Hollywoodstar Oliver Trevena Exclusive

Hollywoodstar Oliver Trevena Exclusive

Who wouldn't want to be able to say: "Gerald Butler has been like my own brother for 25 years! He's a wonderful man!" Well - Hollywood actor Oliver Trevena can. Because since switching to the big screen and starring in a number of films such as "The Rising Hawk" with Robert Patrick, "Embattled" with Stephen Dorff, "Grand Isle" with Nicolas Cage and Kelsey Grammar, "While We Sleep" directed by Quentin Tarantino's cinematographer Andrzej Sekula, "The Reckoning" by acclaimed director Neil Marshall, "Out of Death" and "Wire Room" with Bruce Willis, "The Bricklayer" with Aaron Eckhart, he has become good friends with many of his colleagues.  The fact that a great like Butler is also one of his closest friends is not only thanks to his starring role in the thriller "Plane", in which the two played side by side. He most starred in and produced “Misdirection” with Frank Grillo, next stars in the thriller "Another Day in America" with Natasha Henstridge, and "The Paradox Effect" alongside Harvey Keitel, for which he was awarded the "Breakout Actor" prize at the film festival in Rome, which was presented to him personally by Gerard Butler.In addition to his work as an actor and presenter, Trevena is also known for his philanthropic commitment and was honored by the Duchess of York for his nine-year commitment against slavery and human trafficking. So loyalty and integrity are definitely his themes. We spoke to the extremely likeable and naturally funny Englishman about the challenges these can bring.

 This time we're talking about loyalty. What do you think about that?
First of all, I think it's great that the cover of the magazine has a deeper meaning based on a single keyword than just showing a nice picture. And loyalty is a wonderful theme. I think in my life's journey I've realized that you have to be loyal to others, of course, but also to yourself. The basic pillars of life that we learn and that sometimes you can only learn through experience don't matter when you're younger. But what people tell you is important and you only understand that when you get older, when you make mistakes, when you fail, when you lose people, whether through their misconduct or through your own misconduct. And then you find your way, or you don't, and then you're lost for the rest of your life.

So loyalty is a big thing, because when it comes to sticking with people through thick and thin, I think we live in a world where when the chips are down - whether it's a relationship, a friendship or a professional commitment - it's so easy to leave people just because we're on what I'll call a "dopamine high", right? So loyalty is important because you have to stay the course. You can't just jump ship when something difficult happens. That's why you have to stay loyal to others. You have to accompany others through their ups and downs and remain true to yourself in the process. And these pillars that you've formulated for yourself, whether it's health, whether it's exercise, whether it's meditation, proper nutrition, whatever, work ethic, it's all easy or easier when things are going really well because you're in your flow and you find life so easy. But then suddenly a difficult moment comes and you lose your balance. I think it's in those difficult moments that you realize how loyal you are to yourself and to others.

So I think loyalty is important, especially in the most difficult times. And in terms of my own pillars, the book "Four Promises" immediately comes to mind. I think parts of it, namely integrity and being incorruptible to one's word, are so important. So yes, I value loyalty and what it means to me.


Is there a point in your life when your loyalty changed? Was there ever a moment when you thought: Ok, I can't be loyal to this person anymore?
No, I don't think you should confuse loyalty with boundaries, professionally or personally. If I had a very bad experience with a certain director or an experience on set or whatever and I just felt terrible, but at the same time I know, from the bottom of my heart, that I did everything I could, whether it's an experience on set or in a personal relationship or whatever, I can't stay in that situation. That doesn't mean I'm breaking loyalty. It just means that I'm being loyal to myself first and foremost in that moment. Sometimes it seems like you're afraid to break away from something that's bad for you just because you want to be loyal. I think that's when loyalty becomes stupid or weak or lost. In my opinion, you then lose the power behind loyalty. Loyalty means that you stand up for others, but it also means that others have to stand up for you.

Do you think it's easy to always be loyal, for example to your own children or family?
I mean, I don't have children, so I can't comment on the children thing. I have a dog. I try to be loyal to my dog. He follows me around like a shadow, but the dog can't get his own food or walk himself, so I'm loyal to him in that way. As for family, I've learned to forgive as I've gotten older. And I think forgiveness plays a part in that because we all grew up differently. I think we all have different traumas, different lives, different characters in our families. There are so many different aspects of growing up for each of us. It is difficult to learn to be loyal during this time because you have not forgiven and therefore hold a grudge. And it is difficult to be loyal to someone if you hold a grudge against them at the same time. You push people away when you have pain, remorse and resentment inside you. So it's hard to be loyal at the same time. I think through that kind of forgiveness and self-development, loyalty becomes easier because you know that when the storm is over and the sun is shining, you can see a little clearer and say, "Oh, these are my people. I can see beyond that now. And I want to be loyal to these people because even though I thought they did X, Y and Z, they were actually there for me." I think you learn that lesson on your life journey!

