‘Chase’ Swedish-born actor Felix Martinsson on his latest career move
Felix Martinsson is a Swedish-born actor. Although his interest in theatre started in 2007, he didn’t think of pursuing the craft professionally. Instead, he studied civics, psychology, and media, under the impression that he would start a career in psychology.
In 2013, Felix started experimenting with film and photography whilst also acting on stage and, coincidentally, began acting for the camera. There was no turning back.
Before moving to Los Angeles in 2017, you would find Felix on stage as well as in the classroom working with youth expressing themselves through art by teaching theatre, film, and photography. He was also a part-time project manager, where he got some experience in producing and casting.
More recently, you might have seen him in the feature film Chase directed by award-winning Michael Matteo Rossi, on TV in season two of “Extreme Measures” where he plays Kevin Shultz, or in his latest short film Erin directed by award-winning Myles Yaksich, currently playing in festivals.
Felix, who earlier this year earned himself the award for Best Actor at IMDb’s Independent Shorts Awards, has now been in over 20 plays/stage performances, his resumé included credits in short films as well as feature films, TV and Commercials, and is currently working on producing his own written short film “Unpleasant”, in which he will also act.
It’s a Psychological-Drama-Thriller about a shy, self-conscious young man with an obsession to observe someone he loves, and takes it a little too far. It will be a character exploration touching on subjects such as love, loneliness, secrets, and privacy.
Chase follows a hitman who must prove his loyalty to his mentor and best friend, while his girlfriend wishes to leave the business behind them. Chase (Damien Puckler) is a hitman forced to choose between his family or his job when his longtime friend Miles (Aries Spears) begins to test his loyalty by making things personal.
We learn about Chase’s backstory through a series of flashbacks with Young Chase (Felix Martinsson) and Young Miles (Freddie Webster) who sets the ground for these characters.
Chase has picked up a handful of award nominations at multiple film festivals and has won 4 awards so far, including ‘Best Action Film’ at the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival, Michael won the ‘Outstanding Achievement Award’ at the Calcutta International Cult Film Festival, and Damien Puckler won ‘Best Actor’ at the Universe Multicultural Film Festival.
In Erin, routine life is disrupted when David, a research assistant dreaming of becoming an astronaut, finds a lost application letter from Erin Taylor in London, England.
Frustrated with his academic research, David opens the letter and becomes infatuated with Erin’s assertiveness and quest for knowledge and understanding, and excited by the prospect of making a new friend from a new world.
Erin is adventurous – David’s complete opposite. As their letter’s become more intimate, so do David’s fantasies of a romantic relationship with the free-spirited Erin.
When Erin reaches out to David for help, he must decide if he is ready to confront his fantasy. Will reality meet the expectations of what he has built in his mind?
Although set in 1960s Americana, Erin explores the power of imagination and danger of expectations, something particularly relevant in today’s environment of social media and online versions of self.
Erin has been shown at prestigious festivals even Oscar-qualifying, with 12 wins and 7 nominations.
Tell us about your history in acting. How did you start your journey?
I started in theatre, not because I wanted a career as an actor, but because I wanted to break out of my shell and become more confident. I didn’t know what I was doing at first, but slowly got my head around it. When I was 15, I got my first paid acting gig, 6 weeks of children’s theatre, where we did one play a week, very intensive and it taught me to make strong choices fast, because there was no time. After this, I picked up smaller gigs, still not thinking I would become an actor. I was considering law at first and then psychology. When I was 18, I got my first big theatre gig, 6 months of preparation, rehearsals and then 18-20 shows, I played Dregen, a hardcore rockstar gone soft and confused (There’s a picture of me as Dregen, I attached it for you), after this I ended up experimenting with film and photography. I wrote my own monologue “The Psycho Monologue”, and shot it in my room, did some editing and put it up on YouTube, it led to booking, my first ever paid acting for camera gig – I was now hooked. It’s funny, I never took it down from YouTube, and I still get comments and requests from other actors and acting students who want the script, it’s got about 30K views on YouTube now.
Who are your current influences?
My friends and family.
What great actors are you inspired by?
There are so many! But I’ll give you two who I think should be on everyone’s radar! Timothee Chalamet, he inspires me to throw myself out there and take more risks. Then we have Tilda Cobham-Hervey, who I just discovered and she left me wanting more, after seeing her portrayal as Melinda in “Burn”. She’s amazing! These are two actors I would throw myself after, to collaborate with. Actually let me throw in a few more, Joaquin Phoenix, Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lawrence they never disappoint in my opinion.
Are you involved in any acting communities?
I mean LA is one big acting community right? I’m all about community, I fully believe in sharing experiences and knowledge with one and other.
What five TV shows do you think everyone should watch this year?
- When They See us
- Big Little Lies
- The Mandalorian
What was the one movie you saw that made you want to go into acting?
The Dark Knight, more so because of Heath Ledger’s portrayal of Joker. It’s been my favorite character ever since I saw it. There are no limits to where you can take this character and that excites me as an actor. I mean 11 years later and it’s still my favorite character! The new Joker movie with Joaquin Phoenix, just blew my mind, I saw it 4 times in the theatres, it gave me such a creative boost.
How was working on Erin? What did you learn from the experience?
Ahhh, take me back! It was such an incredible journey, and I’m forever thankful to everyone involved. Myles Yaksich truly put together the most amazing cast and crew. I’ve never done so much research and prep work for a character ever, I love David (my character) so much, he taught me so much about life and made me questions certain choices in my own life, in a good way. This truly taught me what it’s supposed to be like when you’re on a professional set, it’s a collaboration and you’re all in it together. I learned to trust myself and the moment, I’m very proud of this film. And I’m excited to work with Myles again very soon.
