Adam Aalderks portrays Travis Mach in Season two of the hit HBO series Ballers. He has gone from high school football star to a star playing a football player. He received his Bachelor’s of Science in Industrial Education and taught high school before moving to Atlanta, GA to pursue acting.
First of all, big fan of Ballers and I can’t wait to see your character.
Great. I can’t either. (laughs). It’s going to be a big moment for me and my career. It should really help cause a little stir in the waters of the show. So that should be fun.
How did it feel when you found out you were cast?
I didn’t understand the magnitude of what it was at first. I auditioned for another project that I had actually booked for the same time and that was for a lead role, but it was only for a pilot. I had booked both of them and I asked my agent, I said, “Which one should I do for sure?” And he said, “You want to do Ballers. Ballers will have the better longevity role.” I said, “okay let’s do that one.” I really trust my agent. I was only guaranteed two episodes originally and those two episodes turned into half a season. As soon as I got on set, just the family atmosphere was something contagious. I never wanted to leave.
That sounds pretty cool. I can’t even imagine. Your character Travis, just like everyone else on the show is super into the world of football. You were a high school athlete, right?
I came from a high school that was really big into sports, so I played football. I played in college. I played collegiate as a linebacker for a season or two. But that was an eye opener. I realized that there was way more dedication of office time and meetings. I just wanted to play. It wasn’t a big transition to put the pads back on [for Travis]. I’d been there done that. Then you surround yourself with the cast of Ballers and you get to play a little football. There’s nothing wrong with that.
Other than a shared history of football, do you and Travis have any similar personality traits?
Travis Mach is sort of the alter ego I had buried for a long time. (laughs). You can ask any football player, to have a career you must have this arrogance about you. When I got out of football, I buried that inside me as far as I could and tried to be a genuinely nice guy. As soon as I got back in the atmosphere and the linebacker mentality, the comments I used to make on the football field came out of my mouth. This alter ego came out of me. As the Travis Mach character unfolds, you will see a little of my college days poking its head out every once in a while. It was fun.
Your first episode airs tonight. Do you have any hints you can give us about your character?
My character is, let me think for a second so I don’t put my foot in my mouth (laughs). My character is a very bold-headed player. I don’t really want to give too much away. The stubbornness and the confidence and ego that is Travis Mach is going to very quickly come face-to-face with a very grandfathered in and proud character that is Spencer. It is a really cool dynamic that sparks up and kind of unfolds into a really neat relationship between the two. I’m excited to see how it reads on camera. It’s really cool.
It sounds cool. So, other than tapping into your college mentality, did you have to do anything else to prepare yourself bringing Travis to life?
Yes. The physical. Because I played college ball, I had an idea of how big these men really are and the NFL is even bigger. They’re faster. They’re stronger. They’re superhuman, you know? It was November 2, 2015, I got a call from my agent saying “You booked it. You got the role.” And I was drinking an energy drink at the time and I literally just poured it out.
I’ve been a personal trainer for a while, but when you’re not trying to get into sports shape, you can kind of enjoy some of the luxuries of life once in a while and I had to stop all of that cold turkey. I went into a complete body transformation, trying to put on mass and trying to lean out and look like a college linebacker and look like those superhumans I would be standing next to and supposed to portray. I had to transform my body very, very quickly. I was fairly happy with how my body turned out. I wish I had a few more days to look a little better, but it was fun. Once I booked it on November 2nd, I just transformed and turned on the sports training.
You were saying earlier, you felt this role was great for your career. Do you have a dream role that you’ve always wanted to play?
There are a couple of dream roles I’ve always wanted to play. Unfortunately, the first one me and 150,000 other actors would love to get. It’d be the next Wolverine. (laughs). That’d be great. Hugh Jackman did a great job, but he’s going to have to pass that torch. Like I said there are probably 150,000 other male actors who are more than capable of playing the role.
I had heard a rumor of the possibility of a Thundercats movie being made and I was a Thundercats kid. So if I can snag a Lion-O or one of the other roles on Thundercats that would be the role for me. It wouldn’t be for a career move, it would be a for-the-child-in-me move. (laughs). Let’s see if I can get on that movie somehow.
You seem to have a lot of interests. Do you have any big passions outside of acting?
I would probably relate it back to my training. I started doing corrective type training and we’ve taken guys who were coming off a paralysis, out of a coma. One guy, in particular, I worked with him for three years and I was able to take him from neuropathy and unable to have any control over the right side of his body to now he runs 5ks and he actually spends most of his time in Hawaii hiking there. Which I’m a little bitter he didn’t take his trainer along to go to Hawaii to just follow him around. (laughs). When you get into those situations, when you have the knowledge to really change someone’s life, it’s a really neat feeling. A really humbling feeling. It makes all those early mornings and those off day workouts and those times you get sweat on and every bodily fluid you can think of, it makes it all worth it, seeing someone succeed. I’m really looking forward to getting more into the 501c3 world and seeing what’s out there and what I can be a part of to help people.
Do you have any advice you would give to an aspiring actor?
Put yourself in a position to capitalize off of opportunities God gives you and be willing to fail, expecting failures and only accepting results. That’s what it all comes down to. You have to put yourself in a position to capitalize off those ‘baller’ roles that come along and whatever else it might be for your time, your moment. It’s just little things of you have to continually put yourself in a position of showing you are the right person for the job. It’s an ongoing struggle, but you just kind of fall in love with it after a while.
Since we are a site called Talk Nerdy With Us, I have to ask, what makes you nerdy?
Oh man, if you want to start talking about classic cars, any vehicle from the ‘60s and ‘70s, I’m going to start geeking out pretty quick. (laughs). Especially when you get into a ’63 c10 stepside. I just love it. I love the classic muscle cars, the Mustangs, the Camaros, the Chevys. Whenever I go to an old classic car selection, or drive by an old car, I have to stop and just geek out for a little bit. It’s American art. It’s really a special time period for automotive lovers and you have to respect it.
Ballers airs on HBO every Sunday at 10pm EST