MVP-Life had a opportunity to chat to LA based actor Charley Boon, who is not only a great actor but is also an instructor at the highly reputable Joanne Baron/DW Brown acting school. We caught up with Charley to discuss his career and his recent foray into the world of bodybuilding.
MVP Were you born and bred in California? If not, tell us which city and state you grew up in.
CB Haha.. I love that word, “Bred”! I just had this horribly vivid visual of being conceived. Thank you for that. California is home indeed. I was born in sunny San Diego and it’s the city I consider home. I have a special love for Los Angeles. This city has been my home away from home and I’ve spent many years here.
MVP You are an acting instructor at the very reputable – Joanne Baron/DW Brown acting school in Los Angeles. What led you to take that path?
CB I still remember, years ago when I was asked to train as an instructor. Though it was a great honor, I would need to put my own acting career on hold while I trained to teach. By the way, the instructors are required to complete the 2 year Meisner acting curriculum and then train an additional 4-5 years as instructors before they are allowed to teach. You can see why very few make it through the instructor training program. I’m so glad I made it through.
Working with actors over the years has been one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences I’ve ever encountered. To answer your question regarding what led me to take that path, I would say Instinct. It may sound hokey but Instinct told me to. I’ve learned that good things happen when I trust my gut.
MVP Who are some successful actors/actresses that you have personally trained?
CB Thank you for providing a very key word in your question. The word “successful” means different things to different people. I would say that the actors who really commit to themselves, the training and their craft are the successful ones. It takes discipline to work in a way that will make you great at what you do. Sure, it’s nice to see them get their major motion picture and hit T.V. show deals. These things are not what provide them with the lasting feeling of success though. What I’ve learned from the great ones is that the feeling of success can only come from being disciplined enough to become great at the thing you love to do.
MVP Would you like to share with any aspiring actors and actresses the challenges that you faced in pursuing a career in acting and how you overcame them?
CB I won’t name names but I once heard a discourse given by one of the most gifted actors of our time. I couldn’t understand much of what he said. He’s an actor after all and not a public speaker so we’ll forgive him. I did however, understand three profound and powerful words. They were, “Persevere”, “Persevere”, “Persevere”. I don’t know of anyone who accomplished great things in this life, that didn’t first have to prove this prescription true.
MVP You played the role of Arza Hinckley in the movie Ephraim’s Rescue. Please tell our readers about this character and what it was like playing this role.
CB Arza Hinckley was an experienced and very skilled teamster. He’s best known for being part of an amazing rescue effort in the mid 1800s. Arza and a few others, including Ephraim Hanks, set out to rescue the Martin Handcart Company from the freezing cold weather as they fought to make their way to the western United States. I remember being cold as we were filming in the snow covered mountains. I had never been as cold as I was during that shoot. It wasn’t until that moment that I understood a fraction of what kind of man Arza truly was. Fortunately for me, he was also a record keeping man. It was an honor to get to learn about him from his own words, recorded in his journals. I learned so much and I’m a better man for having portrayed him in the film.
MVP We interviewed Adam Simon – actor and screenwriter of the movie you recently featured in as Agent 702 (Synapse). Tell us more about your role in this film, and how you prepared for it?
CB Oh man! Can I just tell you how excited I am for Synapse? Not just because I was lucky enough to be a part of it. I’m geeking out as a fan! Let me just say this..and I don’t think I’ll get into too much trouble if I let your readers in on a little inside info…Adam Simon has created this insanely sophisticated and complex Synapse Universe! When you couple that with Kenlon Clark’s incredible vision as a Director as well as the amazing producing talents of Brian Brosnan and Los Angeles Center Studios, you have the perfect storm.
I’ll need to leave it at that for now. Let’s just say that Agent 702 is the type of guy you call when you need the job done. He’s the type of character you see in a Graphic Novel yet is so deeply rooted in the raw and gritty reality of our day, he’s relatable. Though he’s physically imposing and extremely skilled in tactical warfare, those are not his most prolific talents. He’s dangerously cunning and always two steps ahead. I can’t tell you what I love most about this character because it will give too much away. Let’s just say that he has many layers and experiences deep conflict, though he lives by a code.
The fundamental and core piece to making this character work, was in the development of the relationship between Nathan and 702. Adam and I spent months living and training together before any of this even went to pre-production. Developing that true partner relationship was vital to serving the story that Adam created. So we worked out together, trained in weapons and hand to hand combat together. We did everything together and now we hope it translates to the screen to serve the story.
MVP Adam Simon is actually an ex-student of yours. Please share how your relationship with Adam developed from teacher-student to actor-director?
CB Don’t get me wrong, I would love to take some credit for his talent but that was all him. It’s a smaller world than one would think in this industry. I’ve had the pleasure of working with many former students who have been trained in the same method that I have been trained in. It’s like having a sixth sense when you work together. I can’t explain it but it’s one of the coolest feelings in the world. I don’t really talk about specific actors with whom I’ve worked with on the student/instructor level but suffice it to say that there are very few who have the skill and attack the work the way that Adam does. Those very few of whom I speak are the artists we enjoy on the big screen and in our living rooms today.
MVP In the space of two years, you have gone from being overweight to a bodybuilding champion! Please share with us the impetus behind such a dramatic transformation?
