Charlie Carver: Carving out a niche

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Charlie Carver talks to Ethan Sills.
Twin actors are a rare breed in Hollywood, but Charlie Carver tells Ethan Sills how it works for him and his brother.

By Ethan Sills

Can you imagine working with your sibling? Starting at the same time, working alongside each other day in and day out?

It would be a tough ask for any brother or sister, but for Charlie and Max Carver, that is their reality. The 28-year-olds are a rarity in Hollywood: identical twins who found fame as adults, and have been flourishing ever since.

From their breakout role as the teenage Scavo twins in Desperate Housewives, the Carvers have starred together in half a dozen movies and TV shows.

While they have begun to branch out into separate projects, Charlie says he is pleased they started together.

"We love working together and I couldn't have asked for it to happen any other way, especially at the beginning. We didn't grow up in Hollywood and it can be a fast learning curve on set."

Their success as a double act surprised even them, as they'd never planned on it.

"As kids, we loved putting on plays together for our parents in the living room, and at junior high we were both a part of theatre. But I don't think we ever would've anticipated working professionally together."

After attending separate schools in different parts of the United States, they both ended up in Los Angeles - again, entirely unplanned. Yet once they started working together, it all came together.

"Once the ball started rolling, it was hard to stop," Charlie says.

Scoring a role on Housewives, five seasons into its successful run, was "surreal".

"Your first job, you drive on to the Universal backlot in Hollywood, and then you turn on to Wisteria Lane and you work there every day, it made it feel very, very magical but also very, very overwhelming."

Though they have gone on to work on productions such as the HBO drama, The Leftovers, and the Ice Cube comedy, Fist Fight, their roles as the frequently shirtless Ethan and Aiden, on the MTV drama, Teen Wolf, have been the twins' biggest successes yet.

Charlie describes it as the highlight of his career - even if he may have been a tad sceptical when the show first started.

Continued below.

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"I remember when they announced the show thinking 'Of all things, why would they adapt a Michael J. Fox movie from the 80s?'

"And then it launched and I think there was this immediate love for it. It's crazy how, through the fan base, it became this phenomenon that really kept building, and to be there for part of that was crazy.

Charlie Carver (right) and his twin brother, Max, have starred together in half a dozen movies and TV shows.
Charlie Carver (right) and his twin brother, Max, have starred together in half a dozen movies and TV shows.

"As an actor, that show is so fun as it really just jumps around in terms of genre. You can be doing action one day and romance the next, and you've got great comedy and some really poignant scenes in there."

The role was a major turning point not just for Charlie's career but his personal life. His role as Ethan marked the first time he played a gay character, despite being comfortably out in his personal life -and the role pushed him to make his sexuality more public.

"For me, it was really important, and definitely led to me coming out in a more public and professional way. Seeing how meaningful it was to the fans, particularly LGBTQ fans, to have that kind of representation on screen, I went 'you know what, this is exactly what I've always wanted to do and how do I take this one step further?'"

Since coming out, Charlie has taken on more queer roles, including in the recent LGBT rights miniseries When We Rise.

Earlier this month, he revealed in an interview with the gay lifestyle magazine, Attitude, that the twins learned their father was gay when they were 12, and how this helped Charlie with his own sexuality.

"The response and support was overwhelmingly positive," he says. "I didn't expect the interview to get that personal or frank. This is the truth and I've never shared this about myself before. I hope in some ways it is a valuable story."

It wasn't the only new experience Charlie faced on the Teen Wolf set. His character died at the end of the show's third season, meaning Max had to watch his twin die.

"It's weird," Charlie recalls. "As an actor, I think you really want to be in situations that are that difficult and that emotional, it's a really satisfying challenge, [but] as a brother, you think 'wow, one day we are probably going to have to go through this'. It's a split psyche thing for me, but I think most actors are masochists and want that difficult imaginary experience."

Lowdown

Charlie and Max Carver will be talking all things Teen Wolf at the Tauranga Armageddon Expo, ASB Arena May 27-28

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