IN CONVERSATION WITH LOU FERRIGNO JR
Interview by Jana Letonja
A male-lead on the rise, Lou Ferrigno Jr.’s talent shines whether he’s acting in comedy or drama, landing top brand commercials or on the cover of a fitness magazine. Most recently we’ve been able to watch him in the third season of hit Netflix series ‘Outer Banks’, playing Ryan, Mr Singh’s enforcer and security guard. Lou’srole was originally a 3-episode arc, which then turned into a series regular role.
Lou, we’ve been able to watch you in the third season of hit Netflix series ‘Outer Banks’, which premiered this February. How exciting was it for you to be cast on such a hit series?
It has been a honor being cast on such an exciting, original program like ‘Outer Banks’, that is viewed all across the planet on Netflix. Just a thrilling adventure, beginning from the audition process to filming in Barbados for 2 months, all the way to the red carpet premiere and beyond. I enjoyed the show a lot when it first released on Netflix in April 2020, yet it wasn’t until the season 3 premiere that I was fully aware of the show’s immense global popularity and fiercely loyal fanbase. Getting the opportunity to portray such a compelling character as Ryan, one of the main antagonists of season 3, has certainly been one of the most exciting challenges of my professional journey thus far. I really hope all of your readers will take the time to check out the show because it’s really fun.
Your role as Ryan, Mr Singh’s enforcer and security guard, was initially planned as a 3-episode arc, but it then turned to being a series regular role. Tell us more about Ryan, who we’ve got to meet in this latest season.
We first began filming season 3 in Barbados in february 2022 and Ryan was only written into 3 of the 10 episodes. Much of the second half of the season storyline was written as we progressed through shooting, so each week was a complete mystery to me. Fortunately, the uber talented creative team of OBX, Shannon Burke, Jonas Pate and Josh Pate, seemed to really like the work I was producing, so they continued to bring me back, which turned out to be for 8 of 10 episodes.
What inspired you to pursue acting and being in the entertainment industry?
I have always been fascinated with the craft of acting and the alternate universe that exists for actors between the director yelling ‘action’ and ‘cut’. With both parents working as actors, my siblings and I didn’t know much else of a professional world. After graduating from college I had worked enough random jobs to know what I didn’t want to do for a living, whereas acting always seemed to inspire me. Once I was certain of the professions that I would not want to pursue, I knew deep down that acting was always to be my professional destiny and I haven’t reconsidered my choices or looked back since.
You studied improvisational comedy at LA’s finest schools. Why comedy? What do you love about comedy the most?
I have always loved comedy and the way it can change the mood, tone or vibe of any room through laughter. During my school years, the most important achievement for me personally each year was to be the funniest kid in class. My desire to make my classmates, teachers and coaches chuckle was the most important aspect of my schoolwork. Although many times I found myself in trouble for being too disruptive in class, talking my way out of more severe consequence was another challenge for me, so it was a constant cycle of innocent, adolescent hilarity. As I grew older I became more fascinated with the science of comedy and the specific reasons for why one thing is more funny than another. It wasn’t until I studied at UCB, Improv Olympic (iOwest) and Westside Comedy Theatre (WCT), where I learned to perform on stage to tough audiences, that I got to know what funny really meant. I knew that in order to be a well-rounded actor, I would have to be skillfull in my dramatic and comedic work alike. Whether or not any of it has worked is still unclear, but either way I still really love comedy.
One of your other very notable roles is in CBS’s series ‘S.W.A.T.’, where we can regularly see you as Sergeant Rocker. What can the viewers expect from the rest of the episodes in the sixth season?
Playing Rocker has been such a wild ride with all of the action that we get to perform. When Rocker shows up, chances are he brings with him a fun, light-hearted attitude that stems from his competitive nature in becoming the best S.W.A.T. sergeant he can possibly be. A lot of season 6 was shot during the same period in which ‘Outer Banks’was being filmed, so who knows what could have been different. However, S.W.A.T. season 6 was one of the most entertaining thus far in the series.
You’ve had quite some notable roles on TV. Which role and on which series made the biggest impact on you?
All of the roles I’ve played on TV have each provided me with their own unique lessons I’ve been lucky to learn in this career and in life. I could ramble about each project, but for now I’m going to say that the role that left the biggest impact will be the next one.
Soon, we’ll also be able to see you in the upcoming Nick Cassavetes film ‘Dyad’, which follows the storyline of a sex cult, murder and high-profile elites within Hollywood and politics. What can you share with us about this film at the moment?
When I first read the script of ‘Dyad’, the storyline was so compelling that I told my manager I needed to be a part of this project. Independent film takes the risks that TV and mainstream film does not, so dealing with such controversial subject matter was thrilling for me personally. I’m a big fan of Nick Cassavetes as an actor and director, so to be associated with him on a project has been such a treat. I don’t want to give away too much of the story, but once ‘Dyad’ releases worldwide, I encourage everyone to check it out and see how this unique story unfolds.
Lou, what are some of your other passions that we might not know about?
When I’m not attached to a project as an actor, I love spending my time painting, sketching, writing and cooking. Painting enables me to create while focusing on my breathwork and my stillness, which helps tremendously with my anxiety and intrusive thoughts that plauge my imagination often. Working on a tactile piece of artwork allows me to develop another form of art in my own vision, which feels very gratifying. Another of my favorite activities is to cook big meals for friends and family, which are always fun nights filled with love.
You’re also involved in philanthropic work, as you engage in helping animals and our planet. Why is this so important to you? And why do you believe more people should do what you do?
I love animals and I love this incredible planet we all get to share. I do my utmost to constantly consciously help promote causes that are dear to my heart and help benefit all of our four legged friends, and a large portion of insect community as well. I love dogs, especially pugs, and I can only hope that more people could feel the same joy. If each of us did our part to make the world a better place, the world would be just that. Each day is another chance to be better than yesterday, so let’s all do our best to do better.
photography BEN COPE