CB It’s the craziest thing! My incredible coach and friend, Pete “The Punisher” Ciccone of 619 Muscle and Sexy-Strong, was training me for a specific acting role. I was new to the discipline and struggling a bit getting into the elite athlete mindset. I was behaving as a “mortal” would and not being fully compliant with my prescribed meal plan. Obviously the results were not coming as they should, had I truly been following the plan.
As part of my accountability, Pete said that we were going to compete in the Physique category of Men’s bodybuilding shows. We set a date and the scare tactic worked. I was able to lock it in and we looked the way we needed to for the role. I held true to my word and competed in my first ever Physique competition. We took third in my class!! I didn’t even know I could place. Most of those guys had been training for many years and they all looked like Greek Gods. I did two more Jon Lindsay Muscle Contest shows and placed top 5 in my class for both of those shows. Not bad for an actor but now I’m wondering if there is an athlete buried somewhere in there.
MVP Did being overweight affect your confidence and self-image in any way? If so did it improve after you started taking care of yourself?
CB Hmmm… Looking back on it, I’m sure it did, though I wasn’t aware of it at the time. I know that I take my shirt off at the beach now so that must be a good sign, right? The truth be told, I’m sure we each react in different ways. There has been a quiet confidence that has come as a result of my physique training but it’s not solely due to the physical. I’ve developed an extra gear or two in my mental discipline. There’s physical proof that I can accomplish things previously thought to be impossible or improbable at best. It makes me wonder what else I’ve been telling myself that I can’t do.
MVP What does it take to get that banging body?
Answer: Haha!! I’ll take “Banging Body” any day. Thank you very much for the compliment. The science of it is actually quite simple. It’s the thing, nobody can give us that’s hard. That is, a will to change. If you have that, then find the body type that you want to achieve. Find out where those people train. Who’s coaching them? Work with those coaches to get on a custom meal plan and training schedule. I chose not to train in a private gym because I wanted to surround myself by those who have elite physiques. I watch and learn from them every day that I train. My gym family at World Gym San Diego, took me in as one of their own back when I wasn’t at their level mentally nor physically. They all supported me and continue to support me today. By the way, I followed the same methodology in choosing a place to train as an actor. You can’t buy that. Find that place for you and then get to work.
MVP When you started training, how long did it take before you started to see physical results?
CB I had the brakes on for the first six months because I was still not following my meal plan. After I fully committed, I started seeing results little by little. People started commenting after about six months of dedicated and fully compliant training.
MVP Given what you have achieved with your body, do you still have the same drive you had at the beginning of your journey, or has this changed?
CB It’s changed in that I’m even more driven now. I’m a character actor so I’ll need to match my physical body to whatever role I’m taking on at the time. When I’m not working though, you better believe I’ll be up on stage with those amazing athletes, trying to bring my personal best. I’m hooked for life.
MVP Do you take any body building supplements?
If so, which one(s)?
CB Clean Food is the most important supplement. Without a clean nutrition plan, we’re wasting our money on supplements. However, if we are following a clean and specific meal plan, we can benefit from supplements. Be sure to check with your coach regarding which ones will help you to reach your goals. I personally take a multi vitamin. I also use whey and casein protein powders as well as amino acids. This is all measured to suit my specific training needs. Supplements will not benefit us without putting in the work and eating right.
MVP What sort of diet do you live on?
CB Pete also handles my nutrition. My meal plans are pretty consistent for both on and off season. I just increase the measurements of what I’m eating in the off season. We use a carb cycling type of plan as we get closer to filming or physique competitions. I eat 6-7 times a day and prepare all of my food for the week on the weekends. My protein sources consist of lean cuts of meat like chicken, turkey, fish or steak. I also use egg whites and protein powders. My carb sources are rice or rice cakes, potatoes, green veggies and apples. I drink plenty of water. I do get re-feed meals and dessert on occasion.
MVP What specific awards, medals or accolades have you received for bodybuilding?
CB I have three little buff guy statues that we won from competing in the Jon Lindsay Muscle Contests this past year. I proudly display those in my house. I also ran my first half marathon this past weekend and received a medal for that. I’ve been wearing it all week but I think it’s time to put it away now. I found that it’s not the hardware that makes me happy though. It’s the work that I put in when nobody else was watching, that brings true joy.
MVP Besides being involved with body building and being an actor instructor are you involved in any other causes and charities? If any, tell us what they are and why you support them?
CB As actors, I believe that it’s vital to be connected to our humanity. There is no greater way of accomplishing this than by being of service to others. As entertainers, it’s important for people to have a blank slate when they see a performance. It’s difficult to believe an actor in a role when all you can do is think of who they are dating, the product they are selling or the cause they are championing, as noble and worthy as it may be. For this purpose, I choose to serve anonymously and in private. I will share that I love my fellow man and animals. Most of what I do is centered around them.
MVP What do you do for fun? I mean besides working out, do you have any other hobbies?
CB I enjoy going to plays and the movies. Concerts and sporting events are also fun. I’m very curious so I like to visit other places and cultures. Most of the time though, I just enjoy a relaxing night at home.
MVP What last words would you like to leave our readers and your fans with?
CB Thank you for reading this MVP-Life interview and we sincerely appreciate all of your support. We’ll have more news to share with you soon, I’m sure.