

Chase: It was a completely new ensemble of musicians.

Natalie: Was the style of music that you were originally playing with Crawl Space influential in the type of music that Fallstaff played? 

Chase: Yes, it definitely was!

Natalie: Chase, it is interesting to note that you majored in Business Marketing at the University of Louisiana in Monroe. What was the catalyst for you choosing this pathway over studying music? Were you perhaps influenced or encouraged to take an alternative path?

I never really “studied” music educationally.  All of my music experience was gained through playing with other musicians and exploring or learning music by discovery.

Natalie: Chase, it was not until your second year of college that you began to take an interest in acting. It is clearly apparent that performing runs in your blood. What was it about acting that appealed to you?

Chase: I honestly got tired of the part of music playing with a band where I depended on other individuals for my own success, so I wanted to try out the other form of entertainment in the industry on the other end of the spectrum, and that was acting.

Natalie: Chase, had you ever previously entertained the thought of acting earlier on, or was it something that came about as a result of performing as a singer and musician in front of an audience?

I had always considered and thought about it, but never officially did any acting till college.

 

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Natalie: Chase, you performed with both the Straus Community Theatre and the Theatre of the University of Louisiana at Monroe before signing with the Baton Rouge agency, Stage 2000. What are some of the similarities or differences in performing musically on stage versus performing as an actor on stage? And which was one would you say was more satisfying as a performer?

Chase: I don’t think one or the other was more satisfying.  They are both different forms of expression.  As an actor, I get to explore and have fun being another character on the stage, and by being that character I can affect an audience.  Musically, I’m sharing myself more outright and openly, and I can allow an audience to experience what I have experienced through my music.

Natalie: Chase, what were some of your most memorable performances or highlights during your theatre career?

Chase: I loved my first show ever, Little Shop of Horrors.  I also greatly enjoyed, My Three Angels, as well as Breaking Legs.

Coleman as Tino in the play "Breaking Legs".

Coleman as Tino in the play “Breaking Legs”.

Natalie: Chase, it is obvious that your good looks, physique and natural charisma would eventually get you noticed. In fact, you were discovered by talent manager Suzanne Schachter, and as a result you were invited to go to New York to test the market. How did this come about, and had you ever considered acting as a profession?

Chase: I definitely wanted to pursue acting professionally once my appetite had been wet by the local theater there in Louisiana.  I had attended the Mike Beauty Dallas, Texas Expo, and one of the many managers and agents that were there, Mama Sue saw me and invited me to New York for the summer of 2006.

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Natalie: Chase, what was your experience as an aspiring actor when you first moved to New York, especially coming from a vastly different environment, such as Louisiana? In your personal experience, did you find the transition an easy or difficult one?

Chase: I had never been to New York ever in my life before heading there for the summer of 2006, and then officially moving there at the end of that same summer.  It was truly awesome and inspiring, and I loved every second of the adventure.  It was never quite “difficult” for me, but more exciting and a great journey I enjoyed and that I’m still enjoying!

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Natalie: Chase, your first professional acting role was on the Emmy award winning soap drama, One Life to Live as Garrett, where you appeared in 11 episodes of the show. What was your first professional acting experience like, and would you say that One Life to Live ultimately led to other professional acting opportunities?

Chase: It was very exciting. Getting to work on One Life to Live, started me on the path of experience that I needed to succeed in the industry, and it opened up doorways from one job to the next thereafter.  I’m extremely happy I got to work on that show with that great team!

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Natalie: Chase, you probably would be aware that the acting industry often criticizes those with a background in stage performance, as theatre actors have a tendency to be overly dramatic compared to screen actors. Since you have an extensive background in theatre, did you find acting for the small screen more challenging than acting for the stage? Were you ever criticized or asked to perform differently than how you had previously been taught for stage?

Chase: Not at all.  I never had an issue transforming my energy from stage to film.  Training for film and theater can be very similar.  If you train for theater then all you have to do is take all of that energy and “bigness”, and then compact it down a bit into a smaller package. I can definitely say after having trained with such brilliant teachers as Jennifer Gelfer and Jocelyn Jones that my technique as a film actor has tremendously gotten better over the years, and I feel [that] I keep improving.

Natalie: Chase, in 2006 you signed with Suzelle Enterprises, one of the industry leaders in entertainment management and the highly renowned Abrams Artists Agency.  How have these two leading companies in the entertainment industry able to help and foster your professional acting career?

Chase: They literally allowed me the audition possibilities which led to my slow gain of experience over the years.  If I weren’t fortunate enough to have been able to work with both of them, and still Suzelle, I don’t know where I’d be!

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Natalie: Chase, during your time in NYC, you studied at both the HB Studio with the legendary Broadway actress, Lorraine Serabien, Black Nexxus with Susan Batson, and at the Haymarket Annex Master Class with Jennifer Gelfer. How have these individuals able to mentor and contribute to your success as an actor? 

Chase: I have learned from many amazing women in my life, and I have had many fantastic female mentors.  I owe much to [those] women.

Coleman as Teach in "American Buffalo" (2010) at BHP.

Coleman as Teach in “American Buffalo” (2010) at BHP.

Natalie: Chase, you have gone on to appear in many highly successful television shows including The Good Wife, Gossip Girl, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Kings, The Americans and In Between Men. However, it was you role as Billy Winslow in the popular award-winning HBO series, Boardwalk Empire that gained you recognition. Would you say that working on this highly successful show has been a defining moment in your career, thus far, and if so, in what way?

Chase: I got to work with the legendary Martin Scorsese on Boardwalk Empire, and I definitely feel it was a major defining moment in my career.  Each step of the way for each job I learned more and more about my craft and my profession, and I’m eternally grateful for each opportunity that was provided for me.

