It’s not every day that one has the pleasure of interviewing a well-known, talented actor, let alone a Cenobite from Clive Barker’s cult classic, Hellraiser! It is indeed a treat to chat to the one and only Chatterer, Nicholas Vince, who took the time out of his extremely busy schedule to get up close and personal in sharing his experience with us and giving a few important pointers on acting and performing. He is not only known as an actor on stage and behind the camera, but is also known as a model and writer.
Pophorror: Hi, Nicholas! Thank you so much for doing the interview with us. To your fans, you’re known as The Chatterer Cenobite from Clive Barker’s Hellraiser – and you’re an active performer. What inspired you to become an actor/performer, and where did you get your inspiration from?
Nicholas Vince: I’ve always loved being on stage, right from primary school, where I played Peter Rabbit in the school play. I’d have been around 7 years old, and I remember losing my cardboard ears in the ‘watering can’ on stage. Honestly, acting is very much like playing dressing up as a kid, so what’s not to love?
Pophorror: You featured in both Hellraiser (1987), and Hellbound: Hellraiser 2 (1988) as the Chatterer, and Kinski in Nightbreed (1990). How did it feel to be part of the Cenobite family and closely knit unit on those projects that have gathered a large fan base?
Nicholas Vince: I’m extraordinarily grateful for Clive casting me in the first instance and for the love and support for these films shown by the enthusiasts. (Clive prefers the word enthusiasts to fans.) It’s wonderful to hear how the films have either terrified in the case of Hellraiser or given a sense of belonging in the case of Nightbreed, which really seems to have encouraged many outsiders, particularly gay people. It’s really unusual to maintain friendships with fellow actors so long after working together, as we all move on to other projects. We Cenobites kinda pick up where we left off the last time we saw each other, which might be over a year between meetings.
Pophorror: Do you prefer acting for film or theatre? Which is more rewarding for you personally as a performer?
Nicholas Vince: When you’re on stage, you can hear the audience reaction and it’s immediate. With a film, you can actually be in the audience and share their reactions to your work. Very different experiences. And it’s more likely you’ll have a chance to chat with them afterwards.
Pophorror: What has been your favorite role so far, and how do you personally get into character?
Nicholas Vince: That’s a tough one as they all have something to recommend them, otherwise I wouldn’t accept the role. If it all went well, then my favourite usually the last thing I worked on, which at the moment it’s Jonas in Book of Monsters by Stewart Sparke and Paul Butler, which is due out next year. That was a great shoot to work on and the character Jonas is an alcoholic, which was a new challenge for me. I’ve not drunk alcohol for over 20 years, so I relied on two observations I’d read. Firstly, alcoholics behave like children and secondly, drunk people are really trying to convince people they’re sober. Generally, when I start work on a role, it starts with the script. I’ll read it over and over, mostly to learn the lines, but also to make notes on motivation and what the character wants from the scene. At some point I’ll discuss the role with the director to get their view and ask any questions I have.
Pophorror: Has there ever been a role that you’d love to play that you haven’t had a chance to yet?
Nicholas Vince: Something from Shakespeare. Prospero in The Tempest, though I’ve always loved the monstrous Caliban from the same play. In the same vein, the Creature in Frankenstein. Obviously, now I’m older, I’m looking at more mature roles (laughs).
Pophorror: You’ve written, directed and produced the short, The Night Whispered (2016). And this year, wrote and directed Your Appraisal and Necessary Evils. Where did your inspiration come from while creating those projects?
Nicholas Vince: The Night Whispered sprang from a decision, that having interviewed so many indie film makers, I really should have a go at making a film myself. Then I had a look around at what I had to hand in terms of actors and locations and that included my mate Dawson James, a country park and our dog Bertie. Then, when I was walking Bertie late one night in the park, I thought how creepy it was and took it from there. I’d written an outline for Your Appraisal and was already scouting locations when I visited Lawrie Brewster and Sarah Daly (The Unkindness of Ravens, The Black Gloves) at their offices. Lawrie invited me to contribute to their horror anthology, For We Are Many. I wrote the outline for Necessary Evils on the hour long train journey that evening. In the film, an Army needs psychics to identify terrorists before they strike. During his special training, Private Doyle learns failure can be fatal.
