If you’re — like the best of us — a glutton for Netflix, or if you were clip-clopping your way through the crowds at LFW, you might recognise the fresh face of 19-year-old actor and model, Bruce Herbelin-Earle. Finding his first taste of fame, (and hoards of tween fangirls) playing Marcus in Netflix’s Free Rein, the teenager has fast become a heart throb in waiting. Like all good actors worth their thespian salt, for his first major role as Marcus, Herbelin-Earle subscribed to the “say now, do later” philosophy when he bagged his part in the horse riding drama. If he’s willing to risk life and limb jumping cluelessly aboard a horse, imagine what kinds of situations he might find himself when he’s pinned for a lead in a feature… We sat down with the newbie ahead of release Free Rein’s second season.
He’s about to hit the big time.
Hey Bruce! So season two of Free Rein is confirmed now, how did you get the job?
I had won a competition through a casting website called Star Now, to fly to LA… I flew out for seven days, stayed there, worked at the Beverly Hills Playhouse, made some contacts, met some agents, and really had a kind of taste of what the LA life feels like as an actor… I was going over scenes on the plane on the way home, and the audition was the next day. I was jet-lagged, but I was pumped… I got another call back… We all met the next day, going into these stables to jump onto a horse… I was thinking, “Ah shit, I have no idea how to do this, I’m screwed.” And what was worse was that the guy who was going up for my role could horse ride, he was terrific at it. We were all in our riding gear, and the producers were there, and they put us on a horse, it was terrifying. I was like, ‘Yeah, I’ll do a trot!’ I didn’t know how to do a trot… But I got off, and I walked off with my tail between my legs, thinking, “I’ve just blagged my way through this!” Next day, I got a call and I got the role of Marcus. I was amazed.
That’s a pretty good blag… the show has such a devout following already!
It was shocking. I had to turn my phone off for a couple of days. It wasn’t something that I was expecting! Now it’s really nice to see all of the support as a cast, on social media. When you’re filming, you don’t think of the outcome, so when it does finally air a year later, you’re like, “Ooh… Shit! This is kind of terrifying!” We’re so grateful and really pleased about how the show has been received.
I’ve been looking you up on Instagram — you have so many fangirls already — and there’s so many YouTube edits of the show!
I don’t know when people find the time [to make social media edits of the show], but you know, for someone who’s not used to it, it can be kind of daunting, you receive it and think, “Wow, these people see me in a certain way, and I have to respect that and be sensible with how I act.” It’s great though, it’s a nice warm feeling.
When did you realise acting was what you wanted to do?
My first role was in Oliver at school, I played the Artful Dodger. I loved it, I had my top hat, and this Cockney accent. But at the time, it was just messing around, it was chilling with friends at rehearsal and laughing and joking, and then when it came to the performance… it was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced…
Was there anything specific you ever imagined yourself doing?
Well at first, it was voice overs, from watching all the Disney animations. I’m half French, so we watched them all in English first and then French… I was just imitating the voices, all the Aristocats.
Maybe the best Disney film? How about now you’ve been on screen, anything particular goals appear in your day dreams?
I definitely want to get into film. I just want to really dive in to a role. I’ve just finished watching a season of Peaky Blinders, the reason I love Peaky Blinders is that it’s incredibly cinematic, each episode is like an hour of film. I heard they’re making spin-offs out of Game of Thrones and maybe a Lord of the Rings series also, I am a huge fan. Oh, James Bond! Please, James Bond… I suppose I’m too young at the moment… but maybe I can be a young James Bond?
If the James Bond casting agent is reading this, Bruce is ready and waiting… Until they call, what have you got in the pipeline?
I have The Pursuit of Normality coming out next year, and that’s a really dark dramatic film about a writer. He manipulates relationships to see the outcome and so that he can write about them. It’s really complicated, but it’s truly really interesting. The first try didn’t quit turn out as well as the director (Gage Oxley) intended, so he made the brave decision to can the film, so this time we’ve got more a budget, and a bigger crew. It’s a real passion project. I’m very excited. I play Tom who Will, the writer, manipulates. He is really the sunshine of the story — not the comic relief, but the “joy” relief in the film, which is very dark itself — Tom gets pushed around very easily, and it’s really interesting to develop this guy. It’s exactly the kind of work I want to do because it’s all dramatic.
Taken from the Spring 2018 Issue; out now and available to buy here.