It’s a potentially huge US break for Perdomo. And, given how rapidly stars can become internet famous after their shows are released on Netflix, it’s kind of appropriate that he found out the news via social media.
Perdomo had been told that he was one of the favourites, but that casting had been opened up once again. Then he had another audition in front of Netflix executives, and heard zilch, until…
“I get an Instagram message from David Rapaport, the casting director, saying, ‘Congratulations!'” he tells RadioTimes.com. “I had just gotten out of the shower, so I was like, ‘What’s going on?’ He had beaten my managers to it, and then they confirmed it.”
*Minor spoilers for Chilling Adventures of Sabrina season 1 to follow*
Ambrose Spellman is a new introduction to the Sabrina clan, filling the void left by this iteration’s not-so-chatty cat Salem. He is Sabrina’s cousin, but the two share a kind of sibling bond despite their age difference: he is the person she turns to for advice about the witching world when she begins to have doubts about her path.
It’s a vital role, and he certainly felt the pressure on his first day of filming alongside British veterans like Richard Coyle, Lucy Davis (who plays Sabrina’s Aunt Hilda) and the aforementioned Gomez.
“I was so nervous that I was literally shaking,” he says. “It was the first day, first scene of all of it, and I kept getting some bits wrong because I was so nervous I was paraphrasing. Roberto [Aguirre-Sacasa] the show-runner comes over and he goes, ‘Chance, Chance: this is the most important monologue of this episode. This encapsulates the pilot. You have to get it word for word, brother.’
“And I was like, ‘OK, OK’. The nerves were fitting to Ambrose, so it all worked out.”
Once his nerves had settled, he was able to get to grips with his character: “a pansexual necromancer trapped in a house,” as Perdomo describes him.
In order to sensitively portray his character’s sexuality, he sought advice from LGBT+ charity GLAAD.
“[Roberto and I] didn’t really go into in-depth discussion [about Ambrose’s sexuality], but I did have discussions with GLAAD, because pansexuality wasn’t something that I personally was familiar with,” he says. “Not to the degree that I would have liked to have been. The show doesn’t waste time in treating the audience like they’re idiots. He brings you in with these characters of depth, multi-faceted individuals, and the audience has to keep up.”
He continues: “That’s the big thing about Netflix: they have a global audience, so they have to have a more authentic representation of the world. And it’s very refreshing to be able to play these authentic narratives that haven’t been seen with as much depth in Hollywood, film or TV. So it’s very timely, and it’s about damn time.”
Perdomo and his co-stars are already nearly half way through filming for season two, and while he is reluctant to go into detail about what might be in store for Ambrose, he did tease that we’ll be getting a bit more insight into his past – and that he may eventually have a life outside of the Spellman household.
“You’ll definitely come to see [Ambrose’s chances of getting out of the Spellman house] come into play later on in the first season and the beginning of the second. How it plays out, I can’t tell you, but there’s a lot coming back to haunt Ambrose, and a lot of mental anguish in his past coming in to who he might be if he were to go out to the real world, and how he would conduct himself and where his place is.
“There’s a lot that’s gone on in that boy’s past that I can’t tell you. Well, I say boy: he’s in his 90s, technically!”
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina launches on Netflix on Friday 26th October