 

Coleman as Billy Winslow in Season One of HBO's "Boardwalk Empire" (2010).

Coleman as Billy Winslow in Season One of HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” (2010).

 

Coleman played Dr. Dane Sullivan in Season One of "In Between Men" (2013).

Coleman played Dr. Dane Sullivan in Season One of “In Between Men” (2013).

 

Coleman guest starred as Brian Keller in Episode 1.03 "Home" (2009) in CBS's "The Good Wife".

Coleman guest starred as Brian Keller in Episode 1.03 “Home” (2009) in CBS’s “The Good Wife”.

Natalie: Do you ever find that you sometimes have to pinch yourself at how successful you have become in such a short time, especially coming from such humble beginnings?

Chase: It’s funny because it feels sometimes like it has happened so fast, but at the same time it has been so long.  It has been almost 10 years since I began professionally pursuing my career.

Natalie: In addition to many television credits, you have also had many starring and supporting roles in independent films such as New York City Serenade, Catahoula, and God Don’t Make the Laws. Do you aspire to transition from the small screen to major motion pictures, and if so, what types of movies or roles would like to see yourself playing?

Chase: I definitely would love to do more films in the future.  It is my dream to do an amazingly epic medieval style piece as a warrior or Viking, with a very deep character driven story!  Braveheart is my favorite film, for ideas.

Coleman's "Braveheart" monologue.

Coleman’s “Braveheart” monologue.

 

Coleman as Jason Dunn in the southern drama, Catahoula (2008).

Coleman as Jason Dunn in the southern drama, Catahoula (2008).

Natalie: Do you have a particular actor whom you idolize or would like to emulate in your acting career?

Chase: I’m a huge fan of Marlon Brando, when it comes to classical actors.  I also love Paul Newman and James Dean. When it comes to contemporary actors, I’m a huge fan of Tom Hardy, Brad Pitt, and Christian Bale.  I’m also a huge fan of Gary Oldman.

Natalie: Chase, you appeared in the off-Broadway play, My Big Gay Italian Wedding as the lead Andrew. Did you enjoy returning to the stage? Had you missed it? 

Chase: I had a blast performing in My Big Gay Italian Wedding, and I did enjoy the stage again.  For now, I very much enjoy the medium of film and TV though.

Natalie: In 2011, you founded the production company, Bloodstone Productions which focuses on film and visual entertainment. In fact, you created the short film Into the Rose Garden in which you wrote, directed, and starred in. What was your motivation in creating your own production company, and what do you hope to achieve with Bloodstone Productions?

Chase: I’ve always had the dream and inspiration to also direct and produce my own projects.  I even enjoy writing from time to time.  It is with Bloodstone Productions that I hope to make more projects in the future.

Coleman acted, wrote and directed "Into the Rose Garden".

Coleman acted, wrote and directed “Into the Rose Garden”.

Natalie: Can you tell us about Into the Rose Garden?

Chase: I’d strongly prefer those of you who have not seen the short to watch it here, and communicate with me afterward you feelings and thoughts.

 

Coleman plays Joseph in "Into the Rose Garden".

Coleman plays Joseph in “Into the Rose Garden”.

Natalie: Chase, you most recently had a recurring role appearing in twelve episodes of the hit CW television series, The Originals (spin-off of The Vampire Diaries) as the werewolf Oliver. Having appeared in such a hugely popular television show, how has this helped elevate your career?

Chase: Being able to perform in the role of Oliver for The Originals has definitely allowed me to step up to the next precipice of my career.  I’ve gotten to know so many amazing people all over the world through the fan base of the show, and I’m now soon going to get to travel through Europe as well.  I have a blast getting to go to the conventions and seeing how people have been affected by the show, and what I’ve gotten to do as my character in the show.

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The Originals -- "Crescent City" -- Image Number: OR113b_0130.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Chase Coleman as Oliver and Claire Holt as Rebekah -- Photo: Bob Mahoney/The CW -- © 2014 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

The Originals — “Crescent City” — Image Number: OR113b_0130.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Chase Coleman as Oliver and Claire Holt as Rebekah — Photo: Bob Mahoney/The CW — © 2014 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Natalie: Chase, I understand that you have been recently on the sci-fi convention circuit, appearing at The Vampire Diaries conventions. These conventions are hugely popular with fans. In fact, these conventions provides  you as an actor with the opportunity to have a closer relationship with your fans, as well as enabling the fandom to see you as a real person and not just someone on screen. What has been the fan base’s response to your character and you as an actor? 

Chase: I feel that once people have gotten to meet me as the person Chase and not just the character of Oliver, they’ve grown to like me more than they liked my character.

Coleman as Oliver in "The Originals".

Coleman as Oliver in “The Originals”.

 

The Originals -- "Alive & Kicking" -- Image Number: OR202a_0239.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Phoebe Tonkin as Hayley, Joseph Morgan as Klaus and Chase Coleman as Oliver -- Photo: Curtis Baker/The CW -- © 2014 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

The Originals — “Alive & Kicking” — Image Number: OR202a_0239.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Phoebe Tonkin as Hayley, Joseph Morgan as Klaus and Chase Coleman as Oliver — Photo: Curtis Baker/The CW — © 2014 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Natalie: Chase, do you have any upcoming projects in the works, or any exciting news that you would like to share?

Chase: I do have some upcoming projects in the works, but I can’t really share anything yet! Don’t want to jinx anything (laughs).

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Natalie: Where would you like to see yourself in the next few years? 

Chase: I want to do major films that can reach and affect an audience worldwide, as well as work on major fantastic TV shows with great writing and a great distribution platform available to everyone. I want to create work that will stick in the minds of my viewers, and will move my viewers to action.

 

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