THE KING OF COOL. The lead star of historical drama “The Last Kingdom” shares some insight into his latest work along with bits and pieces from his own history with DA MAN
Outfit by Sandro
Period TV shows can be a mixed bag. Some say the genre is oversaturated, others feel they’re relics of pre-reality TV. But with the right material, the right production team and the right lead, it can work. Alexander Dreymon definitely fits that last bit. His acting career is just now ramping up, but, for sure, he has the talent and the charm to make it big in the biz. Of course, it also helps that he has quite a sharp wit and an incredible sense of humor. So, it does look like we’re witnessing a part of Hollywood history being written through the tales of a kingdom long forgotten, by an actor that will long be remembered.
DA MAN: Hi, Alexander. We’re looking forward to your appearance in “The Last Kingdom.” Can you give us a short outline of the show?
Alexander Dreymon: The Last Kingdom is set in the 9th century when what we now know as “England” was made up of many separate kingdoms, not fit to withstand the Viking invasions. King Alfred, later known as King Alfred the Great—said to be the creator of England—has a revolutionary vision of unifying all the Kingdoms to vanquish the Danes, and it gives birth to a new nation, England. The story depicts historical figures, battles and treaties but is told through the eyes of a fictional character, Uhtred, who is on a quest to reconquer his rightful birthright: the northern lands of Bebbanburg.
Outfit by Reiss
“I’ve grown with every deception as well as success. no regrets over the path I’ve chosen”
DA MAN: How did you end up being picked as the lead of the show?
Alexander Dreymon: A rather long audition process from May to September last year: many self-tapes (that sounds like homemade porn [laughs], but it’s when casting is located in a different country and you send them a video of your audition) and finally two screen tests.
DA MAN: If we’re not mistaken, your character, Uhtred of Bebbanburg, is also known as “Uhtred the Wicked,” at least in the novels the show is based on. Do you feel that “wicked” accurately describes your character?
Alexander Dreymon: He has different names as the story goes on. He’s honest, trustworthy and loyal, but he can also be a real asshole. So, “wicked” is definitely accurate at times.
“[My acting career] started in my cousin’s room in france with a vintage handheld camera”
DA MAN: Nevertheless, Uhtred of Bebbanburg is a very well-developed character, with layers upon layers of complexity. What is your overall approach to getting into character?
Alexander Dreymon: One of my favorite parts of building a character is the research, and it makes up for all the times I was asleep at school. Sometimes it can take a while to find the best sources, but in this case all the material I needed was handed to me on a silver platter by Bernard Cornwell—I loved delving into “The Saxon Stories.” I didn’t only get the inspiration I needed for Uhtred from these books on which the series is based but also saw the huge potential of where the story could go. Once the theoretical part is done, I like to spend as much time as possible in character and try him out on people I don’t know. Not an easy feat when you’re working on a 9th-century warlord.
DA MAN: Was it fun, though, working on “The Last Kingdom” series?
Alexander Dreymon: Producers Gareth Neame and Nigel Marchant—creators of “Downton Abbey”—as well as Chrissy Skinns who was on set with us through thick and thin were an extraordinarily passionate, respectful and considerate production team. I’m so grateful to be one of the people who brought their vision to life. I also can’t praise the crew, who were mostly Hungarian, enough. Many have become friends. My makeup designer Kate Benton put me in a good mood at the start of each day. We all spent so much time freezing our asses off in the snow or wading through knee-deep mud and constant rain, but the right company makes it fun and turns it into an adventure. So yeah, I had the best time spending seven months riding through forests, playing with swords and having sex in furs.
DA MAN: Looking at where you are now in your career, is this what you imagined it to be when you first started acting?
Alexander Dreymon: That’s a funny question [chuckles]. Obviously, I thought it would go much faster and be much easier! It’s essential to have that naïve optimism when you start out. But the truth is I’ve always enjoyed doing the work, and I’ve grown with every deception as well as success. I have no regrets over the path I’ve chosen, and I’m proud of the relationships I forged along the way.
“Don’t read what people write about you on the internet”
DA MAN: How did your acting career initially begin, by the way?
Alexander Dreymon: It started in my cousin’s room in France with a vintage handheld camera. We’d reenact movie scenes from old classics. That material is still around somewhere and I pray that no one ever finds it. Then I worked with a truly brilliant acting teacher, Lesley Chatterley, who pushed me to get classical training in England, which I did at Drama Center London.
Shirt by Lacoste
“Once the theoretical part is done, i like to spend as much time as possible in character and try him out on people i don’t know”
DA MAN: Lastly, what would you say is the most important life-lesson you’ve discovered after working for so long in the biz?
Alexander Dreymon: Work harder than you think you can but don’t forget to chill the heck out—you’re not doing open-heart surgery. Never compromise on your values and don’t read what people write about you on the Internet.
To see more exclusive pictures of Alexander Dreymon, get the magazine here!
Photography Mitchell Nguyen Mccormack
Styling Alexa Rangroummith Green
Styling Assistants Lauren Larocca
Styling Agency Celestine Agency
Grooming Elie Maalouf at Jed Root and Emily Siphene
Photo Agency Artmix
Videography Pedro Correa