Dutch Actor Ron Smoorenberg Reflects on the Phases of Male Identity

RS: I edit my clips. I do not have a manager.

ATM: Why?

RS: Because of a lot of managers, especially in Asia you cannot trust here. I need an agent in the United States.

ATM: Why is it said you could not trust agents in Asia?

RS: I have a good one in China, but in Thailand, there are not manager careers. They just pass on phone calls and get 25%. When I do it myself, it goes better. It is crazy. It would help if you had a good agent or manager in the U.S. We are doing a lot in Thailand in one year. Sometimes ten projects. Some are small and bigger. If you do not do it, then you have a good deal. This is always a risk.

ATM: In the photo when you were 13, right now looking back who were you when looking in the mirror?

RS: I was already an outcast. I was never a group person. I never had too many people around me. I was always alone. I was climbing trees and a big Elvis Presley fan. He was always an example for me. It was different than the rest. He had a special gift and passion. He made a difference. I was skinny. I never wanted to belong to a group. Sometimes people tease you. They said I was the weakest of the school. They trap and trip you over. One fat girl hit me in the face. She almost knocked me out. She almost raped me in the swimming pool. I am not this weak. There was this movie called Karate Kid. It was a person who was skinny. This was an example for me. At the children’s party where we saw it, we all started. There was a series on the television called The Master. Everyone started making swords and weapons. It was mysterious and unknown. It could unlock your self-confidence. There was a karate school in my city. It looked like the Rocky movies. There were a wooden floor and a boxing ring. When entering you could smell the leather. It was characteristic like the movies I was watching. The teacher was like the one in Karate Kid.

ATM: Did your self-love change in the photo of 15?

RS: Self-love is always there. I was insecure, but not unhappy. I was not strong. I was not unhappy with not belonging to a group. I was happier. I did not want to follow anyone like the people who have the same jackets. I wanted to be the opposite. Like if everyone wore black than I would wear white. How about you?

ATM: Same. I was the person who did the opposite of what everyone did. Like if I wore a denim jacket, then next thing people in my circle of people around me wore the denim jackets. You notice when you are copied.

RS: This is it. You do something different than they copy and follow it. This has happened. I started to stick martial art signs onto my jacket. Like the Chinese signs. It was like Japanese jackets. During this time, it was not, and now you have it. People started to copy it. All my karate friends started to put it on their jackets. I just did it. The first week they gossip, and the second week they wear it. There were nice jackets and hair backward. I put the hair back and had on the jackets. They were like, “What is this?” It would help if you always had an example. Elvis liked Superman. This is why he dyed his hair black. You need a base of something. They destroyed his records. They were opposing him. The more people oppose you, the more you are on the right track.

ATM: The more people who are against you in the way of not supporting you. This is when you are going in the right way.

RS: If you think deeper in this, then there are different circles and layers. There is a social layer. Even in the martial art circle. It is not like you do martial arts movies. I had to make through this. Playing in action movies is like a big dream and impossible, especially from Holland. Even the martial artist told me, “I was a dreamer. It was not realistic.” Even being a martial artist was not enough. I always came to earlier and left late. The light was not on. I was practicing in the dark. Then the rest came. I wanted to play in movies. I heard people talking behind my back. “This guy is boring. He never goes to any discos. He is weird.” I enjoyed it. You?

ATM: I get it. They told me to stop asking questions. Your questions are too weird. No one is going to like your style. You should not emotional ab lib/ improv. You are a dreamer. Be realistic. You are asking too many questions.” I honestly do not even have a style.

RS: Oh yeah, when you believe in it, they cannot take you away from it. They try but they cannot. I look at them like what are they doing. They are always hanging around. I had a very bad friend. He always said he was my best friend. We were in martial arts together. He was so competitive. This guy was such a talent. He did not need to learn so much to do it. For me, it took five times as much to get the moves. He trained one day a week and could do what I did in five days. He did not do it. He went to discos and did it once a week. I had to train five times a week to get this level.

This is the difference with us. I was never jealous of anyone. This guy wanted to get better. I never understood this. He gave me the positive fire I needed. I needed him. I see the same kind of guys in the movie business. I recognize them. I know who they are. It would help if you had someone like this. It is not yet. This guy was jealous in a sick way. He copied the jackets and everything. We went to a record show, and I got the highest kick. He did not get it. He could not watch it. We were at a friend’s party. It was when we had the video cassette tapes. My mother was there. She told me, “When you played the videotape, he would go to the toilet. He cannot watch it.” It could not face it. What about you?

ATM: Same. I once had a female friend and this friend used to copy me all the time. They would make it seem like I was copying them. Once they said to me, and a few other people close to me said these same words, “I want everything you got.” This person was a military brat; I was not. I was like, what is it that you want? They said, “I am in competition with you.” I was like you have every materialistic thing that anyone could want. I was not jealous of this person. They said, “You have a level of ambition that is like no other, and I want it. I never saw it in anyone. It is almost lethal. So, therefore I compete with you to get it.” So, my oblivious self was in a state of shock for like five minutes. I did not understand what they were saying. I have never cut a person so fast out of my life. This person was envious in a very imbalanced way. True story.

RS: Wow. Yes, it is lethal. Right, we do not know it. We do not feel these feelings like others. We are in the present. We are positive and do not look back. If you achieve something, then they can be jealous. They feel bad, but we feel good. They want something you have, but they cannot buy it. It is in you.

ATM: So, who were you in this photo at the age 17/18?

