British actor Adam Croasdell has made his way across the pond and is hitting Hollywood head-on. Known in the U.K. for his role as Dr. Al Jenkins on the long-running TV drama “EastEnders,” this hunky thespian is now bringing some ‘bad’ guys to American television, including recent appearances on the CW's “Nikita” and the CBS crime-drama “NCIS: Los Angeles.” Not looking to be type-cast, up next Adam transforms into a ‘good’ guy for the historical indie feature “Saving Lincoln,” hitting select cities across the country beginning February 15th.
I recently had a chance to catch up with Adam Croasdell to find out more about the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ side of this talented actor.
Recently, you’ve been some seriously bad guys on TV, including guest starring appearances opposite Maggie Q on the CW’s “Nikita” and Chris O’Donnell on the CBS hit “NCIS: Los Angeles.” What’s it like playing the guy that we all root against?
ADAM: It's a lot of fun. I think having the opportunity to get inside the skin of people that operate outside the law and normal moral and ethical restraints, and then to go home afterwards leaving them on set, is pretty cathartic. I get to play out all kinds of bad behavior without anyone actually coming to harm. The bad guys tend to be fascinating. Figuring out what makes them do the things they do is what interests me. My character Jamal in NCIS:LA, was the leader of a jihadist cell. It was important to me to try and get across that he wasn't just a monster, but a real person with a specific belief system. Even though this isn't how most people operate, it was his very strongly held beliefs that made him do the things he did. As actors, I think our job is not to judge the actions of the character, but to try to portray them in as a real a way as possible. Saying that, my character in Universal's 'Werewolf - The Beast Among Us', was also a bad guy, but in an action/horror movie - essentially fiction. There I collaborated with the writer and the director and ended up creating Stefan, this bounty-hunter who's an English dandy that ends up being something much darker. I had a lot of fun with him. That sort of bad guy tends to have the best one-liners and does all kinds of great stunts and other cool stuff, like knife-throwing.
Up next you’re a taking on a good guy bringing the real-life Colonel Elmer Ellsworth to the big screen in the bio-pic “Saving Lincoln” opening on February 15th. Can you tell us a little about your role and how you prepared to play a real historical figure?
ADAM: Elmer Ellsworth was a lifelong friend of the Lincolns starting from the time that he studied law with Abraham at his law offices in Springfield. By the age of 24, Colonel Ellsworth had become famous across the continental US after having developed a fascination with the French Algerian method of military drilling. He emulated these Zouves, forming the United States Zouaves Cadets and drilled them around the US for the entertainment of huge crowds. He later joined Lincoln on the campaign trail, adding his celebrity to the Union cause, and ultimately became the first Union martyr of the Civil War after having captured a rebel flag flying in plain sight of the White House from across the Ptomac. Preparing to play a real person for the screen is exciting. You read all you can, absorb the photos and the paintings - any material pertaining to them that you can get your hands on - and where the inevitable gaps present themselves, you make educated guesses. I was lucky enough also to have had the help of Zouave re-enactment enthusiasts who were extremely well versed in the man and what he did. I'm very grateful to them. I ended up learning an entire sword drill for one of my scenes, but because of time constraints Sal Litvak - the director - only shot a small portion of it. That's filmmaking; prep and more prep, and a lot gets left on the edit room floor...
Which do you prefer, working in TV or film – and why? Or is it like comparing apples and oranges?
ADAM: As a younger actor coming up, I wanted to be in films. There's something special about being on film sets; there's an excitement; the people in every department are passionate about what they do and there's a little more time to rehearse and to draw out the performances - to find those elusive moments. Of course, the game has now changed. Television is going through a golden age at the moment. Shows like Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Newsroom and Homeland are redefining the genre. The writing and the production values are excellent in many of the shows out there now, and many film stars are now getting involved in series. For me, if the writing and - by extension - the subject matter and the characters are all good, it doesn't matter if it's film or TV. Each medium now has great things going for it.
You seem to play a wide variety of roles using your dialect skills, including Northern Irish, American, Kosovan, Chechnyan, French, Zimbabwean and English. What’s your secret to learning all these dialects so perfectly? And, is there a dialect you’re dying to use in a role that you haven’t already?
ADAM: I like people and I like hearing their stories. The way that they deliver them is always very particular and I think that their accents are integral to that. I'll key into a few words or phrases and roll them around for a while. Pretty soon the accent comes. That, and I had a great dialect coach on NCIS!
There are a lot of dialects I want to get to grips with . I watched the Swedish version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo not long ago and now I can't stop saying, "Blomkvist". Blomkvist's an excellent-sounding word. Maybe Swedish next.
Now, be honest, are you a good guy or a bad guy?
ADAM: I'm a good guy. But maybe that's exactly what a bad guy would say.
And finally, how can your fans keep up with you?
ADAM: I have a website: www.adamcroasdell.com
Thanks for taking time to chat. And, if you ask me, Adam Croasdell is oh so good!