The Swedish actor David S. Lindgren and I had a great conversation recently. David can be seen in productions as diverse as Thin Blue Line (Tunna blå linjen) and The Queens (Drottingarna) as well as the much-anticipated biopic I Am Zlatan (about Zlatan Ibrahimović) and the indie movie Vanished Without a Trace. We spoke about all these as well as his early life in southern Sweden, his family and Albanian heritage, world travels, modelling for Storm, London, playing a king, a serial killer, a neo-Nazi and a life-changing decision made on a beach in Brazil…
Read on to find out lots more about David S. Lindgren, actor.
DB: What is your earliest memory?
DL: I think my earliest memory is when I was four or five with my mother, my father and my grandfather being outside and playing. I grew up in the south of Sweden with my family, my mother and my father. Then my mother and my father got divorced when I was five so then I moved to the house a little bit outside of the city of Hässelholm. My memories are of a very good childhood.
DB: Was that your mother’s father?
DL: Yes, and I grew up with two of my brothers in one big bedroom, it was quite a tight group. My big brother is three and a half years older than me (1988) and my younger brother who I grew up with was born in 1997, he’s 24. I also have four little brothers.
DB: What was the area like that you lived in?
DL: Our home was just a normal apartment with a lot of nature and playgrounds around. There were many animals when I was a kid.
DB: What sort of child were you? What did you get up to?
DL: I was quite adventurous. Happy and quite active.
DB: Your parents got divorced when you were about five but how did they meet?
DL: I should tell you a little bit about this. My father, Afrim Sopi, is from Albania. When he was young it was the Balkan War and the family went to Macedonia from Albania because it was safer to live there. All seven siblings, it was a big family. Everybody, sisters and brothers, with their father and mother grew up in Skopje, the capital city of Macedonia. It was rough for them when they grew up, they were quite poor. They had to move to Greece when my father was 13 to find work. Then three of the brothers travelled to Belgium and Germany and then the two of the brothers came to Sweden. My father was still in Germany, so my uncle in Sweden called him and said “You need to come here now, we’re all set up here.” They took him in. The brothers come to Sweden, met different women and started families. My mother, Ewa Lindgren, and my father met in my hometown.
DB: What did he do as a job and what does he do now?
DL: His first job, like my grandfather, was in the newspaper industry and then he was a glazier. My grandfather also worked in a cinema, so as my mother grew up she was always in the cinema with her father. He worked all the time, it was a kind of sickness, so that affected the family too.
Then my father worked at other jobs at a warehouse and then he got a truck licence. He is really smart and he learns quickly so he got that in nine months, really quickly, kind of impressive.
My father and my grandfather become good friends when my mother and my father were together. They were only 19 so they didn’t know anything about having kids (my mother’s second kid and my father’s first kid) so I can understand that. They had a good run, my mother and father but it didn’t work out.
Then we moved a little bit out of town because my mother didn’t want me to grow up in the city but to be more with nature. I had a very happy childhood, friends everywhere in the little village we lived in. Just happy you know, playing and building stuff. My brothers and I didn’t miss out on anything.
DB: What kind of things did you build?
DL: We built treehouses and there were other guys with their own treehouse and we would have fights between the tree houses. So crazy when you think about it now.
I have another little brother, too, who was born in ‘97, so I have two brothers born that year. We met when I was 5 but then didn’t meet much after that until I was 10 when we met again and now we have a really good close relationship. I am very close to my parents and my brothers. My brothers’ names are Adam, Razmus, Benjamin and Luan.
DB: All brothers, no sisters?
DL: No, unfortunately, I would have liked a sister but I do have my cousins in the south and they’re like sisters.
DB: Where did you go to school?
DL: My first school, Stoby, was in the village where I grew up and they have up to the sixth grade there. So when you get to sixth grade, you go to another school called Läreda. But we moved when I was in seventh grade, after one year at high school and I went to Västerskolan. After that, I went to Hässelholms tekniska skola, which is a kind of Business and Administration school.
I went there for four years and that was fun because we started our own company at school and it was going really well. We made some money but then we lost our distributor in Germany after six or seven months which was kind of bad but we made more money than everybody else! We were selling a lot so we would just order more and then shipped it out to all of Sweden. The product we sold was a sun cream that you use in the mountains or when you are going skiing or to the solarium to tan. The girls in the school loved it because they would use it once or twice and it was as if they had been in Spain for two weeks.
