Christina Calph – Arthur (2011).

I recently got the chance to interview one of the cast from ‘Arthur’. Here, Christina Calph talks about the film, about her thoughts on remakes and about how to develop a good web series. 

Hey Christina, thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk to me. Obviously we’ve got you here to talk about your new film ‘Arthur’, coming out in UK cinema on 22nd April 2011. What’s the general plotline surrounding this film?

Well, I would hardly consider it my film, seeing as I have a small role, but the way you worded that question was so flattering I can’t help but answer. 😉 The story is about a wealthy alcoholic English playboy who lives in New York City with his nanny. He falls in love with a woman who doesn’t meet his families expectations thusly causing them to threaten to take away his inheritance if he doesn’t straighten up his act.

I wasn’t aware of this beforehand, but ‘Arthur”s actually a remake of a 1980’s film isn’t it? Had you seen the original film before you signed on?

Hell yeah! Haha Dudley Moore, John Gielgud and Liza Minnelli were a legendary combo. All of them were insanely talented. Dudley Moore was a comedic genius. My theory is in order to be a great actor you need to study the greats. Being a comedic actress, the original ‘Arthur’ for me was a bit of a text book. A timeless classic so to speak.

How would you say this version improves on the original?

To be completely honest with you, I am not a fan of remakes or sequels in general. I think it is a display of Hollywood’s laziness and just their way to “make a quick buck.” However, Russell Brand is one funny ass motherfucker. (Excuse my language) His stand-up is incredible and he’s just a dingy dongy, off-the-wall, airy type of comic; my kind of humor. Completely different from Dudley Moore. So I wouldn’t say improved, I’d say this version is a different interpretation of a similar story.

Tell us a bit about the character you play in the film.

I play the role of Tiffany, which is reminiscent of the character of Gloria (originally played by the talented Anne DeSalvo). I am…for lack of a better word…a gold digger who has a one-night stand with Arthur Bach.

I bet Katy Perry would have something to say about that!

Katy Perry knows Arthur Bach?? Woah. I guess Arthur is more of a celebrity than he let on!

I’m sure people know what I mean….anywho, I’ve heard critics talk about Russell Brand as a ‘Renaissance man of Britain’ – do you think that’s accurate? What’s he like in real life? 

Russell Brand is most definitely a jack of all trades. He has a lot to offer as an artist and I am so thankful to have worked with him on my first movie. I couldn’t have asked for a better person and I mean that from the bottom of my heart. I’m a newbie in the industry and working with celebrities can be quite difficult I’m finding. But Russell Brand let me take the spotlight during our scene. He allowed me to let my freak flag fly without judgment. It was fun working with someone who was so quick-witted & open. Just a really, really nice, genuine guy.

Dame Helen Mirren and Jennifer Garner also appear in the film. Did you get to meet them, what were they like?

I didn’t get to meet Jen Garner but my main scene in the film was with Dame Helen Mirren and Russell Brand. Dame Helen has always been someone I’ve idolized. I have a web series called, “XXX : A Bad Girl’s Ball,’ which I created because I was only being considered for roles like: gold digger, stripper, escort, cheerleader, girl who flashes to get into the club…so this series allows me to show my sexy but on my terms. One of my main influences for the series was Dame Helen Mirren. She is the epitome of owning your sexuality and is still one the best actresses out there. When she came up to me and said, “You’re a good actress.” I started shaking and babbling like an idiot. When I got on set, I was terrified because I am a classically trained actress and here I am in a T-shirt & panties, jumping up and down on Russell Brand. But Helen Mirren related to me, saying, “I know how you feel…it’s okay.” Needless to say, I named one of my fish after her, “Dame aka Queenie.”

Let’s talk about you Christina. What made you want to get into acting in the first place?

I’ve always wanted to be an artist but what initially inspired me…and I am dead ass honest with this story… my mother took me to go see Home Alone when I was four. Leaving the theatre I turned to her and said, “I want to do what Kevin does. I want to be an actor.” I never looked back from there. It was one of those experiences I can still remember picture perfect despite my young age.

As you’ve said, Dame Helen Mirren and Home Alone have been influences in your life – have there been any other artists / films that have inspired you?

Oh boy, too many to name! However, I based my role in Arthur off a combination of Judy Holiday in the film, “Born Yesterday” and Chris Farley in “Tommy Boy” along with the research I did on my own. Other artists that have inspired me: Robert DeNiro, Woody Allen, Adam McKay, Angelina Jolie, Madonna, and Carmen Electra.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in acting?

Prepare for the worst but expect the best. This is a very, VERY difficult industry to break into but not impossible. Take acting classes, study the greats, find out what they did to become successful. I do not believe in luck; I believe in hard work and dedication. If you believe in yourself, no matter what anyone else says, you will succeed.

You’ve mentioned your web series – do you think that this is the new way forward for writers with new ideas for TV series and films?

Most definitely! Especially for those like myself that have no connections whatsoever to the entertainment industry. XXX : A Bad Girl’s Ball has allowed me to showcase my work as an actress, writer, director, producer, choreographer & singer. I’ve been offered roles based solely off my work online. Also, I’ve learned a lot about what works for me as an artist. What demographics are watching my videos and why some videos became popular while others not so much. I’ve improved ten-fold as an actress because I’m constantly putting myself out there, allowing myself to take risks and be vulnerable. Indirectly resulting in becoming more open, creative and fearless in my work as a whole. I highly recommend starting a web series if anyone is interested in pursuing acting!

Ironically i’m writing and producing a web series myself actually – we should get you onboard! But what qualities do you think a web series needs to have in order to be successful? I mean obviously you don’t need huge amounts of cash…

Aw man, most definitely!! 🙂 That’s a good question. Everyone’s case is different, however, I feel you need to discover what makes your series appealing to viewers, run with that for a while and then allow yourself to get creative. In my case, my sexy videos are my most popular. So I make sure to mix it up. I continue to make sexy videos while I throw in my butch character or my choreography. The more you put out the more feedback you get. It’s all about building your fan base.

What’s the best way to market a web series once it has been produced? How many views have you got through doing  XXX : A Bad Girl’s Ball as a result?

I send out mass e-mails with links, post on Facebook and Twitter, tag a lot of different phrases in the description and I continue to post. I don’t purposely annoy people but every once in a while I’ll repost the links on my Facebook wall or send a link to someone who has requested to see my work. I don’t consider myself insanely popular online just yet, but people are slowly starting to take notice. I’m still building my fan base and to be honest, that is actually the most fun part about it to me. It’s an on-going learning process. My most popular video right now has 113,000 views (my sexiest video). My least popular has 300 views (the video where I portray my butch character). I know what works for me,  However, the beauty of online content is that there is no limit to how many videos you can make. There are no rules. So I say, allow yourself to be free and do what you want to do. People say, “Quality is key” or ” you shouldn’t go over 3 mins.” I completely disagree. I’ve seen videos on YouTube that were 15 minutes and they had millions of views. I say, do what makes you feel good and then promote it.

What’s coming up for you in 2011?

I have a small role in the movie Tower Heist (Nov. 2011) with Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Matthew Broderick and Casey Affleck. I play a snarky Victoria Secret’s Employee. I’m also working on a play right now called “In the Boom Boom Room” where I play the role of Chrissy. I have two sketches in editing right now for XXX : A Bad Girl’s Ball and will be hopefully shooting 30 more videos before the year is up! Just trying to keep my creative mind busy so i’m ready for the next big thing. 🙂

Thanks very much for your time!

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