Your conversation is just beginning with young actor Alexander Dreymon when he tells you how he relaxes off-set, “At moments I do surfing, I love riding my motorcycle.” Immediately you imagine it; saddled up on a motorcycle side-by-side with Dreymon—each of the respective machines scything through the air, like sickles to wheat. You’re helmeted and easily able to hide your appreciation for the budding television star. But don’t fear, this guy is down-to-earth, and a recent haircut has transformed him from the Anglo Saxon hero he plays on TV back into a beach-going Angeleno. For now, keep going North up PCH, but only in your mind.
Dreymon is the brawny lead on the BBC America historical drama The Last Kingdom, adapted from a series of novels written by Bernard Cornwell. If you were riding with him, you’d pull off to the side after a while and hit a rest stop in Malibu, just enough time to ask the man some questions.
The Last Kingdom has only just begun its televised story and all bets are off, and all secrets are well-kept, Dreymon reveals, “I haven’t seen any of the show up till episode three. Even if you read the screenplay ten times, twenty times—well even more than that actually—you still somehow miss out on stuff that doesn’t become clear until you see it on screen. I have those moments just like you!”
In the show, set in the ninth and tenth centuries, Dreymon portrays Uhtred, son of a Lord played by Matthew Macfadyen who is swiftly slain by Norsemen and nailed to a post. Immediately captured, Dreymon’s character is raised by the purportedly cruel pagan Danes—and tutored by the blind, crafty Ravn, played by the sublime enigma that is Rutger Hauer. After his Danish father dies, Uhtred must find himself in spite of his schism-ed identity. It’s the eye of an existential storm.
The series has been shot on location in places that look right out of the dark ages: castles, dark forests, and open rolling hills, perfect for a show set in the medieval period, “Mainly in Budapest and Hungary and a couple weeks in Denmark,” Dreymon says. In reference to the long medieval locks he brandishes in the show, you envision them streaming behind his bike on the road, but alas, “[My hair] is a lot shorter now, but I’ve got to work hard to get it back in shape for the second season. If I could I would completely buzz cut.”
A quick search of Alexander Dreymon will bring up photos of the face, as well as recaps and reviews of shows and movies he’s worked on, but not much personal information. When asked where he’s from, he lets it roll off, “I don’t feel like an allegiance from one particular place,” but confides he’s found a home in Los Angeles, “I do live in L.A. and I have for the past [few] years. I’ve moved around so much and L.A. is the place I see myself living. There’s an openness of people and willingness.”
But how does he choose his roles, and what can we look forward to next for the young actor? Dreymon is slightly cryptic when asked, but clearly has a vision: “I have the biggest respect for American TV. In terms of what I want to do next, what people watch doesn’t really depend on the channel. Doesn’t really matter what channel it is, but it’s the subject matter that matters—whether it’s TV or a movie [or] theater.” With a healthy helping of American media appreciation, the first season of The Last Kingdom under his belt, and a few films on way, one can be sure that even if Dreymon’s work takes him to Eastern Europe, as far from the beach as humanly possible, Los Angeles, the waves, and the open road are waiting for him when he comes back.
Photographer: Alvin Nguyen for jorgeperezreps.com.
Stylist: Wilford Lenov for celestineagency.com.
Groomer: Sienree for celestineagency.com using Oribe.