Fans of ABC Family's Wildfire had better brace themselves for a new arrival from across the pond. Charlotte Salt, a charming up-and-coming British-born actress, is joining the cast for the final three episodes of this season (starting tonight at 8 pm/ET) as Gillian, a wealthy heiress who splits apart one of the on-again-off-again romances on the show. TVGuide.com spoke to the 20-year-old about exactly what kind of "horsing around" she did on the set.
TVGuide.com: How did this Wildfire role come about?
Charlotte Salt: I auditioned for the pilot over a year ago and I never heard anything more from them. But then I got a call saying, "Remember those Wildfire people? They'd like you to do three episodes." I think they remembered me from that audition and just sort of liked me.
TVGuide.com: Did you originally audition for the role of Kris or Dani?
Salt: Kris but I wasn't suitable at all.
TVGuide.com: The character you are playing is a British heiress, so at least you had that accent down.
Salt: Yeah. They originally wanted her American, but then they decided to do her British because it sort of suited the part quite nicely. It gave her a bit of sophistication, as it were.
TVGuide.com: Is she spoiled or out of control, like Paris Hilton?
Salt: [Laughs] Not really. I played her smart. She's used to having a lot of money and to getting what she wants, but in a business-minded, not spoiled, kind of way. I didn't want everybody to go, "Oh, there goes the British bitch." I tried to make her as lovable as possible and make her romance with Matt seem plausible and realistic. Hopefully I managed that, rather than making her the spoiled heiress you would imagine.
TVGuide.com: So she's stirring up trouble between Dani and Matt?
Salt: [Laughs] Oh, yes. Lots of trouble.
TVGuide.com: Was it fun to play this romantic triangle?
Salt: They are all great actors, so it gave everybody a bit of spice to play with. I think everyone appreciated it.
TVGuide.com: You are booked for these last three episodes. Is there a chance you'd be back next season?
Salt: I think so. The way they left it is very much a cliff-hanger ending, so it would make sense if people are interested in where Gillian and Matt are going. Plus, she and Dani have a business partnership that is still there.
TVGuide.com: Did you get to do any horseback riding?
Salt: In the second episode I did a lot of riding. We went out with the second [camera] unit and had a whole day of galloping around and having fun with it. It was fantastic. I hadn't ridden a horse in a long time. I had kind of learned how to in a stuffy British way, so it was lovely to be taught by real cowboys in a Western saddle.
TVGuide.com: So no sidesaddle?
TVGuide.com: I imagine since Gillian's an heiress, there were a couple of wardrobe changes?
Salt: She's extremely wealthy, so we decided it would be fun for her to wear a different outfit in every single scene just for the hell of it! which was fantastic because the clothes were just lovely.
TVGuide.com: Did you have a favorite outfit?
Salt: There was a lovely Diane von Furstenberg dress, and also a top, which were just fab. Also, for the ballroom scene I wore a Vera Wang dress, which was fabulous really black and tight and sexy, but sort of understated.
TVGuide.com: Sounds like Gillian is pretty fun.
Salt: She is a lot of fun. I thought she had a lot of depth, more than you would imagine from her character description. I'm really pleased [with how the episodes turned out]. I think the fans will love all the ballroom stuff, because it really is quite different from anything you've seen on the show before. Everyone looks very good all dressed up. All the boys look very dashing.
TVGuide.com: You also are doing the big-screen computer-animated version of Beowulf, which is better known as "that story that was required reading in school."
Salt: I know, I read it in school and hated it. But doing it in a movie environment and working with great people like Anthony Hopkins and Angelina Jolie and Robert Zemeckis added a whole new dimension to it. It was a wonderful experience to work in motion-capture style. It was fantastic to be part of a new generation of filmmaking.
TVGuide.com: It must be a big difference from traditionally animated movies where you just do the voice.
Salt: Absolutely. The characters look identical to the actors playing them, almost like a fine-art painting. It is all very serious, not funny. There are amusing moments but....
TVGuide.com: There aren't people breaking out into Disney songs or anything.
Salt: Right. No clapping or whatever.
TVGuide.com: Have you seen your animated self? Are you pleased with how you look?
Salt: I have only seen stills of myself, but it was freaky. They used my face for all the female characters not just for the main role, but for all the smaller parts. They did one as" wealthy lady-in-waiting" and one as "peasant girl," changing my hair and putting dirt on my face. It was very strange and surreal to think that that is what I look like.
TVGuide.com: You got to work with such an amazing cast.
Salt: It was incredible. You would think of Anthony Hopkins as sort of Hannibal Lecter-esque and intimidating, but he is just like your granddad. He is lovable and a wonderful man who gets excited about things and wants to tell you stories. He's so excited and happy to be on a film set, even though I can't imagine how many film sets he's been on. Then he literally just gets on the stage and magic happens.
TVGuide.com: You also are in this other upcoming movie, The TV Set, which is quite the opposite of Beowulf.
Salt: Exactly. It was a lot of fun to make a comedy with Sigourney Weaver and Ioan Gruffudd (Fantastic Four). I play Ioan's assistant, Sarah. It is not a huge part, but it was a lovely character piece and I got to wear a lot of fab outfits and strut around. It was a big contrast to Beowulf one big giggle.
TVGuide.com: And you had played the funny waitress on last season's "Bat Mitzvah" episode of Entourage....
Salt: Entourage was fantastic. The guys are really lovely and fun, just like you see on the TV show. I would love to do anything with them again.
TVGuide.com: How does living in L.A. compare to England?
Salt: I love it. I went back home last week and it was absolutely freezing, raining and depressing. You come to L.A. and the sun is shining and everyone has a smile on their faces. I live by the beach, so I can get up and go for a bike ride or lay by the pool. What an existence!