Interview with Actress Claudia Christian

May 5, 2017 Film/TV , Interviews , MUSIC/FILM/TV

claudia-christian

By

Hazel Speed

 

It is always such a privilege when a person of note, a celebrity within any field, consents to an interview within which they share an insight of themselves in deeper ways.

Consequently, I was thrilled that Actress Claudia Christian agreed to participate by responding to some questions about her many skills, talents, and charitable cause, in such an honest and interesting way.

 

I am sure you will enjoy reading her own words herein.

 

 

claudia-christian

 

 

   

Hazel Speed: I notice from reading your biography that your first acting role was when you were five years old and were portraying a Native American Indian. It states that was when you realised an acting career was for you.

Was it the sense of wonder that only acting provided, even at your young age, or were you aware of the great heritage within the character (such as the Native American Song relates: ‘Every time I feel the Spirit moving in my heart, I will pray’)?

 

Claudia Christian: There were a few reasons why I so enjoyed being on the stage at 5 in that play. First of all the headdress was amazing (I only got the part because I had the longest braids by the way), also the way the adults stopped and listened and seemed engaged really struck me. I had their attention and they were smiling and enjoying themselves. That made me very happy and I realized that through acting you can move someone emotionally.

 

 

 

HS: Looking through the long list of all your wonderful achievements within films and hit TV series, what does it feel like when you glance back through such a catalogue, and do you consider each experience a stepping stone via which you learned both your craft as an actor, and development as a human being?

 

 

CC: When I look back at my career it really doesn’t have a theme or a trajectory at all. I’ve done everything from horror to comedy to science fiction and drama. There were lean years and abundant years and that taught me to diversify, to not rely 100% on acting. With that in mind I started flipping homes and writing books in my 30’s.

 

 

 

HS: Your gift of languages must have been enormously helpful, as well as abilities and skills in other capacities, such as being a writer and Producer/Director.

The role you played in one of the classic Columbo episodes, alongside the late Peter Falk, and actress Faye Dunaway (‘It’s All In The Game‘), was interesting in that your character was quite subtle, yet most powerful as to the ‘presence’ required in its portrayal. Not many actors have the same efficacy as you were able to take to that part. Was it fun filming together, and were you surprised how the storyline ended, especially so for your character?

 

CC: Wikipedia is incorrect in that I do not speak four languages fluently, I wish to God I did. I speak a smattering of German and Italian and rudimentary French unfortunately. My mother is German but we spoke English at home. I rather regret she never taught us her mother tongue. Faye Dunaway is an interesting woman, I had a wonderful time doing that film thanks to my beautiful friendship with Peter Falk….what a lovely man he was. I was surprised at the twist at the end but I loved to think that the audience would get a little shock….it was a great script. I based my accent on a sort of mash of Italian and a generic “European” blend so that people wouldn’t quite know where I was from.

 

 

 

 

 

 

HS: Despite the fact you are a hugely successful and well known actress, is there any genre of film you look forward to making in the future, or co-star, with whom you may wish to work?

 

 

CC: I adore doing comedy, most people don’t see me as a comedienne but that’s where I find the most joy. I adore heavy drama as well, because I’m a very sensitive person so it’s easy for me to expose my feelings on camera but comedy makes me full of energy, ideas and creativity.

 

 

 

HS: I believe your latest film, currently in post-production, is called ‘Dirty Dead Con Men‘. We will all look forward to seeing that in due course and wish you well with same.

It was most intriguing to learn you are also a singer, songwriter, and that you play the piano and guitar. Having heard one of your tracks ‘Morning Can Wait‘ readers are urged to check this out as the music and lyrics are superbly crafted and the vocal beautifully presented with a sultry feel which is best described as symbiotic to that which is yourself as an actress. They seem co-dependant in many ways, and the execution of your arpeggio intervals with their spatial descent. Can you tell us more about the inspiration behind this CD track, the song lyric ‘Morning crawls into bed with me’ and the delightful art work of the cover.

 

CC: I started experimenting in music when I was a child but have never achieved excellence in any department. I’m a mediocre singer and a beginner on the piano and guitar despite having natural talent and never studying. I simply did not have the discipline to stick with any one instrument so I ended up taking up everything from the violin to the saxophone! Thank you for the kind words though 🙂

What I DO feel confident in is my lyrics and those were all based on poems and prose that I have written through the years. I was really into writing poetry for about a decade…haven’t done much of it of late. ‘Morning can wait’ was based on a poem I wrote when I was in my late 20’s. The cover art is a photo of me when I was 3 years old sitting in front of my playhouse in Westport, Connecticut. I was a very introverted, quiet child and I had tinnitus so I would always seek out quiet places, with 3 older brothers that was difficult so my dad built me my own private little house so I could endure the ringing in my ears without additional noise from 3 screaming monkeys 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

HS: As an Author you have a great ability to spiritualise the meanings of life via metaphor. Spirituality, the Bible stories and words of Christ are utilised and it seems you expound philosophical concepts which stretch mindsets thus generating thought and debate. Is this a fair assessment or would you describe your works in other ways? 

 

CC: The themes of spirituality in Wolf’s Empire and some of my other books is concurrent with my own spiritual beliefs. I have been spontaneously praying since I was a tiny girl and I have always felt very close to what I consider the higher being, nature and people who have passed. I was raised Catholic but after my brother was killed we stopped attending church however I never stopped believing in God.

As an aside, I did all of the voices for Wolf’s Empire the Audible book; now that was a hoot! It took months but it was so much fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HS: It would seem superfluous to ask someone whose life is so full if they have a hobby, especially when they have so many abilities, but perhaps you do have an interest or spend time chilling out, and can enjoy relaxation via a sport or interest in any exercising or yoga, etc. Perhaps you enjoy a game of poker?

