Tamika Interviews Francis Chouler

For this interview, I had the pleasure of meeting the intriguing Francis Chouler.

Originally from Cape Town, he studied at the University of Cape Town (UCT) and has since been actively involved in the theatre and film industries of South Africa.

We meet at the trendy Myatt Cafe & Chocolatier at the V&A Waterfront.

As I munch on my jam scone and as he sips on his mocha, we begin the interview.

Tamika: So we were both at UCT together! What’s your best memory from being a student there?

Francis: I loved the interplay between the academic work and the practical work. It was very enriching. Not everyone enjoys it, but it was one of the biggest reasons why I chose UCT and why I enjoyed it so much. I like to focus on the work of the Classics, such as Shakespeare. UCT was a good platform for me to do so.

Tamika: Where did you go to school?

Francis: Constantia Waldorf School.

Tamika: What did you do after school?

Francis: I went overseas for a year. That was 2006. I went sailing to Spain and around the Mediterranean. I worked for different people who would take me on as a sailor.

Tamika: What kind of training did you do for acting?

Francis: I went to UCT & obtained my B/A in Theatre & Performance. I graduated in 2010. And since then I see every professional job I’ve done as a form of training, because I believe in continuous training.

Tamika: What would you say it is that you do primarily –Acting for theatre or for film?

Francis: I believe in a balance. I have equal achievements in both.

Tamika: Name some of the most memorable films you’ve done; what were they about and what was your role?

Francis: Ok…. The film I did last year (2010) stands out for me. It’s a Bollywood film called Crook: It’s Good to Be Bad. It’s about racial tension in Melbourne, Australia. I was a lead role; I played a ‘bad guy’ named Russell. I shot that up in India. Then there was Judge Dredd shot here in Cape Town this year (2011). It’s the film remake of the comic of the same name called ‘Judge Dredd’. I had a featured part; Judge Guthrie. There was also The Borrowers starring Stephen Fry and Robert Sheehan. It’s about four-inch high “little people” who live under the floorboards. That was filmed here at The Cape Town Film Studios (http://thestarlitpath.com/2011/10/28/cape-town-film-studios-gives-hollywood-a-run-for-its-money/) and I played one of the friends of the lead character. That was in July this year. Finally, one of the most memorable to date was the MNET series I shot this year called Crimes Uncovered. It was filmed here in Cape Town and it’s about the abduction and murder of Brett Goldin and Richard Bloom. I played Richard Bloom. Playing a real-life person was an incredible experience for me.

Front page of the Entertainment Section in The Daily News

Tamika: Have you done any commercials? If so, which?

Francis:  Yes I have. Some of the biggest were for Sanlam, Spur, Haribo sweets and Kinder Chocolate.

Tamika: What is the most recent thing you’ve done?

Francis: Well other than the film & commercial work I’ve mentioned, in terms of theatre the most recent was a play called Mary & The Conqueror about Alexander the Great. I played a lead role, Hephaestion. It showed at The Artscape (http://www.artscape.co.za/) this year in October. On the theatre front I’ve recently also done The Taming of the Shrew which was in January this year. It was part of ‘Shakespeare in The Park’ at The Maynardville Open-Air Theatre (http://www.maynardville.co.za).  I played a lead; Lucentio, the young lover.

Final scene of ‘Crook: It’s Good to Be Bad’

Tamika: What’s in the pipeline for you at the moment?

Tamika: A Greek Comedy production called The Birds by Aristophanes. It’ll be in the open air theatre in the Kirstenbosch Gardens in December 2011/January 2012. I will play the chorus leader; the owl.

Tamika: Who is your agent?

Francis: Samantha Bernhardi.

Tamika: Do you also model?

Francis: No.

Tamika: What are your favourite South African films?

Francis: Skeem and Skoonheid.

Tamika: Where do you party, usually?

Francis: I’m not much of a party animal. If I do go out, I enjoy Assembly or DecoDance.

Tamika: What’s in the boot of your car right now?

Francis: Rehearsal clothes and a map.

Tamika: Do you have siblings?

Francis: Yes. Two sisters and a brother.

Tamika: What does your family do?

Francis: My mom works at St John’s Hospice and my dad is a doctor.

Tamika: What is your health routine like?

Francis: I eat healthily. I gym, I cycle and I swim.

On the set of ‘The Borrowers’

Tamika: Where do you see yourself in ten years from now?

Francis: I see myself having a career that moves across countries.

Tamika: What’s one interesting thing about you that your followers don’t know?

Francis: My parents sent me to magic school as an extra-curricular activity during high school. I now perform at Vaudeville monthly – I have an act there.  

Tamika: Name a place you love.

Francis: The sea.

Tamika: Do you do any charity work?

Francis: Yes, I’ve been involved in Reach For A Dream (http://www.reachforadream.org.za/) since 2008. I volunteer there three times a month.

Tamika: What do you tell yourself when you walk out of an audition?

Francis: “Where do I go from here?” …. I also record a voice note of my experience after every audition so I can hear what I felt during it and review myself – what worked, what didn’t. I have voice notes saved on my phone from every single audition I have ever been to.

If you want to follow him on Twitter, he goes by @francischouler

You can also check him out on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Francis-Chouler/122715567748303

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