Interview With Actress Chelah Horsdal, “CANDiLAND”

By Ruth on February 4, 2017 in Interview, movie, television
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In the saturated world of entertainment today, it is vital to an actor’s career to find the thing that sets them apart and causes them to be memorable. I have been noticing the work of Chelah Horsdal for some time, and in anticipation of her soon-to-be-released film CANDiLAND that I was privileged to screen, I was quite honored that in spite of her insanely busy schedule, she was willing to answer a few questions about how she got started in the business, her notable and beloved works, and what she aspires to do in the near and distant future.

Photo Credit Melissa Gidney

RH: Why did you decide to become an actress? What kind of training have you had?

CH: I didn’t start to pursue acting until I was in my late twenties, although I think I’ve always known I was a closeted actor. I had been working at an agency as a voiceover agent and walked out the door after work one day all the way to Lyric School of Acting, where I auditioned for Kate Twa and Michelle Lonsdale Smith. This started rigorous years of studying under both women as well as Ben Ratner, John Cassini, Larry Moss, Ivana Chubbuck and Gina Ciarelli.

It looks like you have guest starred on several sci-fi shows (most notably Stargate). Is that a preferred genre for you? What do you enjoy most about sci-fi?

Not at all. It’s just that many sci-fi shows shoot in Vancouver. Honestly I don’t generally make a distinction between genres when it comes to considering projects. The character work and exploration are the same whether you’re on a space ship or a ranch on the prairie. The role I’ve enjoyed most that falls in the sci-fi genre is Helen Smith in the alternate reality series The Man In The High Castle.

You’ve done some Hallmark work starting with Mrs. Miracle (I think). How did you get that role and what was that experience like? Did you get to work with Doris Roberts?

I feel like I’ve done more Hallmark and Lifetime movies than I can count, quite honestly. But Doris made Mrs. Miracle a standout. I loved her. She was a helluvah broad. Wise and a filthy sense of humour. Another highlight of that experience was working with my dear friend, Erin Karpluk.

Courtesy Hallmark When Calls the Heart

You also were cast in When Calls the Heart. How did you land the role? What was that filming experience like? Any chance your character will return?

Auditioning and working for Michael Landon, Jr. was a delight. We had such a great ensemble cast…laughed a lot and really enjoyed each other. The show began with a powerful narrative of women coming together to fight for the well-being of their children and one another. I loved the portrait of women working together and supporting the collective. As things evolved, there didn’t seem to be as defined a place in the storytelling for characters like Cat Montgomery. I have deep affection for the people on that show, and hope to see them go for years and years (in fact, one of my dearest friends, Erica Carroll, plays Dottie). I also understand and appreciate that Hearties were quite attached to Cat, as Michael and Brian Bird wrote a wonderful character. But no, I can confidently say she/I won’t be back.

from Hell on Wheels

In the past few years, you have appeared in so many well-known films and shows. While I know all are special, is there one or two that really stand out to you? Why?

Mmm..I wouldn’t say they’re all special. Sometimes you’re just there to pay the bills, as we all must. Hell On Wheels was an extraordinary professional and personal experience. I learned so much working on that show with a cast and crew whose talent can’t be overstated. I made friends whom I love deeply and will be in my life forever. Doesn’t get more special than that.

Please tell us about your role and involvement with CANDiLAND. How did this role come about for you?

I met with Rusty {Nixon} and James {Clayton} at the suggestion of casting directors, Kris {Woz} and Kara {Eide}. I was hesitant when I read the script because it was so dark and unlike anything I’d ever worked on before, so it scared me. This was ultimately the primary reason I signed on…if it scares you, you must do it. Rusty and James also explained their vision, that they saw it as highly stylized, like a “Requiem For a Dream” type film, and that was appealing.

Courtesy of CANDiLAND Film

Courtesy of CANDiLAND Film

Why do you think viewers will like and connect with CANDiLAND? How would you describe your character without giving us any spoilers?

Tess is looking to be loved. That’s it for her. To feel loved and cared for….that’s her big want/need in life. Peter fulfills that need.

 

 

from The Man In The High Castle

Any other upcoming works you can mention?

Season two of You Me Her is premiering in February. It’s really funny and touching. Plus, my pal Priscilla Faia is absolutely brilliant as one of the three leads. Most of my attention is currently directed to prepping season three of Amazon’s The Man In The High Castle, which we begin shooting this spring.

Any plans to eventually write/direct/produce?

Absolutely. I’ve been writing for a few years, honing my skills and learning all I can. I’ve recently started Phoebe Films, Inc with the goal of digging into producing a documentary about my father, Valdy, that I started a couple of years ago, and moving into making movies of my own. It’s become evident to many of us in this business that, at some point, one must find a way to have more control and influence in the direction of our careers. By default, we are at the mercy of others to grant us the jobs, so finding a way to acquire some agency becomes a need as much as a want.

If you could travel anywhere in the world for a vacation, where would you go and how would you spend your time?

Well, I’m doing this interview from London, where I’ve been flitting about for a week. This city has been on my list for a long time. I’d like to spend more time in Europe. With all of the executive orders coming out of the White House in the last week, I feel an urgency to travel to other countries and learn as much as I can about other cultures and people to continue to broaden my mind and perspective on the world. I think it’s a necessity for all of us, no matter your political leanings, to learn in order for us to understand each other. That’s the only way we’re gonna survive all this fear and madness.

 

Photo Credit Melissa Gidney

As I reviewed Chelah’s responses, I was impressed with the strength and vitality that she brings to everything she does in her life both off and on the screen. She has a passion to understand and portray her characters in a credible and realistic fashion, and I believe that naturally flows into her normal, everyday life as she seeks to learn about and be in tune with the world around her. While some women are content to fade into the background, ignoring Chelah is a literal impossibility due to her stamina, pragmatism, and benevolence. Chelah is never content to merely sit on her laurels and permit life to pass her by. She is an activist in her career and her life, and she never makes excuses for the gifts with which she has been endowed. While she emphasizes the positivity in this world, when she is made aware of a genuine need, she is probably amongst the first to act, and that is an admirable quality for all of us to emulate. As a natural-born leader, Chelah is one about whom I have no doubt that she will succeed in making things happen in her life rather than being a passive observer. I appreciate the drive she brings to all of her works, and she has no problem “telling it like it is,” but she tempers that with kindness and sensitivity. I would invite everyone to check out Chelah on all the links below and possibly follow her on social media as well. Moreover, if you are a fan of psychological thrillers, I highly recommend CANDiLAND as it is definitely one that will keep you on the edge of your seat and completely enthralled from beginning to end. Furthermore, you will see Chelah in a role that may simply take your breath away (it certainly did mine). 

FOLLOW CHELAH

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IMDB

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About the Author

RuthView all posts by Ruth
43-year-old single mother of an active 14-year-old girl Born in Tacoma, WA; lives in Yelm, WA Entertainment Writer Available For Interviews and Reviews Substitute Teacher

3 Comments

  1. Sherry Fram February 4, 2017 Reply

    Great interview! I have seen Ms. Horsdal in When Calls the Heart & she was awesome! Will have to check out the other things she has been in! Thanks!

    • Author
      Ruth February 4, 2017 Reply

      Sherry so very glad! Enjoy checking out her other works!

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