Valmike Rampersad is more than just a pretty face...
What was the change like from London to L.A?
The transition initially took a while to settle in because I moved to L.A and I realised you have to drive everywhere. Over here, I love using the tubes and public transport - I found when you drive you can do your lines and voice exercises. I also found when it snows here, everything shuts down but when it rains over in L.A, everything shuts down! And on top of that, nobody carries brollies! You have to get used to little things culturally. Everyone in the industry is in L.A but I still appreciate London. L.A has so many nice places like mountain climbing, the beach, which is all less than half an hour away.
What was it like playing an assassin for The Hotel?
In The Hotel I play Art Malik’s son and I go to assassinate a minister in his hotel. Danny Webb’s character thinks Art Malik is the bad guy but it’s really me who’s the bad one. I love characters that develop – the ones that are difficult. As the Assassin unfortunately I didn’t get to assassinate the minister but I got a semi-finalist listing for the Academy Awards 2010. Art was brilliant – I got to see what he was like in the flesh and he was so committed. There was a scene where I had to have a panic attack and he showed me different types of breathing methods. He then dies in a scene and it was really cool seeing him collapse with all the blood. When I got the job for The Hotel, I also got the opportunity to shoot in Dubai for more money. My mum obviously opted for more money but when The Hotel got picked for the Semi-finals of the Academy Awards, I knew it was the right choice.
You are one of the new faces for Nivea…
I am one of the new faces of Nivea – I love the brand so I auditioned and when my mother found out she was so excited. I was even more so when I found out the director has shot with Rihanna.
What projects have you been working on?
My latest project Blood Cure, was filmed in a derelict warehouse and gangs actually came out at night so we had to be a bit careful. My other film The Rise and Fall of John Tesoro was shot in the Caribbean and it was amazing because it’s the place where I was born and I could go back to my family home whenever I pleased.
Do you ever get star struck?
I was never the person who was easily star-struck. When a director gives you so much, then you’re excited – the actors are like your colleagues, you have to learn and take an experience. But I have to say, directors are more exciting to work with. In L.A, you always see stars, wherever you go.
Tell us something you can never forget?
I will never forget how in The Rise and Fall of John Tesoro my co-star Gerry Bednob and I couldn’t stop laughing throughout. We would laugh for a good ten minutes and started to develop our own inside-jokes. I don’t have fans – you create that kind of hype yourself. I loved working on The Cost of Love because it involves work that’s cool and stands out. This kind of thing seems to pay off when you follow your gut instinct. I’m filming Hangman – it’s about a school shooting and I’m the only survivor. I honestly felt like vomiting while we were filming a scene where a girl’s head blew up and the director loved the take. To recreate reality is amazing – I was sweating and generating real tears with all the anxiety. I make the most of every role given, no matter the size of the role – the challenge is to make it more fun. With Daisy’s Last Stand, I like the script despite the role being small. The script had heart and soul and it was another rewarding experience.
What do you get up to in your spare time?
When I’m not acting I like my own time as it does get overwhelming. I drive to Malibu beach and I’ve actually found a healthy fish and chip shop! But I must say I do miss a good curry as it doesn’t taste the same in L.A.
How do you feel about nudity?
I don’t have a problem with nudity as long as it’s necessary – I’m all for it. If it’s just skin on screen then I wouldn’t be interested at all.