Get to know television and theatre actor Chris McCarrell
Only a few people are as passionate about the stage and the camera as Chris McCarrell: now he opens up about his life apart from the spotlight
Chris McCarrell seems to be born on stage. He became popular in 2014 after his role as Joly in Les Misérables on Broadway and next to acting he is an amazing photographer as well. We had a chat with Chris about his life behind, on and apart from the stage.
When was the defining moment you decided to work as an actor?
It was when I saw the alumni of my high school who went into theatre come back and do a concert. I went to an all boys school high school and something about seeing how cool and talented those guys were made it all click. I wanted to be like them. They made theatre cool.
Do you have a daily routine? How do you start your days?
Besides coffee and Instagram discovery stories of Jeeps offroading, Drag Queens and funny dog videos, I usually despise routine. But those are two things I do at the top of each day. I tag my friends who I think will appreciate my favorites. That’s usually how they know I’m up.
How is it different working at the theatre than working in television? What do you prefer and why?
Theatre feels a lot more human to me. I feel more in control and I like that it’s less electronic. When I do TV I never have a clue what the camera is doing. What people are seeing. Which edits they’re going to use. In theatre, I see the people watching and I know immediately what they’re seeing because I’m experiencing it too. I feel much more in the know. It’s like wearing your favorite outfit and what it feels like when you walk into a room versus a magazine doing a photo shoot of it. One feels much more human and immediate. The other feels more heightened but completely out of your control.
Which was the most rememberable moment working on stage so far?
My first preview performance of Les Miz on Broadway. I never knew theatre could feel like a rock concert. The screams were so loud and you just have to experience it from backstage to feel the full effect. Broadway openings are rock concerts.
Acting is all about overcoming oneself. What was the biggest challenge for you to overcome?
I had to stop thinking that talented, successful actors were these otherworldly humans that lived in a castle far away. When I started working with people I looked up to I started to see the humanity in them. And then I found this confidence that I could hang with the best. It was the biggest mental hurdle for me. To realize the top dogs are just people with talent who refined it. And if I refine mine there’s no reason I can’t pull off the level of performances they do. It’s not magic. It’s talent and a lot of money going towards making them look and sound their best.
Which 3 movies would you recommend?
American Beauty. Avatar. I, Tonya.
— Broadway openings are rock concerts.
You work as a photographer, too. What inspires you taking photographs?
Camping! I started camping a lot and I started appreciating how artistic it all was. There’s so much visual, visceral magic in nature. And I wanted to start playing with that. I love the textures and the colors and the moods I can find in nature with my photography.
Which are your favorite accounts on Instagram we should follow?
I like FreulerArt alot. They have cool photographs and paintings with really abstract setups. They are all beautiful and really make you think. KyleFinnDempsey is the best outdoors photographer I know of. He’s always canoeing and camping and has this really rich eye for color. Between.Mirrors is really weird Gothic, dark photography that gets really otherworldly. Those are all great ones to follow.
What is something you always wanted to do but never did (yet)?
I want to buy land in the Catskills and build a cabin on it with my dad. I’m working on the funds at the moment.
Where do you see yourself when you’re 80 years old?
I want to be a director when I’m older. For as long as I can do it.
3 things you are thankful for?
My mother, my jeep, my hair.