Looking around the three-bedroom Los Angeles home that he hopes to raise a family in, Kiwi actor Charles Mesure still has to pinch himself.
Following a roller-coaster 10 years of Hollywood highs and lows – including starring on Desperate Housewives, auditioning for Ben Affleck’s upcoming Batman role, crippling unemployment and a family bankruptcy – the 43-year-old is coming to terms with being a proud homeowner.
Starring alongside Vanessa Williams in Desperate Housewives.
“Initially it was really weird,” he admits to the Weekly. “Being an actor in New Zealand, even if you make a living, you’re going to be renting a flat for your entire career because we don’t make much money there.
“For a good six months, I was thinking, ‘There’s something wrong with this. There’s a house around me. It just doesn’t make sense!’ Now, after two years, it’s starting to feel like home.”
It’s no surprise Charles still can’t believe he has fulfilled his home ownership dreams, given that not so long ago, he found himself penniless and out of work for a year straight.
After making a name for himself on City Life and Street Legal in New Zealand, the UK-born, Sydney-raised actor (who considers himself a Kiwi, having built his career here) found his move to Hollywood started with a bang, as he was cast opposite Pamela Anderson in Stacked, Jennifer Love Hewitt in Ghost Whisperer and Maggie Grace in Lost.
But a few years into his US success, the writers’ strike occurred, meaning acting roles dried up and Charles went 12 months without a single gig – a huge professional setback after 13 years of consistent work.
With Robyn Malcolm in Outrageous Fortune.
He was dealt a further blow when his parents went bankrupt and lost their home. Desperate to help, he returned to New Zealand and took a role on Outrageous Fortune.
“It was a tough time,” he says. “I was very blessed because Outrageous allowed me to send money to my folks, as well as pay off some debts in the US.”
He flew back to Los Angeles, where he landed a spot in the sci-fi series V, followed by one of his best-known roles as Vanessa Williams’ love interest on Desperate Housewives.
It’s these shows that he credits for helping him buy a property and with the house ticked off, his next hope is to start a family.
“I’d love to have kids – very often actors do stuff later in life because we spend so long trying to get our careers together, so a lot of my acting colleagues are having families in their forties rather than in their twenties or thirties. I see how much pleasure they get out of having children.”
Charles is yet to find a partner to start the next chapter of his life with, but says his perfect woman would have “a good sense of humour, be financially-independent – and be sane!”
Although Charles says he wants to retire in New Zealand one day, he’s currently LA-based in order to secure acting work.
In the meantime, he is keeping busy spending the Californian summer engrossed in Kiwi DIY as he works on his house, which has already become a hotspot for acting buddies from back home – including Tandi Wright and Craig Hall – to stay at.
Work is also thriving for Charles. He recently starred alongside Simon Baker in The Mentalist, appears on the July 2 episode of Once Upon a Time in a recurring role as the pirate Blackbeard, and is about to fly to Vancouver for a new series.
Charles appears on the July 2 episode of Once Upon a Time in a recurring role as the pirate Blackbeard.
With an endless stream of young Kiwi actors heading to Hollywood in pursuit of similar opportunities, Charles says his biggest piece of advice is to accept rejection.
“It comes with knowing how it works out here and how many actors there are. You realise there are roles you’re right for and some you’re not.
“You learn to accept that as you get older, whereas in your twenties, you want to play everything. You’re like, ‘King Lear! I can play that!’”
Of course, there are still the parts that are difficult to let slip away – most notably for Charles, being asked to audition for the highly anticipated Batman vs Superman film, then losing the role to Ben Affleck!
“I spent a full day taping my audition and it turned out beautifully,” says Charles, who has Batman film posters up in his guest bedroom.
“That was one that would have been nice to get, but hey – it’s Ben Affleck! Everyone was sticking it to him, but I think he’s going to be perfect.”