By Kerry Drager, Correspondent
To help celebrate 75 years of entertainment, Main Street Theatre of Sauk Centre hosted a special event and welcomed actor Charles Hubbell. After the first showing of “Walking with the Enemy,” Hubbell discussed his acting career, the film and his role as Adolf Eichmann, a Nazi SS lieutenant colonel.
Born and raised in Minneapolis, Hubbell grew up in his grandfather’s costume store. He idolized his grandfather who was both an actor and a business man.
“I wanted to emulate him and I did everything I saw him doing. I got into school plays and after I graduated college, I started theater,” said Hubbell.
Acting is a difficult career to be successful in. Where an actor is located can make or break the success of an actor, but for Hubbell there is no place he would rather be than in Minnesota.
“I’ve made the decision to stay in Minnesota because of my family. I want my son to grow up here. That’s very important to me, much more important than my acting career.”
Choosing to stay in Minnesota speaks to his dedication and ability in his craft. From student films to a major motion picture, he has worked his way up to success.
“It is a challenge for an actor to live in Minnesota. How does an actor make a living here? I have reached out to Los Angeles and Chicago and have been doing a lot of flying and making some connections. I have chosen a difficult path because I choose not to live in LA, the Super Bowl of what I do. I am an actor because I have a ton of fun, and I love what I’m doing. I want to see how far it can take me.”
Consistent traveling and searching for roles has lead to his biggest role in his career. Working with Liberty Studios and playing an important part in “Walking with the Enemy” is a dream come true.
“I am always looking online, networking and submitting myself for projects. I found an opportunity for a WW2 film that was shooting in Romania. What the heck, I’ll give it a try. They accepted my submission. I went to L.A., did the audition, said, ‘Thank you,’ and didn’t expect to hear back from them. Seven months after the audition, I get a phone call asking me if I could be in London in two weeks.”
The opportunity to film “Walking with the Enemy” exposed Hubbell to many seasoned actors that helped refine his own acting career. Perhaps the most influential person was Ben Kingsley, whom Hubbell said was like “a semester of acting class the moment he walked in.”
During the filming, Hubbell spent time learning about the Iron Cross and Hungary’s turbulent role as a small, Nazi ally sandwiched between two major military forces. He also watched the trial footage and researched his historic character and the warring world Adolf Eichmann helped to create.
“The interesting thing about Adolf Eichmann is that he was an extremely efficient, clerical officer. He helped kill more Jews while he was in Hungary than at any other time during the war,” Hubbell explained. “He was cold, efficient and absolutely dedicated to the Jewish Solution. It was all well and good for these human beings to be numbers on a spreadsheet for him and that’s what makes it even more horrible. For Eichmann it wasn’t about human beings, it was about statics and numbers.”
Hubbell has made a career of playing character roles and often plays the villain. This suits him because it is the villains that have the flawed human characteristics and are more interesting. In order to get into the correct mindset for playing Eichmann, he had to discover what desires drove his character. He used those passions to compartmentalize his emotions.
“I researched him and figured out what he loves. I had to figure out how to love those things, too. To get through the difficult scenes, I had to find the motivation for him no matter how deplorable his actions were. I had to figure out what made him tick.”
Sauk Centre may seem like an unlikely place for a busy actor to visit, but Hubbell was thrilled for the opportunity to check out a rural community in his home state. Last year, Main Street Theatre was also one of the first places to air a test screening for “Walking with the Enemy”.
The film has since been edited and audience members who had seen the test screening enjoyed the changes. For Hubbell, Sauk Centre is the first of many appearances throughout the state and hopefully the country as he continues to find success as an actor for this terrific and deeply moving film.
“Walking with the Enemy” will be playing at the Main Street Theatre in Sauk Centre through Thursday, May 22.