It was good to go there and to be on that programme. I made many good friends, it was a good class and was a good time in my life.
DB: Sales is a form of performance, have you found that that has helped you with your acting?
DL: Well you have to believe in what you’re selling, and really learn about the product or whatever you want to pitch. And sometimes for a sales part or if I play a politician some time, it can help me to talk fast. I want to play a businessman in the future. I was very close to this in Snabba Cash. I auditioned for one of the guys who have a million-dollar company and to work with one of the leading actors. But then there was no room in the script for my part.
That was one of my best auditions ever and I was really happy. I put the bar real high because it was my first audition for Nord Casting; this was almost two years ago, November 2019. It was the first time I auditioned with another guy as well. I had never met this guy and we only met in the casting office but we just clicked and bonded with the dialogue and everything melded together. I was really happy when we walked out there and I felt confident. They keep giving me auditions now so that’s great.
DB: When you were at school, apart from doing the sales thing, were there other subjects you particularly liked or any teachers that stand out in your mind?
DL: In the ordinary school when I was younger there were of course but in this school, not really. Some you liked more, others less but I liked it and got a good start to work so I could save some money and go travelling. That was great for me! To be honest, I was interested but not that much, I wanted to work more. Through school, we could go out and try different kinds of work as well as preparing and I liked that, to go and meet people in different jobs.
At that time, I didn’t know either that I liked acting. I was a late-blooming actor because when I was growing up, nobody told me to go to the theatre or to go and try that. We didn’t even have a theatre class or anything like that in my school. We did have musicians which I’m more interested in now and this is like me now when I start something artistic, it kind of blows my mind and I want to learn so much more about it.
DB: What did you do straight after leaving school?
DL: After school, I went to work in my where my brother was working. At school, I had work practice for 4 different places and one of them my big brother worked in already, a kind of a gas station. I did well there and then I got to work there straight after I finished school. And I worked a little bit before, just extra work there for a few months before I graduated so I could earn some extra cash. After my practice finished the boss told me I could keep the clothes because I would be hired there – I was quite happy about that.
I got my first girlfriend, and first apartment one year before I graduated so my life was changing. I was more motivated towards work than going to school but I still finished and got pretty good grades. After I finished school I think there was about an eight-and-a-half months stretch to save money. Then it was finished between me and my girlfriend – we were together two years – and I wanted to go and travel with one of my best friends. We decided that we were going to go to Australia so we researched about a one-year working holiday in Australia. We aimed for that and to save money and get all the vaccines and documents you have to have. We needed at least 30,000 Swedish crowns [Krona] with a stamp from the bank so they know that you will be alright. But we were going there to work and to try different jobs that don’t exist in Sweden.
We arrived in Perth in Western Australia, in the south, the biggest city and after two weeks we met some other guys from Sweden there who were there backpacking. Then we went down to the south, Margaret River, a real golden place, so beautiful. It’s like a paradise on West Coast, to be honest. We lived in a hostel called Surf Point. There were people from Italy, America, Ireland, no Swedish people – we wanted no Swedish people, so that was perfect. We got to know more people and have this international vibe. We lived and worked there for a while.
After three months there, we moved to Adelaide in the centre of the country, we didn’t like it so much. My friend I was travelling with had cousins in Sydney and it was getting close to Christmas and we thought we should stay there and see in New Year’s Eve and Christmas there and celebrate. There were some German friends we had met before so we lived with them a little bit. Then we lived in Sydney for I think two-and-a-half to three months. We got tired of Sydney and two of my childhood friends Skyped me and said they wanted to come down to Australia and I said that it was really nice here and to come down and we could buy a car and do a road trip.
We bought a car, four guys all from the same town in Sweden and we did a road trip from Sydney, up north, through all the coastal towns up to Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef. We were camping on islands, some bad camping, some better camping, having adventures, the mountains… We were out camping for a month, we had all the equipment. If we found work on the way we worked. It was one of the best experiences of my life, to be honest. And I was so young when I did it, 21, and I learned a lot from people. I had travelled in Europe and been to North Africa with my family when I was growing up, but it’s not the same as going with a friend. You meet all these new people and it is mind-opening and you see a new world which inspired me to just keep going. We were there one year and then we moved back.
