Going Way Back with Charles Lott Jr.
Former high school football-star-turned-actor Charles Lott Jr. stars alongside Ben Affleck in the upcoming film “The Way Back.” Set to hit theaters nationwide on Friday, March 6th, Charles portrays ‘Chubb Hendricks’ the lighthearted goofball and member of the basketball team Affleck’s character takes under his wing. In our interview below, Charles discusses working with Ben Affleck, what it was like getting the role, how he got into acting and more!
What inspired you to pursue a career in acting?
My aunt signed me up for a talent show competition when I was 8 after a football game, my parents and I didn’t really want to go. But she convinced my parents that I should go due to my huge personality. Eventually, I went and ended up doing an audition with hundreds of kids and acted in front of a group of people. They had me read off of a script but I had never seen a script in my entire life. I didn’t even know what it was. They ended up flying me to Phoenix afterward and I won 1st place out of thousands of kids and received ten thousand dollars! It was all kind of by accident. I flew to Los Angeles and never acted again. I tried it but I didn’t like it that much. Hardly went on auditions, never took any classes, I wasn’t thrilled to do it. That’s why I stuck with my football career.
But I came back when I turned 17! Most people do when they have restored love for their career. It’s usually gained when a person has a monumental moment that kind of sparks their brain into the notion of changing. But for me, what made me pursue acting was my pure hatred for football. I played football before I acted and had college scouts after my barring injury. It was my senior year and as I was laying in my bed with a cast on my leg thinking “is it really worth it risking my health?” and “Am I getting used to not making a single dime and others getting rich over the back of my body?” It just wasn’t worth it for me anymore.
I had a career in acting when I was younger but I didn’t want to do it then. I was a kid that wanted to be a kid. When I once came out of retirement (with a more mature and well-trained mind), I decided to get back into it and gave it a try. Once I got into it and became a true student/thespian, I couldn’t believe I wasted so many years for such beautiful craft and artistry. But god’s timing is always perfect.
Did anyone try to stop you from pursuing this career?
The only person that stopped me was me! I had the opportunity to act then, but I was so stuck on this delusional NFL journey. I missed out on a lot of stuff that couldn’t help my career. But I don’t ever feel bad about my decision AT ALL! I’m glad that I was able to have a childhood and that I was able to be a regular kid. It’s pretty common that kids don’t want to act and decide to give it a go when they get older. But now I’m mature, I’m ready and more hardworking than ever!
What was your reaction when you found out you secured your role in THE WAY BACK?
The most common answer that most people say when they book their first role is that they were so pumped and they were screaming/crying etc. But that wasn’t me at all. When they told me I sat in my car for like an hour and soaked it all in. I couldn’t believe it. It took me so long to realize how big of a deal it was. Mostly I was scared, I questioned a lot. Am I ready for stardom and fame? This would be the beginning of getting my career started. Am I ready for all of that stuff, the main question I asked myself was did I belong? After a while, I believe I do!
How did your family react?
Aw man, they were the main one’s going crazy. I have a video of my mom crying. My dad he’s always more laid back and more subdued when big things happen such as getting a role (like me). My sister screamed and all of my friends were so hyped. I loved every single second watching them be so proud of me, I’d kill to have that moment again.
Who was your favorite person to work with on set?
Hands down Ben Affleck, we got along and got so close he ”adopted” me and made me his son. We talked about anything and everything, he gave me so many hidden gems on this industry that I will keep with me forever. People have no idea how hilarious he is too, he’s very approachable and he’s one of the greatest human beings I’ve ever met in my life.
Some of the stuff he says is so genius sometimes you think “ wow how can someone think like this?” It’s pretty amazing to be around, it kind of runs upon you and motivates you to be better, I had and have zero complaints about him. He made working with him so easy, I try to talk to him as much as I can. I wouldn’t want to work with anyone else for my first movie, it was a perfect match. I used to be obsessed with him, I was so excited when he became Batman, pictures all on my wall. And now I can say I know him? If I ask for anything more than that, that’s just me being greedy.
What was one of the funniest moments on set?
