Alexander Devrient is a multilingual German actor. He was born in Madrid, Spain but grew up in Brussels, Belgium. His dad is German-Argentinian and his mother is Lebanese. He acts in English, German and French. After finishing his studies in Economics and International Relations at the University of Birmingham, Alexander went on to train at Drama Studio London. He graduated in 2009 and has since been working professionally on a variety of film projects ranging from Marc Hardman’s award winning We Are What We Drink to a lead role in Nic Blower’s social drama Periphery and a featured part in Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.
FTN: How did you first get interested in becoming an actor?
AD: I started taking drama classes as a kid and realized quite quickly that I thoroughly enjoyed performing. I played in every school play and loved the buzz that came with acting on stage. When I went to university I didn’t actually do anything drama related but decided to opt for studies in Economics and International Relations. Whilst writing my dissertation as a third year student, it suddenly hit me that I had to give acting a chance. I applied for Drama School and luckily I got into Drama Studio London.
FTN: You had a small part in the mega-hit Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Can I first ask you how you got the part?
AD: My agent at the time had gotten me the audition. I was seen by Reg-Poerscout Edgerton who has cast most of Guy Ritchie’s big films. There was an instant connection between us and he decided to cast me in my first Hollywood blockbuster. I was over the moon!
FTN: What was it like to work on such a massive production and did the more experienced cast members give you any help or tips on your part of the movie business as a whole?
AD: It was an incredible experience. I had only been out of drama school for about 18 months and when the car picked me up in the morning to drive to Elstree studios I thought to myself: “Boom, you are finally getting to see how the big dogs do it.”
Guy Ritchie introduced me to everyone and Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr. were a pleasure to work with. True masters of their craft, professional and talented. I learned a lot.
FTN: Aside from film work, you are also a prolific theatre actor with many memorable productions including Twelfth Night at the Greenwich Playhouse. Do you prefer acting in front of a live audience compared to a film or television studio camera?
AD: I love performing both on stage and film although now I want to expand my film career even further. Because of my international heritage I play in English, German and French and I know that I can reach wider audiences with film work.
Saying that, the intense feeling you get a couple of seconds before going on stage is equal to none.
FTN: I understand that you will soon be on our screens in Emmerdale, one of Britain’s best loved soaps. Can you tell us a little bit about the character you will be portraying?
AD: Laurent is a professional cyclist. He’s French, from Paris, and is currently training for the Tour de France. He’s a driven, ambitious and powerful athlete. Interestingly enough he doesn’t speak any English so when he comes crashing into the village, he finds it extremely frustrating not to be able to communicate with anyone.
FTN: For your part in Emmerdale, did you have to undergo many auditions?
AD: For the part of Laurent I only had to go through one round of auditions. I travelled up to the ITV Studios in Leeds and got the call the next morning: “Alex, you are playing Laurent in Emmerdale”. Yes!
FTN: What has it been like to work with some of the more well established characters on the set?
AD: Working with characters like Kerry (Laura Norton) and Dan (Liam Fox) was an absolute delight. They made me feel super welcome immediately and although their professionalism was evident, they made the whole process super fun too. Laura (Norton) is such a bubbly and kind person, I had no trouble fitting in.
FTN: What do you think is the enduring appeal of soaps and, in particular, Emmerdale?
AD: Emmerdale is the longest running British soap with millions of people watching it every day. It’s very down to earth, the characters are reflections of Britain’s society today and viewers all around the country can recognize parts of themselves when watching it. That makes its appeal bigger than ever.
FTN: Aside from Emmerdale, are there any other projects that you are currently working on?
AD: I am lucky enough to go to the World Cup in Brazil. After that I will be working on an international feature with one of Croatia’s most talented directors, Slobodan Karajlovic.
FTN: Finally, Star Wars or Lord of the Rings?
AD: That’s a tough one but if I had to choose, Lord of the Rings!