RS: People went to a lot of discos. Every Saturday they asked me, “Do you want to come with us?” I never went. Maybe one time a year for one half an hour. I went back. It was weird. I always thought of the next day because I had to train. Yes, I had a few girlfriends, but I was not distracted in martial arts. I got bigger and grew muscles slowly. I did martial art tournaments. I won a few times the champion of Holland. The funny thing is now. The guy that I spoke about. They had recorded a videotape of me during one of those kicks. He said in the background, “Look at him. He looks like a ballet. He is moving like a ballerina.” I heard it on the tape when playing the video. I sat near the camera guy. I started to find out how he was. At this time, I still was not sure. This is how people get exposed. Girls started not to look at me anymore. He was making up stories about me with girls. He posed like a best friend for years. You must have had this too?

ATM: Same. This same friend would make up stories about me. They did not spread stories about girls, but with me being with guys. The format of the story is different, but the gist of what happened again with this friend happened with the same friend from earlier. We have so many similarities.

RS: Yes, we do. I love it. I was kicking to the point of there being holes in the walls in my room. The ceiling was angled at 45 degrees. I could kick higher every time and found a new mark to kick. I would kick the leaves in the street. I had to cover it when moving and living for myself. Like when I went to live with myself. They moved the posters, and there were so many holes in the walls. All the souvenirs and marks were still there. My dad still has pictures. When you train for karate, there is a big scream. It is like someone is giving birth. Someone is having a baby. The neighbors did not like me. I was screaming and playing music hard. I was training on the Rocky songs. It was like living like you were playing in movies. It was before Jackie Chan. The movies fights would be on T.V. It is not about playing movies. The training period is great. Every moment is nice. It is not just having the money or fighting it. It does not matter what level. I have a son now. He is learning, and I feel his joy.

ATM: What was your financial status growing up?

RS: My parents were not rich. It was very bad. Some of my friends had to give me candies to get something. I was not rich. Sometimes the car would not even start when we wanted to go somewhere like to the beach. The neighbors were always laughing. We had to use electric cables from another car. My karate teacher sponsored me, and no one knew it. My friends or martial arts partners did not know. I trained for free. My teacher loved me. He did not want me to lose on martial arts. This is nice and beautiful. I could not afford it anymore. They were not rich. I value everything and even now. What about you?

ATM: The last two questions that I asked you were the same.

RS: It is about the feeling when you watch a movie. I want to feel this feeling all the time — the passion like in flash dancing. The biggest dream for me is to do it for the rest of my life. It is not to get rich or change my stages or class. Rich people are not that happy. I know some rich people. If I look at them, they are not my example. It is to do this everything as much as possible. I try to stick to some values. If I look at the social classes in the movie business, then I do not want to be in it 100%. There are a lot of network parties in Bangkok. There is a lot of opening movies. There is a lot of fakeness in this business. Some people even to be rich, popular, and class. It is not real. They are not the ones who are really working. I try to distance myself with people who are pretending.

The people who are producing and directing stick to different values. They do not want to show up in a fancy car or to be rich. I do not want to be a part of it. Sometimes it conflicts with what I have to do and have to show. Sometimes you have to be in suits, wear sunglasses, and be the cool guy. I should do it more and blend in more. I should do it more to be a star or whatever they call it. Some people do the opposite. I have done 100 movies. I am not joking. I have done a lot of things — their people who have done one movie.

They are walking out of their shoes. They are wearing sunglasses and become divas. I am like, “Hey guys what are you doing? Act normal?” I tried a little bit. I went to the Cannes Film festival in 2002. This was 19 years ago. I put on a suit. Some male producers were coming up to me and wanted to sleep with me. I did not do this. They tried to lure me into stuff. I was like what is this business. I just want to act in movies. I got the name cards. I came home to my parents saying, “I am going to America. I am going to be in so many movies.” They call it Can Talk. It is a lot of promises, and they do not happen. I had to move to Asia to get more experiences. I was scared to go to LA straight away.

ATM: Why?

RS: Wait. I feel energy or aura between us. I feel it even though you are in New York, America and I am in Bangkok, Thailand. I feel it. Let me tell you a story. Since childhood I saw strange lights around my body especially my hands and fingers, It became normal for me and started to play with the beams coming from my fingers (say about a 30 cm long) I started to tune in this frequency and seeing it around other people as well, for example during class at school, especially when the background is a solid color. I found out later that this was the human aura. There was a paranormal lady who wanted to see me and test me one day, as my mother spoke about the fact, I could see it. She wanted to test me. I looked at her and saw that the aura on one side of her face was way smaller than the other side. She was shocked and stood up, then she told me she was hit 2 years ago by a baseball bat in her face and the side with the lesser aura was weaker, since then I knew it was true.  

We always look at objects, but when you look around it where actually is nothing and defocus on the object the aura will appear. It’s like changing/shifting the lens of a camera. Why I talk about aura’s is because in real life I use energy as a base for my decisions. I avoid people who are out of balance as when they do not respect themselves why they would respect me. Also, there are a lot of energy vampire, users, jealous people and other forms of unbalance in this world. Mainly when I feel tired with or while going to a certain person, I know something is wrong. We are the casting directors of our life and having a great group of people around you who are confident enough to empower each one of us is a game changer. 1+1=3 I always say in good relations instead of 1+1=0.5 in a bad relationship. When we break down life, resources, and what ‘all about, we can bring it back to energy… do people give or take your life energy?   

The way you write it is just so amazing. It’s very, very interesting and well put. This is no doubt my best interview ever. YOU ARE THE BEST…

ATM: Ron.

Ron: Gabrielle.

End of Part 1