How are technology, social media and the digital age affecting loyalty in relationships and communities?
It's like an addiction. I can't remember this particular documentary, but I've seen it, it shows how social media has been built around gambling. It's the same dopamine rush you get from it. And I think people seek that out when times are tough. So if you're feeling down in your relationship, someone will like you and so on. The rest is history. And I think it's true for both genders that it's very hard to be loyal on social media. I think from a work ethic standpoint, people's minds are clouded because you're inundated with so much information that it's hard to be loyal and focus on a vision. So it's a blessing and a curse. It always is. I feel like the internet and social media and everything we talk about, whenever it comes up, can bring up pages and pages of positives and negatives. That has helped make it a bit more difficult.

It's always a problem with the ego. Do you think that only people without a strong ego can be loyal or only intelligent people who think a lot? Or is it something you learn at a young age, or where does it come from that some people are loyal and some are not?
I don't know exactly and I can only speak in the context of my experiences. I think for me it's forgiveness and cleaning up your own mistakes. Forgiving others clears the way for loyalty to the people you care about. I think that's the biggest part for me. But then it would mean that you can only be loyal if you've experienced something in your life. So it's about growing. But sometimes we might also be a little insecure and maybe doubt ourselves, so we find ourselves being loyal to others without realizing that we're being loyal for the wrong reasons. I'm going to be loyal to this person because they might help me in some way. That's not real loyalty. There's an ulterior motive behind it.

In Hollywood, that's the order of the day. But I think it's everywhere, this feeling that we think is loyalty because you're standing up for this person. But what if there was a core feeling behind it and you had to ask yourself why you're standing up for this person? I believe that the more self-confidence you have in yourself and the more self-confidence you have in general, which doesn't come from an ego but simply from satisfaction, the easier it is to be loyal and actually stand up for others without asking for anything in return. Because loyalty is actually standing up for someone and doing something for someone else without wanting something from them.

You help children. You do a lot for other people. Helping is loyalty?
Yes, it is. It's definitely loyalty. I personally get as much out of it as the organizations and people get out of it, no matter where in the world, whether it's in Thailand or India or here in the US. I love being on the ground with charities. I mean, I do a lot of events, that's the glamorous part, but I love getting into the problems and seeing what I can do to help, because then you get that goosebump feeling that you get as a human being, the feeling that you have a purpose, that you're alive, and there's not many things in life that can really give you that.

We've talked about social media and that you might get a little kick out of it or get really high through other measures and get a little kick, but doing something for others is an incredible feeling. That costs nothing. And as much as it takes out of me, I know that if I go on a trip like this, it's going to be as good for me as it is for the people I'm helping. So it's almost like free therapy. I can spend thousands of dollars on therapy or I could just do something selfless, like work for an organization. You learn so much about yourself in those moments. For me, I often think: "Oh my God, I'm stressing myself out!" Because I know that the stress I have to deal with is nothing compared to these people. And these kids are always so smart too. So you learn so much in the process. For me, it's something that I get so much out of and that I love doing. Of course, it's not like I'm Mother Theresa. I don't wake up thinking, "Oh my God, I want to help people every day." But when I get out of my four walls and do it, it feels really good.

Has that always been something you wanted to do? So not just since you've been in Hollywood?
My mother is English and Irish, I was brought up Catholic, although I don't even think it has anything to do with religion. It's more a human trait. You're either like that or you're not like that. And my mother was just always that kind of woman. As a child, I used to get upset that my mother would just stop on the street and try to help anyone on the street. And I always thought, "Mom, you're going to get attacked or you're going to get sick," or whatever was going through my mind because I was just a kid. But when I look back now, my mother did it because it made her feel good. And I remember my mom's reaction was, "Oh, stop it. I like it, it makes me feel good." I don't think I had the charity mindset as a child, I think I learned it. And I keep saying it: you learn through experience.

Do you think people were more willing to help each other and stick by each other in earlier times than they are today?
I think the problem, as I said, is that it's "now". Everyone wants to feel good right now, that's all. Everyone wants to live a perfect life right now. And if they don't have a perfect life or a perfect relationship, they want to change it now. And sometimes I think because of the amount of content that we consume and because of what we hear and what we're told, sometimes people don't want to stick it out when things get tough. They want to go back to their perfect life. But that's a temporary solution. It's like going through a tough time. You completely change jobs, relationships, whatever. And then you feel better until you hit a rough patch again and then you change again. I often observe this in relationships, with people close to me and with people around me. And I often see it in business too. In addition to acting, I'm now involved in companies and I'm on the board of a few companies. I think it's just because people love the job when it's a great week. They don't love their job when it's a tough week. But people have to realize that life is like that. You have to learn to deal with it.

How do you prepare for different roles, especially when it comes to different genres? Is there a particular method of preparation that you prefer?
I keep it as simple as most of the characters I play. They have something human about them and convey a feeling that I know. Let's say I’m portraying a character who’s breaking into a house and robbing someone, I've never done that, but I can definitely feel what it's like and can identify with it. I've definitely had a rush in my life, some excitement or a healthy amount of fear. So there's always something I can fall back on. Whether it's a pain or a heartbreak, something we've all experienced and then it's just about tapping into that. That gives you that authentic feeling in that scenario. Because I think the interesting thing about feelings, experiences and memories, especially for an actor, is that you can take that feeling from one situation and it's so strange to have that same feeling in another completely different situation. It's probably the same adrenaline rush as someone who can't stop robbing banks and who leaves the bank with a lot of cash. For me, it's like doing the same thing.

