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Exclusive Interview with Luke Bilyk

 

unnamed-1Talk Nerdy With Us chatted with Canadian actor Luke Bilyk. Known for his portrayal of football star Drew Torres on Teen Nick’s hit drama Degrassi, Luke has proven he’s a star on the rise.

Read our interview with Luke below. We discuss Degrassi memories and his upcoming projects.

Follow Luke on Twitter.

Follow Luke on Instagram.

 

You have a lot of projects that you’re currently working on. We’re going try and cover all of them, and we’re going to start with Hellions. How long ago did you film that?

“I think it was about a year ago, in October. Oh my, I guess it’s almost two years ago now, October.”

Can you tell us about your character Jace a bit?

“Jace is kind of the rock in the movie, in the sense where a lot of things go wrong for many different characters. Jace is the boyfriend of Dora. The only time you really get to see Jace is in the normal realm of the Hellions movie. My character’s not around too long. I don’t want to spoil anything! He’s basically the only normal character in a normal society within this crazy world that Hellions created.”

Did any horror stories happen while filming?

“Not really. There’s a lot of creepy … not animated, but little robot things that they build, and a lot of the costumes. I’m not really good with horror stuff like that. The little hellions are little kids dressed up in creepy Halloween costumes. These kids were loving it, and they were scaring the crap out of all of the crew. They’d hide behind things and pop out at random moments. I’m like, “Okay, yeah, thanks. I didn’t need that today. I can’t sleep so great. Thanks a lot.” [Laughs].”

You got to work with Chloe [Rose] again!

“She had just left the show. We had started the next season, it starts in October, and she was gone then.

It was so amazing. Me and Chloe are such great friends, and we love working together as well. It was great filming the movie, but it was even better doing the press for the movie. Our movie got into Sundance and film festivals in 2014! Getting to see her again after that, because it was almost a year after filming, was great! It’s so interesting when you have friends and it doesn’t matter how long  ago you saw them. It could be a year, it could be five years, it could be a day. It’s like you haven’t left off or skipped a beat.”

What is your favorite Halloween costume that you’ve worn as a child, or adult?

“As a child I actually wore the same costume for about nine years. I just loved dressing up as a football player. Last year I dressed up as Rick from The Walking Dead, all disheveled and stuff. That was pretty awesome. I would say that was my favorite.”

Since you dressed up as a football player all your life, what was it like actually landing the role of Drew and playing a football player on TV?

“To be honest with you, it was a dream come true! Obviously, every Canadian actor dreams of getting at least a spot on Degrassi, because it’s just so good, it’s such a good experience. To land a lead character with a lot of different plots and story lines was really, really crazy. Those football episodes, we did one on location football episode a year for the first three years. They were the only days that we went off the studio, and they were the best days. I love dressing up. It’s one of the best things about being an actor, so it was a lot of fun.”

Did you know from the beginning that Drew would be on the show for five years, or was it supposed to be a smaller role?

“When I landed the role it was contracted for four years, and that was basically when everyone else left as well. It was when Monroe, Jake, Marisol, and all of those characters left. When they all left I was supposed to graduate with them, but my character is not a genius, so he got to stay around. [Laughs].”

Do you remember the first scene that you filmed?

“The first scene I filmed was walking into The Dot, with Ray. I walk up and I’m like, “Hey, man, how you doing? I’m Drew. I bet you go to Degrassi, right?” It’s funny, actually. It’s in the bloopers. It’s my first scene ever. Ever. I walk up, and the first take I go, “What’s up, man? I’m Sav.” He goes, “No, I’m Sav.” I was like, “You’re right. I’m fired.” First line ever I have to say on the show, and I mess it up. I was like, “All right, great. This is great.” [Laughs].”

What was the last scene that you shot?

“The last scene, we all actually shot it together. It was the finale for the last episode, the graduation episode. We’re all jumping up and down in our gowns and we’re saying, “We’ll miss you, Degrassi!” It was actually really funny because some of our last shots, they were doing a wide crane shot pulling out, so we’re jumping up and down for about, I don’t know, two and a half hours, trying to get the shot. 

We’re all like, “All right, let’s speed it up, let’s hurry up,” thinking it’s not our last day. Then we’re like, “Oh, wait. No, no, it’s the last day. Never mind. Take your time, guys. We don’t want to go anywhere yet! I miss it already.”

Besides Drew, do you have a favorite character from Degrassi?

“As the years go on that question kind of changes, but if I was to say anyone it would have to be Miles. I love the Hollingsworth family so much. They’re all great actors, Sara, Spencer and Eric. They play those characters so well. Who wouldn’t want to be a bad boy billionaire, you know? They have too much fun, those guys, on set. He gets to drive a Ferrari, he gets to drive a Corvette, he’s constantly jumping in a pool.”

Who do you think Drew belonged with?

“Drew and Bianca. They were together the longest, they almost got married. They had a really interesting ending. Bianca and Drew just really went through so much together, the whole them almost trying to kill someone thing. I think that would bring a couple pretty close together, you know?”

What is the hardest scene you’ve ever had to film?

