How 'The Game' 's Toby Sandeman Went From U.K.'s Top Track Athlete to Acting — and Why: 'A Huge Void Arose'

"I fell out of love with the sport and this huge void sort of arose," Toby Sandeman tells PEOPLE in this week's issue

toby sandmand

At 32 years old, Toby Sandeman has had quite the career.

In this week's issue of PEOPLE, The Game actor opens up about his past as a professional track athlete — and why he chose to retire from the sport and pursue something completely different.

"I fell out of love with the sport and this huge void sort of arose," says Sandeman, who was among the top five track stars of the world at the time. "For me, I didn't know what I was going to do in my life. I thought that I was going to just go out there and have to find a job and make my way in the world."

Sandeman, who currently portrays football star Garret Evans on the Paramount+ series, says he "fell into acting" after taking his brother to an acting class.

"The teacher wouldn't let me sit out," says Sandeman. "I think it was just improving a scene, but it was fun, and that's all it was at that time. There was no awakening or anything like that. But I thought it was interesting, and I went back to that class."

toby sandmand

From there, Sandeman attended an acting school in New York and suddenly caught the acting "bug."

"To be honest with you, in England we're quite reserved, but I was blown away by the way that these ladies were standing at the door screaming all these expletives at their partner, and I was like, 'I want to be a part of this,'" he recalls. "I was like, 'I have so much that I've repressed as a Brit, I want to be a part of this.' In that two year program, that's where I really discovered that this was something that I wanted to pursue."

After booking his first role on The Royals alongside Elizabeth Hurley, Sandeman says he felt "such a high."

"I was like, 'This is what I want to do for the rest of my life,'" he explains. "After that moment, I dedicated myself to acting just like I did with sport. What I mean by that is, at the time, I couldn't afford to go to a prestige program, say a Yale or a Juilliard, so what I did was I found out as much information as I could about what they were doing there, and I literally created a six day a week schedule for myself, doing the things that they were doing. I found vocal exercises on the National Theatre in England, they put it online, so I would do that every day. I would do accent work so I could hone the American accent, and I would watch interviews with even my favorite actors."

toby sandmand

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Though Sandeman has plenty of goals for the future — including becoming the first Black James Bond! — for now, he's grateful for the present.

"I'm someone that tries to enjoy each and not really compare it, I just live for what this is right now," he says.

For more on Toby Sandeman, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday, or subscribe here.

The Game airs Thursdays on Paramount+.

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