‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’: Chance Perdomo on Ambrose’s Season 2 Journey
In Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Part 2 (available to stream at Netflix), Sabrina Spellman (Kiernan Shipka) is finding her place in the darker, sexier witch world, now that she’s left her human friends behind and signed the Book of the Beast, which has changed her life and her hair in noticeable ways. While Sabrina is curious to learn more about her heritage, it causes a strain on her life in the mortal world, pushing her further away from Harvey Kinkle (Ross Lynch) and into the arms of warlock Nicholas Scratch (Gavin Leatherwood).
During this 1-on-1 phone interview with Collider, actor Chance Perdomo(who plays Sabrina’s mischievous bad-boy cousin Ambrose) talked about what he was originally told about the character, what he appreciates about Ambrose, the journey that he’s going on in Part 2, the importance of family, working with this incredible group of women, whether he’s been given hints about where the series could go next, since Netflix has already picked up a third and fourth seasons, and why he’d love to see an Ambrose spin-off.
Collider: First of all, congratulations on playing one of the coolest characters on TV!
CHANCE PERDOMO: Wow, thank you! Thank you very much for saying so.
It seems like one of those characters that, when it came your way, you wouldn’t want to give anybody else a chance to take it. Ambrose seems like he’d just be a ton of fun to play.
PERDOMO: Oh, yeah, the character certainly is a lot of fun to play because you have the free agency to do what you want, essentially, so long as it serves the narrative. How he goes about things is actually all down to him. It’s pretty cool to be able to have a lot of fun with mannerisms and voice, and that kind of thing.
When this opportunity first came your way, what were you told about the character, about who he would be, and about how he’d fit into this world?
PERDOMO: Not much at all. I was told that he’s cousin Ambrose, who’s Sabrina’s cousin. That he was under house arrest, at that time, and that he would spontaneously combust, if he left the premises. I was also told that he’s mischievous, but that’s about it. That’s all I had to go by.
So, what was it that really drew you in, in the beginning? Was it the fact that he’s mischievous, which makes things more open, as far as what you can get away with doing?
PERDOMO: It was the writing. They didn’t give much away. There’s always room to evolve the character and transform them. They basically suggested that he has quite a deep past that would be explored, later on. They teased the richness to Ambrose, and that’s definitely what I liked about the part.
Had you been aware of the original TV series or the comics, prior to doing this?
PERDOMO: I tried to steer away from any other iterations of Ambrose or Sabrina that I could find because I didn’t want to be influenced so much when bringing something to the table. I wanted to bring something new to the table. I thought that, if I looked up iterations, maybe my ideas would be tinkered with or twisted. That’s happened before. The way (show creator) Roberto [Aguirre-Sacasa] had talked about this show is that it would be darker and grittier, so I didn’t want to look at other sources of the material. I looked at Johnny Depp, Jimi Hendrix and David Bowie, and got my inspiration elsewhere.
This is a character who’s a little bit of a bad boy, but he also seems to have a pretty clear sense of right and wrong. What have you loved about playing him, from the beginning, and what have you grown to appreciate about him, as you’ve lived in his shoes and gotten to know him a little bit more?
PERDOMO: What I appreciate about Ambrose hasn’t really changed because his internal value system has been consistent. You say that he has moral values, but he doesn’t, unless the context is determined. If he’s with his family, then he has set boundaries and guidelines, and a sense of morale. For him, it’s family first. But as for morals, and what he should and shouldn’t do, that all falls by the wayside, once you eliminate the context of the values because Ambrose is a bit mischievous. Let’s not forget, he’s the one that tried to blow up the Vatican, so he has a moral ambiguity and a mischievous side that he consciously plays out because it’s an insatiable need for him. He’s like Loki, the God of Mischief. His endurance is another consistent thing. His endurance becomes evident, the first time we meet him, because we find out that he’s already been in prison for 75 years. He’s endured for his family and because he doesn’t wanna die. His family is a strong tool, but so is his sense of wanting freedom. He could have offed himself, a long time, but he didn’t, so he’s a very enduring soul who’s suffered a hell of a lot in his life.
Ambrose has a lot going on in these episodes, with Luke (Darren Mann) and Prudence (Tati Gabrielle), and with what happens with the Anti-Pope (Ray Wise). What can you say to tease his journey, in these next 10 episodes?
PERDOMO: It’s definitely a question of who does he want to be, moving forward, in this new world. He breaks the mold. In the past, he’s broken the mold in a very conventional witch sense, causing chaos. Witches and wizards love to cause chaos in this world of Sabrina, and he’s no newbie to causing chaos, himself. It’s about him becoming his own person and following his own sets of principles, and questioning everything that he has been led to believe, thus far. That plays out by him seeking to go internal. When the show began, there was already 75 years worth of history, and he needs to reconcile his past, in order to move forward, as an individual. There are powers that come with that, that he may not have anticipated.
