Mathews twins take their ‘Turn’ as actors in AMC historical drama

by Sherry Hamilton - Posted on Feb 15, 2017 - 02:39 PM

Photo: Five-year-old twins Cabell and Ellis Chase of Mathews are regulars on the AMC television drama “Turn: Washington’s Spies.” They are shown here with their mother, Amy. Photo by Sherry Hamilton

Five-year-old twins Cabell and Ellis Chase of Mathews are regulars on the AMC television drama “Turn: Washington’s Spies.” They are shown here with their mother, Amy. Photo by Sherry Hamilton

Five-year-old twins Cabell and Ellis Chase are bundles of energy. The dynamos were too busy chasing each other around the house and playing drums on Tuesday to talk about something as mundane as their budding acting careers, but Cabell did take the time out to say he has short lines that are easy to remember and the grownups on the set are nice.

The children of Amy and Robert Chase of Mathews, both boys play the same part—the role of Thomas—in the AMC historical drama series “Turn: Washington’s Spies,” which is about espionage during the Revolutionary War. Thomas is the child of the characters Mary and Abraham Woodhull, who are portrayed in the series by Meegan Warner and Jamie Bell.

Amy said the boys are children first and actors second, and that their participation in the series wasn’t something the family planned.

“It literally fell into our laps,” she said.

The family, including older son Scottie, were residents of Richmond’s Fan district when one day Amy received a call from a friend saying that Arvold Casting of Charlottesville was looking for toddler-aged twins to be in the show. Cabell and Ellis were 16 months old at the time.

Although she hadn’t had any ambitions for a career in acting for her boys, Amy took them to the casting call in Charlottesville anyway. They were called back for a second audition in Richmond, she said, and it was there that Ellis made the simple gesture of grabbing his dad’s leg and holding on. Immediately, she said, everyone in the casting crew started saying, “That’s it! That’s what we wanted!” 

“And he was in,” said Amy. “It was the biggest shock of my life.”

That was four years ago, and while the boys aren’t in every episode, their appearances have been consistent throughout the four seasons of the show. The only personal restriction Amy mentioned was that they can’t get their hair cut until the show gives its permission.