Please introduce yourself to the readers of Examiner:
My name is Umar Khan. I am an actor born in Pakistan but raised in Sweden since the age of 2
How and when did you first get into performing?
When I was around 7 years old, I saw my first American action film, I instantly knew then that this was something that I wanted to do. My main goal was to become an actor who did all of his own stunts and since that time I’ve dedicated my life to it. I started off like any kid by mimicking the fight scenes from the different action movies I saw. Later on, I developed an interest for fight choreography so I started to choreograph my own fight scenes. During my years in elementary school I used to borrow the schools camcorder to shoot my own films. I remember that I was already a perfectionist at that age, I used to handpick my co-stars, do location scouting, direct, choreograph and act in the films I made. In 2002, a friend of mine told me about a shoot that was to a place nearby, wheret they were looking for people with fighting skills and I went there and got the part, which later led me to play the lead in a longer version of that TV show. I believe that if you’re meant to do something, you’re going to end up doing it sooner or later.
Who were some of your biggest inspirations?
I’ve had several inspirations over the years in the many different fields I’ve participated in. When it comes to films, I started off at a very young age by having Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger as my true inspirations, I later moved on to Bruce Lee and Jean-Claude Van Damme when I discovered Martial Arts and most recently I’ve developed more and more interest for acting as an art and focused on improving in that field with inspiration sources as Denzel Washington, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christian Bale among many others.
What kind of training have you done?
I’ve trained in a lot of different styles of Martial Arts and participated in multiple Extreme Sports. It has always been a huge interest for me to test myself and develop my body to be able to do things most people couldn’t do or dared to do. Pushing the limits and exploring what the human body was really capable of. Most of the things I’ve done are self-taught because I like to develop new things and adapt them to my own style, every person has different skills and abilities, what fits one person may not fit another. Therefore, I like to explore the different areas to see what I enjoy the most and what’s best suited for my body, prior training and experience.
What has been your favorite role to play so far?
I’m going to have to say Robert Martinez in Veracious Perception as he was the most complex and versatile person I’ve ever had to become. He changed his character and emotions continuously so it really became a great challenge for me as an actor to really understand the person and all the things he went through to become the way he was. I also knew why he had all these facades to win peoples trust, he did it through all different types of manipulation techniques and strategies. It’s actually a lot more common than we think that people sort of behave that way, maybe not as extreme as Martinez but not very far from it either.
What projects do you have coming up?
Undead, which is a web series produced by Pixel Flick TV where I will be playing the lead as the hit man and Life’s Building, a feature film set to start shooting in 2014 where I’ve been offered to play the lead of Amin. I have a couple of other projects around the globe as well in sight but I can’t discuss them at this early stage.
Who would be your ideal co-star and why?
I would like to star in a movie with Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino, Michael Douglas or Meryl Streep or someone from that generation, as they've been in this business for so long and they have so much to offer when it comes to experience. You learn so much when you observe and train with the best, it’s the same when it comes to acting because you react to someone’s actions. If the person is brilliant, then you develop more yourself and find out things about your abilities as an actor that you never thought you had, a veteran can really bring out the best in you. If you’re observant, most of the things I’ve learned is by observation and practical application, which is the key to learning and mastering something.
What are your plans for the future?
My main goal has always been to make a name for myself in Hollywood. I want to show the fans around the world an innovative style of film making when it comes to action, but to also witness my many other sides which you will soon see. I’m constantly trying to improve myself by finding new things to adapt to and perfect. Later on in life I would like to write and direct movies that touches people deeply, maybe even change their views on things to the better and hopefully bring that knowledge to the next generation.
What is your advice to other aspiring artists?
Every person is unique, don’t try to be someone else, there is already that someone else, trying to be you. Spend your time wisely to discover your own talents and abilities, try to improve yourself all the time by learning new things and seeking who you really are and how you can apply that to the characters you play. Try to be a new improved version of yourself every year and remember that things will happen when they are supposed to happen. Many people do only one thing in life and that is the only thing they’re good at, when someone does two things, that person becomes special in the eyes of the people who do just one thing. When a person can do more than two things and do them well, then that person becomes supernatural for most people, but it shouldn’t be that way. We as humans were not created to only do one or two things, we weren’t supplied with all these gifts just to waste them. Don’t be scared or hesitant, if you want to have something you’ve never had before then get ready to do something you’ve never done before, period!