Lens Spotlight: Interview with Actor, Corey Champagne

 Photography by Clarence Gabriel for  GBRL Photography

Photography by Clarence Gabriel for GBRL Photography

Atlanta, Georgia

How did you get your start in acting?

My older brother was the first person to noticed something in me. When I was a kid, I was very talkative and could repeat every line from a television show. When asked what I wanted to be when I grew up I said I wanted to be a Power Ranger. My brother said, “Well you know Power Rangers are actors.” So, I said, “I want to be an actor.” Later, my brother suggested to my mom that I get into acting and at six years old I started performing at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta.

In your opinion, what is your best quality as an actor?

I try to bring as much of myself to a role without getting in the way of the character. As actors, we get cast because of what we bring to the character. However, once we are in the role, we have to surrender and allow that room for the character to be all they can be.

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Let’s talk about your current role in the hit Netflix’s drama series, Seven Seconds. You play Kadeuce Porter, a boy with a very complex life, what was the audition process like for this role?

I received an email from my agent with the breakdown of the character. It said, “deep thinker under tough veneer/15-17 [years of age]/gang member.” Initially, I thought “not another gang member role,” I try to avoid taking roles that could be considered stereotypical. However, I was curious about the “deep thinker” aspect and wanted to see how they would play that into the character. So, I got the script on Wednesday, I sent in a self-tape audition on Thursday, and I received the call on Friday telling me I got the part. By Monday I was in New York on shooting the funeral scene with Regina King.

While it all appears to have happened incredibly fast, it was not overnight. This role was the consummation of hours of auditions, flying back and forth to L.A. and all the sacrifices you make as an actor.

Can you give a little insight into your character?

The one thing I loved about playing Kadeuce is that it gave me an opportunity to provide a face for so many black men who are not always represented in their full capacity. To see a gang member who wants more out of his life and is doing certain things only as a means of survival I believe speaks to a lot of young brothers in similar situations.

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Your character is a part of a big reveal that leads to two very intense scenes, how did you prepare for those scenes?

When I shot Episodes 8 & 9, I was about 3 or 4 episodes into the series at this point. Throughout that time the emotions had been building up, so I was able to gauge where to go emotionally. I tried to stay truthful to the story and to who Kadeuce was as a character. I was able to get out of my way and let the character go where he needed to go.

What has been the audience response to your role?

It has been great and a little overwhelming. It has been amazing to see positive reactions from all over the world. The duality of the character seemed to resonate with the audience, and I’m proud of that. I was expecting worse responses regarding my storyline due to sexuality element. I did not want the audience to judge the character and have preconceived notions about the character based on what some people feel is an agenda against black men in the media.

Who is your acting role model?

Sam Jackson is probably my favorite actor because of his versatility. He is a leading man, but he also knows and understands the importance of supporting roles. You can tell he loves the art of acting and that’s what drew me to this work. I want to do critically acclaimed work but also have the room to do some of the popcorn stuff as well.

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What are some of the current challenges you face as an emerging actor?

I would say the time you have to put into before getting your break. I have been blessed to have a family has a support system, but your support system can become concerned when things are not happening as quickly over time. But you must keep your head in the game and stay prepared for moments like this.

Now it is about making sure I continue to pick to projects with three-dimensional characters and ensure I have a good team behind to take me to the next stage in my career.

Also, slowly losing your anonymity is a weird process. I can’t move like I used to move.

What’s next for Corey?

Right now, I’m crafting a great team and staying focus. I’m excited about the future.

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What quote or motto do you live your life by?

“One who has lost confidence can lose nothing more” - Pierre C.V. Boiste

As long as I keep believing myself and trusting everything will work out, it will. As soon as I lose that confidence, I will lose myself.

For more information on this artist, please follow on social media at @coreychampagne

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