“Industry” star Alex Alomar Akpobome shares about his passion and journey in the entertainment industry while reminiscing unforgettable moments from the shows he has played in
Growing up in Glendale, California, Alex Alomar Akpobome wanted to be a pizza delivery boy before dreaming of working as a clown. At around eight or nine years old, he found himself obsessed with the family comedy movie “Home Alone” and action fantasy “Hook,” to the point that he ended up learning the scripts of both films. Little did he know, this childhood obsession became an earnest passion for acting. Having done several school plays, Akpobome was called “a terrific actor” by his principal—a comment that stuck with him.
Today, Akpobome has played in a number of successful series, including the semi-autobiographical comedy “Twenties,” “For All Mankind” and “Industry.” Akpobome is also into street skateboarding, a longstanding passion from his teenager years. DA MAN talks with Akpobome about his journey in the entertainment industry, as well as his childhood and hope for his future.
DAMAN: Hello, Alex! Thank you very much for being with us today. How are you doing?
Alex Alomar Akpobome: Cheers! Thank you for having me. Life is swell currently and I’ve had a rather pleasant go of things. Very few complaints and trying to enjoy life moment to moment and not let it pass me by.
DAMAN: How’s your 2022 been going so far?
Alex Alomar Akpobome: The amount of change in this year and the last have been surreal, jarring and a dream come true. A real rollercoaster. But I’d like to think in the past month or so I’ve begun to acclimate myself to giving up bussing tables and embracing life as a full-time actor. Although I do think I have some serious God-given talent for clearing a table in less than two minutes.
DAMAN: Could you share a little about yourself?
Alex Alomar Akpobome: I was born in Hollywood, but grew up mainly in Glendale. In elementary school I wanted to deliver pizzas, which then changed into hoping to work as a clown. As I went through my teenage years, I was very committed to becoming a professional skateboarder. The only trouble was that I was too vain to jump off anything too large and ruin my face. Secretly, I feel I knew I always wanted to act but found the occupation embarrassing to fully commit to. When I finally did in my early 20s, I knew there was nothing else I would ever do. I vividly remember telling myself around that time that I was prepared to be a lonely 60-year-old man if it meant I tried my best and gave it my all.
DAMAN: Looking back, how did your childhood shape you as an actor?
Alex Alomar Akpobome: My mom was a single parent who worked a 9-to-5 job to support us, which gave me quite a lot of time on my own. At around eight or nine-years-old I was obsessed with the movies “Home Alone” and “Hook,” and through osmosis ended up learning the entire scripts of both. So, that was an early signal towards life in this profession. Shortly after that I did a few school plays and the principal told me that she thought “I was a terrific actor” even though she ended kicking me out of the school two weeks later. But her comment stuck. It’s also useful to acknowledge that I played with G.I. Joes in the bathtub for hours on end until a very inappropriate age—I think I called it quits at 12. So, in some sense it was an incredibly lonely childhood. But also, I imagine it had a very strong impact on my imagination and sense of play.
DAMAN: Are there any established actors that inspired you?
Alex Alomar Akpobome: Jack Nicholson’s sense of the absurd, Marlon Brando’s poetic quality and Sean Penn’s strength to be completely uncompromising.
DAMAN: Until last year, you starred in the series titled “Twenties,” where you play a character named Ben. Can you tell us a bit about him?
Alex Alomar Akpobome: Ben is Marie’s [played by Christina Elmore] co-worker at Monument Pictures. In the first season he was a pretentious, chauvinistic brown noser. The second season was more nuanced and Ben’s story was more tied in competing to be Nia’s [played by Gabrielle Graham] potential love interest alongside Tristan [played by Big Sean].
DAMAN: Did you find any similarities between yourself and Ben?
Alex Alomar Akpobome: Not so much in the first season. However, I think in the second, Ben was written closer to my own personality. Incredibly insecure, but also open and with a few moments of charm.
DAMAN: You also made an appearance in the season two of “For All Mankind.” Galloping from a comedy series to a sci-fi drama, what kind of challenges did you encounter?
Alex Alomar Akpobome: Not much, as my character was brought on specifically for comic relief. The main challenge I remember is how heavy and difficult the space suits were to get into and breathe in. They’d have folks on the sidelines to specifically help take off the helmet and hold it in between takes or camera setups.
