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The British actor, born and bred in the UAE, once earned a living by wearing a polar bear suit at Ski Dubai but is now making his way in Hollywood.
Born in Britain and raised in Dubai, actor Louie Chapman is currently living the dream in Hollywood. After growing up and graduating high school in the UAE, he travelled to Cambodia to study Muay Thai boxing for a year. He then found himself back in London for the first time in his life. It wasn’t long before he won a scholarship at the prestigious acting school; The American Academy Of Dramatic Arts and hopped on a plane to sunny California.
Let’s start with the polar bear job at Ski Dubai. How was that?
I loved it because I could be as silly as I wanted. But it wasn’t all fun and games. Teenagers made the bear’s life tough by throwing stuff at him and tripping him up. We ended up having to get bodyguards!
When did the idea to move to Los Angeles enter your head?
After high school I didn’t know who, or what, I wanted to be so I went backpacking for two years in Asia. I eventually landed in London and worked a few different jobs, from burrito wrapper to warehouse cleaner. I wanted to act but I was scared to fail.
What did you do?
There were auditions in London for The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in LA where Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway and Paul Rudd are alumni. I got the acceptance letter with a merit scholarship. I had been stuck in a rut for so long that it was a surreal feeling to have a dream come true.
Did you enjoy the course?
For the next three years I was in my element – focused and driven. I worked harder than I ever had before. My parents agreed to pay my rent and I found a job to pay for the rest. I worked on campus as the props assistant and the salary was peanuts. I moved into an apartment off Hollywood Boulevard next to where Johnny Depp and Nicolas Cage used to live as housemates.
How did you get an agent?
At the end of the course there’s a showcase where industry people, agents and managers are invited. I was praying a manager would spot me. The next day I got an email from Brett Cates saying, ‘Just wanted to reach out and note your amazing performance. If you’re still in the market for a manager, I’d love to meet.’ Two weeks later I signed with him.
What was your first audition?
The room was filled with 100 young actors who were recognisable from TV. The nerves started to kick in from the testosterone-fuelled competitive chatter in the waiting room. Each dude would talk about how many projects they had worked on and who they had worked with. They were trying to psych each other out so I plugged in my headphones and daydreamed.
Did you get the part?
Two weeks later I was on top of Runyon Canyon overlooking LA at sunset and I got a call from Brett saying, ‘Dude, you booked it’. It felt surreal to hear those words.
What was your first job?
It was a sci-fi film called Star Tide. I did two gruelling auditions, which I thought I messed up but I was offered the job a week later. My mind was blown – I was living my dream.
Have you had any weird acting jobs?
I shot a horror film where I genuinely thought I was going to die. All the crew kept asking me if I was ready to die. I started to believe that this was some kind of cult group and I was actually going to be killed.
The director got really personal and told me I was never going to see my dog or my girlfriend again. Before I knew it I was in the scene begging the killer not to kill me. After we wrapped, the other actors told me they had all agreed on a safe word for a quick escape if needed – unfortunately, they had forgotten to inform me!
Hollywood can be a hard place for an actor. How do you stay positive?
I make a conscious effort to find the silver lining or I would be depressed quite a bit of the time. I cannot rely on other’s approval or take rejection to heart so a huge amount of self-love is required. Being a vegan and having a gym plan gives me control. I remind myself that even though this is an artistic industry it is also a business.
Pilot season is around the corner and I am so excited. My ambition for this year is to have a consistent work flow and land something that will take me to the next step in my career. By the end of 2018 I want to know that I gave this first year out of college my all and then do it all again next year.
END OF INTERVIEW