From his high school ambition to become an actor, Judd Lormand has now appeared in over 70 feature films and is currently starring in the amazing CBS series Seal Team. Verge caught up with Judd to chat about his career, work / life balance and what the future holds.
You’ve had an incredible career so far, did you always want to get into acting?
Throughout elementary and high school, I wanted to be an actor. For me, it was the one thing that was so fun, so challenging, and so addictive. When it was time to go to college, I put acting aside for a while because I didn’t want to move away from Louisiana and the town I grew up in. Throughout college, and post-college, I focused on various other jobs and areas of interest that all utilized communication skills. During that time, I think I was trying to fill that void that existed because I wasn’t acting.
It was years later that I got the “acting bug” all over again and decided to dive into it professionally.
So yes, I’ve always had the desire to be an actor, but it was only about 10 years or so ago that I finally decided to do something about that desire.
While the work was tough (insanely tough at times) it never felt like “work” to me because I loved the hustle as much as I loved the acting itself.
After appearing in over 70 feature films throughout your career, you’ve definitely earned the title of being one of the hardest working actors in Hollywood- how has this journey been for you?
There’s an old saying that says something to the effect of, “Find what you love to do, and you’ll never work another day in your life.” I look back on the journey that got me here and sure, it was difficult, frustrating and stressful at times. As actors, especially when getting started on the journey, we put in so many hours just to GET the job, that your “job” can often look more like a financial burden. At the same time, it was just so much fun. When I lived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana I would literally drive 8 hours to get to an audition in Atlanta, sometimes on very short notice, and yet I loved doing it and looked forward to making the drive. It’s just like the quote says, while the work was tough (insanely tough at times) it never felt like “work” to me because I loved the hustle as much as I loved the acting itself.
Whilst growing up, you’ve stated that your high school drama teacher encouraged your interest in theatre – are there any other major influences for your career path?
Yes, my drama teacher was the first influence but there have been so many really. Two fellow actors that come to mind immediately are Gary Grubbs and Marcus Lyle Brown. I met Gary early in my career and he was already a veteran television and film actor at that point. Gary was always so quick to pull me aside and give me advice, point me in the right direction, etc. He has done so much in this industry, he is just a fountain of knowledge, and I loved listening and soaking up everything he said.
The other, Marcus Lyle Brown, is a great friend I’ve known since my high school acting days. He’s another actor who taught me so much along the way. Marcus got into acting via the Louisiana market also and had started a few years before I did. He inspired me from day one because I saw his hustle and subsequent success, and it showed me that all things are possible with hard work.
“SEAL TEAM” is a show that everyone is excited about, what is it like playing a Lieutenant Commander?
First off, it’s been a fantastic experience to get into a character for such a long haul. I learn more about Blackburn and the Lt. Commander position every day, so from an actor’s standpoint it keeps things from ever getting stale. Specifically, I love how he tackles the challenges and obstacles that come with his job. He’s a strategist, constantly forced to play a chess game where the pieces and players keep moving. Blackburn is a ‘thinker’ and he always has to be thinking several steps ahead in order to ensure the mission is successful, and I love that aspect of the role.
What is the most challenging role you’ve played yet?
Well, physically, the most challenging job was being a Peacekeeper for the first Hunger Games film. We were shooting the reaping ceremony outdoors in a small town in North Carolina, and it was the hottest summer on record that year. We were covered head to toe with this extremely thick costume that weighed 26 pounds. It was SO incredibly hot, I’m pretty sure I lost about 10 pounds that week.
From a technical standpoint, the other challenging role was playing Robert McNamara in the LBJ film. It was my first time playing an actual historical figure, so I had to completely shut Judd off and become McNamara. I had to change everything- the way I walked, talked, the way I thought about things.
Both of those roles were huge challenges in different ways, but both so much fun.
Are there any roles you’d like to play in the future?
Yes! I would love to play the comedic character in an animated kids movie. I have 3 children, between 6 and 7 years old, so my dream role these days is one that sends my kids to school telling all their friends about.
I’d honestly have to say SEAL Team. The cast, the crew, the writers… everyone on this show are just amazing to work with. I feel like this show is so important on so many levels. I believe it’s telling stories that need to be told.
You spent a lot of your childhood in Louisiana, and now you split your time between LA and Atlanta- was it a hard for you to move from city to city to pursue your acting career?
It was tough to leave Louisiana because my wife and I both grew up there, our families are still there, it’s truly our home state. But moving to Georgia has been amazing and we love it there.
Nowadays the family is still in Georgia while I work in Los Angeles. It makes things tough at times, but I try to dash back to Georgia as often as I can to see the family between shoot days.
It can be very taxing at times, but overall, we feel blessed with the opportunity to do the SEAL Team show so we do whatever it takes to make it work.
It must be hard to choose, but what has been your favourite project to be a part of so far?
Yes, that’s such a tough question. Every project is special in its own way so it’s kind of like asking “which child is your favorite” But if I had to answer with just one, I’d honestly have to say SEAL Team. The cast, the crew, the writers… everyone on this show are just amazing to work with. I feel like this show is so important on so many levels. I believe it’s telling stories that need to be told.
Keep listening and learning at every stage of your journey. And most importantly, NEVER stop hustling.
If you can choose, where is your favourite location to film?
Louisiana. Because there’s no place like home.
Do you have any advice for people trying to get into acting themselves?
It’s hard to narrow it down, but if I had to put it into a couple of sentences I would say: Keep listening and learning at every stage of your journey. And most importantly, NEVER stop hustling.