Mari Ørstavik grew up on Nesodden, a tiny half-island right outside of Oslo. At the age of 11 she moved to Oslo and attended the number one drama high school in the country. When she was 19 years old, she relocated to Los Angeles to study at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts. After graduating in 2016, Mari was invited to The Academy's 2016/17 3rd Year Company.
I am (use a max. of 3 words to describe yourself)… Loyal, loving and adventorous, curious
My last acting gig taught me… how important it is to trust both my director and myself completely and just go for it.
Proudest performance moment… I played Evelyn in Neil Labute’s “The Shape of Things” which was by far the biggest part I have every played on stage. I was really nervous about having that much responsibility, but once opening night was over, I was so happy and really proud that I pulled off a character that is so different from myself.
Most embarrassing audition… Following doing the sides I had prepared I was asked to do a monologue, and for some reason I picked one with a southern accent and just went for it - and of course lost track halfway through. I don’t know if they could tell, but I could, and that was worse enough.
Most challenging part… I just did Michael Frayn’s show “Noises Off”, which is a British farce. I played Brooke, who is the stereotypical stupid blonde, and I found it very hard, both to embody her and to trust myself enough to go all out with the farcical moments. But when I finally got it, it felt incredible.
The moment I knew I wanted to be an actor... I’ve loved acting ever since I was a child, but the moment I knew I wanted to pursue it professionally was when I was sitting at a cafe in Oslo with my friend Gabriel and he asked me what I wanted to do if I didn’t succeed in acting, and I couldn’t come up with a single answer.
If I weren't an actor, I'd be... a writer or a director. Is that cheating cause it’s still within arts? If I can’t be anything artistic I’d want to be a hotel or restaurant critic - getting paid to do my 2 favorite things, eat and travel.
Dying to work with... Maggie Smith!
Was born to play... is it too stereotypically Norwegian of me to say Hedda Gabler? I’m hoping they’ll finally make a movie adaption when I’m just the right age. Fingers crossed!
Learn lines by... Reading them over and over again. I used to write them out, but now the reading does it for me.
Get into character by... Leaving all of my own emotion from the day, whether good or bad, at the door to start “fresh” and then getting all of the tension out of my body.
Acting is… storytelling.
Special skill I wouldn't put on my resume… Misplacing hairbrushes. I can never find them when I need one.
Movie I can’t stop talking about... American Beauty. I will never run out of conversation about that movie.
Top three Netflix / Amazon shows in my queue… Black Mirror, Shameless, 13 Reasons Why
Currently reading… “Audition” by Michael Shurtleff, and Paul Auster’s “The New York Trilogy”.
Car karaoke tune... “La Bicicleta” by Carlos Vives and Shakira. Nothing is better than driving with my roommates and that song playing.
Star Wars character that best represents me... Probably C-3PO.
If they made a movie about my life, I’d be played by… Jennifer Lawrence.
Actor crush... Johnny Depp, that never changes.
If I were a color, I'd be… the color of the sky on a sunny day.
Fave travel destination… Venice, Italy. It’s been too long!
LA spot that inspires or relaxes me… Anywhere where I can’t hear the sound of the city. Griffith Park, the beach - oh, and I found this lovely hotel downtown with a beautiful lobby where you can have a cup of coffee and just be for a while.
The best advice I ever got… That I am valuable no matter what and to never let anyone else’s position make me feel less valuable than I am. “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”