ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke with Ten Dates star Charlie Maher about full-motion games and colorful dates he’s partaken in. Ten Dates is set to release on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Switch, PC, iOS, and Android on February 14.
“Misha, a millennial from London in search of that elusive in-person connection, tricks her best friend Ryan into going to a speed dating event with her,” reads the game’s synopsis. “Each with their own five potential matches, Misha and Ryan must pluck up the courage and turn on the charm to date wildly different personalities.”
Tyler Treese: You have some fun scenes with Rosie Day. What stood out about her as a stage partner?
Charlie Maher: It can be tricky jumping into playing best friends with someone you’ve never met before but any worry I had about that dissolved instantly the moment I met Rosie. She has a gorgeous energy that just puts you at ease, and she is such a pro that you just feel relaxed with her. Most of our scenes together had a lot of improv in them and I can tell you you need to be on form with her because she can tear you to shreds with ease. And on top of all of that, she has a great sense of humor. I have to stop here because I don’t want to be too nice about her.
Did you draw from your own dating experience any for the role?
I’m gonna plead the fifth on this one. No, I’ve definitely had a few colorful dates in my past, from a date with a Russian woman in Spain when I didn’t speak Russian or Spanish and she didn’t speak English, to flying to California for love, and then with a woman who now works in a particular industry for Adults. I’d like to say they gave me some experience but to be honest I’m probably as hopeless now as I was then.
The modern dating scene is always interesting to explore. What about Ten Dates really attracted you to the project?
I’ve always been into gaming so having the opportunity to be a part of a project that was a marriage between regular acting and a game was very new to me and exciting. I then looked up Five Dates and really loved the streaming element as it is something you never really encounter with a standard project. I jumped onto a few streams and told them about Ten Dates and I found the community to be incredibly welcoming and they are some of the funniest people I’ve ever met. I think I might have to do my own one at some stage where I do a playthrough as Ryan, might call it “An Actor Plays With Himself”.
Due to the interactive nature, your character can range from being quite charming to a jerk. What was most interesting about playing a character that doesn’t have a locked in stone personality or path?
It’s a bit of mind-bender leaping from one to the other but that’s what makes a project like this so enjoyable to do. You go from letting them know how much you hated the date to kissing them in the space of about two minutes. Paul, our director, was brilliant for this as he really helped me understand that you kind of have a base-level Ryan which doesn’t lean too heavily one direction or the other and it really is up to the player to decide and shape Ryan’s personality through their decisions.
The director, Paul Raschid, has experience with interactive films. Can you speak to collaborating with him and how his experience helped guide you through this non-traditional project?
I can safely say that without Paul, this project isn’t happening. It has many similarities with a regular shoot but then there are such departures from the norm that you really need someone like Paul who has the overarching understanding of how it all comes together. Even simple things like the script differ hugely from what you would normally encounter as an actor.
A regular movie script might be about 80-120 pages depending on the length of the movie. When I got the script for this I was thinking “this fella is having a laugh”. It was over 600 pages. And that is only Ryan’s side of the dating. But as soon as I spoke with him, he helped me understand how it worked and it all slotted into place. He’s got the magic dust. Oh and if any potential employers or investors are reading this, trust me, hire him. Otherwise, you’ll be five weeks over schedule and three times over budget wondering “how the hell does he do this?”
Do you have any past experience with interactive films/full-motion video games? They’ve seen a real resurgence in the past decade.
I wouldn’t have had a huge amount of experience with FMVs before filming. I played Until Dawn which actually has the brilliant Meaghan Martin in it who plays Kathleen in Ten Dates. I can see why they are doing so well though, they offer a lovely balance of immersion and fun. I find you can feel more invested in them than other games because you really are shaping the outcomes. On top of that then is the replayability — I think there’s over eight hours of full playthrough in this.
Are you looking to do more acting in experimental projects or games in the future?
I loved the experience on this so I would definitely be open to working on more games and less-conventional projects. It’s exciting and challenging to be thrown in the deep end and to just try and make it work. So provided the community aren’t sick of looking at me after this, I’d be more than happy to be back. And if they are sick of looking at me, maybe I’ll have a new career in motion capture.