Charlotte Hegele on getting raunchy for her “Bomb Girls” audition and the evolution of Kate

Hey Bomb Girls fans! Is the hiatus as hard for you as it is for me? Well never fear, because I have an interview with the charming Charlotte Hegele to tide you over. And even though Charlotte’s Canadian accent doesn’t translate to text, rest assured, it is there and it is adorable.

AfterEllen.com: So I was doing my little IMDB pre-interview research for this, and I had no idea how young you are. You’re kind of the baby of the Bomb Girls family, which really makes your performance even more impressive. You’re 22 right?

Charlotte Hegele:
Yeah, I am 22. Thank you so much.

AE: But it made me wonder how you managed to walk into this amazing role, this amazing ensemble, and what your audition process was like.

CH:
Well it’s a long story. I had been living in Toronto and auditioning pretty frequently for about a year and my agent called me up and said “I’m going to submit you for this project; it’s a really unique script and I want you to read it.” And when I read it, I really identified with Kate. The audition process took about six to eight weeks, it took my entire summer, auditioning and not hearing anything, and being told I’m going to get a callback. And I finally went on vacation in Alaska and I had no internet or phone connection. So I was really panicking, like “What if they call me?” and then when I got back and they hadn’t, I figured the role had gone to someone else. But then they called me when I was still in Vancouver and said “we want you to come in for a screen test with Jodi Balfour in Toronto.” So when I got back from my trip I did an audition just with Jodi and Adrienne (Mitchell) and it was amazing. At that point I felt very confident that I was Kate. I knew that I knew her inside and out. And then I got the part.

AE: Was there a vocal element of the audition? I know you’re also a musician and I wondered how you augmented or changed your vocal style for the role.

CH:
I guess I did. For me, when I feel nervous, like when I’m meeting new people or I’m doing a telephone interview [Laughs] my voice naturally goes a bit higher, so that’s something that I brought to Kate. Because she herself — especially at the beginning of the series — feels a lot of social anxiety. They also asked me to sing in my auditions, so I sang in every single audition, a capella. And then in one of the callbacks I got asked if I had any jazz standards, or anything a little more va va voom raunchy. And I was like, “Well I know Chicago,” so I sang “When You’re Good to Mama.”

AE: That’s awesome. I hope we get to hear raunchy jazz standards sometime soon. Speaking of the beginning of the series, the character of Kate has really come along a lot, and even the Kate that we met and the beginning of season two is a lot different. How did you react when you heard about the drastic changes coming for her?

CH:
Well, the way that the actors are given the scripts for the show is two at a time, because we shoot two at a time, but we’re usually given them only a week before we start shooting. So starting at the beginning of the season I had no idea where Kate was going to be by episode six or by the finale. But at the beginning I sat down with Michael MacLennan and Adrienne Mitchell, and we talked about Kate’s experience when she went back with her father, and what changes they had written for her, and justifying why there was such a big personality adjustment. At first I was a little bit—I guess, shocked, because I was like “Oh no, she’s really different.” But then it was fun for me, it was like getting this big, complicated jigsaw puzzle and every time I got new script, figuring out how it’s going to look at the end. So it was fus. This year was very challenging for me but by the end of it, it felt extremely rewarding. Hopefully when audiences see the final product, they understand how complex Kate is, or Marion is, and why she’s that way.

AE: You know, writing for AfterEllen, every episode we kind of do a little “Kate Watch” which is just, like, monitoring your facial expressions every time you interact with Ali Liebert’s character, and it’s so engaging, it really keeps you hooked with much ambiguity is there. To what extent is that a choice, and to what extent are we reading into it? Were you told to play your feelings for Betty as ambiguous at the beginning of season one?

CH:
I think it’s a combination of my choice and also there were times that I was directed in that way. But I think that’s the exciting thing about Kate; there’s this huge element to her that’s very mysterious and you’re not quite sure what’s going on. But that gives everyone freedom to steer her in directions to help the plot.

AE: Ok, so this is the money question: who is a better dancer, Michael Seater or Ali Liebert?

CH:
Well see, Betty doesn’t dance very well, so I’ve never danced with just Ali, I’ve danced with Betty. But I think they’re both pretty good. I was very nervous to be dancing, because unlike singing, I had no experience, and I feel like I have two left feet. But both Ali and Michael are much more confident dancers and they were both really great to dance with. So I choose the very neutral response, that they were both good.

AE: That’s very Canadian of you. Finally, if you could describe Kate’s journey, or her trajectory the rest of the season in one word, what would it be?

CH:
[Long silence.]

AE: Or two words, if that’s easier.

CH:
I guess discovery and growth. I know that doesn’t sound very specific, but I still feel like she’s trying to discover who she is. That’s been a continuous thing with her, is that she’s trying to find her voice, both figuratively and literally, and now she’s really trying to find who she is, versus what other people expect of her — what she thinks society expects of her, what men expect of her, what her loved ones expect of her. So I’d say “growth,” but I think that’s across the board for all the characters. I know there’s only six episodes left, but there’s still a lot of changes that are going to happen to everyone. It’s pretty exciting.

For U.S. viewers, Reelz will be airing a Season 1 marathon of Bomb Girls on the Season 2 premiere on March 27.

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