I went back to my old work because I had no money left. And then I decided out of the blue to move to Norway. I don’t know why, but I was like, “I want to live in Norway at some point.” I moved there with a friend. I lived in Oslo working in bars, restaurants, a sports shop, different kind of places. It’s not such a big city but it was a nice time. I met many good people.
After two years I wanted to go somewhere totally different. I told my brother that I wanted to go to South America. He asked me why I wanted to go there. I wanted to check it out because I thought it is so different from wherever I had been before. After all, Australia is kind of Europe, just more tropical but South America… I didn’t know anything. I had a friend down there who I met in Oslo at my first job and she was in Brazil.
I moved to Rio de Janeiro and lived there for months and that was a very crazy experience. I think that is the experience that had the biggest impact on me in my travels because the people were so different, so warm. I didn’t know anything about the culture, nobody spoke English. I travelled around there with many good people and did a road trip for three weeks just before I was going to go home with another friend I met. She showed me great places, and we went close to the Amazon. Her uncle had a birthday party, so we stayed there… many sunrises and sunsets.
One morning, a week before I went home I told my close friends that acting is the coolest work you can have and I was so interested in it (I watched a lot of movies and I had an interest but I didn’t know which way I was going to go). I talked to one girl who went to Prague Film School and she said it’s a really good school, I was excited to know more about it. When I was on the beach one week before I went home, I just told myself that this time now was the time to go into my dream and go for it.
I decided I would go home and do everything to get into Prague Film School. My friend, who I travelled to Australia with, Mattias, helped me, we had a camera and I put it on some books. We did five hours of shooting one particular scene for my audition. I wanted to be explosive, to have sadness, nervousness, anger, everything they might want so they would see this and think “Okay, this guy, pick him.” That was the scene that got me confirmed to get into film school.
DB: If you hadn’t gone to Brazil would you have still made that decision?
DL: That’s a hard question. I think I would make the decision, but maybe not that quickly. But that helped me a lot because it was like it was the right time for me. I have talked to my big brother and asked, “Do you think it will be the same motivation and passion for me if I was younger?” And he said, “No, I don’t think so, David. I think you would just lose interest when you were younger.” I think that’s why it was good for me at 25 years old because now it’s so big and I have learned so much more about the films I make and TV roles. This world is so interesting to me and I just go deeper.
DB: And you have got all these other experiences now to draw on.
DL: And to stick with it, to love it all the time even if you have a bad time, a bad year but still have the passion for it and the love for it.
DB: I think a lot of people do not realise what a terribly hard profession is.
DL: People who are not doing it, mostly don’t have any knowledge of acting, they can’t understand. They’re not on that set, they’ve not been on stage and been hustling, it’s a hard grind to get somewhere. When I went from acting school back to Stockholm, I was so lost… I didn’t know anything about the Swedish market. I tried to get some extra parts in TV series but I was not happy, I was struggling but then I got a manager and got some more parts.
DB: Did you enjoy living in Prague?
DL: I loved it, Prague is a very nice town, very international with people from all over Europe. There’s a lot of film culture, a lot of artists in the town, good people. One of my best mates lives in LA now, I met him in school and I will go to New York when COVID is better. I lived with one guy from Iran and another guy from India and a Swedish girl in a 4-room apartment. I learned something from these guys about their culture and film industry in India and Iran, the technique and style. I love to learn more things about different cultures and film because it’s so different.
DB: When did you model for Storm London?
DL: An Indian director called Kausal who was one of the best directors in the school did a lot of commercials for various brands and really good short movies. I admired him and told him many times that we should work on something then he said I will be perfect for commercials and cast me for Storm of London. That was quite a critical gig but I have not done so many commercials because, especially in Sweden, it’s not so good, doing commercials hasn’t got the kudos that it has in some other countries.
DB: Is football something that features in your life at all?
