Matěj Dejdar fell in love with hockey when he was five years old. Since then he's dedicated everything to it! He even played two seasons in the highest level high school league USPHL, where he got the offer to continue his studies at university with a full hockey scholarship. Matěj never grew too attached to the US though. Even though he admires Jaromír Jágr or Alexander Ovečkin, his role model in life is his dad, Martin Dejdar. He confided in us in his interview for LP-Life.cz that he wouldn't mind following in his acting footsteps.
Matěj, at first glance I was captivated by the tattoo on your left arm, Bart Simpson's face. Does it relate to your dad, Martin Dejdar, in any way?
Yes it does. I already had two before, and whoever's ever gotten a tattoo knows that it's a bit like a drug. I was wondering what to get next and I do admit that when choosing the motive I was sort of banking on that if I get Bart tattooed, my dad wouldn't be as mad as he had been when I got the first one. But he was mad anyway.
Dad isn't really a fan of tattoos. And I didn't stay true to my word that I wouldn't get a tattoo. But of course the main reason behind this motif is the connection of The Simpsons to my childhood and my dad, who voiced Bart Simpson in the Czech dub. The role belongs to him and the character symbolizes him partially. At least in my eyes. My first tattoo is also family related - three arrows, symbolizing dad, mom and my sister.
Seems that you have nice family relationships. How do you actually remember your childhood? After all, it was different than most kids'...
I did mind because I was really hungry and had to wait for dad to finish taking pics. The next thing was that I hated questions like "What's it like to watch your dad on TV?" When you hear it 30 times a month, it gets annoying.
When I was really small, I couldn't understand why he was hugging or kissing other women on TV that weren't mom. But these things are childish, of course. Objectively I didn't really mind anything about my dad's popularity, on the contrary, sometimes it was advantageous.
I took it as it was. I'm a rather chill guy and rumors or tabloid articles don't faze me. Two years ago I had a personal experience with the paparazzi, too. I absolutely didn't understand what they were expecting to find out. They didn't find out anything, so in the end they at least wrote what kinda clothes I wear and what I drive.
Well, I'm probably a bit of a metrosexual too (laugh). But it does happen to me that I fall in love with a pair of jeans and then I wear it all the time. Washed, of course. It may surprise some people, but I really don't care about expensive brand things. I like Zara, for example, which is middle range, price-wise.
People say that being the son of a famous father is hard, but it's even harder to be successful in the same field. Would you like to follow in your dad's footsteps?
I wouldn't mind. But I think I could only star in comedies. Two years ago I got a role in director Tomáš Magnusek's movie, Kluci z hor, which was a drama. And you have to have experience for that. I played the young version of my dad, and it was fine. They say I'm a younger copy of him. I didn't have to do any extra dramatic scenes, it was fun.
We didn't actually meet on set, fortunately, but he was still helping me a lot. What did surprise me though, is how long everything took there.
I had a classmate who played it, and I wanted to try it with him. Back then dad started filming the series Poslední sezóna which is about professional hockey, so I found myself in hockey even more.
Over ten years ago your dad founded a celebrity hockey team HC Olymp, though its purpose is mostly charity. Did your dad also have ambitions in hockey as a kid?
I don't know; however, dad only learned to play hockey when I did. At that time he was already at the age when most hockey professionals are thinking about retiring. But he's good at it, he's in his element. He likes playing football or tennis too. He's really into sports and actually a really multi-talented actor, too. Whatever he touches he's good at.
That's true. Mom's the one who did most of the daily practice with me. Getting up in the morning was the worst. We had to be on the ice at 6 am. Luckily that was only once a week. During the rest of the week, we had practice after school. But I still didn't have much time to be bored like other kids.
Not the kids, but the teachers always made up problems. There were only a few that weren't letting me have it. Every day there was something. My mom always used to say it was my fault, she never admitted that a teacher could have it out for me. But that was the right thing, I guess. These days teachers are almost afraid to speak up. Parents often think their kid is a saint, and the teacher has no support. In my case it just wasn't always fair.
Of course my English wasn't good enough to let me fit in immediately. But my first year I went to a hockey academy, that was great. Next year I was already in a normal school, it was terrible. And the last year of elementary school I went through in the Czech Republic. Till then it was just mom and my sister with me. When I went back to America after that, I lived in Connecticut alone. That's when I learned to take care of myself.
No, I like the Czech Republic better. One more reason is having a girlfriend here. She's Slovak, same as if she were Czech. Slavs are very different from Americans. Americans have a different sense of humor, way of thinking, they're much nicer as people. It's a pity the Czechs are always mad about something. That's the only thing I mind.
Not intentionally. True, she's a Czech Miss, but aside from that she's a real estate agent. So if you happen to be looking for a flat...
Not yet. At my age I'd already prefer it, but we're still in the planning phase. We've only been together for four months after all, we're still getting to know each other, and living together is a serious step.
To tell the truth, I'm gonna have to decide whether to go back to America to study and play hockey, or stay here. But I have to say, I don't really feel like going there. Last year I successfully graduated from a Czech grammar school which I was attending online alongside attending school in the US, so I'm a little done with studies for now.
The folks are trying to persuade me, but I'd prefer to stay here. I'd like to work already, something like working with movies. If not in front of the camera then behind it, in production or so. Dad probably wouldn't exactly be thrilled, he sees me more as a sportsman. So it's a backup plan of sorts for now, if hockey didn't work out.