Fans of British tv and cinema will likely recognise Oliver Stark from various independent movies and UK television dramas. While the roles were small, they gave Oliver the confidence he needed to join a long list of British actors to head to the states with hopes of landing a big time role in Hollywood. It’s a move that many make but one that very few manage to succeed at and while Oliver knows all too well what defeat can feel – he conversely has seen what persistence, courage and the drive born from those setbacks can produce. On his second attempt to crack the US television market, Oliver landed the role of Ryder on AMC’s ‘Into The Badlands’ and the rest, as they say, is history.
As his career climbs to new heights, we sat down with Oliver inside FAULT Issue 25 to discuss his journey into Hollywood and to find out what’s next for the London-born actor with so much more to give.
When the first season came out, no one had an expectation of you but now you have fans and Ryder has fans who want to see him played a certain way. Is that more pressure on you as the actor?
In a way, yes but at the same time I’m more excited that nervous. The first season was my first ever time being a recurring character on a show and I felt like I was finding my feet. Now with the second season I feel a lot more assured with what I want to do so I’m excited to see how Ryder grows alongside my personal growth.
So we’ll be seeing more character progression from Ryder in Season two?
Ryder is in a very different position from where he was in season one which is exciting because I got to step into a different world of Ryder.
Are there any similarities that you share with Ryder?
He’s struggling with finding who he is and where he fits in which I think is something that at some stage in our lives we’ve all dealt with. He’s just in a world where he has to work it out very quickly or end up on a sword but I think the idea of working out where one fits in is where I most resonate with Ryder.
What is it about a script or a role that draws you in?
I think that’s changed over the past year. Now, I really want to be involved in projects focussed on what’s happening around us on a social level and tell a story that has a relevance to society. The way the world is now and where it’s going as a population, I think there are stories that need to be told and I’d love to be a part of that.
How daunting was your move to LA?
I first came our here in January 2014 and I originally came for two months with a head full of dreams and didn’t actually have the best time if I’m honest with you. I wasn’t very busy and I didn’t do very well in auditions so I came home very dejected after that. The second time I went out was a much bigger deal for me because I had to rebuild all the confidence I’d lost and it was on that trip that I booked Into The Badlands.
It’s a big commitment to British actors to do it because it’s a lot of money and you have to readjust your entire life so there is a certain level of commitment to the craft actors show when they make the jump.
What’s it like to meet fans of the show?
I think the greatest compliment I can receive is “I didn’t know you were British” because that is always a phew moment because it means I’ve got the accent nailed at the very least.
What can we expect from you for the rest of 2017?
There’s a movie out in March called ‘Mind Games’ which is a really interesting sci-fi action movie which looks at if the church can coexist with science. It’s a mind-bending movie!
What is your FAULT?
The inability to escape my own head at times because there is always that voice back there that in a room full of great actors will ask “do I deserve to be here?” I think it’s something that everyone struggles.