DL: Yes, to watch. I don’t play, when I was younger I played in a team and was quite good. But on my father’s side, the whole family is involved in football. I have one uncle who is quite a famous football coach in Sweden and also coached teams in Kosovo for a while. He has coached two teams in the next highest league in Sweden the ettan and now he coaches a Division 1 team. Another uncle played in the Macedonia national team and in the highest league you have in Sweden.
I have a cousin who has been playing for Malmö, where Zlatan played since he was 12 and now he’s 23 so he’s an upcoming star too. He had an injury for the first time in his career two years ago, his leg, but he came back from it after a year but then they didn’t believe in him – he’s a striker – so now my uncle is coaching this new team in Division 1 he’s signed him to his team, so they are together which is quite cool.
DB: Talking about football you are in an upcoming film, due out in the autumn, called I Am Zlatan. What is the role that you play in that?
DL: I’m one of the guys in the A-Team. We did real practice training which was quite tough. The actor who played the coach was coaching us. It was cool and fun to go into that world for few days and be part of it. I met all the guys and they were all really good guys. They’ve not done so much acting before but they trained and prepared them so much for their scenes. They have “Tony flygare” who was Zlatan’s best friend, they go in close to him, but otherwise, it’s just the guys in the team. They all come from football and it’s great casting but the acting part was new for them. It was all shot at the old arena in Malmö which was quite cool to be part of. I met all the guys, the guy who is playing Zlatan and “Tony flygare”. The guy they had playing the 17-year-old Zlatan, Granit Rushiti had never done any acting before but he had played for Maolmö FF, I think, a few years back so he’s a really good football player and one of the other guys who plays his best friend was also in that team. I had never been on the set of a biopic before so that was a little bit different but you go into that world and get these ‘90s Malmö FF clothes, the old shoes and go to practice.
DB: Did you have to do any physical preparation for that or were you already fit enough?
DL: When they were going through the casting they asked you if you had played football before and your level. On-set we did many different workouts and warm-ups but I could just go into it. They picked a good cast and everybody was serious and wanted to go all-in so they didn’t have to do too many takes when we were doing the practice.
DB: Do you have any sporting heroes?
DL: I’m a big Barcelona fan so I would say Ronaldinho, Messi and of course Zlatan!
DB: Have you ever met Zlatan?
DL: No but my uncle met him when he was in Milan because he’s in the same industry, but I would like to. I have met the “fake” one. (Both laugh)
DB: What about the director Jens Sjögren?
DL: That was great, I worked more with the assistant director, but I met him and he was a really good guy. I’ve seen Innan vi dör (Before We Die) – I like that casting too. He is a great director and I think was passionate about the project, you can see that with him and how he works on-set with the actors.
I was going for a bigger part in this movie because I knew about it for a long time, but there were not so many Scandinavian-looking parts… I said, “I can play referee or whenever…”(Laughs) I knew one of the girls because I was in a short movie two summers ago directed by Margareta Pettersson (who was in the Downsizing movie) and the girl who was shooting that short film was the third director on the Zlatan film so she helped me with the part.
DB: You play a psychopath in Vanished Without a Trace.
DL: Yes, I met the director, Francisco Valentino, who is from the Dominican Republic but since he was a kid grew up in New York. He has many crazy stories from his childhood and is a very inspiring guy. I was new in Stockholm and asked a girl I met when I was an extra on a TV series, “Do you know any good directors to contact and maybe call them?” She gave me a list of five people, I contacted them all, two of them responded well and one of them responded very well. So I met him in Stockholm for coffee and we sat talking for five hours! He told me that he was doing his first movie in Sweden and it was going to be a horror/thriller/action independent feature. After we talked over five coffees, he told me it was the Dominican Film Festival that night in Stockholm and he knew all the guys and the president there and asked if I wanted to come with him. I said, “Yeah, okay,” went home, got changed and met him there 5 hours later. He asked me what I thought about doing a part in the movie. I asked which part and he replied that “I don’t like the things I’ve been test shooting, I think I will change the script. If you want to audition for one part, for John Doe, the lead part, I think you will be perfect for it.”
At that point, I didn’t have anything in Stockholm, I was still new, it was my first year there, I had never lived here before. I was just doing extras gigs and short movies, so I was quite excited. Then we met at a film festival and watched a movie by the best woman director from the Dominican Republic, and she had a Q&A and after-party. After the party, he hit me up and asked me what did I think and said that he would rewrite my part closer to what he saw me being John Doe. We test filmed it a week after with cars, some dialogue and other shots and started developing this guy.
