Since Spud was such a hit, I decided to get in contact with one of the stars from the movie. Sven Ruygrok, who played Rambo, was more than willing to take some time to chat to ReviewMe.co.za about his life, role in the movie and what he has planned for the future. This interview also includes his new “Big Thing” which he is currently working on.
Up until recently you were involved in the Junior Proteas team for mens artistic gymnastics. What made you take up acting?
Well acting has always been in the background. I started off doing school plays and eisteddfods from a young age and my mother was an actress, so I kind of picked things up from her. Yet I never took acting seriously as I had gymnastics to focus on and when you training 4 hours a day, six days a week there is really no time for acting. But my passion grew for acting as I entered into high school and started reading a lot of plays and watching great movie classics such as Clockwork Orange. Then about two years ago I sustained a severe knee injury whilst at a training camp in Hungary which meant that gymnastics was no longer my focal point and so I turned to acting!
It has also come to my attention that you also successfully auditioned for Circue du Soleil in 2005. In terms of achievements where does that rank on your list?
WOW! Uh…it doesn’t rank so high (weirdly) due to the fact that I was so young and had my academics to focus on but…the experience probably TOPS a lot of things. The audition process was absolutely incredible. The kind of stuff that they made us do was insane; the people were so friendly and kind. I was expecting one of these like harsh environments where they normally drill you but it was the opposite, creative, inspiring and very uplifting. It was just absolutely amazing!
How old were you when your passion to act started?
Man from a young age hey! I was always playing around in the garden trying to kill trees with sticks…haha and I had a huge imagination. My grandmother (from my mom’s side – Nona) is a great storyteller and could captivate you for hours. So my sister and I were always little performers. However it really took off in high school when I started to do a lot of plays, read a lot and was exposed to more theatre and creative arts.
Apart from your brawn, I see you graduated with two distinctions and full colours in Drama from Beaulieu College. How did that set up your career for you?
Um…well I think in terms of my academic achievements it helped me get into what I wanted to study which was theatre and performance in 2010. So I’d say to enroll it was great to have something behind me, However I had to make a choice that same year, to drop out and take on the role of Rambo in Spud or decline and continue my studies… I am grateful for my education and to the teachers that inspired me to live my dreams! And I think that has been the most valuable gift in terms of setting me up for my career!
What is your favorite movie of all time? Why?
Aaah! Flip…Lord of the Rings is probably my favorite and um…Pans Labyrinth. Pans Labyrinth is so beautiful. It’s a film that intrigued me; it’s a foreign film that’s in Spanish and um… I love fantasy, I love exploring a world that’s not of our own and having real life situations in a world that’s not ours. Lord of the Rings was just an amazing spectacle!
So what did you think of Avatar then?
No, I liked Avatar; I really really really liked it. I loved the music of Avatar. That’s what I’m really in to. I like movies soundtracks. I listen to them a lot! So ya Avatar was good. It wasn’t amazing, I think it became more of a spectacle as opposed to a story line but it’s still one of the top.
Working with John Cleese must have been an amazing experience, which other big names in the showbiz would you like to work with side by side?
Wow. I’d really like to work with Sheltor Copley. I think he is a South African inspiration. My all time would be Sean Penn.
Spud was an amazing movie. Do you have any scandals from the set?
Nope no scandals just amazing memories which I will treasure forever!
Were your experiences at school similar to those that were depicted in the movie?
No not at all! Firstly I was not in an all boys boarding school. So the harshness of the environment which Spud has to go through was nonexistent. However social clicks and bullying were a part of my schooling experience! But I was never a bully in school I don’t think (If I ever bullied anyone, I’m sorry) he he… I had my good group of friends and if it had not been for them then yeah I would feel the constant need to search for acceptance like Spud.
The big question on every guys mind. Tanit Phoenix, did anything happen in that pool bathroom?
Hehehe…I don’t kiss and tell…haha you guys are dirty
The question on every girls mind…is there a Mrs. in your life?
There isn’t a Mrs. in my life. No
If some ladies want to meet you, where should they hang out?
Summerset west I suppose! That’s where I’m currently based. I’m not such a big “going out” kind of guy. But I suppose you may see me round Clifton, Camps Bay, Lundudno and Claremont area now and then =)
I hear a rumor flying around that you have started acting in a new movie…can I have some details?
No it’s not a movie! My big reveal is that: I am currently acting in a BBC T.V series called Beaver Falls. It’s great we shooting in the Stellenbosch area and I’m working with a great international cast and director. The series follows three British friends who decide to spend their summer working as camp councilors in an elite American summer camp and all that they get up to with social clicks such as the “Plastics” and the Jocks” whilst overcoming the big fact that they are in charge of the “ Chunk Bunk” (the fat kids).
However I was working on an international film called Judge Dredd. I was working as a set dressed and to be honest hated it! But I wanted to learn as much as I could so that I can truly appreciate what people go through to create a film, which so many actors are naive to. And I ended up learning so much from an amazing producer: Michael Murphey, and an up and coming producer and director Jean-Pierre De Waal! And I got the chance to work for his company Kalahari Pictures. It’s just great to be surrounded by people who are driven and passionate about uplifting the South African film industry.
What are some of your hobbies?
Ahhhhhhhh…once gymnastics was gone it was pretty hard. I love watching movies, a lot of movies. And so many TV series like Dexter, Glee, Modern Family and Mind control. I love to chill on the beach with a bunch of my friends and chat with a good glass of wine. I like reading; I love YouTube without it I wouldn’t know what I would do.
So no extreme activities?
I really want to go skydiving. Actually apparently there is this place in Gordons Bay called Crystal Pools. I want to go there. I also like to swim, clears the head but give me a mountain to climb and I’m happy.
What is your biggest vice?
Patience! That one thing I am still struggling with now, and in this industry it is definitely the one thing you need most! I’m way too impatient I want things now, and I think that patience definitely something our generation lacks! We are so use to having things now and on demand!
Do you have any advice for young aspiring actors?
If you want to be in this industry for the glamour, accolades, recognition or the money! You may have to think twice. It is definitely not what it seems to be. It is HARD HARD work from the word go! But if it is your passion follow it whole heartedly, give it your all and don’t back down. It’s a tough industry to break into, it really is so you have to have a very strong sense of one’s self, and you have to be prepared for constant rejection and judgment. But at the end of the day you have to believe in yourself! Make sure that you have a good support structure of family and friends. But be courageous, be daring and be completely passionate about it.
Thanks very much I think the whole of SA can’t wait to see you back up on the Big Screen again.
Thanks you very much, thanks for your time.You rock!!! Hahaha
Interviewer: Neelan Ranchhod