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Ben Robson | Content Mode

You have recently moved to California. Is there a different feeling in being a resident versus a visitor?
I was always a resident when I was student, the California lifestyle is much more laid back and around more people in similar industries and is different than lifestyles in London.

What have you found most surprising about Los Angeles and Los Angeleans?
Being a Londoner is very different; the weather has been conducive to a laid back lifestyle.

Did you have any emotional difficulty leaving England? Any fears?
Yes, leaving was one of the hardest decisions and I arrived at 25 for college (Stellar Adler for 2.5 years), created a whole new life, spent a lot time alone and learning who I was. And building a good support system.

You discovered acting after graduating from University. What was your area of study? What would your life look like today had the acting bug not arisen?
I studied business… I don’t know, I went into business as I didn’t have a goal established, but I always loved the idea of advertising, marketing via images at young age.

Had you ever tried your hand at acting before deciding to embark on a career in the field, at the ripe old age of 27?
Always interested in watching tv, always interested in sports psychology in College. A friend said he wanted to go New York City and try acting. Then I booked two flights and the next day we went to NYC to check out acting. We arrived in NYC without a place to stay and stayed for 2-3 months and caught the bug from there.

Did you face much discouragement?
From myself, “was this the right decision?” At 25, I questioned if it was a good idea; I didn’t tell anyone I was leaving for NYC to look into acting. It takes a lot of bravery to do something different, and America was better place for me to learn as it’s a more positive environment, rather than staying in London.

I notice quite a lot, on the resumes of established actors like you, the participation in short films. What is the draw? How do they come to your attention?
When trying to get an agent when starting out, short films were helpful to learn to be on camera and agents can see what you can do. And there is great talent producing and you do it for the love of the work. I would like to direct short films in the future.

Would you ever consider another occupation within or outside your current job? Do you have other interests work-wise, aside from acting?
I currently spend a lot of time writing, and would like get into directing.

You got to play a Viking, what an amazing adventure that must have been. Having last played that character from the very early centuries, and now playing a very modern Southern California Surfer circa now, does playing parts in such disparate eras require working differently, or is acting, acting… it feels the same, you’re just playing pretend?
Every role takes on a whole new understanding, no role is the same… two different timelines and lifestyles all bring their own challenges; I do research before hand. It’s more relatable to play a current day character versus a Viking and have to read books that are written about them as they didn’t record their history.

Are your characters real people, or based on such? How accurate of documentation is there on this time period, that you know of? What drives a man like your character “Kalf”?
Vikings were influenced by gods, they believed to live by the acknowledgement of gods… greatest honor. We treasure life now and Vikings didn’t; they believed in the next life. Imagine if you didn’t have fears, imagine what we would do. It’s very different as to how we live today, there was more spirituality on how Vikings lived. They lived at one with earth versus our now materialistic world, the destiny blinds us from great opportunities.

ANIMAL KINGDOM is based on the brilliant 2010 Australian film of the same name. It was a critical and award winning success, but it was a lesser known film then say FARGO or PARENTHOOD. What do you believe it was about this piece of work that broke through annuls of film libraries, and ample volumes of produced films, that called out to be adapted for television? In your words, how does the series utilize the original material?
Animal Kingdom, the movie, was one of my favorite films, and when I heard it was becoming a series I was interested. What I needed to move forward for TV adaptations… she instills a loyalty with her sons; in TV you can explore the character dynamics of the characters more than films… seeing the dynamics of the relationship unfold and shot in California was a great current day place due to proximity to Mexico.

Ellen Barkin! Ellen Barkin! Ellen Barkin! You play her son “Craig.” What is that like on your first day of work?
My first day on set was me being naked complaining about a non-working smoothie machine, incredible woman, very giving. A lot of fun.

What are some words or phrases that could describe “Craig”?
Craig is a middle child and he lives in the moment, acts before thinking, impulsive, adrenaline junkie: drugs, sex, parties, and gets himself in trouble. He’s the wild guy everyone is friends with, and everyone wants to be around. Everyone like to be around danger.

What was it like working in Oceanside?
Malibu, etc, has lost the authentic feel of California, Oceanside has a the authentic old school California vibe.

I saw something on your Twitter Feed about a documentary dealing with shark extinction. Could you tell us what this is? How are you involved?
That was a friend’s documentary and I like to support cool things that are beneficial to animals and the ocean.

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