Do you think that Ambrose has thought about his future, what that could mean, and what he might want, or is it something that he’s been avoiding thinking about because he hasn’t really been sure if he’d even have one?
PERDOMO: Until recently, he hasn’t given it thought, at all. He has been, in essence, institutionalized, in the sense that the four walls around him are all that he’s gonna get, and his hopes and dreams of being let out have been doused, one too many times. We see that even when Richard [Coyle]’s character, Father Blackwood, comes along. He’s loathe to get his hopes up. He can’t help it, but he’s so very, very tired. But I think that he’s thinking about it now, and his idea of what his future would be changes with each new revelation. Once he gets a grasp of what the world he’s in is like and how much has changed, his sense of what he wants is not the same as what it had been, 10 or 15 years ago, or when he was first imprisoned, 75 years ago. It changes in stages. It has evolved.
You talked about family being important to him, so what do you most enjoy playing with that relationship between Ambrose and Sabrina?
PERDOMO: What I enjoy most about that relationship is how unending and enduring it is. Although, with this new season, it does become strained because of the consequences of Sabrina’s actions, not necessarily felt by her, but felt by all of those around her, especially Ambrose. And so, Ambrose absorbs the consequences for her. She hasn’t quite had the chance to learn from her mistakes because the consequences of her mistakes aren’t felt by her, they’re felt by her family, and Ambrose is definitely getting a little bit pissed, to say the least. At the end of the day, they’re still family. He’s just weary of the tumult and hellfire that Sabrina is bringing to the family, so it’s tough for him. One of the people that he loves the most, consistently endangers the people that he loves the most. That’s a tricky one for him to navigate. I have no doubt that Ambrose thinks Sabrina has such a thick skull and she’s stubborn, and she just needs to be able to see that. That’s why, in Episode 9 when the aunties turn their back on Sabrina for a little bit, Ambrose does, too. Though it pains him, it was necessary to give her a taste of her own medicine because they’d been taking the medicine for her. There is a nice bit of cinematic conflict between them, but at the end of the day, they’re still very much together, as family.
You get to work with some pretty awesome women on this show, from Kiernan Shipka to Lucy Davis and Miranda Otto, and so many others. What’s it like to work with all of these actresses?
PERDOMO: It’s pretty damn cool learning from Lucy and Miranda and Michelle [Gomez], and what not. Kiernan is the best number one on the callsheet. She has a groundedness to her, in real life, that holds the household down. Michelle is a tour de force, to be or not to be reckoned with. She’s very much a force of nature – there’s no other way to put it – both on and off screen. She’s become a dear friend of mine. There’s not a single moment that Lucy doesn’t have me in stitches. And Miranda is there with the nice chats, as well. They’re all there with nice chats, but I’ve found that my chats with Miranda have been wonderfully weird.
With all of these characters, it feels like there is still so much more to explore, and Netflix has already announced that they’ve picked up the series for Seasons 3 and 4, which means you have quite a bit of time to continue to get to explore these characters. Have you had conversations about what the next step in Ambrose’s journey could be, after these episodes? Do you have any idea of where things could head next for him?
PERDOMO: Towards the end of filming Part 2, I did have a chat with Roberto, and he let me know where he thought things would be going, and of Ambrose’s self-discovery. In what format, I can’t really speak on, but I do have an idea of where he’s going. As we get closer, I’ll probably have a chat or a phone call with him, in terms of where Ambrose is headed, so I can get prepared for that.
The fans of this show and of your character seem to really want to see Ambrose in his own spin-off. If the opportunity were to ever arise, is that something you would want to do? And what’s it like to have that fan support, knowing that they want to see more of this character?
PERDOMO: Are you kidding me?! I’d love be in a show that showcases Ambrose’s adventures. His adventures would be incredibly wild, crazy and emotional. He’s got a lot in his soul to offer, so it would be amazing, artistically, to explore, as an actor, to delve deeper into that character. There is a lot of narrative that you could really explore with that. It could even be a series that goes into the details of what happened at the Vatican. That would be pretty dope. And as for having fans, I don’t even have words. I know you can’t see me, but I’m smiling because I’m trying to grasp the words. It’s beautiful to have that kind of support for that character, and to see that the character is loved. It’s satisfying and gratifying for an actor to see that work has been received very well by fans. It’s lovely.
He’s certainly a character that seems like he’d be so much fun to hang out with at a party, and that if you were family, he’d be very loyal to you. It’s easy to see why so many people enjoy watching him and you on the show because it’s such a fun character journey to watch.
PERDOMO: Thank you for your gracious words. It’s lovely to hear that kind of feedback because you never know things are gonna be received until they come out.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Pt. 2 is available to stream at Netflix on April 5th.