He gave me the new script, and I liked the script, it was well written. The character was very interesting because he is a father and a psychopath, a murderer. I’ve never played something like that before, it’s quite dark but interesting. We started to shoot some more scenes – it’s an independent movie, so we didn’t have any studio to pressure us. We worked on it for two years and now it’s finished. There was a lot of extra time at weekends but it’s like that in this industry. I’m happy about it and it’s helped me and I loved to be this guy and his character, it’s been a challenge. I’m excited as in the fall it will premiere. We built a close relationship because we worked so long on it, we know each other and I like his method. He let me improv a lot and I’m really good at improv, I like to work that way.
DB: What do you think he saw in you when you had those coffees? [At this point I should say that David is not at all like a psychopathic killer!]
DL: I’m not sure but also being in right at the very beginning, getting cast… It will always be special for me because it is my first leading role in a feature movie, and I’ve been working so close, and have helped with some of the casting too. We got some really good actors for smaller parts. We’re building the story and everybody has done such good work. I’m proud of everybody who has been involved in this project. I’m honoured to play this character and it will certainly be opening in some film festivals in the States. It’s going to be a hell of a premiere!
It’s all about building relationships with a director who I liked to work with because now we get other upcoming movies, shows, probably here or in the States and he wants me to be a part of that too. One of the scripts I’ve read is one of the best scripts I’ve ever read, I couldn’t stop reading it! And I don’t like to read! I read scripts, I don’t read books, I listen to books – I get bored reading. It’s a new feeling for me because I never liked reading when I was young. I think I read one full book in my life and that’s Mio min Mio the book my mother gave me when I was like, nine. I never liked reading, I just like listening and seeing, so reading scripts was quite a new thing.
DB: Do you think that’s because it’s a motivation thing, you’re doing it for a particular reason?
DL: What’s exciting for me is I can go and step into that world and do something for the story, tell the story, the story they want to tell.
DB: You have had two very contrasting roles one as King Adolf Fredrik in Drottningarna [The Queens] and you also play a Nazi in Tunna blå linjen [Thin Blue Line]. Let’s talk about the docuseries Drottingarna first of all.
DL: That was random, to be honest. I was living in Stockholm and I did not even have a profile on Filmcafé which is a Swedish site for small parts, extra gigs. But the casting director called me just randomly and asked if I would do this documentary series on CMore as he thought I would be a really good fit good to play King Adolf Fredrik. I had two auditions and got it. So my first role on Swedish television was playing a king!
DB: What was your costume like?
DL: I had three changes a day and we had three or four shooting days – a lot of costumes! I had a green one with a big cape. We did a lot of filming by the sea at Karlskrona, so we had to have the camera team on the boat and then we shot in two different castles in Stockholm. This was my first role in a TV series in Sweden so it was quite new for me to have three different makeup girls all the time around me. Because it’s a docuseries everything has to be perfect all the time and there is changing for all the shots and many locations. It was really strange to go into that world and it was a big production.
It a challenge too because you don’t have dialogue and I did one gig like that before, in Prague, a short movie and that was quite challenging. I was quite nervous going into that. I liked all the costumes although the wig was quite painful because it was so warm. When you took off the wig last shooting day it was a sigh of relief.
This was something that was challenging because they wanted to do many shots with the lights and closeups. They wanted to do lots of shots in slo-mo and close-ups and I had seen myself in the makeup before of course but when you are in costume and these wigs and everything and you don’t know how it’s going to turn out on screen… I was a bit terrified of how I was going to look. It was nice to shoot in the castles. Many people called me, who haven’t called me for many years, and said nice things about the role. I liked how it turned out on the screen and it was a nice first gig for me.
DB: You play a neo-Nazi in Thin Blue Line which is a new hit show in Sweden.
