Westerns are chic again apparently. Proof of that? Well, you may just want to check out The English, a gritty new western series starring Emily Blunt and Chaske Spencer. Written and directed by Hugo Blick, the series is set in the mythic mid-American landscape in the year of 1890.
The English follows Cornelia Locke (Emily Blunt), an Englishwoman who arrives into the new and wild landscape of the West to wreak revenge on the man she sees as responsible for the death of her son. Upon meeting Eli Whipp (Chaske Spencer), an ex-cavalry scout and member of the Pawnee Nation by birth, they join together and discover a shared history which must be defeated at all costs, if either of them are to survive.
For Chaske, this new role marks the latest in a long line of engaging character he has portrayed on both television and film. Best known for his portrayal of ‘Sam Uley’ in the Twilght Saga: New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn I and II, Chaske has also featured in the Susanna White-directed feature, Woman Walks Ahead opposite Jessica Chastain and Sam Rockwell.
Born of the Lakota Sioux tribe, and raised on Indian Reservations in Montana and Idaho, the actor has appeared in series such as NBC’s Blindspot, Netflix’s Jessica Jones and the Amazon series, Sneaky Pete with Bryan Cranston. His credentials as an actor were solidified earlier this year when he was nominated for the 2022 Independent Spirit Awards for “Best Supporting Actor” for his work in Wild Indian.
He now expands his repertoire in The English, which is due out in November 2022. He is also hard at work lending his presence to the upcoming Disney+ Marvel series Echo, which is due to premiere in Summer 2023. With an impressive slate of projects, Chaske Spencer is assuredly one of Hollywood’s hot new talents. In this exclusive interview with AugustMan, the actor reveals more about his role in The English, upcoming projects and his passion for acting as well as photography.
Can you tell us more about your character in The English?
I play Eli Whipp, a Pawnee Scout who has been discharged and on his way back home to reclaim some of his old land. He then meets up with Emily Blunt’s character Cornelia and they both head into the horizon with both adventure and revenge on their minds.
What drew your interest to this project?
Hugo Blick’s writing immediately drew me into this project. From the witty banter to the clever character development, the entire script is masterful.
You star alongside, Emily Blunt in this new series; can you share what were your favourite scenes together?
Without giving anything away, I can say I really enjoyed filming the compass scene with Emily, because it was an incredibly special moment for the characters. I really hope everyone enjoys watching it as much as we did making this project.
The English is a straight-up western. Are we seeing a revival of sorts for the genre?
A revival? Maybe. I feel like every ten years or so the genre makes a comeback. When Westerns are well done, they’re a foundation for some of the best plotlines in both TV and film.
As an actor, how does it feel representing your culture on the screen?
I don’t feel playing Eli Whipp was any different than any other role I’ve played when it comes to representing the culture. However again, the writing supports the tone so incredibly well, it was a huge bonus.
You have had numerous roles in franchises like The Twilight Saga and also serious thrillers like Wild Indian. What motivates you as an actor?
I love a wide variety of experiences as an actor. To walk in someone else’s shoes for a while when playing a role, is a fascinating experience. Through each role, I’ve walked away with a different point of view on life and that is incredibly special for me. I love reflecting back on what I have learned every time.
How did it feel being nominated for the 2022 Independent Spirit Awards for “Best Supporting Actor” for your role in Wild Indian?
It was an honour! I had a wonderful time at the ceremony as well, I am grateful to all those who helped contribute to supporting me on that journey.
You’re also appearing in Echo. This isn’t your first time with a Marvel project, how does it feel being involved in yet another superhero series?
It feels great! I’m truly looking forward to the audience seeing Alaqua Cox as Echo. She’s going to slay the role. I feel very fortunate to be a part of the project and had a great time recently seeing everyone together for it at D23.
Your roles have been pretty diverse. What roles or characters interest you personally?
I love characters that are the furthest from who I really am. It’s more challenging and I gain so much more from the experience that way. I look forward to experiencing more of a variety as my career progresses.
Beyond acting, we understand you also have a passion for photography. What interests you most about this medium?
I love all forms of art. The expression of emotion and reflection of thought when creating something is such a gift. When it comes to choosing to do photography as my chosen medium, I guess I was just too impatient to be a painter. I liked the instant gratification!
Can you share with us your other passions beyond acting?
Acting truly takes up most of my life. When I have time, I am lucky to fit in some photography.
(Photos: Emily Assiran)