I personally have never played a role of a real-life person or a biopic. But when you have that blessing or luxury of playing someone that you can talk to and learn more about them, that's amazing. But even though I haven't had that chance yet, I continue to develop the character in my head. I give them their own backstory. In my head, I know where he comes from. I know what he likes. I know who he is, what he likes to do, what kind of things he does outside of work. You know, you have to develop as much of the character as possible to make him seem real. So for me it's about developing the character beyond what's in the script, because then the character gets real depth.

But isn't it dangerous because you might unconsciously take on some parts of this character?
My last shoot in Serbia was a movie where I was both the producer of the movie and the main actor. That was the first time I learned how difficult it is to produce a movie. Everyone was just pulling my leg, so I literally went to the set to shoot my scene in peace. But even then, the discussions didn't stop. "We need to talk to you. We're going over budget on this and that. We need new equipment because we're changing locations for the next day." And I said, "Yeah, all right." And then, I went into the scene, said my lines, went back out of the scene and answered more questions. So I think I have the ability to adapt very easily to the situation at hand and turn it on and off very easily. I remember the movie "The Rising Hawk" in the Ukraine, for example. We were dressed in medieval clothes and I had a big wig on and had to wear these hugely bad teeth. In between scenes I had to do a couple of business Zoom calls, which was hilarious because when I turned on my video camera I saw that I looked like a Viking on a Zoom call. So I can slip in and out of a role with the greatest of speed. But as I said, it's probably so easy at the moment because the roles and characters I play allow it. At some point I will have to say that I have to be much more present in a certain character and can't switch back and forth between my different roles so easily.

What inspires you to get involved in a particular project as an actor or producer?
The obvious answer is: the script. But the second most important thing is the people. For example, I'm in my 40s. Because what I've learned is that it's so hugely important to work with good people at every level, whether behind or in front of the camera. It makes everything so much more enjoyable. That doesn't mean it's less work, it doesn't mean it's less hours. It doesn't mean there's less stress either. It just means that everyone is giving their all to be the best, to win. And I think for me it's about surrounding myself with people who, like me, really love what they do. Being grateful for what they do.

This is exactly the experience we had in Serbia and I mention this because it was the last movie I made and we finished it just before Christmas. It was tough. Only night shoots. In a glass house, 23 nights in a row, because I was also a producer. As an actor, it would only have been 21 nights. In a situation like that, you need people who are hungry for that kind of adventure, because otherwise it's no fun being picked up at 3pm and going to bed at 5am, sleeping, waking up and going back to work the next day. It's a real challenge. If you don't love and enjoy it, you will have the worst time ever. And this scenario of the location and the crew can be applied to any business, in my opinion. Sometimes all it takes is one bad egg and there's a ripple effect. If I'm not a producer and I'm only booked as an actor, I just turn up on set and stick my neck out. And if someone makes a fool of me, I say: "You'll do it" and keep my mouth shut. But if it's a project that I'm involved in as a producer or if it's a company that I'm involved in, it needs one hundred percent commitment and then the quality of the people who are also involved is immensely important.

But you love your job and you have a choice. That's a privilege, isn't it?
It's a real privilege. I'm very grateful for it, but I've been in the States for almost 20 years and it was tough at the beginning. I remember there were many years when I couldn't even pay my rent, let alone pick a job. So I'm very grateful, especially to the people who supported me through it all.

So was your career ultimately down to luck or was it because you were so persistent?
I think it was perseverance. It's actually an element of luck. Because perseverance is a way of increasing your chances. Luck is something real. The harder you work, the more persistent you are. I personally believe that the universe also plays its part when you feel what you want, when you strive for it, when you work for it. But just thinking about it and dreaming about it while sitting in your room will not be enough! For me, happiness is a great journey of perseverance!

You come from England. Where is it better? In England or in Hollywood?
Los Angeles and Hollywood are nice, but I declare Los Angeles my chocolate. I love eating chocolate, but if I eat too much, I get sick. I try to eat a few pieces of chocolate and then move to England or somewhere nearby for filming. Then I come back to eat more chocolate. Los Angeles is a wonderful place to live, it has given me such a fulfilling life. But the older I got, the more I missed the simplest things in life. Recently I was back in England for Christmas and I remember just sitting with my mom and dad. That was lovely. Not that I need it because then life would slow down, no, I love my job with all the trimmings. It's more that I'm sometimes more mentally present then.

But Los Angeles is a magical place. I moved there a long time ago, made some friends and I think you experience the ups and downs of life, it's everywhere, we can listen to the news wherever we are. I'm so grateful for my time in Los Angeles. I love it here. But I also love coming back to Europe. I have so many European friends. Home is where the heart is!


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Make up: @nellybaumann
Text und Interview: Elke Bauer
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