(photos by Ashley Ross)
1. I know you, but some people may not.
So could you please introduce yourself to the world?
”Hello! I’m an actor living in Vancouver. I was born and raised in Denmark. My mom’s Danish, my dad’s English so I grew up speaking both languages. Before I moved to Vancouver in 2011, I also lived in London, England for a couple of years. So I’m Danish-English by blood but now Danish-Canadian by citizenship.”
2. What was your first job in the entertainment industry?
What did you do before that?
”My first job in the industry was actually a fluke of sorts. I was living in London and wasn’t an actor when I learned I could get work as an extra. My first time on set ended up being on Captain America: The First Avenger. My first paid acting job was a silent on camera role on The 100 as "Weak Grounder #1". I basically spent a day half-naked in a cage lashing out at Bob Morley. And I loved every minute of it. Before I got into acting, I was actually a career journalist in Denmark and England.”
3. Did you study acting before getting into the industry?
”Yeah, my partner gifted me part-time acting classes when we moved to Vancouver. She somehow knew I wanted to be an actor (this was before I knew I did). After falling in love with the craft, I was looking at options to learn more. I decided to do a one-year intensive at The William B. Davis Centre at VanArts. After that, I joined forces with my agent, Murray Gibson, and got into the professional side of the industry. I’ve been taking part-time classes and courses ever since. In the past couple of years, I’ve regularly been taking scene study classes with Ben Ratner at Haven Studio.”
4. If you could work with anyone you'd want,
who would that person be and why?
”Well, my partner, Gemma Holdway, is a screenwriter. She wrote two short films that I acted in, Fatal Rhapsody and Dog Bite. Of course, we dream of working on other projects together. As for other actors, the list is endless. A few names that come to mind right now are Anthony Hopkins, Riz Ahmed, Carey Mulligan. I’d love to work on a Danish film (in Danish) in the future; there are some phenomenal actors in Denmark like Mads Mikkelsen, Jesper Christensen, Trine Dyrholm.”
5. What does a normal day in your life look like?
”Well, Covid-normal is somewhat more restricted than non-Covid normal but I usually get up at 6, journal and have my breakfast (and coffee, always coffee, always black). Then a workout which makes me feel like by 10 am, I’ve accomplished something, which is just a great feeling to carry into the rest of my day. I usually keep the rest of my day flexible to work on any deadlines, auditions, class rehearsal, to play music or work on other creative projects. I’ve been baking a lot during the pandemic too, so I might bake bread. My partner and I like to go for lots of walks during the day to break up the at-home-all-the-time routine of Covid and then we’ll have dinner and watch an episode of TV. When I can, I try to take it easy after dinner, wind down and prepare for the next day.”
6. Where is your favorite place to be and why?
”I mean, if I had to pick one single place, it’s probably in my apartment. Having said that, I sorely miss travelling and I haven’t seen my family back in Denmark for almost a year and half so I’m looking forward to going back there again when it’s possible. And then a trip somewhere tropical, a beach and some scuba diving would be amazing.”
7. If you could, what would be the one advice
you would want to give to your younger self?
”I think there’s a weird seductive quality to being a <struggling artist>. There’s a peculiar cultural reverence for it. When I started out as an actor, I kept hearing over and over and over again from teachers and peers that <being an actor is hard> as if it’s a rule. It took me years to realize it doesn’t have to be. So, maybe I’d tell myself that I get to decide how I experience the grind. Yes, it’s an industry of no's, but you’re allowed to find joy in the journey. You know what would be hard for me? Being an accountant! I’d be miserable.”
8. What is one of the best advice that you've got?
Who was the person that gave it to you?
”I’ve had a lot of great acting teachers in Vancouver who have all given me ‘aha’ moments by saying the right thing at just the right time. Ben Ratner told me once, <surprise yourself>. I feel most liberated in my work when I know the scene inside out but there’s always a risk of getting stuck in a routine way of doing it. <Surprise yourself> helps me dare to swing for the fences and risk being the fool instead of holding myself back.”
