1.) Hi Baldur, welcome to Vents Magazine! We’re happy to have a little of your time today! Before getting started, how have the first four months of 2021 been treating you?

2021 has been off to a good start so far! I was lucky enough to get attached to a TV project in Iceland where I got to work both in front of the camera and behind. I loved being able to work in Iceland.

2.) Congratulations on the upcoming May 28 release of Feral State! For those not in the know, can you tell us a little bit about the film and who your character is in the story?

Feral State is an adventure film about a family of misfits that creates chaos in a Floridian community. I play Kody, who is part of the family, and is struggling to find his place in this world, and asking himself a lot of questions such as; Can we overcome the bad hand we get in life? Can we evolve, or are we destined for certain lives, and there is nothing we can do about it?

3.) Your director on Feral State was Jon Carlo. What was it like collaborating with Jon on this film? 

JON! I love that man! Honestly, I don’t know what this project would have looked like without him. Jon was super awesome and was always there to talk. No ego, and always was there for me to ask my questions. He’d let me always experiment and was super honest about when things were working and not working. Ultimately, we both wanted the best, and working with Jon you know he is always aiming for that and has your back as an actor. I mean what else could you ask for from a director?

4.) You work alongside such a brilliant ensemble in Feral State: AnnaLynne McCord, Ronnie Gene Blevins, Octavio Pisano, and Jaden Piner, or but a few of the talented thespians sharing the spotlight in the film. What was it like for you as an actor to get to play with this amazing group every day?

It was surreal!  For 4 years I had just been in a black box rehearsing with my peers and then all of a sudden I was doing the real thing. I feel like I was constantly having to pinch myself. Is this really happening? The cast was amazing and super kind to me, the “rookie”. They would answer any question and were always super supportive, and would even watch my scenes even if they weren’t in them and just encouraging me when they saw something they liked. In many ways, it felt like a family. But my biggest takeaway from the cast was how professional they were and I learned a lot from them, and what it means to be an actor in front of the camera, but most importantly behind the camera.

5.) You got the role of Kody in Feral State after graduating from NYU in 2019. Were you surprised to gain such traction early on in your acting career?

Yeah absolutely, no question. This is a tough industry and a lot of my peers weren’t as lucky as me to get traction so quickly but I have full faith in them. I was lucky and fortunate to come out of the gate running but this career is a marathon and not a sprint. I love being able to bring characters to life and would love to do this as long as possible.

6.) Intriguingly enough, you originally attended school for sports management before switching trajectories and jumping into the acting pool as a Drama Major. Why the sudden shift?

Haha, acting was never on my radar. I didn’t do it in high school and came to NYU to work on the business side of the sports industry. After about a month at NYU, I realized that I wasn’t going to be happy working in an office and that I wasn’t feeling challenged. So then I started re-looking at what I wanted to do with my life. I started taking an acting class on the weekends outside of NYU and really enjoyed it. A few months later I applied for a transfer, told my parents that I would not continue with college if I didn’t get into the drama school. I think they were going to have a heart attack but somehow I got in and the rest is history.

7.) Which actors – living or not – have inspired your own acting journey?

There are many, but I would say Miles Teller. I was still in sports management when whiplash came out, and I probably watched that film 4 times in theaters. After the last viewing, I told myself I had to get serious if I wanted to become an actor. What he did with that role is the reason I decided acting is what I wanted to do. He is a constant source of inspiration, even today. He went to NYU, and if he can do it, why can’t I?

8.) How does your family feel about your success as an actor?

My family has always been supportive, even when they might not fully understand the industry I am in, and I think sometimes that can be scary for them. Ultimately, they always wanted me to be happy with the profession I choose. They believe if you are happy in your field then success will follow, and I think so far that has held up to be true.

9.) You’ve got another film set for release entitled IMoredicai where you play a character by the name of Steve. Kudos and what can you tell us about this film and your character?

Steve was a lot of fun because he isn’t the nicest person in the world. He feels very different from me and I love that. I love playing a villain. I feel like there is so much room to explore in those roles. These people aren’t insane and are ultimately human, so how do you find their version of sanity and their humanity, and bring that life? It’s a lot of fun, and I feel like I always walk away learning more about humans from those types of roles.

10.) How has the worldwide pandemic altered how you do your job as an actor?

Greatly; everything came to a halt and for a while finding work as an actor didn’t exist. I ended up moving to Iceland and got a job driving fish around Reykjavik for a few months. I cherished that time, it was nice to find some peace in the chaotic world  and at the same time have a little bit of an adventure.

11.) Going forward, do you have ambitions to one day write and direct your own films? Or is acting where you want to concentrate all of your efforts at the moment?

Acting is where my focus lies at the moment, but I am open-minded for the future. If there is anything that I have learned from the pandemic it’s that anything can happen.

12.) Your training at NYU focused on the theatre. What are the key differences between acting for the camera and acting in a live play night after night? And do you have a preference between the two?

I think the biggest difference is how big you need to be. In theater, you have to be big so that everyone in the theater can see and hear you. On my first day on set of  Feral State,  Jon had to come over to me and tell me I didn’t need to be so loud and that the mic would catch everything; I could use more of an ‘indoor voice’. I think theater is more of a challenge because you can’t make mistakes, but I have always loved the world of film because you can build bigger worlds.

 13.) What’s the one thing that surprises you the most thus far when it comes to acting in film?

The small things. I didn’t quite realize how such little movements on a film actually come across so much bigger.

14.) Final – SILLY! – Question: Roaring down a two-lane blacktop on a lazy summer day, what music could we expect to hear from your car stereo? Any favorite road-trip driving music?

That’s easy, Mumford and Sons. I could listen to every song on their albums and never get bored.

For more information, follow @BaldurThor_  and @FeralStatemovie

About Ryan Vandergriff

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