Wednesday, 19 October 2011

ON THE RECORD: Chris McFarlane on his body of work and the legacy he hopes to leave behind

EMBRACEABLE YOU: McFarlane, with Ghett'a Life producer Justine Henzell at the film's July 2011 red-carpet premiere in Kingston.

Though he was initially supposed to make his return to the boards in this month’s If Walls Could Talk, resourceful stage and screen star Chris McFarlane, who wowed audiences in summer’s cinematic hit Ghett’a Life, won’t be back under the lights until his appearance in an upcoming December production. In the meantime, ahead of his highly-anticipated comeback, the award-winning actor reflects on inhabiting villainous roles and what really made Ghett’a Life work so well.

TALLAWAH: To many onlookers, it would appear that in your work you’re always portraying the bad guy. Do your ever tire of playing the villain?
McFarlane: (Laughs). I think it’s more of recent occurrence. People will always remember you for your most recent work. But since [my] Edna Manley days, I’ve had the privilege of playing a wide range of roles in productions like An Echo In The Bone, One of Our Sons Is Missing and A Raisin In The Sun. I think the villain roles stand out because they are so memorable.

TALLAWAH: How do you want to be perceived as an artist?
McFarlane: I want people to see and know me as Chris McFarlane the actor, not as one of the characters that I might have played over the years. Artistically, I like to approach my work from a psychological perspective. I am not a Method actor; I don’t do it that way. When it comes to a character, I think people have similar experiences, so if you make it as human as possible, they will be able to relate and will gravitate toward it.

TALLAWAH: What do you hope your legacy will be?
McFarlane: I don’t know what I want to leave behind. I want to live on (Laughs). I really haven’t given it much thought. But I hope something will be left behind, and that it is something good.

TALLAWAH: Ghett’a Life was, for the most part, a critical and commercial success. For you, what was the best thing about being involved with the project?
McFarlane: The cast, and the youthfulness of the cast. I’ve worked with many casts before, and so I was very happy that everybody on this film had a common goal. And we all worked toward it which was good.

TALLAWAH: Offstage, what are the forms of entertainment you dig most?
McFarlane: I mostly hang out with friends. I don’t do the social scene and clubs a lot. I prefer just bonding with good friends while playing cards or having a drink. As long as I have a couple of cool people around me, I’m good.

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