 

CC: Cooking is my passion and my hobby, in fact I wrote an article about it here:

 

 

 

HS: You have provided voiceovers and contribute within new media formats. Is that something you enjoy and perhaps you can tell us of the techniques required. Do you also write musical film scores or is that something you may consider doing in the future?

 

 

CC: Oh gosh I could never write a score. I’ve written a little music in my life but that takes true experience and a deep knowledge of musical theory which I simply do not possess. I love providing voices for games, it’s a challenge to create a character with just your voice but I love it. I also love working alone in the booth with no distractions; it’s a very clean form of performance.

 

 

 

HS: I believe you come from a prestigious medical family, has that driven your sense of achievement in any way? Apart from your charity work, I wonder also if you ever felt a sense of responsibility to achieve in your own goals in life. Perhaps it also empowered you with a sense of confidence inherently?

 

 

CC: I have a very high achieving family but I am the only one in the arts. My mother is a very successful business woman and dealt in fashion and interior design so I suppose that’s the closest thing to acting in my whole family, everyone else is in the medical professions. I was raised with parents who demanded that we support ourselves and buy our own cars and work as teenagers and I am forever grateful for that. I don’t think kids today understand the joy of making your own money and being independent and how that sets you up for life. I bought my first house when I was 25 years old and it was the best investment I ever made, my parents drilled into me that I HAD to buy a home, period. Thank God they did.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HS: Do you reside in America or like to travel or live periodically in other countries, especially considering you are multi-lingual?

 

 

CC: I live in Los Angeles but up until a year ago I had a flat in London as well and spent about 3 months a year there. I love England, I always have since I was a teenager. Someday I hope to live in the country somewhere in the UK. I generally spend at least 2 months a year abroad. I study French or go food tasting in Italy. I start to get antsy and bored if I stay in Los Angeles for too long. I love my home and the town and my friends but I’m a traveler at heart.

 

 

 

HS: You strike me as a bit of a joker at times as some of your interviews portray a great sense of humour. If so, has that helped or hindered you when on set, especially if another actor cannot stop laughing either?

 

 

CC: My sense of humor has carried me through a lot of experiences in my life and I believe I have it because of my mum, she’s got a great sense of humor and so do all of my German-French relatives. Humor was hugely present on the set of Babylon 5, we had the funniest cast I’ve ever worked with and truly enjoyed cracking each other up before, during and after takes 🙂

 

 

 

HS: Around this point I normally ask an interviewee if they wish to utilise a question to say anything they wish, or to promote any interest or project. However, it was not until preparing this discussion when you kindly told me of the following website links.

I highly commend that readers visit the following sites – firstly the Youtube link of a live presentation made to an audience during which you open up your heart and soul to share an issue in order to help others.

You are then urged to visit the amazing international website whereby every aspect on the subject can be found therein, be it in respect of looking for urgent help for oneself, or trying to obtain help for others with this specific need. The only reason I am not naming the subject area herein is that I passionately want everyone to hear what you, Claudia, have to say in your own words and that over 300,000 people have visited the YouTube page and listened to your honest portrayal, not within an acting role, but as yourself, for which you are to be commended.

 

CC: My non profit work advocating TSM (The Sinclair Method) is the most important thing I’ve done in my life and the thing that I am most proud of. I took a painful, horrible experience (that of being an addict) and decided to come out of the closet, be shame free and help others with alcohol use disorder. It is the most rewarding thing in the world to receive an email stating “You saved my life.” I cannot think of a better reason to be alive. I believe that we are here to help each other and provide service to those in need, I always have believed that. I just didn’t know that I would have to suffer for a decade in order to find out how to help others!

My TEDx talk was a wonderful experience and I am so utterly grateful to the London School of Business for inviting me to speak, that one talk alone has saved hundreds of lives already. The power of the internet! www.cthreefoundation.org is my tiny grassroots non profit organization. We provide free counseling and information to people suffering from AUD and their loved ones. I am enormously grateful to my one and only employee, Jenny Williamson, who essentially does everything except counsel people; that I do. She is a force of nature and has worked for peanuts simply because she sees what a difference TSM makes in people’s lives; her belief has carried us through very lean times indeed. We depend on donations so it’s a tough job keeping the doors open but we are determined to continue helping people free of charge.

C3 Foundation is my “real” life’s work and I enjoy every minute of it. My acting career has been an absolute joy and a blessing and I hope to continue to receive work but being in service to others was always my goal in life so I am thrilled that I am able to fulfil that desire.

 

 

 

 

 

My sincere appreciation to Claudia for her kindness. She is not only a very talented lady but a very nice one too. Her remarkable charitable project and personal story relating thereto, truly inspire. Thank you Claudia, we wish you continued successes in all areas of your life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

claudia-christian

Claudia Christian

Claudia Christian is an American actress, writer, singer, musician and director, known for her role as Commander Susan Ivanova on the science fiction television series Babylon 5. She also voiced several characters for “Skyrim”, the fifth video game in Elder Scrolls series. Her main charity work is publicizing The Sinclair Method as a cure for alcoholism. (Watch ‘One Little Pill‘ – a documentary film that will make you question everything you’ve been told about alcoholism).

 

Hazel Speed

Photo (c) Hazel Speed – used by kind permision to Tuck Magazine

Hazel Speed is a Philosopher, Writer, and Artist with various creative projects at differing stages of development. Her flaship project is an animation which has produced a film short: www.thepinkprofessor.com. She has also written an E-novel, ‘Just Suppose…!‘ which is available via the attached link.

Art sites: www.candystoreart.comwww.terrificart.comwww.artbadges.co.uk.

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