Christian Brassington is not a vile, sleazy reverend from the 18th century, but he plays one on TV.
Christian is an actor - and a fine one at that. Known for his current role on the BBC super hit series Poldark, Brassington plays Reverend Osborne "Ossie" Whitworth, the wormy, womanizing, brute of a clergyman, who is as far from a 'man of the cloth' as you can imagine! He is Poldark's most rancid villain that the viewers absolutely love to hate! Brassington has not only captured the true essence of such a despicable man, but also put on a hefty amount of weight to recreate the character to perfection.
To know Christian, it is quite obvious, that he is nothing like his character. He doesn't even look like him for that matter - Christian is a handsome, charming bloke from Hampshire, England, an amazing actor and surely an up and coming talent that you will need to keep an eye out for!
We were lucky enough to be able to catch up with Christian for an interview recently, during his promotional launch for the greatly anticipated 4th season of Poldark - and this time, the Cool Magazine readers got in on the action with the chance to ask Christian himself, the questions they have been dying to know!
Read ahead and get to know all about this talented new actor on the rise!
Who or what inspired you to become an actor? Is it in the family, or are you the first?
"My grandmother and her sisters were very talented operatic singers when they were growing up in the North-East. Then my mum was a dancer and involved in am dram. But the fact my dad went to drama school and had been a professional actor was probably the greatest influence in terms of realising that this is an actual career path that people follow. I’m not sure I’d ever have thought this was an achievable profession if not for that."
What do you like to do in your spare time? Any special hobbies, or hidden talents that people don't know about you?
"Travel, enjoying London with friends (or alone!), catching up with films and plays; TV shows I might’ve missed while filming. I’m also unacceptably into sport. I could happily watch football all day. And a day in the sunshine watching a Test at Lords is pretty close to heaven, I reckon."
Do you get recognized on the street by fans for your role in Poldark?
"A couple of weeks ago, I’d have said not at all. But I’ve recently had to shave my beard and cut my hair for a role (in a film called Fisherman’s Friends) and it’s happening a lot more now! Everyone’s been nice so far, if a little wary!"
What is your definition of cool?
"I think not caring or conforming? Individualism."
Questions submitted by Cool Magazine readers:
Tina Rombold asks:
How did you feel gaining the weight (for the role of Ossie) then losing it? Did your body have a hard time adjusting?
"I think it was necessary for the character. I enjoy changing myself physically for a role so I was all for it. For series three I was pretty unhealthy at my top weight. I remember getting to the top of a long flight of stairs and being out of breath and thinking ‘I am NOT in good shape’. But I worked with a great nutritionist (Lucy Jones) and personal trainer (Neil Elden) for series four to ensure that we put the weight on in a much more healthy way. I mean, I was still two and a half stone over the weight that I’d ideally be. But there was hopefully a bit more muscle in there."
Noelle Black asks:
Do you feel evil once in costume delivering those lines, as it is so far removed from your own personality?
"I don’t know if I feel evil. Ossie certainly does some evil things. But I think when you’re playing a part you just have to portray what he does as honestly as possible. Then let the audience judge him. He could certainly do with a bit of judgement!"
Essy Hodge asks:
Your next project is 'Fisherman's Friends' which seems to be a comedy (based on real events). Did you consciously pick a comedy after playing a controversial character in Poldark (which is a drama).
"No, I think it’s often a case of what part you’re lucky enough to be offered. But it is lovely to be doing some comedy again and to be playing a character who’s fundamentally a good guy, if a little dim - bless him."
Kylee French asks:
Do you think there are any good aspects to your character, despite Ossie's obvious villainous ways? Also, how hard is it to play someone that's so nasty and evil?
"Eeeesh. Tough to find any “good” in Osborne Whitworth. I guess his pomposity can sometimes be quite entertaining? Not that he knows that, of course. I’m sure it’s enjoyable every time he gets taken down a peg or two. It’s definitely sometimes difficult being quite so vile and aggressive toward Ellise Chappell as Morwenna. I’m incredibly fond of Ellise and proud to say we’ve become great friends. It can be quite tough being so mean to her, despite being in character when that happens. Ellise is such a wonderful actor that she really gets into the scenes and the emotional and physical trauma Morwenna goes through. It’s hard seeing someone you care for that upset. We’re very, very lucky to be doing what we love. But it does cost you sometimes, this job. I’ve had to take myself off somewhere quiet a couple of times."
Gaynor Quinn asks:
I remember very well the actor Christopher Biggings playing this part. I don't suppose you would have wanted to watch another actor's portrayal, so did you read any of the relevant books? I think the writing was very effective in releasing his greasy character.
"I haven’t read the books as we wanted to stick to Debbie Horsfield’s version of the story. But Debbie would tell us of any relevant information from the novels she thought would help in our playing. I’m looking forward to reading them one day though. And to watching the original series; we had the VHS tapes at home when I was little. I bet Biggins is great in it."
Elizabeth Schuck Tobin asks:
Why did you decide to try out for the role of Osborne? What attracted you to it?
"I remember very clearly reading a few of Ossie’s scenes for the first time and everything kinda clicking. That really doesn’t happen that often. I could picture him. That’s testament to Debbie’s writing - and Winston Graham, of course. We’ve obviously done a lot of work since, but I found his voice and that hypocritically-pious, drooping face almost immediately. It’s an absolute gift of a part: rich and fun and awful. I’m incredibly lucky."
Jane E. Nesbitt asks:
How did you develop Ossie's voice and mannerisms?
"Ossie’s voice just came to me. Isn’t it awful that such a sound could be within you?! I’ve heard it described as a cross between Prince Charles and a slug which I rather liked. But I didn’t intentionally try to sound like anyone. The weight helped with his physicality a lot, as does the costume. I went to the National Portrait Gallery and looked at paintings from the time to get an idea of how the more dandy-ish (or wannabe dandy-ish) types would hold themselves. And there’s something about his air of superiority which led me to drop my mouth and eyes. It’s difficult to explain but if you’re bright, kind and energetic I think you smile a lot more; your eyes crease and your brows stretch up and out. Ossie’s face kinda hangs there - all his features pulled down by his cloying, heavy avarice and constant looking down his nose at everyone."
Caroline Birch asks:
Do you know what Christopher Biggins thinks of your portrayal of Rev. Osborne Whitworth?
"He’s been incredibly kind about me in the press, apparently. Which is a really lovely, generous thing to do. I met him at the theatre recently and it was a real treat. He’s a force of nature!"
Christian Brassington is a cool guy because he has a passion for his work. He puts in every effort, right down to the finest of details, to capture his characters no matter who they may be. Loved or hated, he becomes them, and makes you believe. This is what a true actor is. A master of his craft.
Christian has a long and flourishing career ahead of him, so why not get started by catching him on the upcoming season premiere of BBC's Poldark on June 10th! It's definitely a broadcasting event you don't want to miss out on!
-M & J Shepherd (2018)