The first scene we had with Ben, I had my first lines throughout the film and we were about 3 weeks in. No one really talked to him, and when Gavin (the director) said action. We started the scene and he began to speak. When he finished his line I got ready to utter mine and BOOM he cuts me off and starts his lines, leaving me with nothing and completely speechless. But it was just one time so I let it slide, then he did it about 3-4 more times. The first thing I said out loud after he did it multiple times was “ AHHH HELLL NOOO” so when we had a break I walked over to his seat where he was relaxing at. His chair had his name with big letters BEN AFFLECK on it and I went up to him super-fast and I hit him kind of hard on the chest while he was on the phone and screamed “ HEYYY.” He was looking down on his phone and looked at me furious at least I thought. And suddenly I remembered who I was talking to, I told him: “Hey man seriously don’t step on my lines again, I pulled out the script and I showed him where my lines were and I told him where he is able to come in and speak. People all around set couldn’t believe I talked to him like that. Everyone was pissed, and a few days he came up and talked to me and told me how he respected me for it and we became best friends ever since! Crazy story right? I can’t make this up.
Did you ever struggle while playing this role? If so, how and what did you do to cope?
I actually didn’t, it was so easy for me because I am that character I am Chubbs Hendricks! So when I got the role, and even before that when I found out that I was auditioning for it I literally said “ oh my god this is so me!” and I couldn’t wait to show the casting directors that. It was basically me just playing me.
Do you find any similar characteristics between you and your character?
We’re both absolutely funny and goofballs easily. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. We are always the center of attention, and people always invite him to all places if people want to have a good time or a good laugh. I love me and Chubbs hahaha.
How has playing this role changed you?
It hasn’t changed me at all, because the character and I have very similar personalities. If anything it’s maybe heightened everything about me and made me want to accept and love myself even more. It felt so good being able to be the fun, jolly guy for those months every day 100% of the time. It made me a happier person, in the real world, we can’t always be like that. We have to be serious in a lot of cases and be an adult. So the fact that I got to do that every day and get paid for it almost feels like me stealing money.
What do you think the biggest takeaway from THE WAY BACK is?
Solidarity, community, unity, and fellowship are all the ingredients for success when it comes to working with different people. I have the ideology of its better to be a fist than fingers. When we first met each other on set we were all fingers, individuals, apart. But when we all got close, bonded, and formulated a brotherhood, we eventually came together and closed into a fist! It shows you how much better things are when you’re working with someone you like. It was the greatest time and experience I’ve ever had in my entire life. It’s so awesome to see strangers all different ages, all different geographical parts of the world, all different economic statuses, and all different life experiences that shaped and formed them into who they are. All of those people came together and all became brothers and love each other truly.
Walk us through a day on set
Wake up at 4 am, I get to the PA and sign that I have arrived. Go to my trailer, I tell the PA what I want for breakfast, they bring it to my trailer. I eat, get into costume and go to the makeup room. I get my haircut and get makeup done. Sometimes I go to the makeup room before I get dressed. And then I stay in my trailer practice lines, and if I have enough time I would go into the other guys’ trailers and mess around with them. We would go to the basketball court for rehearsal, stretch, run, go over plays for the scene do rehearsals. And then we shoot baby! Then we would shoot for about 16-17 hours a day. After we would go back and sleep in the hotel, and repeat the next day.
If possible, share with us a time you encountered a difficult obstacle in life and how you overcame it.
The hardest obstacle I had to overcome was making my decision to skip college and deciding to do acting full time. Everybody thought I was a complete failure because I wasn’t going to college. So many people tried to talk me out of it, most people believe that you need college to have success, career-driven life, which is completely untrue. Had to figure out where am I was going to live, what am I going to do, is this the right thing I’m doing. Trying to go through high school having to think differently than my classmates because they know where they’re going and what they wanted to do. But I’m having to think about what’s my source of income, living situations, I was sleeping on a couch at my friends’ house almost all second semester of senior year. It was hard, but I overcame and perseverance and I made the best decision of my life!
What sort of acting roles will you be seeking in the future?
Anything that shows my versatility as an actor. I want to be the LeBron James of the acting world. When you think of LeBron James, a lot of people don’t have him as the greatest basketball of all time (I do) but those same people will admit that he’s the best all-around player of all time. He can score at will, make beautiful passes, rebounds, dunk, orchestrate an offense, change and control the tempo on the court, leadership, and so much more. He’s a Swiss Army knife, that’s how I want to be in my career. When you say Kevin hart to people they think “oh yeah the funny comedic actor yeah I like him” or Daniel Day Lewis “yeah the great dramatic actor, he’s great” but I want people to say Charles Lott and think “?” I don’t want to have an identity I want to be water. Bend, fold and be flexible!
By Andrea Carvajal
Photographer ROB ECHANIQUE @robechanique
Stylist PARRISH MCKNIGHT @thatdudebarry
Grooming SAISHA BEECHAM @saishabeecham
Production Asstiant JUSTINE DUCLAUX @justine_duclaux
Production @BELLOMediaGroup x @MaisonPriveepr_la x @bonnetalex18