British actor Edward Bluemel is one of the lucky ones to discover their calling at a young age, and have it consistently confirmed by talent and genuine passion for the craft. His prolific career spans theatre, film, and television, with the theatre stage remaining his first and most intense love – a source of “unparalleled thrill.”
Cast in television productions within varied genres – fantasy, period drama, thriller – Edward embraces every role as a challenge and opportunity to get to the core of the character and discover their uniqueness and humanity. His performances in The Halcyon and more recently A Discovery of Witches and Killing Eve are bouts of energy, sparks of joy, and steadfast dedication to the story, which makes him stand out as an artist to watch.
Elena Stanciu: Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you discover your love for acting?
Edward Bluemel: I grew up in Somerset, I'm an actor, my parents are science teachers, my sister is an illustrator and my brother is a pastor. My love for acting was born when I was about 11 years old, in a school play where, though no more talented than the rest of the cast, I could speak the loudest and was therefore told repeatedly afterwards by various gushing parents that I should be an actor. In my naivety I took this all far too literally and now here I am, constantly craving that initial hit of approval those school parents gave me.
ES: Your career gravitates between screen and scene work – where do you feel more "at home?"
EB: I love them both, but I definitely feel more at home on stage. It's where I started and grew to love what I do. I find live audiences so exciting and even though I love acting on screen, the truly distilled panic of forgetting a line in front of a paying audience is an unparalleled thrill.
ES: You hold a BA in acting from the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama. What´s the most important lesson you've learned during your time in school?
EB: We had a teacher that used to say: “Enjoy being in the shit!” as she thought that every performer is at their most interesting when everything's going wrong onstage. Now if anything goes wrong at work or in my day to day life, I can’t help but hear her (very Italian-accented) voice screaming that in my ear and believe it or not, it's actually quite relaxing.
ES: You currently work on A Discovery of Witches, in which you play "young" vampire Marcus Whitmore. I personally love the show, really great cinematography, amazing sets and some very cool performances. What can you tell us about this role? Is fantasy a genre you're particularly attracted to?
EB: Marcus has been so much fun to play so far. He's very different to most people's perception of vampires as he's easy going, liberal, and doesn't take himself too seriously. Underneath his cavalier attitude, however, is a very dangerous streak and a troubled past and I'm hoping I get to explore that further in the next couple of seasons. And yes, of course I'm absolutely attracted to fantasy: elves, dwarves, vampires, giant flying eagles, mothers of dragons, you name it, I love it.
ES: How did you embrace a role like Marcus Whitmore, compared to your role in the 2017 war drama The Halcyon, Toby Hamilton? One has imagination and fantasy at its core, the other the rigidity of the period drama as genre – which one was more challenging for you? What other genre do you see yourself excelling in?
EB: What is important to me is that regardless of genre or style, I embrace playing each character the same. Whether it's a rigid period, fantasy, or sci-fi piece, at the core of it is just a person/vampire/alien doing its best to be happy. Both Toby and Marcus where challenging in different ways; Toby was hard physically as the etiquette of the period is very different to nowadays; whereas getting into the mind of a guy who looks 22 but is actually 261 years old was also pretty tricky. Swings and roundabouts.
ES: I can see we'll have a chance to see you star in the upcoming season of Killing Eve, another brilliant show! What can you share of that experience?
EB: It was so exciting being on a set with such a buzz around it. As we filmed it, the first series came out here and it was amazing seeing so many people fall in love with the show while we were still working on it. I can't wait to be involved in the next chapter and show everyone where the story goes.
ES: What I like about Killing Eve is the very bold portrayal of women in non-typical (in television) roles. In the golden age of television, we've seen mostly men exploring edgy roles, pathologies, or "exceptional" types. How do you see this show and its role in the larger conversation of gender portrayal in television?
EB: I personally think that Killing Eve is as a bit of a cornerstone with regards to gender portrayal in TV and film. It really takes the spy genre by the scruff of the neck and completely destroys our preconceptions of it. People can now see complex flawed women as the centrepieces of those types of stories, instead of macho men mumbling about the Cold War and their favourite types of grenades. It's so important to have shows like this that are helping dismantle the traditional gender roles that people see on TV. The reaction to the first season shows how much people want this to happen.
ES: What's your favourite role so far?
EB: About 18 months ago I did a play at the Soho Theatre called Touch. I wasn't a huge part in it, but I got to play a horny young office intern with a penchant for older women and cross dressing. The scenes were hilarious and wearing a dress/make up made me feel fabulous so all in all I had a great time.
ES: Who would you absolutely love to share the stage/screen with in the future?
EB: I live in a house with four friends who are all actors and I'm desperate to do something with one of them one day.