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Exclusive Interview: Charles Esten Talks Outer Banks, Nashville Roles

Charles EstenCharles Esten

Nashville may have ended two years ago, but fans of the show still can’t get enough of the voice of Charles Esten, who played nice-guy heartthrob Deacon Claybourne on the country music drama series.

Exclusive Interview: Charles Esten

Thankfully, the actor has continued to sing, appearing at the famed Grand Ole Opry more than 110 times and touring around the country pre-COVID.

“A million things happened that Nashville opened up for me; more than just the acting aspect of it and getting to play a great role like Deacon,” Esten said. “One was getting to walk on stage at the Grand Ole Opry to shoot my first scene back in 2012 and I was surrounded by this band on the stage and I thought they were probably a bunch of extras, but it turned out they were the best musicians you could find in Nashville and they play with me as part of my band.”

Since being grounded by the pandemic, one of the ways he’s spent his downtime is by performing live Zoom streams every Saturday with his band, singing, and talking with fans. This weekend will mark the 31st Saturday in a row of the stream.

“We never would have thought it would go on this long, but we’re having a blast doing them,” he says.

During these live streams, his wife of 30 years, Patty Hanson, follows along and interacts with those commenting, bringing Esten into the conversation along the way.

Charles Esten is currently in the midst of filming Season 2 of the Netflix runaway hit, Outer Banks, where he plays Ward Cameron, a deceitful millionaire who will stop at nothing—including murder!—to get what he wants.

While this may seem out of character for those who loved Deacon, the actor shares he’s played many the villain through the years, including playing a bad guy on Lois & Clark, a nuanced bad guy on The Cleaner, and a crook on LA Dragnet.

“Sometimes on those shows, you get to know something about that bad guy, but I have never had the chance to sit into a long-term role like this with someone,” Esten says. “It’s funny because I can’t argue that you call me a ‘bad guy,’ but from the actor’s side of it, I see him as a guy who wasn’t bad but had to make some tough decisions and each of those decisions, he wound up making the wrong one. He doesn’t really see himself that way.”

He was excited to take on the part because unlike Deacon, who he describes as a “really good guy with flaws,” Ward is a “really flawed guy who I’m trying to add some nuance to make the viewer understand him a little.”

Charles Esten looks forward to Season 2 coming out in 2021, and he hopes the world opens up again enough where he can get back out on tour and perform live in front of people again and playing the Nashville favorites.

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