“As an actor, there’s not a lot of many difficult things. The only difficult thing was having to shoot the final episode of when Jordy, Adam, my brother on Degrassi, died. Not for any particular reason acting wise, it was just because knowing that I was never going to work with Jordy Todosey again was hard. The whole storyline, losing Adam, was really difficult. 

Having to get through that whole block, our last week together was very, very emotional. We weren’t even supposed to be crying, we were supposed to be yelling at each other, but we both actually started crying. They were like, “You can’t do that. It doesn’t make sense.” We’re like, “I know, we’re sorry, we’re just going to miss each other so much.”

How long in advance did you know that Jordy was leaving?

“Me personally, and the rest of the cast, we found out in the read-through. Jordy had known about it before and talked about it. It was a group decision, between the producers and Jordy, herself. We’re kind of flipping page to page, and it shows she gets hit by a car. She’s texting and driving. 

My jaw dropped and I looked over to her, and I was crying. I was like, “What, Jordy? What?” She wouldn’t say anything. That was one of the worst feelings in the world right there.

Obviously that read-through was really hard, and then when Cam commits suicide. Have you ever read through a script and been like, “Oh my god, is Drew going to make it through?” Did you ever have to think that way?

“Yeah, there was one episode. After I get jumped by the gang I end up just left, bloody in the street. As I’m reading through that I was like, “Are they going to kill me right now? They just beat the crap out of me and kill me in the street?” I was like, “Okay. I don’t know.” That’s how the episode ends, and we didn’t have another read-through until next week. Everyone was quiet. 

You could ask questions, and I raised my hand and I’m like, “So, am I dead?” They’re like, “No, no, you’re good.” I was like, “Okay, just checking. Thanks! Just making sure I’m going to be here next week, guys. I like you guys, I like this job! [Laughs].”

Have you seen every Degrassi episode? Did you watch it growing up?

“I remember watching episodes here and there, but I was pretty young. My sisters watched the show, so I’ve seen the majority of them. As far as the ones that I’ve been in, all the seasons that I’ve done, I think I’ve been in 140 episodes. We were doing 42 episodes a year when I started. I don’t even think I’ve seen half of the episodes that I’ve been in or done, or the seasons that I’ve been in.”

Do you enjoy watching yourself on TV, or do you not like it at all?

“I don’t know. I think it varies from time to time. As an actor, you have to watch yourself at least a bit or else you don’t know what you look like, you don’t know what you’re doing. You could be doing something that doesn’t even look good. I think after it’s edited and you’re watching it, it’s weird.

 I don’t watch the screen, I end up watching my parents’ reactions! I watch them, when they’re watching the show, and that kind of tells me if I’m doing good or if I’m doing bad. I don’t know. It’s like a 50/50. 

I can watch myself, but not the whole thing. Not when I’m crying or something like that.”

What has been the best reaction your parents have given you while watching it?

“I looked at my sisters, my mom and my dad, they’re all crying and their mouths are gaping open. I was like, “Holy smack. Thanks, guys.” No comment is the best comment. [Laughs].”

We’re moving on to Adam’s Testament. Tell us about your character Adam Gable.

“It’s about angels versus demons. The devil is basically trying to take over my soul. Adam was your typical good boy, A+ student, just a really family focused guy, until his mother dies. She gets hit by a car. 

He turns away from his faith and starts becoming a bit of a rebel. That’s basically where you’re thrown in is right in the middle of the storyline. He’s a bad guy with a good heart, and he doesn’t really know where he’s going. He’s confused about the path he’s taking right now.

It’s really interesting. We’ve got a lot of amazing characters, actors who are in the movie, Frank Chiesurin, Nick Mancuso. It’s a very strong cast. It was a lot of fun to play the character.”

He’s also a musician. Is any of that actually you playing guitar?

“Yes. There are parts of it where I am playing guitar on the acoustic. There’s a video I have, I had to hop up on stage with this band Eye Steal, who’s a very heavy screamo music band. I’m watching them play, I was like, “Yo, I do not fit in here.” It was the rehearsal. I’m like, “I do not fit in here.” I have blond hair, I’m wearing a button-up. 

Then afterwards I get into makeup and they put this tattoo on my neck, all this eye makeup. I was like, “Okay, you know what? I do look like a psychopath. I’m in.” It was a lot of fun, jamming out on stage. I’ve never done something like that before!”

Adam’s Testament is using Indiegogo to help fund the project, so why should fans donate?

“The more that people help, the better the project can actually be. We’ve actually filmed all of it already; it’s just now going into post. It’s a very high visual effects movie. The better the fans want the movie to turn out, if they donate more it would obviously just be better.”

Is there an Indiegogo project that you funded that you’re really passionate about?

“Yes, I’ve actually produced two movies myself. The second was Where Love Takes You, I was an executive producer on that. We are in production right now. Unfortunately the director of the film passed away.”

Oh, I’m so sorry.

“Yeah, we hit kind of a slowdown on that. I think they’re going to do something at TIFF to commemorate his death next year with our movie. This was the last movie he directed. He was a dear friend of the family and myself as well. He was extremely talented. Indiegogo is a good platform to use for his last passion project. To push his name further out there as well.”

