I am thrilled to be able to talk with this direct descendant of the Yngling Viking Dynasty Eric Erickson, who has literally transformed himself into an action star.
Eric is a writer, artist and classically trained actor (USC School of Theatre). He has appeared in roles ranging from musical theatre (Conrad Birdie), Shakespeare (Hamlet, Mercutio), television, and film. He has also appeared in commercials for Toshiba, Intell and Novell. Eric gained the name “The Angry Viking” while performing stand-up comedy in Los Angels and the name stuck.
You recently completed filming the action film David & Goliath as the character “The Lion Warrior,” can you tell us more about this?
David and Goliath is a new approach to the familiar age-old tale. This production is wall-to-wall action, approaching David’s story in a gritty style. I play “The Lion Warrior,” one of the characters David comes up against as he works his way toward his final showdown with Goliath.
Initially, I was reading for a small role as one of David’s brothers. The producers noticed my action and stunt training and asked if I would be interested in a large centerpiece action scene. Who could refuse that?
You wrote, directed, and star in an audio comic book “Zombie Tales – Final Stand” airing on WAVPRadio.com. What is it about, and how would you describe it for folks that haven’t listened to something like this before?
“Zombie Tales- Final Stand” is the latest production from AudioDrops- shorter audio dramas with full casts, special 3D effects and amazing stories. There are comedies, dramas, thrillers and action episodes of over a dozen different titles that air exclusively on WAVPRadio.com. “Final Stand” is a follow-up to “Zombie Tales- Eye in the Sky” which I wrote and directed. This time I get to act as well, playing a soldier who is indeed facing his final stand during the zombie apocalypse. The Zombie Tales series is a lot of fun because we really try to bring in that George Romero “Dawn of the Dead” & “Day of the Dead” sense of dread and style.
You will be featured as the cover model for Melissa Foster’s new book “Tamed by Love,” to be released in 2015. How did that opportunity come about?
It was a casting call that I almost didn’t submit to. I didn’t think I had what it took yet, physically. But I decided to take a chance. When I got the call that I had been selected, I was floored. I had joked that being a romance novel cover model was on my bucket list, but I never really thought it would happen.
Can you talk about the experience on the set/shoot?
I was very lucky because the female model I was paired with was an actress I had worked with before. So when the photographer said “shirts off!” it was a bit more comfortable. I was late to the modeling game, but I had worked as a photographer so I understand the concepts, it’s just about putting them into practice on the opposite side of the camera.
I get asked a lot about doing certain types of shoots- love scenes, romantic scenes, etc. You’ve heard it before, I’ll say it again: it ain’t as sexy as you think. There’s a lot of “hold this arm here, turn your face a little more, hold it there in that painful and awkward position but look sexy.” It’s definitely fun, but it’s still work.
You do a lot of stunt work including the short film you wrote and starred in “The Retrieval,” and were the stunt double for wrestler Sting on a commercial promoting the WWE 2K15 video game. Is that something you have always been interested in or something you discovered after getting in serious shape?
I had always wished I was cut and ripped, but I was never in a place to make it happen. I had relied on my youth and perceived invulnerability early in my career, not training properly or really taking care of myself.
I had stepped away from acting for a few years, but by 2013, I missed performing. So I began to act again. I did a feature film and during the ADR (additional dialogue recording) sessions, I saw myself on screen and was blown away at how heavy I had gotten. At my highest I was over 250 pounds.
About the same time a friend of over 20 years dropped dead at his daughter’s soccer game from a heart attack. He was the same age as I was, and it opened my eyes. I was unhappy, scared and needed to change my life.
I completely changed my outlook from eating to exercise to attitude. I began working out twice a day, 5-6 days a week and went on a crash diet of chicken and tuna fish. Within six months I had gotten down to 180 pounds and began to resculpt my body. I have never felt healthier or more in shape and it definitely shows in my work. I have had doors open to me I could never have imagined.
Do you have any tips for people looking to get fit?
First of all, you need to be all in. Realize that your life is going to change. Your eating & sleeping habits, your social life, your very outlook on life. It’s not the type of thing you can dabble in.
Second, you need to figure out what works for you. There are countless programs out there and they aren’t for everyone. If a program says it is, RUN. Nobody knows your body better than you, and as you start to work out and get in shape you will learn more. I’ve gotten to the point I can physically feel the moment my body goes from digestion to stored fat for energy or the moment where my blood sugar drops to worrisome levels. You’ll learn what exercises and diets work with your metabolism, needs and goals. It’s ok to take a bit from one program and a bit from another. If you see the results you want (but it takes time!), then you’re on the right track.
What are you working on next?
I just finished an episode for the new season of Comedy Bang Bang! for IFC and busy reading scripts and auditioning. “David and Goliath” comes out the spring, along with “Tamed by Love” and I am also Mr. May in the “2015 Man and Machine” calendar. Looking like Spring 2015 is my time.
And waiting for that call from DC Comics or Marvel to join their cinematic universes (another bucket list item!)!
We will be rooting for you Eric! Thank you for taking the time to chat and share your amazing story.
Watch Eric’s new action short film “The Retrieval” below. Find out more about Eric on his official website theangryviking.com
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