In an exclusive interview, Senior Staff Writer Scott J. Davis sat down with up-and-coming Australian actor Jak Wyld, who has just taken his next big step in the acting world in the US…
Scott J. Davis: You have quite a diverse background – with your early jobs and New Zealand Military training. How did you get started in acting, was it always a dream of yours from a young age?
Jak Wyld: I was involved in a lot of productions throughout high school, when I was close to graduating I had to seriously look at career choices; a country school in New Zealand in the 80’s had no drama classes or progression. I had always been interested in the military and aircraft so one afternoon I enlisted, I certainly don’t regret it, but I think in the back of my mind I always knew my calling was in acting.
SJD: How have your family reacted to your career change and now your new successes in the US? How has the transition been for them?
JW: When I first told them that I was leaving the military they were understandably shocked, it’s probably not the obvious career progression. Once they got over the initial ‘what the…’ they were very supportive. It’s always hard moving far from home, I do try and get back to see everyone as much I can and hopefully that won’t change.
SJD: Was it always your dream to be an actor in the US? Do you get to use your military training as an actor?
JW: Yes, I think once the light bulb came on the natural thing to do was to work towards moving to LA, it is after all the center of the acting world. I use the skills I learnt in the military every day, hard work, respect and punctuality. I am also trained in weapons, drill, survival and general military decorum; these skills come incredibly useful for authenticity when I’m cast in a military role.
SJD: Tell us a little about your latest film Arrowhead – how did you get involved? What is the story?
JW: Its an upcoming Australian sci-fi feature film directed by Jesse O’Brien. I heard about the film through social media and read some great articles about the journeys from short film to feature. I watched the short and knew I that I wanted to be a part of it, so I wrote to the director, a few times actually. They asked me if I wanted to play the Prison Commander, I travelled down to Melbourne, met the production team and the rest is history.
SJD: You have had a decent stint on the very successful show Shortland Street – how has the experience of working in television been so far? How does it differ from film for you?
JW: Well, working on Shortland Street has been amazing. They are such a hardworking and professional team. It’s fast, I think it’s the fastest single unit show in the world. You have to be on your game. I have really enjoyed playing Detective Inspector Derek Foster. He gets all the meaty cases. I was fortunate to be a part of the 2015 season finale. It was a double episode which ended up trending worldwide on social media. Film has a much more measured pace that’s for sure, there is a lot more time to work on a character. There are more takes and actors can normally take their time on a scene.
SJD: type of genre do you prefer to work on – you have crossed over so many, do you have a particular favourite?
JW: I have always enjoyed sci-fi-action films. Lately I have really enjoyed a good crime drama. I would love to work on either genre. To be honest, I’m not that picky. If a script is captivating I am keen to be a part of it.
SJD: you get to go to the cinema much? Anything films you have enjoyed lately?
JW: Yeah I think it’s an important part of acting. Seeing what’s out there, what’s current, what’s working and what isn’t. I definitely prefer seeing movies on the silver screen as they were intended. I go as much as I can, just seen The Revenant. One word – amazing!
SJD: Are there any actors or directors you would love to work with in the future? Any other films in the pipeline for 2016 and beyond?
JW: Oh wow – so this list is practically endless. There are so many great directors out there today. I think my first choice would be Clint Eastwood for sure, I love his films, J.J. Abrams brings a lot to films too. A series regular on a space opera would be a dream come true, as I am a big Stargate fan. As for 2016 – it has only just begun and it is set to be another rollercoaster year. I am waiting to hear on a few new exciting roles that I have met casting directors and producers for. I’ll keep you posted on progress, but I’m looking forward to all the opportunities 2016 has to offer.
SJD: I understand you recently signed on with Bohemia Group, a renowned international agency. What does this mean for your future endeavours?
JW: I am so thrilled to working with Bohemia, they are a solid management firm with offices globally. The team are passionate about their clients and having them in my corner will certainly take things to the next level.
SJD: Finally, any advice you would give any actor who is trying to break into the US?
JW: There is a check list for sure but predominantly research, preparation and understand the industry fully. You must work hard and take classes, and know that Los Angeles is not short of any type of actor. I think securing good work in your parent country is absolutely paramount. Build your credits in your homeland, hone your craft and then venture out to Hollywood. Break a leg!
Our thanks to Jak for taking the time to do this interview, as well as Liz Rodriguez and EMR Media for helping us with the interview.
Scott Davis is Senior Staff Writer for Flickering Myth and co-host of The Flickering Myth Review Podcast. Follow him on Twitter.