For either of those projects, did you help come up with the rewards on Indiegogo?

“I think one of them was we go out for dinner with someone who donated, and we did. We ended up going out with a few different people. Those are always fun things that … It’s like fans, some fans want to donate and maybe they want to meet me as well, it’s a kind of cool opportunity, you know?”

Definitely. You’re also working on a new TV show! Tell us about Wonderful Wayneys.

“It’s a very interesting world. It’s a family comedy, a really big cast, five kids and two parents. It’s a really big, dynamic comedy, revolving around a family of multi-exceptional children, me being the star protégé child. I play another football player. Which, obviously I always get typecast as a football player. I love it, because I love football too. I’m a super athlete, a mathlete, a biology major. It’s a family of geniuses and then there’s one kid out, his name is Emmett. It’s basically about how he’s constantly getting his family into trouble.

It’s a lot of fun. Our creator is the creator from Arrested Development. My parents are played by Molly Ringwald and Jason Priestley. It’s a lot of fun. There’s a lot of joking on set, a lot more laughs and on-set joking than Degrassi. When you’re constantly laughing in the scenes every one’s mood is just so … every one’s joking around and we love laughing!”

Have you seen The Breakfast Club?

“To be honest with you, I had not seen it up until just recently. Once I found out that I was going to be working with her. I went and I watched all of her movies.

You’ve dabbled in everything now. You’ve done drama, you’ve done comedy, you did sci-fi, you’re doing horror. Do you have a favorite? Is there one that you enjoy more than the others?

“It’s difficult to say. I obviously love doing dramatic roles and stuff like that. A lot of my short films cater to me being chased around, dying in an alleyway, which happens to be what I’m good at. [Laughs]. I don’t know, a lot of the Tom Cruise action, if I could do an action movie where I’m constantly running and doing my own stunts and stuff like that, that’s kind of my dream!

I think the best kind of movies are movies that you can incorporate all genres and accommodates all walks of people’s … every one’s favorite different kind of movies. A bit of action, a bit of drama, a bit of sci-fi, a bit of everything.”

Have you gotten to do any of your own stunts?

“Yes. On Degrassi there was a point in season 11 where my character was going through post-traumatic stress disorder. He joined a fight club, because that’s what every teenager does, joins a fight club when they have problems. [Laughs]. 

I actually ended up doing three and a half weeks of commando Krav Maga. They taught me how to do that. I did all my own stunts for the fight club. I think it went on for about two and a half episodes.

I got to ride a motorcycle in Adam’s Testament, for some of the scenes. We did some of them in green screen, but the other ones I got to ride. It was a lot of fun. I have a motorcycle as well and love being on the road, so I was like, “Oh, I get to ride a motorcycle. Sweet. I’d love to.”

How long have you had a motorcycle license?

“I just got my motorcycle license this year, and I just bought a bike. I’m looking at it right now.”

Is that the best gift you’ve ever gotten yourself?

“Yeah, I think so. You know what? I do a little thing every year where I go on a trip, I treat myself to a trip. Most of the time when I do it, I end up doing a charity. I’ve done it with Feed the Children, so I’ve gone to Nicaragua, India and Haiti. 

This past year I decided to not do a charity trip but I went to Thailand. That was the best thing I’ve ever bought myself, a trip to Thailand. I went for almost two months. It was just amazing. I don’t know if it compares to a motorcycle. It’s still a gift!”

Is there any place that you haven’t traveled to yet that you would like to go to?

“I travel a lot with one of my really good friends. We can’t decide if we want to go to Hawaii or Greece next. I don’t know. I want to go to Ireland too! I think Hawaii and that kind of region is going to be our next trip, in that area. It’s just too beautiful over there.”

What show would you love to guest star on?

“I would have to say Game of Thrones. That would just be a dream come true. Maybe something a bit more realistic, I love the show Between. It’s on Netflix. That would be awesome too.”

 

Luke’s Favorites:

Emoji? I think it’s definitely going to have to be the traditional one with the tongue sticking out.

Award show? The VMAs.

Canadian TV show? Flashpoint.

Superhero? I’m going to go with Superman. He’s awesome.

Photo shoot you’ve been a part of? I did a photo shoot at the Emmy’s this last year that I went, with one of my friends. My personal photographer is Lane Dorsey, who’s actually amazing.

Sports team? The Detroit Red Wings.

Degrassi episode? “Bitter Sweet Symphony,” the one where Munro loses his mind on stage.

Bromance on Degrassi? Me and Demo, Drew and Dallas.

Degrassi guest star? Keke Palmer. I was a super, super fan of her when I was younger. When I got to meet her I was like, “Okay, I’m fangirling.”

 

Tell me two truths and one lie about yourself! 

“Drew will be coming back for another episode of Degrassi. I auditioned for another part on Degrassi before I got Drew. I have three sisters, three lovely sisters”

 

Fans now it’s your turn to vote for which answer you thinks is the lie! Follow @TalkNerdyWithUs to find out the correct answer!

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