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Need to Know: Pride's Ben Schnetzer

Need to Know: Pride's Ben Schnetzer


The young American actor finds success in the UK

Following a stunning performance in The Book Thief opposite Geoffrey Rush, Ben Schnetzer is poised to become the next big thing as he takes on unions in Pride, a breakout at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival hitting theaters on Sept. 19. In the dramatic true story about gay and lesbian activists who raise money to help families affect by the 1984 UK miners' strike. In the film, the 24-year-old actor portrays Mark, a gay Irishman trying to convince Cliff (Bill Nighy) and the other town's workers to let him share in their cause.

In addition to the Queer Palm award winner, Schnetzer is set to co-star with Max Irons (The White Queen), Douglas Booth (Noah), and Sam Claflin (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire) in The Riot Club, a dramatic thriller about Oxford's Bullingdon Club.

In a new interview with Da Man, the American actor opens up about the upcoming roles and finding his footing in London.

On the experience of filming Pride:

"Pride was a real highlight for me. The fact that it's a true story added an extra sense of responsibility to the preparation. As such, we all tried to serve those who inspired it with as much honesty and integrity as we could, which meant countless hours of historical prep and dialect work."

On working with the cast of young male actors in The Riot Club:

"It was the first time since school that I had the chance to work with actors my own age, and it was very inspiring. All my fellow cast members were talented and unconditionally supportive, which made for a hell of a shoot. We even ended up turning into a fraternity ourselves!"

On doing film versus theater:

"I've really enjoyed doing film over the past year and certainly hope to continue. I do feel very at home in the theater though, as it's where I fell in love with acting. I was just talking to another actor in Punk's Dead, and the parallel we came up with is that making a film is like recording an album, and doing a play is like playing a live concert. Ideally, the dream is to do both!"

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On the impact of moving to London:

"The obvious impact of studying abroad is that it's where I've done the majority of my acting work. On a more personal note, it's opened doors for me that would not have otherwise been opened. I think it's very important to travel; being far away for an extended period of time gives you a new perspective on home."

On where he sees himself going:

"In ten years, I just hope I'm able to continue doing work that is meaningful and fulfilling to me. I would also really love to direct theater one day, so hopefully that's in store sometime in the not-too-distant future."

Read the full interview here and watch the new trailer for Pride below:

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Stacy Lambe