David Hov‘s got a lot to smile about. The 23-year old actor has just been accepted into the Master’s Program at the famed Actors Studio in New York City. And as if that wasn’t enough, the former lawyer passed the audition process with flying colours as he was offered a place at the school after just one audition, which is almost unheard of at the school (even Robert De Niro, we’ve heard, had to audition more than once.)
And so what’s next for the student at the institute who’s graduates include Alec Baldwin, Bradley Cooper, Marlon Brando, Sean Penn and Sidney Poitier? We asked David a few questions to find out.
Congratulations on getting into the MFA Program at The Actor’s Studio on your first try! Were you nervous?
Definitely nervous. It’s such a well-renowned school and I wanted to make a good impression, even if I didn’t get in. Also, my sister had flown into New York to do the audition with me, and we were quite unprepared, to say the least.
Your sister, Natasha, was also invited to attend. How did that come about?
The audition required scenes for two people, not monologues, and the only person I knew well enough in the States was my sister. She was in her final semester of a Masters and Residency in Equine Medicine at Virginia Tech, and she happened to have a huge exam the week before my audition. I begged, and she finally came around and agreed to come. She arrived the morning of the audition and said “Okay, so what are we doing?”, despite the fact that I’d sent her a scene a few weeks earlier. That’s when the nerves really kicked in. Luckily I had chosen the scene specifically because the character was exactly like her in real life. She played a nurse with a dry sense of humour and very matter-of-fact delivery, but the whole thing was a completely Absurdist comedy. I said “whatever happens, just be yourself!” The audition panel were in hysterics, so it must have come off very funny in the end.
You’re only 23, but you’ve already decided to pursue a change in career, having achieved a law degree and worked as a graduate lawyer. What made you decide to switch to acting?
I’ve always been a performer, and I’ve been on stages from a young age, but I don’t think I ever really believed that I would be able to pursue an acting career. At the end of high school I was offered the chance to do a combined undergraduate Arts/Law degree at the University of Sydney, and I would have been stupid not to accept it. It was a long 5 years but when it was over, and I actually started working in the legal industry, I knew that it wasn’t for me and I had to pursue my passion for theatre and the performing arts. So I clandestinely began applying for Masters degree auditions on America’s east coast, where all the best schools are. I left my job, sold my car to pay for my trip, and before I knew it I was here.
Which Australian actors do you admire most?
It’s so hard to pick, because I admire all of them! I’ve always said that my favourite actors are Australian, but the one who really inspires me is Hugh Jackman. It was his example that gave me the courage to pursue an acting career. It’s because we have a lot in common in terms of our upbringing. We grew up in the same suburb on Sydney’s North Shore and even went to the same High School. I guess it’s the kind of place where young people are expected to follow in their parents footsteps – into law or medicine or finance – but I keep reminding myself that if he could come out of it and still pursue his passion for the performing arts, and make such a success out of it, then maybe I can too.
Which American actors do you admire most?
I admire actors like Al Pacino who came from tough backgrounds and still made a success of themselves through sheer determination. I also admire those who took a similar road to me, and attended College and obtained degrees in other areas before pursuing acting. I don’t think education is ever wasted for actors, because we constantly play characters who have knowledge in all kinds of areas beyond the performing arts.
Why do you think Australians are so well loved and respected in film and theatre?
Aussies have a certain down-to-earth quality that serves them well in the industry. They tend not to be very assuming or self-promoting. Instead they are friendly and approachable, and I think that’s why everyone likes to work with them.
What do you miss most about Australia when you’re in The States?
I miss SO much of Australia. Apart from my friends and family in Sydney, I miss the beautiful environment (particularly the beaches) and the friendly atmosphere. I miss the delicious fresh produce and the colourful architecture of Sydney city. I also miss flat whites and Tim Tams.
What’s the best part of the US experience for you?
I’ve met some really talented and amazing people here from all over the globe. New York is such an international city, and it’s great to hear so many different languages everywhere I go. I also really enjoy being so close to Broadway, and seeing world-class actors performing amazing shows. I’ve done a fair bit of travel whilst I’ve been here, and seen some really beautiful parts of the US. And of course, getting into the Actors Studio was the best part of all.
What are your plans after you complete your Masters degree at The Actor’s Studio?
It’s hard to know what your next steps will be in this industry. You kind of have to roll with the punches and see where it leads you. New York is a great city, especially for theatre, but my passion is really film and so it is likely that I will move to LA and try to get a Manager there. One thing’s for sure: I’ll always keep a close connection with Australia and the Australian industry.
Do you have any advice to aspiring Aussie acting students?
The best advice I can give is to work hard and run your own race. Listen to those around you, and take advice from those who you trust, but always have your own plan of action. Also, never be in too much of a rush to start working. It’s important for actors to have the right training, and it’s worth spending a few years doing that so that later you can surpass those who just got a lucky break.