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Natasha Culzac -"People who struggle against the odds, whether they succeed or not inspire me a lot"

CUTLER talks with Natasha about her upcoming role in Paramounts 'Halo'. Her inspiration and what she hopes to star in next.

Photos by Scarlett Warrick

What made you want to start acting?

It’s0something I loved as a kid and studied up to A-Level before realising that in 2004, when I was looking at possible Higher Education institutions, was quite closed off and relatively elitist as a career. There’s such a huge jump between acting for the love of it and then pursuing it as a job. Back in 2004 you couldn’t get a student loan for drama school, you had to pay the fees in cash and I don’t come from a monied family so the decision was made for me. I guess in hindsight I could have tried to get a scholarship but growing up in Hastings/Bexhill I didn’t know any professional performers who could guide me in that way, and my family didn’t have a clue. So the dream sort of went on the back burner and I pursued other loves, such as writing and journalism. I bummed around a lot in my 20s, going to university, dropping out, doing every job under the sun, going back to university, studying abroad, travelling the world and finally graduated at 25. I wrung the life out of my journalism degree and started on that path but became a bit disillusioned. As time went on that nagging feeling that I hadn’t re-explored that part of myself got more and more prominent. I’d moved from journalism to working in marketing for a homelessness charity and was also modelling part-time on the side randomly, until I finally managed to get myself into some acting classes. And I just kept pushing since then.

You have a very exciting project coming out, can you tell our readers about it?

Yesssss so I’m in a live action adaptation of the very beloved computer game, Halo. In it I play a supersoldier Spartan called Riz-028, part of Master Chief’s Silver Team. It’s a TV show for a streamer called Paramount+ which isn’t out in the UK yet but should hopefully be out this summer, with Halo on its roster of programmes.

Do you find that each role becomes part of who you are, or do you prefer to leave the “character” on set?

It’s definitely a symbiotic relationship between yourself and the character. I think I probably put a lot of myself in characters rather than the other way around weirdly. Maybe that makes me a crap actress haha. But it means I’m able to leave the character a bit more easily. I generally don’t take it home with it. Although saying that, for Halo, we had to undergo quite a lengthy and demanding physical and military training programme, which I’ve just now sort of adopted into my normal life. I didn’t used to be very fit, I hated the gym and the culture around fitness, but now it’s just a part of my life.

How would you normally approach a role?

First off I use whatever material I’ve been given and any background information to pick apart the script. Then I go hard on the research - I think my background in journalism helps with that. I want to understand who the character is, what world they live in, why they might be motivated to act in the way they do. It’s fascinating going deep into so many different scenarios, so many alternate universes. Then of course if that character has a specific skill then I try as best I can to adopt a working knowledge of or ability to do the same thing.

What inspires you?

People who struggle against the odds, whether they succeed or not, inspire me a lot. The mere fact of trying I find actually quite emotional haha. I guess my dad was a lot like that. He had all these fantastical ideas of fame and fortune when he was younger, but they were all get-rich-quick schemes destined for the tip. But I respect the hustle and the attempt to achieve something even if it doesn’t come to fruition.

Who would you most like to work with?

I still feel so new to the industry so I’m actually extremely open to working with as many people as possible, but I have a few on my dream list which includes Amma Asante, Shonda Rhimes, Ben Wheatley and Jesse Armstrong.

Finally what would be your dream role?

A witty, nuanced character in a period drama, perhaps a picaresque adventure tale involving archery on horseback and sea shanties in pubs with overflowing ale!


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