Alex Alomar Akpobome can’t believe anyone cares what he has to say. “It’s surreal and quite strange to get so much positive feedback about something [you’ve worked on]’ he explains, zooming in from his hometown of Los Angeles. “I didn’t care about being successful until that point.”
The actor, of course, talks about it Industry: the intense euphoria-meets-successor Drama about ambitious twenty-somethings trying to make it big at fictional London investment bank Pierpont. Akpobome joined the show in its critically acclaimed second season. He plays high achiever Danny Van Deventer, who beams in from the company’s New York office to join Harper Stern (Myha’la Herrold) and company in their quest to get to the top by any means necessary.
“I always thought Danny was like the hero, the nicest guy around,” says Akpobome. “But friends have said he’s sneaky and cunning, maybe even the bad guy.” Before getting the role, he had only heard about the show and felt no emotional connection to the financial industry. “I’m not a greedy person,” he says, “But I think the best thing about acting is having someone tell you that you fit into something that you would never imagine doing.”
Although Akpobome had no idea what it was like to be a stockbroker, he could relate to having a job that was important to him and one he desperately wanted to be successful at. “I think that’s what people like about the show — it’s universal,” he says. “Industry could work in any industry, like film or restaurants. You just want to be accepted in every area.”
Born in LA, Akpobome went to boarding school in Oregon and to support himself, his single mother decided to get a job there: “I’ve always been in trouble,” he says. “There was one headmistress who was always on my tail – she was about to kick me out, but she saw me doing a play and said: ‘You’re really good at that’. I will always remember that moment because she had nothing to gain [by saying that]. It meant a lot to me.”
Before landing the Industry Gig starred Akpobome in a few short films followed by Twenties, Lena Waithe’s semi-autobiographical coming-of-age comedy. Leading up, he auditioned for five years without landing much. “Industry was an unpredictable one [journey]but very satisfying,” he adds.
During the dry spell, Akpobome made ends meet as a waiter and cleaned tables in restaurants. “I’m still very good at bussing tables, by the way!” he says. “I sometimes have an impulse to do it again because I’ve done more of it than just acting.”
We have a feeling that won’t be necessary. Keep scrolling to find out what Akpobome is up to besides flipping through scripts and making pseudo-stock trades…