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Peterborough teen’s acting dream comes true

  • Calle Walton, 19, of Peterborough as Chloe in The CW Network’s new show “In The Dark.” Photo by Ben Mark Holzberg

  • Calle Walton, 19, of Peterborough as Chloe with Mad Men star Rich Sommer as Dean in the new CW Network show “In the Dark.” Photo by Ben Mark Holzberg

  • In The Dark -- "Mommy Issues" – Pictured: Calle Walton as Chloe.  © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Photo by Ben Mark Holzberg

  • In The Dark -- Pictured: Perry Mattfeld as Murphy.  © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Photo by Marc Hom



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, April 03, 2019 7:2PM

Calle Walton of Peterborough is making her television debut Thursday night in the CW Network’s new show “In The Dark.”

The 19-year-old said in a phone interview Friday, while the part is a “dream come true” she was hesitant to follow that dream and audition due to her blindness.

“I was kind of reluctant because when I lost the rest of my sight my senior year of high school I didn’t think acting was going to be possible for me. I gave it up. This is a dream come true,” Walton said.

Walton plays the part of a blind girl named Chloe. It’s a supporting role to the show’s protagonist Murphy, portrayed by Perry Mattfeld. She also acts alongside Mad Men star Rich Sommer, who plays her father.

“My character is really different from me. I consider myself a bit more bubbly and energetic and social. Whereas my character Chloe is a bit more reserved, kind of shy and not very confident about herself,” Walton said. “And then she meets this girl Murphy who is a bit older than her. Murphy is also blind and she is pretty confident and independent, so Chloe just looks up to her and Murphy helps bring Chloe out of her shell and make her a bit more confident and kind of helps her embrace her blindness.”

“In the Dark” is a comedy and drama, but it’s also a mystery, following Murphy, a young, blind woman who is trying to solve her friend’s murder.

“Murphy is trying to figure out what happened and she’s trying to get my dad, the detective, to help her figure it out and he notices how confident she is and independent she is, so he hooks me and her up,” Walton said. “He says he has a daughter who is blind and she agrees to meet me and we hit it off and from there we become just great friends.”

While Mattfeld is sighted, Walton is not and aside from some extras she is the only visually-impaired actor in the first season of “In the Dark.”

Growing up in Peterborough, Walton dreamed of becoming an actress. She landed the lead role in her kindergarten play as Goldie Locks in “Goldie Locks and the Three Bears.” She also won the lead role in her 8th grade play as Wilbur in a South Meadow School production of “Charlotte’s Web.”

“From kindergarten to 8th grade, at SMS, I just loved acting. I loved being up there on the stage and just playing different characters. Even when I was off the stage I would go around the house in different outfits doing a British accent or a French accent, being a different person. I just loved the drama and pretending to be something else that’s different than me. I found it really fun,” Walton said.

Walton was in third grade when she started having trouble with her vision. Doctors found a mass on Walton’s optic nerve, which led to a diagnosis of sarcoidosis, a disease which causes inflammation.

For about eight years, Walton took different drugs to keep the tumor in check. Depending on how the tumor grew, her vision would get better and worse throughout her childhood. When it pressed on her optic nerve her vision diminished more.

Then in the fall of her senior year, Walton noticed her eye-sight getting worse. Doctors finally realized she had been misdiagnosed all those years. This time she was diagnosed with cancer, they said, was caused by a birth defect.

After spending much of her senior year receiving chemotherapy and radiation she made it to her 2017 commencement ceremony, having survived cancer, but having lost her sight entirely.

“Acting was my life before I lost my sight. I was so passionate about it. But when I lost my sight I had to give up my dream,” she said.

Walton walked with her class on graduation day, but didn’t receive a high school diploma. She enrolled in the W. Ross Macdonald School for the Blind in Brantford, Ontario in Canada to complete high school as well as to take life skills classes to prepare to live independently.

“Within ten days of arriving at the school, the principal made an announcement that an acting agency was searching for a girl to play a part in a TV show and told anyone interested to come to the office,” Walton said.

Having put her acting dream aside, Walton had been focused on her new dream of becoming a teacher and almost didn’t audition. But she ended up submitting a resume that lead to an audition that landed her the part. The show, which films in Toronto, the capital of Ontario, premieres Thursday night.

“I’m kind of nervous, just about what my friends and family are going to think about how I did and what they are going to think of the show. But overall, I’m super excited because acting is my dream,” Walton said. “I’m just excited for this all to be happening. This is a dream come true for this all to be happening.”

Walton is hoping the show gets picked up for another season and that she will eventually meet its executive director Ben Stiller. “I haven’t met him yet, unfortunately, but I’m very excited to met him. I just think he’s really awesome. I’ve seen all of his stuff, ‘Night at the Museum,’ ‘Meet the Fockers.’”

Now that it’s started, Walton said she has ever intention of taking her acting career as far as she can, but still plans to work toward becoming a teacher, like her mother.

“Hopefully I will be an amazing teacher like she is,” Walton said.

And while she wants to inspire the show’s audience, she wants them to see past her character’s blindness.

“I think the whole message with Chloe and what I want viewers to kind of get from Chloe is that even though she’s blind that doesn’t make her who she is,” Walton said. “She’s not, ‘the blind girl Chloe.’ She’s Chloe and she just happens to be blind.”