The adventurous chameleon
"You look dangerous, yet kind. An energetic, exciting and versatile person with a positive view on life."
- A quote that sums up how most people responded when I recently asked people to describe me as a person.
My name is Tony and I´m an actor. I attended the Malmö Theatre Academy from which I graduated with a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre in 2004 as the first student ever at a theater college in Sweden. The topic I chose to study for the master’s was stunt preformance for actors. The reason I chose this topic was that I thought it was an interesting opportunity to immerse myself into a subject that was hardly written about, while it was something a working actor often faces in film and theater.
Since I got my first paid acting job in 1995 I have worked continuously in theater and movies. One of my strengths as an actor is my broad expertise and experience from various forms of art. This I find is of great value when it comes to creating compelling and credible role portrayals. My view of what is good acting I will return to further down the page.
Becoming an actor was not an obvious choise for me. There were probably many who were surprised by my choice as the profession was very unusual on "Varaslätta" where I grew up. Only ”weird people” was considered to be interested in acting, not the kind of calm (a bit shy), sporty and polite boy I was then perceived to be.
I grew up in the small community Stora Levene in Västergötland. I have Swedish and Polish descent. I was among the shortest in the class but very fast and agile. For a few years I won (perhaps a little lucky) virtually all school championships in sports. I played a lot of football in a team with older guys and dreamed of someday becoming a professional football player. In high school the interest for acting took over and I quit football after 11 years to instead focus fully on acting.
During my childhood I liked to test my physical limits, for example by jumping from trees, rooftops and edges in a gravel pit. This interest in physical challenges along with the desire to become a versatile an actors as possible later led to that I started working at High Chaparral. As an actor and a stuntman in the Wild West Show I made a lots of different stunts, including a fall from 12 meters in show.
The first apperance on stage was in elementary school, as Joseph in a Christmas play, but it was in middle school I took a real interest in acting. I found that on stage I could quickly catch the audience's interest and make people laugh. Our middle school teachers used a lot of theater in their pedagogy and it suited me well to stand before the class and play a role, read or tell a funny stury. After some acting-free years during high school I heard about a newly established arts program in Skara which had the theatre classes att Skara Skolscen. I instantly knew I had to attend this school, without knowing what Skara Skolscene was.
After high school in Skara I at short notice got my first longer paid preforming job. The job was as an entertainer at a hotel in Crete. At the time I had no idea of what an entertainer did or what kind of hotel I would be at. Back then I had no internet access and I never had been at a charter trip. It also was the first time I flew abroad and was under the impression I was only allowed to bring hand luggage aboard. One can safely say my little bag was well packed for my several month stay in Greece. After a bad start, I felt hampered by my language skills in the beginning, followed some eventful and educational months where I worked with an international animation team consisting of people from different countries and cultures.
I came home from Crete to begin Wendelsberg Theatre & school scene at which I attended two years of acting training and also got a degree as a theater teacher. During the Wendelsberg time I also started to feel ready to apply for drama school. At this time I mistakenly thought all theatre collages in sweden offered the same education. My first application was to the Theatre Academy in Gothenburg but I was not offered a place there. I consoled myself with something that the actor Jarl Borssén told me. We had met at the hotel I worked at in Crete and he told me there are other paths than theater college to become an actor. With Jarl's soothing words in mind and an enormous curiosity for what I could learn at the Theatre Academy I made an application to Malmö Theatre Academy and was accepted.
I attended the Theatre Academy four years and the training gave me, above other things, the tools to find my own approach to exploring different roles. The Theater Academy also gave me three lessons that I found of great use in my private life and these are:
- Dare to fail. It is only in understanding failure one can evolve and become better.
- Dare to question. Why you do what you do or why something comes across the way it
- Understanding that nobody can teach you anything unless you are willing to learn.
Something that often happens to me when meeting the audience after a preformance is that they don´t recognize me. This also has fascinated many of my collegues who has witnessed the occurance. At first I experienced this as something negative as I thought my acting did not make a strong enough impression on the audience. Today this only makes me happy as I consider this as having delivered a convincing and believable performance.
My great role models in terms of acting is Allan Edwall, Daniel Day Lewis and Charlize Theron. These are three actors whith the ability to create characters that always seem genuine with a minimum of private or personal quirks and tics. The roles of these actors always seem worked through with great detail and nuances that are always different depending on what role they portray. That It is the same actor behind the different characters seems hard to believe. They capture my interest and keeps me focused at the film's plot without thinking of the acting performance until afterwards.
To me good acting is when an actor manages to focus the audience's attention and thoughts in a scene on what they want to show without drawing attention to the acting and the actor behind the role unless, of course, this is the purpose. The more versatile an actor is the better equipped they are to cover their own quirks and ticks during a role interpretation, which makes their character in more credible and convincing. The most important and exciting moment in a scene is during the pause that occurs before anything is done or said. Good actors have the intuition and ability to use pauses in the right way at the right time. All too often, however, I feel that the actor uses pauses incorrectly and they become mannerisms that feels contrived which, among other things, breaks the rhythm and authenticity of the scene. A misused pause destroys the audiences involvement and the tension of the scene.
My ambition as an actor is to get to speak to and influence other people's thoughts, feelings and opinions by providing a magical experience, which hopefully works as a positive force in everyday life.
Copyright © 2005-2020 Tony Lundgren
I fall from 12 meters at High Chaparral.
During my second year at Wendelsberg I worked in the evenings as a stage technician on Joe Laberos show "Illusions" at Rondo in Gothenburg.
The team of entertainers I worked with at the Creta Paradise hotel in Gerani, Crete. The hotel was named one of the 100 best in the world. I am standing second from the right.
One of my favorite characters, Mack the Knife from The Threepenny Opera.
Via Dolorosa at Teater Insite is in my opinion one of the best plays I've appeared in.
MY FAVORITE MOVIES
1. Dances with Wolves. It is a well made, interesting and beautiful film that never gets boring despite a low tempo. Fantastic soundtrack. Moral dilemmas. Good script, direction, photography which gave an academy award. A meeting between native americans and whites never visualized in a better way.
2. The Godfather part one. It has very good acting. I like the script, the details, the music and the calm pace of the narration. It is an exciting mafia film containing more than just war and blood.
3. Gladiator An exciting story with the highest level of storytelling. Fantastic fighting sequences and good effects, stylish photo and beautiful surroundings enhanced by the musical score.
4. Schindler's List. gripping story that feels like a documentary. Good acting and beautiful soundtrack. Important message that you can not put a value on a human life.
The victories did not only bring joy but also performance anxiety for coming races. It was something I had to learn to manage. Above a newspaper clipping from a school championship in cycling.
For five years I worked at Månteatern. One of the performances was "Porslinsnegrer". The title generated great attention and debate. Above a newspaper clipping with me and Alexander Karim from the show..