From Sweden to LA with Performer of the Day Lukas Akan
Swedish actor Lukas Akan is now making it in Hollywood after having acted in Sweden since his teenage years and worked in numerous theatre productions. Lukas moved to Hollywood to deepen his knowledge of the craft and further his career as an actor.
While in L.A. Lukas has studied with professionals and had the opportunity to audition for Netflix, Disney, and Warner Bros. We can’t wait to see where this journey in the U.S. takes him.
Akan plays the lead, Angel in Anniversary, currently in post-production, as well has having acted in Living On The Edge. Gaps is due for its release in 2020 with Akan playing the character of Marty. Morris, an elderly alcoholic, helps college student Marty overcome his phone addiction to ask out a beautiful waitress.
Before you burst with anticipation, here’s our interview with Swedish actor Lukas Akan. Be sure to check his Instagram for updates on his career and upcoming projects.
Tell us about your history as an actor. How did you start your journey?
Well I have always been an actor since I was a child. As a kid I had a wild imagination always playing in the woods, disappearing into another world. I loved to entertain and tell people of my ideas and what I saw.
When I reached an older age I realised that I still had a passion for storytelling and wanted to take it to the next level, so I applied and was accepted to one of the most well known dramatic arts schools in Sweden, Kulturama. I loved my time there and grew both as a person and an actor during my three years of studying.
When I graduated, I decided to take a little break and dive into my faith. I studied in a bible school in Sweden for two years to strengthen my Christian faith before taking the big step of moving to the other side of the world. Moving to L.A. is something I’ve always known I wanted to do. I believe growing up with and being influenced by Disney Channel had something to do with it.
Two years later I packed my bags to move to the city I now call home to fulfil my childhood dream of becoming an actor in Hollywood.
I attended the prestigious New York Film Academy in L.A. to familiarise myself with film acting. My time there has certainly been informative & challenging and shaped me into the actor I am today.
After my studies I have had the blessing of working in America for a year, which I certainly have enjoyed, to say the least. I was born in Sweden, but L.A. raised me. Spending my early twenties in L.A. gave me a new perspective on life.
I have gotten to experience hardships that I never would have if I had stayed in Sweden. It’s tough to live out here, but I have had the endless love and support of my parents without whom I’d never manage.
L.A. has raised me into a better person, a person who sees reality and people through the eyes of maturity and hustling. During hardships like moving to a different country, studies, work, friends and even paying rent, you realise who your real friends ar,e but most importantly in my case who God is.
I have grown as a man and in my faith during my walk with Jesus in L.A., and it’s something I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. He has certainly been providing for me and comforted me when I most needed it. Through it all he has remained faithful and I have been blessed with friend for life and amazing memories, experiences and opportunities I will remember and continue to strive for.
I feel extremely thankful and blessed for opportunities such as auditioning for Disney, Netflix, and Warner Brothers. I know that this is just the beginning of something amazing.
Who were your early influences?
My early influences in acting have always and will always be Johnny Deep and Angelina Jolie. I love them and would hope to work with them in the future. I must say that I also admire these legends: Anthony Hopkins, Merly Streep, Sir Ian Mckellan, Viola Davis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Saoirse Ronan and Zoe Saldana.
What have you learned from working on productions in L.A.?
I have learned that cooperation and professionalism is key on set. At the end of the day everyone is there to get the scenes done, so be respectful and work with what you’ve got, but most of all have fun!
Tell us about your career before film.
Well . . . as with many actors my career before film was mostly theatre and extra work. Since I jumped into acting at an early age, I haven’t had the time to choose a different career path yet. I mean I have of course had regular side jobs but nothing big. A future goal would perhaps to be an entrepreneur and philanthropist.
Tell us about your creative process.
I need to know every detail about my character. I focus a lot on the backstory to get to know my character; even the smallest piece of information can make a huge difference in the performance. Then I move forward with the current circumstances and the situation he’s in.
What tips do you have for new actors?
Study the craft – don’t be an actor who doesn’t know the craft, as you’ll need the technique to help you. You will of course find your own technique along the way and everyone is different, but to know the craft is really the backbone.
I’m still learning. I would recommend to take as much acting classes as you can. It will help you, and if you are certain that this is what your supposed to do, then don’t let anything or anyone stop you. You can do it! I believe in you, so believe in yourself.
Are you currently taking classes in L.A.? Who would you recommend our readers train with?
I have taken acting classes at Joseph Pearlman’s acting studio – shoutout to Joseph, Chase and Chris. I loved my time there and would love to return in the future, however I have heard great things about Zak Barnett’s and Margie Haber’s acting studio, I would love to give them a shot as well.
What’s your next project?
Currently nothing, but I have auditioned for a feature film and am awaiting a response.
Have you worked with mentors in the past? How would you recommend people go about finding them?
Well I don’t have an acting mentor, but I do have a mentor who helps guide me in my career. The good thing about a mentor is that it can literally be anyone, so find someone you click with, someone who believes in you and pushes you to be who you see yourself to be.
Also another thing to remember is: Don’t be too hard on yourself. This industry already is difficult as it is, so give yourself some slack. Your time will come, and if your mentor is wise, he or she will probably say the same thing.
What’s your acting mission? Name the most important thing you want viewers to experience when watching your movies.
I would love to be a light in this industry since everything we usually hear related to acting or this industry is portrayed as negative: negative scandals, gossip, bad news, etc.
This is a quote I have been working on for the past year which I feel represents me and my mission:
“I fell in love with acting because of the characters I could relate to and the vital truth in the many stories that are being told. When the story touches my soul and gets a hold of me or when the characters speak to me, I will stop at nothing to tell their version of it.
“I want to do what I believe is right and to do the character justice. To me, acting is protecting humankind: to show their lives and make their voices heard, to fight for the weak and be a voice for the voiceless.”
That said, I want to touch the audience and make them relate and feel something; I want to leave a mark in their hearts that makes them want to change or do something different, to make a positive impact in the world. It could also be something subtle as a shift in people’s lives that gives them purpose or meaning.
Can we expect to see any episodic television from you anytime soon?
Not now, but I’m open to the possibility and would love to be a part of it in the future.
What’s your five-year plan?
To stay and work in America. If that doesn’t work out then travel back to Sweden, work there to work my way back to the U.S.
What filmmakers and actors should be on our radar?
My dear friends Daria Sarmientos and Bilhah Guillory
What’s your favorite film of all time and what did you learn from it?
This is a hard one. I grew up watching Pirates of the Caribbean, and I love Stephenie Meyer’s The Host, but I’ve gotta say James Cameron’s Avatar. I learned that there is beauty in everything, especially in the things that are unfamiliar to us, and that love conquers all!