DL: I went to open casting in Malmö during the summer for Thin Blue Line and then talked to the casting director a lot. I told her I really wanted to be a part of it because I already had a feeling that this series could be big and good as it is a portrait of Malmö. They don’t do so many series in Malmö, in Sweden it’s mostly Stockholm. I was hustling a lot over two months and then one day her assistant phoned and said that they had a part for me. Two shooting days were taken with the demonstration scene with the police and hundreds of extras, quite explosive. I didn’t much like how they edited the demonstration because I had more lines. I already talked to the casting director and she will help me to get a bigger part in season two, so I’m excited about that. They might make me look different, I don’t know. But I have a good relationship with her now, so I think she will help me. We’ll start the casting in the winter because it’s been very successful.
DB: The lead actress in that, Gizem Erdogan, she’s really good.
DL: All the female characters, everybody is good and so down to earth. It’s a different mentality too especially when I come from the south and I live in Stockholm which is quite new for me, there people are more stressed whereas in Malmö they are more relaxed. The mentality is more open and honest, and people, if they talk to you, they speak honestly, they are straight forward. I like the mentality. This set and crew were great and I met some other good people there who were extra-friendly. I was happy to be a part of it.
DB: How did you prepare for playing a Nazi?
DL: I watched movies and videos, then you have the dialogue and work with the director and assistant director. They introduced us to the extras in the scene and explained to them who were are in the show. I liked the sets and it’s a cool experience to be a part of this success. They have started with some new productions in the south, in Malmö now but before there was nothing.
DB: Of all the actors and directors you have worked with, are there any that stand out in your mind?
I have to say, Francesco Valentino because he gave me a chance to play this lead, crazy character and I learned a lot from him. But seeing different directors working it’s exciting. You can take a little bit of something from everybody and everybody is so different in work, style and technique, and then you grow. If I have a line, I like to try three or four times if we don’t have a tight schedule.
DB: What sort of roles appeal to you and do you enjoy a challenge?
DL: I like to play, now I have opened my eyes to more bad characters. Not only to say bad guys, but I like dark roles or specific, weird characters. I also look forward to playing a business guy with a big company or a lawyer or politician. Those are the kind of roles I want to play in the future. People don’t see me as having a specific kind of part and I’m happy about that because I want to play wider and sometimes get some not so nice guys and darker roles. It’s balanced and is so different from what I actually am. I just have this feeling against being typecast like some people are as the gangster or something like, that pays the bills but it’s not nice to get stuck in it.
I’ve got a new role in a movie by the director Ali Sabri Belaid called Blombukett, which is a kind of psychological movie. We are shooting it in Stockholm and Gotland. Part of it is to do with Ingmar Bergman as well so it’s quite special. The lead role is Said [William Legue] with a really good actress, two guys from LA, and also another childhood friend of mine; I worked with him in a short movie so it will nice to work with him on-set again. It’s a different role and I will be a more vulnerable and sad character from what I understand. I don’t want the audience to recognise me, I want to look different, to look strange. I want them to be shocked that I can do this character.
DB: If you are playing a very dark role, how do you leave that behind at the end of the day when you walk off-set?
DL: That’s a good question, but I don’t get affected by the part even if it is dark. This is work and similarly, I don’t get affected looking at horror movies or get scared about blood, I’m just so deep into the story. I just love stories and storytelling and to go into it and to be a part of it. If I can be part of bigger productions which are interesting to me and directors… If it’s real, I like the script, I like the story, I will do it because it’s all about the passion – it’s not just for the money.
DB: And the process and not just the outcome?
DL: Yes to have the opportunity to go and do this character, play them for a while and then you will always be there in this movie. That’s what I like about movies, compared to theatre, theatre is great but movies will always be there. I am excited though about theatre in England or on Broadway, I think that’s so different. Before Covid, I went to see theatre here in Stockholm and the director was from Iran, I think, and the cast was international, 3 Arabic guys, one guy from Africa, three Swedes. The story was great with moving scenery, they all did really good work, I was impressed. But I think to go to England, to London or Broadway, it’s another level.
DB: What countries would you like to travel to, ones you have not been to before?
DL: It is quite shocking but I’ve never been to the States. I’ve been to Africa, Australia, South America, Europe but it’s like I saved America. My best friend is in LA and New York but I am waiting for things to get a little bit better. I’m excited to go to the States and also to go to South Africa to see the animals because I love animals; I grew up with three cats and birds and nature, you know. I want to have the safari experience. I want to go to see my friends in the States, to go to LA, California, New York. I have a friend in San Diego and maybe see Canada as well. I’ve been on journeys, and the Sahara desert when I was about 12 but that was a long time ago. We stayed a lot in Europe in Turkey, Greece, Tunis, Scandinavia which I think opens your mind as an adult.
