Actor and entrepreneur Fabian Bolin
Fabian Bolin is a fantastic actor and social entrepreneur from Stockholm, Sweden. He previously spent some time living in London when he gave up a career as an investment banker to focus on his acting full time. He is now known for playing the role as Zack in British series Kosmos, he had the starring role as Peter in Addicions and also a role in the much talked about Made in Chelsea, to only mention a few.
In July 2015 back in Sweden, when Fabian was only 28 years old, his life took a sudden turn when he was diagnosed with leukemia and put on an immediate course of chemotherapy treatment.
Instead of letting the diagnosis tear him apart, Fabian managed to turn the situation around when he started to share his journey online in some very gripping blog posts that very soon caught the internets attention. Waroncancer.com was born, an online global storytelling platform for anyone currently or previously fighting cancer.
We have of course seen your work and think you’re a fantastic actor! At what age and how did you decide that acting was what you wanted to do?
I first started thinking of acting as a career around the age of 19, which is rather late I guess. Especially considering the fact my father’s an opera singer and my mother works at the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm - i.e. I’ve had lots of culture and art in my upbringing. But even though I’ve always liked the idea of acting, it took until my late teens to figure out it was something I could turn into a career. But I didn’t actually start until I was 26. Before that, I studied three years at business school and worked two years in investment banking.
There are so many different classes out there to take. What sorts of your training have you found the most useful?
I’ve studied method acting for one year, which is the study of Lee Strasberg, who created the form from studying the work of Stanislavsky. I find this one the most useful because it contains the least form of pretending as in everything ultimately comes from yourself. Also, because method acting puts more focus on character building than the other techniques. The idea is to ’become’ the character, which I’ve always found fascinating.
Many just dream of becoming an actor but don’t dare taking the step. What advise can you give any aspiring actor?
As someone who has left a very secure and safe line of work (banking) in order to pursue my real dream, I can honestly say don’t worry so much about the risks. Adjust yourself to a slightly lower income initially and focus everything you can on getting as much work as possible. Don’t be picky and make sure to network. And what that means isn’t to walk around asking everybody you meet whether they have a role for you. What networking really means is to help others and simply be nice to people. Then, eventually, you might get something back. But don’t ask for it, at least not in the beginning.
Do you find that it’s more difficult to get roles when you´re not native English or American?
I’ve taken about 40-50 voice lessons to sort out my American accent, which now has become my natural accent, so not really. Sometimes the casting call clearly states native American or English actor, which I think is rather unfair as anybody can learn to sound like a native with enough practice. But generally no, I find it’s more about the look than the accent.
What has been your favourite role so far?
When I played the leading role of Peter in the movie ’Addictions’. The character is a nymphomaniac yet a very successful lawyer at the same time. To many seen as the perfect example of a human being on the outside, but with an extreme darkness inside. That conflict made playing the character really interesting. I have always been drawn to darker characters, I find them more interesting and perhaps I can relate to them.
We know you’ve taken some time off work due to your fight against leukemia. Nordique has followed your battle online and we are extremely happy that you have stayed so strong. How has the leukemia effected/changed you?
Thank you so much! My battle against leukemia has made me a lot stronger both physically and mentally. I feel more grounded as a human being and have had the time to analyze myself and my own behavior in great detail during the months I was ill. Most people simply live their lives without really understanding why they behave the way they do. This illness provided me with the chance to really get to know myself at a deeper level. I feel less stressed and also motivated to help other people fighting against the disease.
How did you decide to start blogging about your experience?
When I had shared the first message on Facebook to let friends and family know about the diagnosis, a message that was shared 13,000 times, I realized that everyone is connected to cancer, yet no one ever speaks about it openly. So I made it my mission to share my journey with the world, and that turned out to be the best decision of my life.
How has sharing your story affected your journey with leukemia?
Honestly, I think it saved my life. And what I really mean to say with that is that even though the chemo saved me from dying, it was the sharing of my journey on a daily basis that enabled me to live.
Can you tell us a bit about War On Cancer?
WarOnCancer is the world’s first storytelling platform for people affected by cancer - i.e. patients, loved ones and survivors. Because my own story helped so many people including myself, we decided to build a platform for everyone affected. The hardest part of a cancer treatment is the mental journey, yet the healthcare does pretty much nothing in that area. Not a single doctor has ever asked me how I really feel. That’s where WarOnCancer comes in, we’re taking care of the mental part and we want to show the world that even though you’re undergoing cancer you can live a completely normal life at the same time. We want to enable people to live life to the fullest and share their experiences in order to help and encourage others. By doing this we’re also hoping to remove the stigma associated with the c-word.
What you see at waroncancer.com is a beta version. We currently house 140 storytellers covering 36 forms of cancer from 15 different countries. With that we have thousands of daily visitors. This goes to show that storytelling truly is the way forward and we’re now ready to take it to the next level. At this very moment we’re re-building the platform from scratch and will be building an app as well and we’re turning it into a storytelling community. It’s all about Empowerment for us. Empowered patients empower patients. We’re expecting to launch in a few months.
What does 2017 hold for you?
Loads. I think this will be one of the most exciting years of my life. I’ve already been invited to several large events where I will talk about my journey and the creation of the platform. It’s wonderful that so many people have taken notice in our work and wants to join our cause to make the world a better place.
Acting wise I’m looking forward to playing the role of Darrell Jones in the sci-fi feature film The Last Immortal, shooting in LA later this year. I’ll be announcing more on that soon.
What makes you proud of being Swedish?
Our technological edge, our national hockey team and the fact that we’re amongst the least corrupt countries in the world. Swedes are very solid. And that’s something to be proud of.
Can you give us some of your most unique tips for someone visiting Sweden?
Visit La Grande Rue during a spring or summer day and enjoy a Toast Skagen. Very private yet wonderfully tasteful.
See more of Fabian: