Gudjonsson: From football to ‘Flags’

Berlin Film Festival: Shooting Stars 2012

A former football player, Hilmar Gudjonsson first appeared on-camera in a small role in Clint Eastwood’s “Flags of Our Fathers.” An enviable debut, but the 27-year-old shrugs it off, saying, “Well, originally I was just an extra, but I ended up getting one scene to do, in pretty odd circumstances. So I got to meet Clint, and to act opposite Ryan Philippe. It was pretty cool — though afterwards,” he laughs, “I felt like I’d had a heart attack!”

And those odd circumstances? “Well, there were about 600 extras in all, and many of them had been complaining that they weren’t being treated very well, so lots quit. After two weeks there were only about 150 left. And in fact, after another week I actually thought of quitting as well. But that same day they called me in and asked me to read. And suddenly I’m in the movie.”

After graduating from theater school in 2010, Gudjonsson was hired by the Reykjavik City Theater, and has since appeared in four productions. He took his first cinematic lead in Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson’s dramedy “Either Way,” which recently earned kudos at the Turin fest, and can soon be seen in Oskar Thor Axelsson pic “Black’s Game.” Asked whose career he would most like to emulate, he responds with a thoughtful, surprising choice: “I’m really fond of Kate Winslet, to be honest. She’s kind of my favorite — not just because she’s intelligent, but because she seems to give everything she’s got, in every role she does. And that’s fascinating and inspiring to watch.”

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