HEAD OF THE CLASS. Freddie Stroma, most famous for his playing Cormac McIaggen in the Harry Potter series, has graduated from Hogwarts and recently spent a stint in Jakarta shooting his next feature film, The Philosophers. He talked to DA MAN about his career, his sweet tooth, and why crossing the roads in Jakarta is like an Indiana Jones movie. By Petricia Yuvita
British-born up-and-comer Freddie Stroma is not one to shy away from a challenge. He was doing a neuroscience degree at University College London when he landed the role of Cormac McIaggen in the uber-popular Harry Potter series. The role forced him to give up his studies, but once his time at Hogwarts ended he returned to UCL to complete the difficult degree, saying in an interview it “would have been a shame to just throw it away.” Since then he has taken on films that have put his musical skills to the test, namely the modern fairy tale A Cinderella Story: Once Upon a Song and Pitch Perfect, a comedy about college a cappella groups that comes out in September. His next movie, The Philosphers, brought him to Jakarta, which he told us came with its own unique set of challenges…
Shirt by Ted Baker
DA MAN: When did you first decide to seriously pursue acting as a career?
Freddie Stroma: Well, I managed to get an agent at the age of 18, the summer before I started university. I was juggling my degree and different acting jobs and once I graduated, I decided to carry on full time.
DA: How did you snag the role of Cormac Mclaggen in Harry Potter series? Did getting that role change your life?
FS: It was a standard call from my agent for an audition. I auditioned with the casting director and the tape was sent to the director David Yates. About three weeks later, I was told I had a callback at the studio. I went for the read with David and then once the scene was over, he told me in the room that he wanted me to do it. I was completely shocked, also because I didn’t know what I was going to do about the final year of me degree. Harry Potter was a much bigger project than my previous jobs. So it was a big step in the right direction. Personally it didn’t affect me too much. Some attention on the internet was about the most of it.
Sweater by Ted Baker
DA: If you could learn one spell from Harry Potter and use it in real life, which would you choose?
FS: I think it would probably be “accio”. I would love to be able to summon objects. Although, I would probably end up using it to just get my phone when it rings or to get the TV remote. With great power comes great responsibility.
DA: We are very excited to see The Philosphers since it takes place in our hometown! Can you tell us a little about the story and the character you play?
FS: I had a great time filming in Indonesia. The story is set in an International School and takes place in the last philosophy class of the year. And the characters slowly discover more about themselves, their friends and their values. I play a character who is a bit of a jock but only in the sense that he likes sports. He’s pretty playful and confident.
Shirt by G-Star Raw
DA: You spent quite a bit of time living in Jakarta while shooting the film. What were your impressions of Jakarta and Indonesia?
FS: I had been to Bali ten years prior and one of the same impressions was that everyone smiles a lot in Indonesia. It’s a very beautiful country and we were lucky enough to get to travel around. The thing that I remember the most about Jakarta is crossing the roads. It was terrifying. We would cross the street muttering “confidence, confidence, confidence” while the cars and bikes would drive around us. It felt like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, when Indie crosses the invisible bridge.
DA: You got to work with one of Indonesia’s most famous pop stars, Cinta Laura, on her home turf at the Jakarta International School. What was it like working with her? Did she give you and the rest of the cast a tour of the city?
FS: Cinta Laura was a pleasure to work with. She is a very sweet and kind person. She helped us a lot with learning about Indonesia. She was our Liaison officer for all Indonesian matters. She showed us a few places to go to in Jakarta that were pretty cool.
DA: What is one philosophical tenant you try to follow in your life?
FS: I suppose the golden rule, “One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself”. I think that’s a pretty good code to live by and the world would benefit if everyone did.
DA: You’ve demonstrated your chops as a singer on screen in the movies Cinderella Story: Once Upon a Song and the upcoming Pitch Perfect. Are you a trained vocalist?
FS: I play guitar and sing but am not trained. I would perform at school and it was something else that I liked doing. So once I started acting and I occasionally had to sing in auditions, it was useful to have.
Shirt by Ted Baker
DA: You are known for being quite the scholar, having completed a neuroscience degree. Why did you decide to study such an intimidating subject?
FS: Well, I studied Maths, Biology, Chemistry and German at A-level and wanted to carry on down that route. And to be able to study the brain scientifically just sounded amazing. It’s the best degree in the world! (in my opinion obviously) I didn’t study Neuroscience with any intentions of a career in research or anything. It was just a subject that I found really interesting.
DA: What is the most interesting thing you learned about the human mind while you were studying it?
FS: That’s a very difficult question because there were so many interesting things to learn. One module I did like had to do with consciousness and the theory of mind, so learning what makes us conscious beings and at what age we are considered to have “theory of mind,” because this gives a very fundamental rule about how we exist, by prediction.
DA: If you couldn’t be an actor, which would you rather be: a neuroscientist or a singer?
FS: I suppose I would say singer. I feel like being a neuroscientist would possibly be more fulfilling but the basic joy of singing and music is a very powerful thing.
DA: How would you describe your personal fashion sense? Any brands you tend to stick to?
FS: Non-existent. I don’t have a very good fashion sense. It’s something I haven’t put enough time and thought in to. Brands I stuck to growing up would have been Ralph Lauren. And by stuck to, I mean what I was given to wear by my parents.
DA: Which actors’ careers do you most admire and would like to emulate?
FS: My list of actors that I like constantly changes. I feel like there are also many that I admire but don’t think I could emulate. Actors that inspire me and most actors I would think are Marlon Brando, De Niro, Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, Daniel Day Lewis. More recently I’ve enjoyed watching Michael Shannon, John Hawkes and Sam Rockwell. DA
Photographs: Mitchell Nguyen McCormack
Styling: Drew Manares
Styling Assistant: Alyssa Johansen
Grooming: Kylee Rae Heath