Date of Birth: 12th November, 1991
Star Sign: Scorpio
Main occupation: Information Officer
Media-related occupation: Actor
Karl Schembri has been interested in the performing arts from a young age, when he used to impersonate Elvis Presley at school talent shows. He later moved on to acting and started attending the Freespirit Acting Drama School. The skills he’s learned from here aided him in landing his first TV role as Il-Vik, a henchman, in L-Evanġelisti. Another notable TV role he’s portrayed is Ciccio Spada, an Italian World War II pilot in Deċeduti. Karl has also interpreted other TV characters in Min Imissu?!, Anġli – Kapitlu Ġdid, iċ-Ċaqqufa, Frekwenzi Ħiemda, Rajt ma Rajtx, iż-Żona and D.R.E.A.M.S. He’s currently portraying the role of Ċensu in Grammi which he’s also co-writing.
Besides television roles, Karl has also interpreted roles for theatrical plays, with his first notable experience being in Bertold Brecht’s Life of Galileo. He’s also taken part in various street theatre pieces and passion plays, including Ir-Rajjes and Tamara. Other credits include Anton Chekhov’s The Proposal and Lope De Vega’s A Punishment Without Revenge. He’s also written, produced and performed in a play called Bejn Tliet Ħitan, which was chosen as a finalist in the Social Theatre Contest organised by Aġenzija Żgħażagħ at the Malta Drama Centre.
Karl is passionate about films, writing and movie making. He’s just written and produced a short film, Xitan bid-Dublett, together with Ryan Galea and Luke Galea.
How did you first discover drama?
When I was young I used to, and still do, deeply admire Rowan Atkinson’s Mr Bean and Jim Carrey’s characters. I used to constantly imitate their characters’ antics and have my family in stitches. We had a video camera and whenever my father or anyone used it, I’d go crazy. I’d always hope that those watching the video on the other end would laugh at me. This is basically what motivated my parents to urge me to pursue an acting career. At first, I used to attend various drama courses with several drama schools. Then at the age of 15, I used to have long and fruitful conversations with actor Andre Penza, who worked at my old secondary school. He motivated me to continue venturing acting opportunities and to never give up on what I’m truly passionate about. At that point, I realised the journey I wanted to embark on. Afterwards, I started attending Freespirit Acting, and my life changed. It fuelled me with the necessary skills, passion and motivation to venture opportunities in the drama sector. It’s a family through which I’ve learned, and I’m still learning a great deal in a compassionate and amicable environment.
How do you work on your acting skills?
I watch a lot of films and scrutinise the acting skills of acclaimed actors, notably Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. From such actors, I’ve learnt to always aim at being as versatile as possible in my portrayals. The audience deserves to witness 3-dimensional characters. Hence, besides being versatile, in every character I portray I like to adopt behavioural traits from the people I observe and find inspirational. To convey an authentic emotion, I delve deep into my personal memories and try to re-experience the corresponding emotion I felt during certain events in my life. Afterwards, I convey the emotion in line with the character’s personality. It’s always challenging to re-experience and portray certain emotions, especially sadness, hence I deeply believe that, in the words of Will Smith, good acting skills are only developed by long hours of beating on your craft. You can never stop learning and you must never stop practising. It takes discipline and perseverance. I don’t aim to be good, but to be excellent. It angers me to see people who think they have become professional actors and that there’s nothing else they need to learn just because they took part in a couple of television series and plays. In my opinion, they’re digging their own grave in this business. Humility is key.
Are you a good cook? What is it that you make really well?
I’m afraid I’m not much of a cook. I’m good at cooking noodles, though.
If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?
First of all, I don’t feel it’s up to me to decide the title, since I like to let people comment about my character. However, I think a title that would suit me best would be Sensitive Worrier. I bet those who know me well agree with what I’m saying.
In your opinion what are the ingredients for world peace?
People need to be more sensitive and empathic towards each other. Many enjoy pinpointing other people’s defects and build a good self-esteem out of them. Pointing fingers at one another would only lead to more hostility and turmoil amongst everyone. These are the most basic unfortunate human emotions which, I believe, lead to bigger unpleasant events.
What percentage of your life do you spend shopping?
It must be a low percentage since I am not much of a shopper. Every now and then, I like to spoil myself by buying something nice, for example, some equipment for my camera, which I’m very fond of. I obviously do buy clothes whenever I feel my wardrobe needs a re-shuffle, but I don’t do so very often. Therefore…..20% maybe?