Keiynan Lonsdale makes his US acting debut in ‘Insurgent’


In 2015 Keiynan Lonsdale will make his U.S. debut starring as Uriah in the highly anticipated follow-up to Divergent, Insurgent.

The Aussie star, 23, who first discovered his love for the arts at the tender age of 4 years old, began his rise to fame as a member of the cast of the award-winning, Australian television series “Dance Academy” from 2012-13. Following that success, Lonsdale built a blossoming relationship with MTV, paving the way for him to become the fresh new face of MTV Australia and New Zealand. For two years he hosted MTV News and landed several gigs, including hosting, starring in commercials, and interviewing major stars like Miguel, Jessie J, and Disclosure.

Recently, rolling out had the opportunity to catch up with Lonsdale, who spilled the beans on the happenings behind the scenes, how it felt to land his first big American role and more. Check it out below.

What was the transition like from being the face of MTV Australia to landing your very own hit dance show on ABC Australia, to then nabbing a role on a massive U.S. blockbuster like Insurgent?

The transition definitely took some getting used to. I mean growing up, I was always someone who wanted to do several different things and I was very fortunate to have done the dancing and performing while also acting. Then, when the opportunity to work on Insurgent came along, it was really the biggest, nerve-racking opportunity I’ve ever had. So, I guess when it comes to transition, the biggest thing was making sure I took every step forward with confidence, still trying to be myself without letting the pressure take over. I don’t know, you just kind of accept your reality, go with it and keep working hard.

When did you discover your passion for performing and acting?

See, the first thing I wanted to do was dancing. I started dancing when I was about 4-years-old. I did dance competitions. I attended a performing arts high school as well. I want to say that I was about 14-years-old, when I really just wanted to branch out. I don’t know why, I just took on this mindset that I wanted to try to do other things. I still love dancing but something started driving me to the other side… acting.

How did you get involved with the Divergent series?

So, I had been back and forth between L.A. and Australia to audition for several years without really landing any roles. But then last year, my management team here began sending me auditions to do via videotape, so I was auditioning maybe once, every couple weeks. It wasn’t long before they asked me to audition for the Divergent series. I submitted my audition that same week and I was to say it was a month later that they wanted me to Skype with the director and I was like OK! So I did that and then a few days later, they told me I got the job. So it feels a little crazy because I wasn’t expecting Insurgent to be my first American film.

Tell us a bit about your role as Uriah and the film overall.

So, I play the character or Uriah, who is part of the Dauntless faction, the same as Tris and Four [played by Shailene Woodley and Theo Adams, respectively.] He is also a Divergent and a free thinker, so he is not going to do exactly as he is told. So that’s why he and Shailene form this bond and friendship and they do so in the book as well. And I think that this is the first time for Uriah that he meets someone who is just like him, so it allows him to open up and be more confident in himself. He admires her.

But he is also a bit of a charmer, a little bit goofy and an all-around nice guy who brings a little life to such a chaotic world.

Tris and Four are Divergents as discovered in the first film, who don’t fit in because their abilities are a threat to their society. Now fugitives on the run, they’re forced to search for allies and answers in the ruins of a futuristic Chicago.

How did you jell with your co-stars?

It was cool and surprisingly relaxed. I think I was expecting a Hollywood big blockbuster film to be crazy and for everything to be intense, but it wasn’t. It was a very comfortable environment and everyone made me feel relaxed. My first scene was with Shailene and it was awesome and she is such a calm person that it kind of calmed my nerves and helped me focus on what I was doing. And Theo is such a nice person. So it was really just a great experience to have.

What are three things viewers can expect to see in Insurgent?

They can expect to see some crazy, extreme worlds. Incredible acting. Incredible emotion coming from each of the characters. You know what? I think that they can just expect to have a really great time. The film has such a great cast, young and older and I think it’s going to be such a great mix. Especially now that they’ve got Octavia Spencer and Naomi Watts. It’s just going to be a mind-blowing experience to watch them all, in a nutshell.

How does it feel to be just weeks away from the release of your first American film; that film being one of the most anticipated action flicks of the year at that?

I don’t know it’s crazy. It’s weird to think that we were filming this movie just last year and kind of like overnight we jumped ahead and we’ve got the premiere coming up in a few weeks and everyone is going to see it. I haven’t seen it yet so I’m a little bit nervous. But thankfully, I get to see it before it hits the big screen, so I’m excited for that.

So where do you go from here? Has there been any talk about you continuing your role as Uriah in the final film?

There are talks about continuing the character with the franchise, so that’s what I’m hoping. He’s such a loved character in the books though, that I believe we could see more of him, but you never really know what could happen.

In terms of what I’m doing now, after I wrapped up Insurgent, I got to shoot another film, The Finest Hours, alongside Chris Pine and Casey Affleck. And that was different as well because I was the youngest on the cast by about 10-15 years so it was real a big learning experience. It was a completely different environment. It was awesome.

Insurgent hits theaters on March 20. Tickets on sale now.

For more information on the film and up and coming movie star Keiynan Lonsdale, visit their official website:
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Photo Credit: Andrew Cooper
Caption: From left to right: Lynn (Rosa Salazar), Hector (Emjay Anthony), Marlene (Suki Waterhouse), Uriah (Keiynan Lonsdale), Christina (Zoe Kravitz) and Tori (Maggie Q) in INSURGENT.

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