9. What is your biggest accomplishment so far?
”I’ve survived over a year in a pandemic so there’s that. And I think in the pandemic I also became aware that I’m really grateful for the life I’m living, the part of it that’s in my control. For so many people, lockdown has been a shocking realization that they don’t want to go back to their normal lives again, perhaps the wrong job or too many hours. I have lots of dreams and I’m ambitious, but I can look to my lifestyle and habits and see that I’m moving my life in the direction I want it to move. Before I was an actor, I used to work for the weekend and now I can’t imagine ever wanting to retire.”
10. If you could book any role in the next years to come,
what would that dream role be?
”Eddie in Stephen King’s The Dark Tower is a dream role. The character wasn’t in the film adaptation but there’s been talk of a TV adaptation for at least a decade now. He’s a heroin addict who, at first glance, seems weak and narcissistic but he manages to kick his drug addiction and becomes a very important and humoristic, part of the journey to The Dark Tower.”
11. What can you tell us about your character from CW’s Legends of Tomorrow?
What was it like to work on the show?
”My first love in the arts, at least as a creator, was in music. In Legends, I got to play one of my big musical heroes, one of the all-time greats. My first day on set was actually the first day production was back since the Covid outbreak so there was a really positive community vibe. Everyone in the cast and crew were so grateful to be back to work. I was super nervous playing a very recognizable real-life hero of mine but the support on set from both cast and crew made it such a joy.”
12. Also, is there anything you could share about your role
on Freeform’s Motherland: Fort Salem?
”Yeah, this guy’s tough to talk about without giving away spoilers. I could say that it’s a man who is very dedicated to his cause. You’ll have to wait and see what that cause is!”
13. What is the best part about life on set?
”The last time I was on set was for another CW show I can’t talk about just yet. The director called me in advance and told me to make as many weird choices as I could come up with and then we’d just play on the day. Not every day, every set, every scene can be like that but when I get to do a full day of taking big swings, it’s just pure joy. Also, crafty!”
14. What is your favorite part of your job and why?
”I’ve always loved storytelling and I think I always knew I was going to be a storyteller. It just took me a while to figure out what kind. But I love that my job is to create. I also really value having a career that’s totally unpredictable. I was in a very predictable office job for a couple of years and in that time, I discovered that I’m not nearly as scared of change as I am terrified of the lack of change. I have no idea what my next job is going to be, who I’ll be working with, when it’ll be, what will be required of me mentally, emotionally or physically and, of course, that can be a little scary but all the most exciting things in my life happen when I’m out of my comfort zone.”
15. How is your job different now, during the pandemic?
Did it change the vibe around the set?
”The Covid teams on the sets I’ve been on have been phenomenal. The amount of tests they must have to schedule is mind-boggling but thanks to their incredible work, the vibe around the set didn’t actually change all that much because everyone felt safe. The pandemic’s been a topic of conversation on set, of course, but it hasn’t changed the work, at least for the actors, all that much. Blocking/rehearsing with masks is a little odd, especially in intense scenes but I didn’t find it that difficult to adapt to.”
16. Is there anything you would like to say to the people who support you?
”From my closest family to complete strangers, it’s always great to get supportive messages from people. My partner got me into acting and although I was abandoning one career for another, my parents were super excited when I told them I was going to leave a pretty 'safe' career in journalism behind for acting. As cheesy as it sounds, I think they could tell I’d found my true vocation. It can be hard to find the right people to surround yourself with who don’t ask: <When are you getting a real job?> or <How long are you going to give it before you quit?> It’s actually quite shocking how many people get uncomfortable when you try to fight for a life of joy, so it certainly made my life easier that the people closest to me have been fully behind me from day one. I’m very grateful for that!”
Thomas Nicholson is a Canadian-Danish actor. He is best known for his work projects like DC's Legends of Tomorrow, Motherland: Fort Salem, Virgin River, The Haunting of Bly Manor, Project Blue Book, The 100, Damnation and Project Eugenics.
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