LMU’s prime location in Los Angeles often allows our students to explore professional acting careers while completing their studies. Junior theatre arts major Peder Lindell is the most recent example of this – starring in the film Descendants: The Rise of Red, the fourth film installment of the Disney Descendants series.
While this is a major breakthrough for Lindell, his journey as an actor started at a young age, when he starred in local theater and musical productions in the Minneapolis area. Hailing from Northfield, Minnesota, Lindell was able to gain several years of professional acting experience before committing to LMU.
Lindell describes gratitude for his community in Northfield for helping pave the way for him to work as an actor. “Much of my high school career was spent in musicals or theaters, so I would be in school maybe two days a week. My teachers were incredibly helpful with aiding me in pursuing my passion.”
In discussing his decision to come to LMU, Lindell shared that the potential for meeting new people and forming strong connections with other students working within the performing arts and film were the main selling factors. At LMU, he felt he could find a similarly supportive and close-knit community he had experienced growing up.
“When it came time to figure out what I wanted to do post-high school, I think the decision was pretty simple for me – my priority was to come out to L.A., so I honed in on the schools out here,” Lindell said. “I wanted to be in the industry and what really sold LMU to me was the School of Film and Television and the Theatre Arts department. I wanted to be able to further my studies as an actor, and nurture my career, but I also wanted to be able to work with other people my age – the future of our industry. That was the core tenet that sort of brought me here, but once I got here I fell in love with the campus, and the student life is a lot of fun.”
During his time as a student at LMU, Lindell received the opportunity to audition for a project that is now the upcoming Descendants film. Upon receiving the news from his agent that he had landed the role, he knew the opportunity was too good to pass down.
“The more I learned about the role, the more I realized how big of a deal this was, even life-changing,” Lindell said. “It’s something that I’ve worked my entire life to get to, so it was a fantastic moment of happiness and joy.”
In order to shoot the movie, Lindell took a leave of absence for the spring 2023 semester during the film’s production timeline. He shared that he ultimately felt supported by the university in making that decision. “I’ll admit, I was a little worried at first, but it worked out a lot easier than I ever expected. No one wants to interrupt their schooling, but when presented with such an incredible opportunity how could anyone turn it down? So that was never a question, but it was great that the university and department were so supportive.”
While connecting his professionalizing experiences and personal learning experiences at LMU, Lindell described how his immersive educational experience so far has impacted him not just as an actor but as a student. “I’ve had so many influential experiences at LMU so far – it’s a combination of my classes, my time studying here, the fantastic theatre arts professors that I get to work with, and the connections they have in the industry.”
“I think what I’m going to take out of LMU when I leave here is going to be the connections, the people, and the community support. I think it’s widely overlooked how important connections are in this industry, and I’ve made so many fantastic connections with future changemakers in this industry. The person that you work with in Prod 200 might be the next Spielberg or vice versa. Your friend in your acting class could be the next Margot Robbie, and that’s really exciting. These are connections that I will bring with me my whole life.”
*Descendants: The Rise of Red is planned to be released on Disney+ streaming. The release date is still to be determined.