Tell us about your career before you found acting.
I come from a small town in Sweden, I did what I had to, to make money. I worked as a waiter, bartender, substitute teacher, and project manager. I got a lot of different experiences, but I knew I was not the type who could settle for any of these, if you will, “normal jobs”.
Where did the concept come from for the way you played your role in Erin?
I used my awkward younger self as inspiration a lot, but my main source of inspiration was my grandma, I early on discovered similarities between my character David and my grandma. She’s a strong, independent, stubborn woman, she can come across as very dramatic and her way of showing love might not always come across that way. She’s very misunderstood, and that’s how I saw David too.
What music inspires you to create?
I love this question because this is such a big part of my process. I create playlists for every character I take on, and it’s how I find them. The top song of my playlist for David was “Love Me Do” by The Beatles, every time I hear it I start laughing now because everything about that song screams David. But in general what inspires me to create is instrumental music, soundtracks from movies, at the moment I’m obsessed with Hildur Guðnadóttir and the music she composed for Joker.
Talk us through your creative process.
I read the script 3-4 times at first, whilst taking notes, then I take a break, go for a walk, jog anything physical. Next, I come back with energy, I sit down with a cup of coffee and start looking for music. Like I said before this is a very big part of my process, It’s how I find life for my character at home or wherever I am when prepping.
My next step would be backstory and journal writing, for Erin, I didn’t keep a journal, I was writing letters to create a relationship with the other characters and important people in Davids life. You can never read the script too many times, I normally ready it first thing in the morning or just before bed and if I’m lucky I wake up with some new ideas. I think my process is different for each role, but my main thing is music, back story and some sort of writing from my character’s point of view.
What tips do you have for new actors?
Work on your confidence, and understand that from failure comes good things. Also, HAVE FUN! I used to take everything so seriously, that’s not life, let loose, take risks but make sure you have fun. Oh, and don’t stop your life, do more non-acting things too!
What part of acting do you geek out about the most?
The preparation process, I feel like a psychologist, lawyer and detective all at once.
I want to understand where my character is coming from, his behavior, p.o.v (the psychologist).
I want to represent and argue for my character (the lawyer).
I want to connect the dots, fill in the blanks and find out everything there is to know about the world I’m about to enter (The detective)
This is what I refer to as “My kind of treasure”.
If you could only watch one movie for the rest of your life, what would it be?
What’s your next project?
I’m currently producing my own written short, “Unpleasant” in which I will also play the lead. It’s a psychological-drama-thriller about a shy, self-conscious young man with an obsession to observe someone that he loves. And he takes it a little to far. It will be a character exploration touching on subjects such as love, loneliness, secrets, and privacy. I’m excited for 2020, I have discussed bigger projects with directors I’ve previously worked with, so I can’t wait.
Have you worked with mentors in the past? How would you recommend people go about finding them?
When you find them you’ll know. I consider Eric Scott Gould a mentor, I took two of his classes at UCLA, love everything he stands for and his way of teaching. He’s a fantastic actor and teacher, and he’s guided me to becoming the actor I am today.
What has been your biggest failure?
This question is so important and I’m so glad you asked me this because failure is something we rarely talk about but yet it’s such a big part of our life. We beat ourselves up over it and it can cause anxiety, but that’s only because we look at it negatively. Failure is the reason we learn and become successful!
I’ve failed so many times, and I’m not sure if this was my biggest failure, but one thing that stuck with me, was when I had a really big audition. I was reading for a role in a film and had this idea of how I wanted to play my character. The casting director said “Whenever you’re ready” and I started, but halfway in I felt off and lost so I excused myself. She just looked at me and said “what are you doing, this was great”, “I now have a take that I can’t use because you didn’t finish it, it was the best I’ve seen today, but we don’t have time to do it again”. Lesson learned I’ve never stopped myself after this. You do your best work when you’re in the unknown, it’s a scary feeling but it’s true.
What’s your mission as an actor? Name the most important thing you want viewers to experience when watching your projects.
I want to give voice to the misunderstood, and I want to start a conversation with each project I do, hopefully, leave them wanting more.
What has been your biggest success?
Moving to Los Angeles! It opened up so many doors for me and I’ve accomplished more in less than a year here than I thought was possible.
Can we expect to see any episodic television from you anytime soon?
Hopefully, I recently signed with Sally Hinata, my manager and we’ll start prepping for pilot and episodic season.
What’s your five-year plan?
I’ll still live somewhere in Los Angeles, have enough money and reputation to travel the world and tell more important stories, hopefully collaborate more with my home country Sweden and shoot a film in Swedish.
What indie filmmakers should be on our radar?
Myles Yaksich, I’m not just saying this because I know him and have worked with him, but he’s truly talented and is going to go really far!
What indie actors should be on our radar?
What’s your favorite film of all time, and what did you learn from it?
hmm I think I wanna say E.T. – Seen it so many times and I guess what I learned from it is
What’s the climate like in LA for an actor at the moment, did you find the transition easy?
It’s so cold right now, and it’s been raining for 2 days, almost feels like I’m in Sweden. But It’s normally nice and warm. I really don’t like the cold, so it was easy for me. I’m very dependant on the weather, and my energy is so much better when the sun is up and you feel nice and warm.
Who would compose the soundtrack of your life?
Hildur Guðnadóttir – She’s so talented!