Ben Robson on the Importance of Physicality in Casting

“Vikings” star Ben Robson can be seen next on TNT’s “Animal Kingdom,” the gritty prime-time reimagining of Australia’s Oscar-nominated crime family indie. We chatted with the actor about the physicality he brings to the screen and globetrotting for the job.

On self-taping for ‘Animal Kingdom.’ “The script came my way, and I just fell in love with the project. I was a huge fan of the film…and I knew I was going to try to get in. But I was still in Ireland at the time with ‘Vikings,’ so I did a tape, which got sent over, then I went back to L.A. and went in for callbacks and recalls and managed to get in very quickly.”

On his character. “Craig is one of Smurf’s children. He’s sort of an uninhibited wild man, and whether it’s substance abuse or motorbikes or sex, he’s always looking for that next rush. He’s very physical and will lay his body on the line for the love of his family. He’s always fighting to prove his position.”

On the series’ own identity. “You’re going to get a very similar beginning to our show [as in the film] because of the setup and what needs to be established, but I think very quickly we have our own identity. Because it’s a TV show, it moves at a different pace…. That’s the great thing about TV at the moment. You have the opportunity to get more depth of character and a broader scope and range. It’s very exciting—endless possibility.”

On L.A.’s fairy tale. “When you’re filming in the iconic studios of Warner Brothers, it’s one of those things that you recognize as a kid. And with all due respect to Ireland, it’s not as well-known as what we have over here [in L.A.]. So that definitely adds more magic and fairy tales to go into work…. Hollywood has always been that fairy tale.”

On physical typecasting. “I’d love to play against type to a certain extent and see if I can really immerse myself in those roles. Obviously, physicality is such an important element of performance, because your physicality essentially defines who you are. [Acting is] almost modeling with a huge skill set on top of it, because your look will very much define how you’ll be perceived, especially when you start off. I think your look will get you into jobs that are there originally, and then it’s up to you to persuade people that you can play other roles.”

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