Acting, for Natalie Charles, was never a choice; it was a destiny. As a child, growing up in Toronto, Charles secretly put on plays alone in her room, letting her imagination run wild. At the time, it was a way to entertain herself, but now, she entertains the masses.
Charles is a sought-after actress in her home of Canada and abroad, working on many of the country’s biggest films and television shows. Fans may recognize her from Suits, Sensitive Skin, Residue, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, and so many more. One of her most recent roles was the recurring character of Nurse Connie in the award-winning series Mary Kills People.
“I am so proud to be part of such a successful show. This is not an easy subject. It must be told with care and dignity. To bring all of this to the forefront can be a daunting task. We have to be able to relate to the people on screen, which in turn may help us to give someone time and concern,” she said.
Mary Kills People follows single mother Mary Harris, a dedicated ER doctor with a deadly secret. She and her partner, a former plastic surgeon, are angels of mercy; or more commonly referred to as, angels of death, who grant terminally ill patients their wish to die with dignity.
“I had been following this project during its first season and knew I wanted to be included in telling such an important story. This topic is so divisive; it can bring out the worst in people. It is not a subject easily understood and if we are able to put a face to some of the stories, it can go a long way towards understanding and healing, instead of hostility,” said Charles.
Charles’ character Nurse Connie is one of Mary’s trusted staff, who keeps her mouth shut but her eyes open. She is meticulous at her job, and nothing gets past her. If someone wants to know something or wants the truth of a situation, they ask her. She may also let them know before they ask, but always gives the truth.
In a pivotal storyline, Connie recognizes, as does the doctor, what is happening with a patient and does her best to calm him. She is also keenly aware of what is happening between the ‘bickering’ doctors. She then risks her job to deliver important information to a former colleague, which changes the outcome of a police investigation and lawsuit. Charles was more than up to playing such an important role in the iconic show, and heavily related to her character.
“Because of what was happening to me at the time, Nurse Connie was familiar. I had to be all knowing of what was happening in my home. All of it; eating times, Personal Support Worker arrival times, medical appointments. Connie and I shared a lot of duties,” she said. “In my personal life, if I could go back and have this discussion with family, certain things would have been done differently. This is not an easy topic, but one that deserves consideration. Everyone has the right or should have the right to decide how they say goodbye.”
Despite the serious nature of the show, the on-set environment was very lighthearted, full of laughter and enjoyment whenever Charles got to work. She entered the show’s second season, and although everyone had worked together for a year prior, they made her instantly feel like one of the team. This made it easy for her to focus on the story.
“I like the shocking reality of the storytelling in the show. As important as this topic is, we can miss the everyday aspects of life that can build up to some of these scenarios. The choices we make have origins in the simple acts or feelings of our day. You can’t decide you know what is best for an individual if you don’t understand their plight,” she concluded.
Be sure to watch Mary Kills People to see the compelling story and Charles’ captivating performance.