Getting Into Character: Twin Cities Actor Charles Hubbell Makes A Name For Himself

By Aratee Martin

http://www.screenmag.com/story/2009/feb/12/6289/

High energy, humor, and talent are what the employers of actor and voiceover artist Charles Hubbell have become accustomed to. “He is able to do dialects at the drop of a hat,” says Bolin Marketing Director, John Simpson. “He can dial it as narrow as Ronnie Wood from the Rolling Stones.”

Hubbell began acting at a young age with his uncle, doing comedy acts to entertain his family. These family performances, combined with summer theater classes and an education in theatre helped hone Hubbell’s improv skills.

Simpson recognized Hubbell’s talent about five years ago when hosting an audition for a mock documentary that was being filmed outdoors in the middle of the winter. At the time, he was searching for a person to play the role of a fanatic that would visit the fair grounds year-round. Hubbell’s appearance was unforgettable.

“He showed up at the audition wearing a long army coat and a stocking cap and he looked almost dangerous, but in a funny way,” says Simpson while laughing. “The characterization that he created coming into that audition just blew everybody away.”

Simpson has been impressed with Hubbell’s ability to immediately fall into character and says he has come to expect it from every audition with the actor. Character creation is a specialty for Hubbell, who uses his improv skills to bring immediate life to the scripts he receives.

“The script they give me on the radio may or may not work when they’re finally doing it,” says Hubbell. “My improv is a good business skill. I can help them create an advertisement that works.”

Christian Petersen, Director of “Midnight Chronicles” and CEO of Fantasy Flight Games, chose Hubbell to take on the role of Mag Kiln in the movie adaptation of the popular role-playing game. In addition to Hubbell’s improv skills, Peterson says he chose Hubbell as one of his leading characters because of his “powerful voice.”

“He has an ability to really have a texture and a nuance to his voice that I think drives character,” says Peterson, who was impressed by Hubbell’s “ability to really project a character through voice.”

Creativity and the ability to create a solid character have made Hubbell a staple at Non-Union Talent Service (NUTS). Peta Barrett, one of Hubbell’s agents at NUTS, mentions that it’s easy to find jobs for Hubbell because of his ability to add depth to any character or scene he is presented with.

“He’s just so incredibly creative,” says Barrett, who has worked with Hubbell since 2000. “We found out very early on that he has a lot of characters in his head and he can take direction like a dream.”

“To work with Charles was just a blessing,” adds Peterson. “He’s just a very talented guy. He’s a very funny guy. But even though he has this built-in genetic humor he’s able to switch that off and really turn into a good dramatic actor.”

Hubbell mentions that he enjoys film because it has given him the opportunity to do things he had never had the opportunity to do before. “I got to ride horses in the last project I did,” says Hubbell. “I got to dance around on huge green screens.”

As much fun as Hubbell had on set, he practiced hard off the set to get a true feel for his “Midnight Chronicles” character. Hubbell mentions taking kickboxing lessons with a private instructor in addition to the fight choreographer on the set to perfect his moves on screen.