DB: When you are in the process of travelling, how do you occupy your time?
DL: I love watching movies to see new things and to meet new people. I’m interested in meeting new people all the time because every individual has a story to tell and if you’re interested, maybe they will share it and connect. So if you’re not interested, and you don’t make contact with people, you will never know, you will never have a conversation with them. Maybe you will become friends with them, you never know. But you have to have the courage to ask, to be interested. Meet new people, see new places. Whatever is new for my eyes is good.
DB: Do you ever listen to music while you are travelling? What sort of music do you like?
DL: All kinds of music but I’m really into old school American hip hop, Swedish hip hop, reggae. When I was in Brazil a girl showed me Brazilian reggae and I really like that. I can listen to house music and techno music too, but I’m mostly into reggae and hip hop. I like artists such as Tupac, Eminem, old school American rappers who tell a story; I like to listen to them tell a story. For example, Eminem tells it fast but when you take it in and listen to what he has to say… and Tupac was more like a poet and an actor too with different kinds of personalities.
DB: When you are not working what are your hobbies, interests and passions?
DL: I’m always trying to be better and learn more skills for my resume. For example, I’m learning two languages Albanian and Danish, because I wanted to do auditions in Denmark. I’m fascinated by Danish directors and how they make movies so now I’m going on a course once a week. I think I’ve been to four or five classes there are 10 in total and then we’ll go more advanced. I’m hunting roles and getting better at my craft. After that, I am going to start learning the piano because I want to play characters who can play an instrument but especially the piano. Also being healthy, working out, feeling great about myself, having people around me who lift me up, family. I need it to go forward.
DB: You need it. Everybody needs it because it’s so easy to become negative. And you already speak Norwegian, Swedish and English.
DL: I like it because you understand it more and I have a good teacher too. I’m excited to do some casting experience in Denmark because it’s been a dream for me to be a part of a big production Danish movie. I have watched so many Danish movies in the last four or five years and I like their style, it’s so different. In Sweden, you can do some good movies but there are not so many (you can do good TV in Sweden) but in Denmark, they do really good movies. And it’s just the neighbouring country so I figure why not and get the opportunity at least to audition.
The more languages you have, the easier it is and there’s a better chance to get more people interested. That’s what I was figuring after acting school that language is key. I had a guy in my class from Tunisia, his father is a businessman and in his childhood he travelled around with his father so he grew up in the States, lived in Canada, Tunis, and Switzerland, and then he moved to Prague and if you speak five languages…
DB: I was going to ask you what you are reading, but perhaps I should ask… are you listening to an audiobook?
DL: The last book I was listening to, which I found interesting, is Helicopter Heist. They will do a movie about it too, with Jake Gyllenhaal in the lead. It is the robbery that happened here in Stockholm years ago. I started to read it… and then I listened to the book. I’ve also been listening to Spotify Untold which is about the maker of Spotify. It’s a really interesting story about a guy coming from nowhere and creating one of the biggest music companies in the world. I also listened to the Zlatan book, of course, especially the relationship between Mino Raiola on how hard he was to him and his style. I admire Mino Raiola’s style, he doesn’t care, he would walk into offices, put his feet up and do whatever he felt – because he’s a street kid from Italy. And he has now his résumé Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimović, all these clients and the relationship between them. The book is really good.
DB: Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
DL: My mother has always been there for me and supported me in everything I have done. I am very grateful to her.
DB: What could you not live without?
DL: I could say food (both laugh). My family, including friends too, of course, I think that’s the most important thing. Everybody needs money but money comes and goes and I’m not in this world to make money, to be honest, I’m here more to make art.
DB: If you could have one wish granted right now, what would it be?
DL: To get a part in Martin Scorsese’s new movie! He is my favourite director and a master of cinema. We’re starting to hear about it now and I think it will be phenomenal because it’s nothing that you ever heard about Scorsese doing before, it’s a sci-fi Western. Oh my God! Who would think?
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