DAMAN: You play Paul DeWeese in “For All Mankind.” What do you think makes this character unique?
Alex Alomar Akpobome: The writers actually came up with the character specifically written for me based on having a sense of what I had done reading for a different part. So, I think the character was special because the writers understood my weird sense of humor. It was a small part but I’m very proud because my mom really liked the series.
DAMAN: Did you have to undergo any sort of special preparation for your role?
Alex Alomar Akpobome: It was a smaller role, but I remembered watching the documentary “For All Mankind” while preparing for the audition, which helped get a sense of environment. And I remember coming up with the idea that the character was to be inspired by Marvin the Martian. So, yeah, a space documentary and a Looney Tunes character were my sources for preparation.
DAMAN: If someone gave you the chance to become a real astronaut, will you take it?
Alex Alomar Akpobome: I think in theory I’d like to believe I’d take the chance. But considering the amount of math required to not die in outer space, I doubt things would work out too well.
DAMAN: Among your latest works is “Industry,” which follows a group of bankers navigating their life in the financial world after the 2008 financial crisis. Do you have any particularly memorable moments from the series?
Alex Alomar Akpobome: It’s a very odd profession because while re-watching and doing ADR, the moments that I thought were memorable ended up being less so, and I will bring them forward, not just to gigs but also hanging out with my pals in the living room.
DAMAN: In “Industry,” you play Danny Van Deventer, an executive director who just arrived in London from New York. What can you tell us about Danny?
Alex Alomar Akpobome: He shakes things up and enjoys using very big words. I’ll leave it there and hope people tune in and find out more.
DAMAN: Among all the characters you have played, who is the most unique or challenging character to play?
Alex Alomar Akpobome: They all felt difficult at times. Some were hard just due to me being new in the profession and feeling pressure. Others like “Industry” were hard due to the financial jargon and being alone in a random country for six months. But “difficult” is all relative, I suppose. So, I try to keep that in mind and still trip out on each and every one of the opportunities I’ve been given.
DAMAN: Do you have any dream roles you would like to play?
Alex Alomar Akpobome: My absolute favorite part of acting—besides actually doing it—is having no clue about what roles I, or my friends, are gonna play next. So, I’d say my dream role is whatever is the most surprising, out of left field character that comes along. Playing an animal neurologist just occurred me to, so let’s roll with that for now.
DAMAN: In general, what does it take to become a good actor and survive in the entertainment industry?
Alex Alomar Akpobome: I think everyone brings something different to the table that is inherently interesting without “acting.” Charm, intensity, wit, sincerity, etc. Even cynicism can be very interesting to watch. I think as I get older, I became more aware of those natural qualities and how to infuse that in a performance. So, to boil it down: self-awareness and honesty or courage to reveal.
DAMAN: Besides acting, are there other things you are deeply passionate about?
Alex Alomar Akpobome: Street skateboarding, American fiction and ’70s films.
DAMAN: We can only imagine what kind of hectic schedule an actor like yourself might have to follow. What’s your “recipe” to refresh your mind and body?
Alex Alomar Akpobome: I asked my best friend this and he looked me up and down, and we both started laughing. I’m definitely the wrong person to ask as I tend to overwork myself. But as of late it’s helped me to slow down and focus on what’s immediate and worthwhile.
DAMAN: Do you have any upcoming projects you could share with us?
Alex Alomar Akpobome: I worked on a short film in April that’s looking to be turned into a feature for Amazon. But besides that, not a thing! Looking to find the next project to fall in love with and in the meantime happy to wait it out and enjoy my life skateboarding and reading.
DAMAN: Last question, what’s your biggest hope for yourself in the future?
Alex Alomar Akpobome: To keep my close friendships strong, make stuff I’m proud of and be a good son, and have a little bit of fun in between.
PHOTOGRAPHY MITCHELL NGUYEN McCORMACK
STYLING KIMBERLY GOODNIGHT
HAIR MAXWELL M. USING UNITE HAIR
MAKEUP LISA SASSON USING SAJE
MAKEUP ASSISTANT CATRIA KIRBY
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