'Schitt's Creek's' Emily Hampshire on private lows, global spotlight: Thought I was a failure at 17
''Schitt's Creek'' star Emily Hampshire says her early failings as a teenager in movies taught her to not get overwhelmed by huge successes.
Hampshire started out as a child actor in the mid-90s and went on to work in productions like ''Boy Meets Girl'' and ''The Life Before This''.
The Canadian actor saw a career turnaround with the globally successful series ''Schitt's Creek'', on which she played the affable motel clerk Stevie Budd. The series propelled her to stardom with its acclaimed run of six seasons, from 2015-2020. Ahead of the premiere of her latest show ''Chapelwaite'', the actor told PTI that she is glad she didn't become an overnight star and tasted success, gradually.
''Had I gotten what I had wanted when I was a child actor, which was to work with Leonardo DiCaprio at 16 and be known worldwide, that would have been a terrible idea. I am now glad it didn't happen. But then, I was devastated. I thought I was a failure at 17,'' she said in an interview over Zoom. ''There was a roller coaster of ups and downs that I didn't have to do publicly. I got to fail a lot, but I wasn't famous. It was a great education. During that time, I also got to hone my craft. In Canada, there is no star system. If you are an actor, you are a blue collar worker. That was good for me,'' she added.
Hampshire said even when ''Schitt's Creek'' became a success, sweeping Golden Globe and Emmy Awards, she continued to remain grounded because of her past tryst with failures. ''When (the success of) 'Schitt's Creek' happened, for me, it wasn't like, 'Oh my God, we are at the red carpet of the Emmys.' It was crazy. But I felt I was safe from being lost in the hype of something.'' In ''Chapelwaite'', which is set to stream on Sony LIV from August 23, Hampshire features alongside '' The Pianist'' star Adrien Brody. The horror series is based on the short story ''Jerusalem's Lot'' by writer Stephen King.
The actor said ''Schitt's Creek'' has put her in a position to choose the kind of work she would like to invest in.
''The show's success has changed how I choose projects just by the fact that I now get to choose. Before 'Schitt's Creek', I took what was coming, I wanted to work. To me, being a success as an actor will be when I get absolute choice on whatever I want to do.
''Doing something like 'Schitt's Creek', which puts so much good out in the world, when you receive letters from people on how it affected their lives, it's hard to do anything less after.'' ''Chapelwaite'', the actor said, furthers her attempt to chronicle meaningful stories on screen.
On the show, set in the 1850s, Hampshire plays a writer, Rebecca Morgan while Brody features as a ship captain who, after the death of his wife, returns with his children to the family’s ancestral home, Chapelwaite. Hampshire, 39, said that it was important for her to play a woman, who has an individual arc and is not part of the story to just serve other characters.
''You might think that 'Chapelwaite' is dark and scary, what good is it putting out there but the character of Rebecca Morgan is so important to me. To see a woman of that time be a central figure in this story. ''She has a career. She doesn't just come into the house as the trope of the governess in a gothic horror, to then become just the mother of the children.'' The actor said her character is both, ahead of her times and extremely relevant to the current era.
''There are things she says about how difficult it is to break the paradigm people set for us (women). Those are her lines that I can say even today,'' she added.
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