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Charles Mesure, who plays Blackbeard in Once Upon a Time, shows he’s not afraid to take on prime TV roles.

New Zealand actor Charles Mesure is making the most of his time in the US and relishing roles as a bad guy alongside Simon Baker in The Mentalist.

New Zealand actor Charles Mesure is making the most of his time in the US and relishing roles as a bad guy alongside Simon Baker in The Mentalist.

It was a good day for Charles Mesure back in January.

Starting his morning in Los Angeles playing a Texan art thief going up against Simon Baker in The Mentalist, by nightfall he was in Vancouver kicking around with swords for his debut as English pirate Blackbeard on Once Upon a Time.

“It was crazy,” says the LA-based Kiwi. “I wrapped on The Mentalist after being flat out filming with them every day and then I was flying to Vancouver learning lines, figuring out fight choreography and trying to pull a British accent out of thin air for Once Upon a Time.

Nabbing gigs on two primetime American shows isn’t something Mesure takes for granted after 10 years in Hollywood.

His last significant television role (playing Aussie real estate developer Ben Faulkner on Desperate Housewives) came to an end two years ago and apart from stints on Burn Notice and ITV’s Agatha Christie’s Marple, a surprisingly quiet year followed.

So when the call came from Vancouver – where he was based while filming 2009 sci-fi series V – the Sydney-born former Aucklander didn’t hesitate to jump straight from one job to the other, invited to join Once without an audition.

Having cast New Zealand actress Rose McIver as Tinker Bell last year, Once producers, who knew Mesure through V, once again turned to a Kiwi after struggling to find the right actor for the role.

Charles Mesure as Gerard in Outrageous Fortune.

Charles Mesure as Blackbeard on Once Upon a Time.

Admittedly, 43-year-old Mesure wasn’t too familiar with the series and had time to watch only one episode then perfect his pirate accent, which he based on Peter O’Toole in The Lion in Winter.

“I wanted a big, loud character full of bravado, but very well-spoken. I was told nothing about the story or the character, so it really came out of developing that accent and getting up there and seeing the costume. His costume is nuts and so is the wig and the makeup. As soon as I put all of that on, it was like, ‘There he is’. It’s so much fun to play him.”

A wealthy, well-educated pirate from Bristol, Blackbeard’s story intertwines with Captain Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) and kicks off with an impressive sword fight.

Mesure didn’t run into McIver on-set, but says the cast were all welcoming of another actor from Downunder.

“It was a great cast to work with and you can’t always say that, believe me. Most of my scenes are with Colin O’Donoghue and he’s very cool. Then I did a bunch of stuff with Ginnifer Goodwin who was great – pregnant as you can be, but lovely, charming and really good-humoured.”

Playing a pirate came after he wrapped his role on The Mentalist as “a villain du jour who goes up against Simon Baker in a battle of wits”.

While The Mentalist was a one-off, the former Street Legal and Outrageous Fortune star impressed both viewers and producers with his Once debut – asked back for the show’s season finale and likely to return for season four. He credits the series’ popularity to its light-hearted nature.

“Every bloody TV show is trying to be edgy and cynical these days and Once Upon a Time is none of those things. It’s fun, playful, buoyant, optimistic and sweet and you feel that when you’re playing the scenes.

“You get to play fantastic characters and put on amazing costumes. I think people respond to that.

“People are sick of edgy, cynical television.”

TV profile

Who: Charles Mesure
What: Once Upon a Time
When and where: TV2, Wednesday 9.40pm
What: The Mentalist, series six TVNZ On Demand.


He looks handsome! Thanks BetaNipson for sending the link!


credits: cduba on twitter


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Charles Mesure, Photos