Tracker Pixel for Entry

Local actor lands Hollywood roles, and he did it all from Fargo

by C.S. Hagen | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Culture | October 5th, 2017

FARGO – Daniel Pinder doesn’t necessarily have a process, or even the background many Hollywood movie stars try desperately to conform to. The 23-year-old is from Fargo. He found his opportunities in Fargo. One day he plans to return to Fargo, and he brings none of Hollywood’s glamor to the table.

Standing tall at five feet four inches, a stunt skateboarder, dressed in a nondescript black baseball cap, tan hoodie, black jeans, and slightly used slip-on Nike sneakers, he flashes an easy smile before describing his young luck on the big screen.

His luck was made; it didn’t fall into his lap.

“I just want to go with the flow, you know, I don’t want to get too into myself,” Pinder said. “I don’t want to find a safe spot, because I feel if I have this safe spot behind me, then it’s not going to make me want to work harder for what I am trying to do right now. I don’t want to fall back into a nice comfort…I want to have pitchforks behind me.”

Before landing the lead spot for upcoming movie “Paved New World,” or his first role in 2014 as a thief in NBC’s police drama, “Chicago P.D.,” the 23-year-old stacked big books and dictionaries for a tripod, and self-taped his audition in his Fargo basement on VX tape. His mother helped read the scripts. Never before active in school theater or community plays, never having taken an acting class, he studied by watching and secretly mimicking conversations in movies like “A Few Good Men.”

The gig for “Chicago P.D.” solidified his confidence that he was destined for a career in acting. Coupled with his skills at skateboarding, he’s found a niche -- sometimes, but not always, performing his own stunts.

“It was between me and ten guys, and I was like ‘I am not getting this,’” Pinder said. But he sent the tape in, and casting called back, saying he got the role of a cellular phone thief for an episode in the first season of the television series “Chicago P.D.”

He discovered the opportunity through weeks surfing the Internet, searching for possible roles while still living in Fargo.

“I never wanted to go to L.A. or New York without already having work,” Pinder said. “What would make me different than any other guy if I went without work?”

He attended Sullivan Middle School, but was asked not to come back. He graduated high school from Woodrow Wilson, worked at Downtown’s Sammy’s Pizza for a few months while attempting a quickly fading dream at culinary school.

“I think I only like making pizzas.” Pinder joked. “My dad was like, ‘What are you doing? You got to do something.’ And I told him I wanted to act. It was crazy because I only had three auditions before I went to ‘Chicago P.D.’”

Skateboarding was one exercise that helped him land his role in “Chicago P.D.,” Pinder said. After filming for “Chicago P.D.” wrapped up, he became involved in a showcase in L.A. where he performed scenes and monologues for casting directors. Surrounded by NYU theater program graduates and aspiring actors from across the nation, he did well, he said.

“At that moment I knew I must be doing something right, and didn’t need that theater education background,” Pinder said.

Before he received the 130-page script for a lead role in “Paved New World,” Pinder was slated to play a skateboarding character named Clash in “Skate God,” to be distributed by Lionsgate in 2019. “Paved New World” will be released next year. All roles were found while living in Fargo, Pinder said.

“Don’t think you have to move to do it,” Pinder said. “That’s just going to set you back, if you think you have to move to do it that means you won’t be working hard to do it. With the Internet now, you can do so much. You can meet anyone. No matter where you are from, you can make it happen. You just have to work hard, which most people honestly don’t want to do these days.

“And that’s one thing that people in the business will love about you.”

When asked about the process for getting into the mind of the character Pinder will play for “Paved New World,” he said he plans to base the role on his best friend. There’s little need to analyze the character because he grew up with him, in Fargo.

“I’m trying to do it all in the moment and how my friend, Nate, would do it,” Pinder said. “He did all these things I didn’t have the balls to do”

Resisting Hollywood temptations, the parties, the drugs, the women, comes naturally to him; he wants to stand out. Many people in Hollywood are from small towns, like Fargo, he said, and have pressure from friends and family to succeed. Too many times he’s seen young people feel they have to live the life in order to get recognized.

“In L.A. they conform to this L.A. vibe,” Pinder said. “A lot of people aren’t successful, and don’t want to move back home. It’s funny as I am on the other side and want to be successful and move back home. I want to be the guy that says, ‘Hey, I did it from here [Fargo].’ I’m not going to be just another guy in Los Angeles.”

