L.A. Native Alex Alomar Akpobome Devours New Role in “Industry”

The young actor joins the ensemble cast as a charming New York executive ready to ratchet up the show’s already sky-high tension

The British-American drama series Industry, which follows a group of young graduates competing for a limited number of full-time positions at the fictional, high-stakes investment bank Pierpont, based in London, returns to HBO Max this week. Joining the sprawling cast for its second season will be Los Angeles-native Alex Alomar Akpobome, who enters the fray portraying a charming New York executive who is ready to ratchet up the show’s already sky-high tension.

Akopobome was immediately taken with Industry’s script, he tells LAMag, and after he auditioned for the role, he waited by the phone for a week to hear if he got the part. He likened the feeling he had over that long week to the nervous excitement of a new romance.

“It’s like that feeling of [when you’re] about to fall in love,’ he says. “You’re going back and forth and you’re [thinking] ‘I really hope this might be the one.’ So, I got a call, and I think I knew before I picked it up. It was a different feeling…You can’t believe it. It almost feels like a visceral punch.” 

Growing up in Glendale, Akpobome says he was a “bad kid” who was frequently expelled from school. But it was there that he first fell into acting, taking a role in a teacher-written play at one of the grade schools where he’d managed to remain enrolled. It was after seeing this performance that the school’s principal approached him to say that she believed he was a great actor; she told him that she hoped she wouldn’t have to kick him out of the school. She did, just two weeks later, he recalls, but her comment stuck and inspired him to pursue his love of performing later in life. 

Since that elementary school play debut, Akpobome first appeared in three short films and went on to star in Twenties, Showtime’s series following young Black Angelenos in their budding careers and love lives, and also appeared in Apple’s alternative timeline space race drama, For All Mankind. Now, he portrays Danny Van Deventer, an American executive who becomes the love interest of one of Industry’s central characters. He says he was absolutely thrilled to join the cast and take on this new type of role—which even required a physical transformation. 

Alex Akpobome attends the “Twenties” Premiere Event LA at Paramount Pictures. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images for BET)

Akpobome tells LAMag that he enjoys both running and skateboarding around the city in his free time and that normally, his diet consists mostly of brown rice and eggs. But in Industry, his character has a far more glutenous lifestyle, working long days and playing hard after hours as he’s constantly gobbling down candy and schmoozing clients over drinks and extravagant meals.

To transform into Danny, Akpobome says he “gained a bit of a bloat” and “exchanged skateboarding and running for steaks and martinis.” Laughing, he said, “it was the best research ever.”

It was the director behind one of the towering films of 80s excess who inspired Akpobome to change his diet ahead of filming Industry’s second season. He was watching an interview with Oliver Stone after he’d directed the 1987 hit Wall Street, wherein the director recalls that he’d advised his star to make some dietary changes. 

“Oliver Stone told Charlie Sheen that he wanted him to essentially eat more food [and] live a richer life because that’s the lifestyle that stockbrokers live. Which was great. That’s what I did,” Akpobome recalls. 

As for any research around the ins and outs of finance, Akopobome says that he didn’t get too bogged down in the details. Instead, he watched as many films as he could to emulate the Wall Street swagger while focusing on the toxic dynamics between Industry’s key characters.

“The job of acting isn’t [about] how much you know about finance,” Akpobome says. “It’s about people who are having experiences in a job that happens to be finance, and what the minutiae of being in a workplace is—I know what that is. I can relate to that.”  

The first episode of Industry season two is now streaming on HBO Max

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