Pophorror: You’ve been very active in theatre and acting in many shorts, keeping extremely active in the industry. Apart from your Youtube Video interview channel which you’ve produced since 2014, Chattering with Nicholas Vince, which I personally love as you have that bubbly energy when doing your interviews. What other projects are you working on?
Nicholas Vince: Thank you. I’m glad you like Chattering. It’s always fun to speak with creative people.I’m patron of the London Horror Festival running through to November 5th at The Old Red Lion. I’ve edited a few videos for some of the companies performing there and I’ll be watching some of the shows. My second short film as writer and director, Your Appraisal, is out on its festival run, so I’m waiting to hear about more screenings.
There are three films which I’ve acted in on their festival run; Borley Rectory directed by Ashley Thorpe and starring Reece Shearsmith, The Black Gloves directed by Lawrie Brewster and The Offer directed by Chris Griffiths and Gary Smart, so I’m attending some of the screenings. I released The Night Whispered onto Reelhouse on Halloween. As part of that, I edited a making of documentary, Bloody Hell It’s Cold! which covers the process from inspiration to sending the final film out to festivals. People can stream or download it on Reelhouse. And if all goes well, I’ll be announcing something else in the next couple of weeks, which might help people with last minute Christmas presents.
Pophorror: Have you experienced any real-life actor’s nightmares?
Nicholas Vince: Well, there was the moment with the hook on Hellbound. That happened during the sequence where the Cenobites are killed, and when I opened my mouth to scream, a 12” hook attached to a chain attached to the spinning torture pillar behind me went between the false Chatterer teeth and into the roof of my mouth.
Pophorror: Have you ever forgotten your lines, or a prop, or choreography during a performance?
Nicholas Vince: I’m sure I have, but I will have blanked that from my memory.
Pophorror: Have you ever gotten a chance to be on the other side of the table at an audition?
Nicholas Vince: Yes. At the auditions for The Night Whispered, which was a great experience. As I mentioned earlier, I’d already cast Dawson James in the role of Ed, and he kindly came to the auditions for the two co-stars. I really enjoyed the process, and I was also supported by a mate of mine who did the meeting and greeting. That proved very useful, as although I was making my decisions based on the actors performances, I consulted my mate downstairs, as he was able to chat to the auditionees outside the stress of the audition room. His comments really cemented my choices when we cast Laura Hopwood and Holly Boyden.
Pophorror: Have you ever experienced anything embarrassing or unexpected in your career as an actor?
Nicholas Vince: Of course, but none I can recall off the top of my head. Again, I’ll have blanked them.
Pophorror: What are the negative and positive parts of being an actor?
Nicholas Vince: It’s an incredibly vulnerable career. I don’t just mean because of the lack of pay and opportunities to act. And people have become very much aware how tough it is for women in terms of being expected to give sexual favors in return for a role. I mean, the actual job of acting is to make yourself vulnerable. Some parts require deep introspection and visiting personal pain in order to produce your performance. Then, no matter how great a performance you gave, it might end on the cutting room floor. Ah but when it works. When you sit with an audience and they gasp when you expect, laugh as you intended – or hear the applause on stage, then it’s intoxicating.
Pophorror: Do you have any advice for those aspiring to become actors or performers?
Nicholas Vince: If you want to act, then do as many amateur shows as you can. People often use the word amateur as a criticism, but as was mentioned on Mozart in the Jungle the other day: amateur comes from the Latin for amator, a lover. Every good artist creates because they love to do so and often love is the only reward you’ll receive. So, get some saleable skills. I was working front of a house in an arts centre when I made Hellraiser. The truth is, you’re unlikely to earn a living from just acting – though people do. So, if you assume you’re going to go hungry and are OK with that, then go for it. It’s better than wishing you’d tried.
To keep in touch or up-to-date with your favorite Cenobite – connect with Nicholas via his Youtube Channel: Chattering with Nicholas Vince.
Stay tuned to PopHorror for more exciting news about Nicholas Vince!