His girlfriend, Melissa, also from Fargo, keeps him level, he said. “She would probably kick my ass, she’s hard working, and I met her here for a reason. I honestly believe you can’t find that in L.A., I always tell my brother you got to find a Midwest girl. They’re tough.”

Names like actor and director Ramon Estevez, director Ben Perkins, producer Alexander Garcia, roll easily from Pinder’s tongue, but one name stands out above the rest: an actor he respects and can relate to the most.

“It’s going to sound unoriginal as hell, but I like Tom Cruise a lot. He’s short as hell.”

His dream role? Acting in a war movie, to honor what his father went through with a career in the military. His father is his hero, he said, as well as his stay-at-home mother.

“He did it all.” Pinder said of his father. “My dad was a tactical officer and was in the Gulf War. I want to know what that was like. He has set the standard for me to be successful, not with money, but with happiness. So I work my butt off.”

If Pinder’s Hollywood fortunes run out, he’s not worried.

“Oh yeah. I would want to open up my own pizzeria or something,” Pinder said.

In Hollywood, Pinder is frequently asked where he comes from, and a forced Dakota accent typically follows, he said. But he’s proud of that.

One day he will return to Fargo, and maybe, just maybe, prove that the world isn’t as far away as it can sometimes feel in the dead of a Dakota winter storm. 

Recently in:

BISMARCK– The debate over whether the state needs an ethics commission has been ongoing for years, four times defeated by the legislature. This year, however, concerned citizens turned to the power of the initiated measure, and…

There will be a rocking event on coming this Thursday called Night Bazaar by Folkways. Night Bazaar is an event highlighting the community with a full spectrum of unique experiences, food, music, art and performances. Night Bazaar…

Thursday, August 23, 5-6:30 p.m.Plains Art Museum, 704 1st Ave. NDr. Craig Howe, Director of the Center for American Indian Research and Native Studies (CAIRNS), will lead an art and poetry workshop in conjunction with the…

On August 14, The Bismarck Tribune reported that “A popular insecticide could be banned for agricultural use.” Popular as it may be I can think of a whole slew of adjectives that would be more appropriate like questionable,…

Well, Mr. President, Have You No Sense Of Decency Sir, At Long Last?We might have another flag debate in this country. We still see the Confederate symbol flying in activities promoted by white supremacists on the streets of…

FARGO - A collection of memories from High Plains Reader's annual Cocktail Showdown. Participants were judged on creativity, flavor, and presentation; and this year we added a new category. Like years before, each establishment was…

By Ben Myhre benmyhre35@gmail.com If you are a gardener in the area, you know that this is the time of year when zucchini becomes plentiful. In fact, many have a tough time using all of it. You may see just a small little zucchini…

Woodstock: even people who were born years after the original three-day music festival recognize the name. The event, which took place between August 15th and 18th at Max Yasgur’s dairy farm in southern New York and attracted…

Elsie Fisher’s Kayla Day is the lonely but indefatigable middle-school protagonist of first-time feature filmmaker Bo Burnham’s “Eighth Grade,” a winning addition to the pantheon of the adolescent cinematic bildungsroman.…

It may be cliche to say the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree, but when wet plate artist Shane Balkowitsch found out that his 15-year-old daughter Abby Balkowitsch was following in his photography footsteps, he was…

By Stella Mehlhoffstellamehlhoff@gmail.comAs I stared out of Guthrie Theater’s Amber room at a bird’s eye of the cityscape and river below, I hardly took in the night lights, my mind was too focused on the art I had just…

Fargo has its share of people who are passionate about stand-up comedy, even if the success of clubs devoted to it has been mixed. Despite the fact we have seen places like Courtney’s Comedy Club and Level 2 Comedy Club close…

When I was first introduced to the traditional spirit of my ancestors, Akvavit (or aquavit), I never thought I’d ever find myself standing next to a giant “Viking” ship while comparing different brands of the “water of…

I’m a big man, I’m tall and powerful, but this also causes some issues in the body department. I suffer from acute scoliosis in my lower back, and pain radiates from this area on a daily basis. I have only ever had one massage…

By Melissa Martinmelissamartincounselor@live.comThink back to one of your worst small decisions. Then answer the following questions:How did you make the decision?What happened after the decision?When did you know it was the worst…

Well, after nearly a dozen years of delay, it looks like Billings County is finally going to build a bridge over the Little Missouri State Scenic River north of Medora. The county posted a notice in the Federal Register on October…