Max Beesley plays Charlie Edwards,
Max Beesley has had a busy year and not much down time. In between filming series two and three of Hotel Babylon, he played a DJ in the ITV drama Talk To Me, followed by a five-part series for BBC One, The Last Enemy, which filmed in Romania last year and is due to be on our screens in March 2008.
"I'm going to take some time off and go to Cuba with my family to play congas and relax by the sea," says Max. "The plan is that my dad (a talented musician) and I will head off to the bar for a little drink and then hopefully just start grooving and playing a bit of salsa, while my mum and sister soak up the sun," he laughs.
This is Max's last year playing Charlie in Hotel Babylon and, while he has had a great time playing the role, it is time for him to move on to new horizons.
"I've had a great three years working on Hotel Babylon," says Max, "but the time is right for Charlie to make a move, and there are lots of exciting new projects ahead I want to get my teeth into. He's been a fantastic character to play and I'm now really looking forward to throwing myself into new challenges, and I wish Hotel Babylon continued success in the future."
Relaxing will be shortlived, however, as when Max comes back from Cuba he plans to head off to LA to look for work.
"I don't know what I'll be doing yet – whether it be slogging it out and pushing the boat out again for smaller supporting film roles, or whether trying to secure a TV contract," he says.
"At the moment, I am very lucky because I am in a position where I could work out there with one of the networks. But they want you to sign up for seven years, which is a long time. For the first time in ages, I will be out of a long-term contract and it's a good feeling," explains Max.
"I like the idea of living back out in America," says Max. "I lived there for a few years at the beginning of the Millennium, and I made a few films and had a bit of fun – I do really like the lifestyle.
"I think if you keep to yourself and don't go to all the English pubs with all the English actors, talking about what jobs you have been going up for, then you can have a pretty good time. Equally, don't get off the plane thinking you are going to change the whole history of Hollywood, which I have been guilty of in the past," he laughs.
The only thing about America that is different from here is the weather! If they like you they don't mess about – they will hire you and pay you for it, but it is a very long process. However, producers do start remembering you the more persistent you are. And, of course, Hotel Babylon's recent huge success in the US should help put me in a stronger position."
This year, Charlie steps up to the mark and takes on the role of General Manager, vacated by Tamzin Outhwaite at the end of the last series.
"It's a bit different playing the General Manager now because there is more responsibility for Charlie, even though he is not running around like a headless chicken like he was in the first series. He has to be more centred because there is a lot of pressure on him," says Max.
Staying in a five star hotel close to the set in Aylesbury, Max was able to observe the General Manager's role at close quarters.
"I was talking to the General Manager in one of the hotels I stayed in during filming, and he got up at 3.30am every morning and did paperwork from 4am until 7am, and then went on site and finished working at 7pm – which is just mental."
With the new job title comes added responsibility which, initially, Charlie appears to cope well with. But there is also new romance on the horizon in the form of old flame Anna Thornton-Wilton, played by Emma Pierson. However, Max remains tight-lipped about how their romance progresses: "Let's just say, as usual, Charlie learns his lesson too late."
As a musician, Max has been described as one of the best percussionists in the world and regularly tours with old friend Robbie Williams. He was three when he picked up his first drumsticks and can play piano, drums and percussion well, but humbly admits that he could probably do OK on most instruments.
"At college we were trained classically performing in shows, orchestras and in plays, but although I found acting easy, I didn't have much interest in it and my drama coach used to say that I just moved around a lot," he declares.
After a stint at the Guildhall, he joined Paul Weller's band as a session musician and went on to perform for the next six years with musicians including The Brand New Heavies, Jamiroquai, George Benson, George Michael, Chaka Khan and Take That. He's been so busy this year, however, that music has had to take a back seat.
"I haven't got time for my music just at the moment but I would like to write some more film scores – I need to nail some work out in the States and then have the luxury of buying a house in the next couple of years that I can afford. But what I want will probably be very expensive – a Georgian house in Bray with a nice cellar in it, a room in the garden for a studio to score (music) in and a gym. It doesn't come cheap and takes years and years of working, but who knows? Things are OK at the moment; I am a lucky boy."
Max admits to being a bit of a maverick at school which is why he thinks he is so committed to doing the best he can at everything he does now.
"I messed around in school a lot trying to impress the girls and make them laugh, while they were the ones laughing at me about to fail my A-Levels – almost, but not quite!" he muses.
"I am incredibly ambitious now and still have nightmares where I dream I am taking all my exams between the ages of 11 and 18 in one week, and haven't done enough work. Now, I have this weird OCD with anything I do and an almost blind ambition with everything I do – I just want to do things well. I get a kick out of working very hard and making things happen."
Max acknowledges he is a perfectionist and regularly drives himself insane when playing golf.
"I love golf but the nature of the game means you can't always have a good day which drives me nuts." He regularly plays golf with celebrity pals Ant and Dec and Jonathan Wilkes and admits to being competitive mostly with himself.
"I went clay-pigeon shooting with my dad and some friends to the K-Club, in Ireland, and my dad and I nearly had a 100 per centre record off eight different sites. We pretty much hit them all and my pals thought it was ridiculous, but I had to bow down to dad – he is one of my best pals."
Also a keen chef, Max cooked up a storm for the Hotel Babylon boys one evening and took great pleasure in showing off his culinary skills to his colleagues.
"I'd been promising to cook the boys on the show a meal for the last three years and, finally, I got them round to the house one night. They were really sceptical about what they were going to get but let's just say they were suitably blown away by my slow-cooked tomatoes and basil," he laughs.
What his colleagues didn't know was that Max regularly attends world famous cookery courses and is a avid collector of wine.
"I trained with Raymond Blanc at the Manoir and, on one occasion, had to make a cheese soufflé. I whacked loads of cheese into mine because I wanted it to rise beautifully and I knew he would like it. He tasted my friend's and it was just okay, and then tasted mine and loved it, which was great! Luckily, I was able to use my cookery skills to teach Alan Davies and Jeremy Sheffield how to chop properly on set."