Everything goes down in the DMs these days. Even, apparently, casting discussions for major new TV shows.
That was the case at least for actor Chance Perdomo, who discovered that he had been cast in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina… via Instagram.
The young British star, who caught the eye earlier this year with a heartbreaking performance in BBC3 real-life drama Killed By My Debt, has made the leap across the pond for his latest role in the Netflix fantasy series.
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.
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Here’s how it went down.
The audition process for the role of Ambrose Spellman, a 90-something year old Warlock in a young man’s body, had been somewhat arduous.
It had involved a number of screen-tests: one with star Kiernan Shipka, and another after a pep talk from former Doctor Who star and fellow Brit Michelle Gomez, who was testing for her role as Mrs Wardell.
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.”
Despite this unorthodox manner of finding out the best news of his career to date, he was still able to enjoy the moment.
“I went straight on the phone to my mum and we just had a lovely cry together. She had to pull over the car actually because she wasn’t in the right place to drive.”
*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.”
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@newyorkcomiccon was a blast. I wanna thank @netflix , @archiecomics & most certainly the genius @writerras for changing my life for the better. This televisual-world has been created by his unrelenting hustle, belief & fandom. YOU, the watcher care because WE the Actors care because HE, the creator cares. It’s because of that love that each & every one of you reading this will find something relatable & heart-warming about the show…..& it’s a damn-good-f*ing-rollercoaster to boot! Here comes #caos , here comes @sabrinanetflix #buckleupdorothy #witches n #badbitches OCT26
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.”
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Outwardly calm, collected; He falters not when stepping up, bearing great weight. Fluid like Bruce Lee, absorbent like Osho. Ross is strong. You’d have to look closely, very closely indeed, for the slightest glimpse of furrowed brow. His toned gallant-heartthrob-arms give nothing away. It is a flicker, fleeting at that, that provides window to the agony he has subjected himself to in the name of “banter” & “camaraderie”. Truth be told, his arms…his beautiful arms…they are screaming at him. Yet he is poised. Yet He is Graceful. He is… @ross_lynch
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