Judd Lormand is one of the hardest working actors in Hollywood, having booked over 70 acting jobs in the span of just a couple of years. Currently, he can be seen as Lieutenant Commander Eric Blackburn on CBS’ SEAL Team. I got the chance to talk to Judd about how he originally got into acting, how he and his character Eric are more alike than ever, what it means to him for SEAL Team to be 6 Certified and so much more! Keep reading to see what he had to say.
Tell me a little bit about how you got into acting originally.
I’ve enjoyed acting for as long as I can remember. Starting with plays in grade school and moving on to competitive speech and drama during high school. It’s always been my favorite thing to do; something I’ve always felt so comfortable doing. When I started college, I opted not to pursue acting as a profession because I didn’t want to move away from my hometown. It wasn’t until many years later, when the film industry came to Louisiana, that I decided to give it a try on a professional level. It was one of those “like riding a bike” things where even though it had been years since doing it, the passion came right back, and I fell in love with it all over again.
Was there a specific person or experience that you would credit with helping you decide acting is what you wanted to do for a living?
Yes. There were several individuals that encouraged me during various stages in life. In high school, my drama coach Sandra Broussard seemed to always make me feel like I was doing what I was meant to do. Later on, once I was getting into the business, fellow southeastern actors Marcus Brown and Gary Grubbs were always around to give me advice and encouragement when it came to navigating the film industry’s crazy waters.
Do you have an acting “bucket list” of things you still want to accomplish in your career? If so, what are some of the things on it?
Yes, of course. First and foremost, at some point, I really want to provide the voice of one of the funny characters in an animated kids film. I watch all of the big animated films (numerous times) because I have 3 kids – ages 6, 6 and 7. That’s at the top of my list, to do something they can tell their friends about at school. Also, near the top of the list is to do a Western film. I love westerns and it’s one of those genres that I’ve never done and look forward to doing one day.
Let’s talk about SEAL Team. What did you initially think of the project when you first heard about it? What was your audition process like?
With so many projects the actor doesn’t really get a lot of information during the audition process. For the SEAL Team audition, I was provided with my scenes only, so I didn’t even have a full script at that point. It’s challenging, but for me, that’s also part of the fun because you get to use your imagination to fill in the blanks. I auditioned via videotape, taping it at home and sending it into casting, and thankfully, a few weeks later, I was driving down to New Orleans to shoot the pilot. The day before shooting I received the full script, and once I read it, I got really excited because the material was so good. Even to this day, I get so excited every time a script for a new episode arrives in my inbox.
Tell me a little bit about Eric. What is he like? Do you think Eric is similar or different, and in what ways, to the person Judd is?
It’s funny because originally, I think the two were different in more ways than they were similar. Blackburn is so laser-focused and serious about work, while Judd often struggles with focus and enjoys being less than serious most of the time. However, throughout season one, I found myself becoming more and more like Blackburn in everyday life. I would find myself trying to think through everyday issues as he would, trying to keep a level head through stressful day-to-day moments, that sort of thing. Over the last year or so, I’m happy to say that we’ve become more and more alike.
I can only imagine what it’s like to play a Navy SEAL on screen. What do you have to do behind the scenes to prepare for this role, both physically and mentally?
Mentally, like I said before, I’ve tried to incorporate the thinking processes of a Lt. Cdr. in my daily routine. In addition, we have several actual Navy SEALs working with us every day on set, so it’s great to be able to chat with them and get inside their heads to see how they would handle certain situations. Physically, I’ve completely changed my diet and workout routine. I’ve always tried to stay in decent shape over the years but now, with playing a Navy SEAL, I felt it was only right to take it to another level. My health and fitness have taken a huge step up on the list of priorities. I see a Nutritionist regularly and try to exercise 5-6 days a week. Whether it’s a long shoot day on set or traveling back east to see my family, it can often be tough to stick to the regimen, but I always try to get my workout in and do my best to keep my diet on track.
SEAL Team, at its core, is about this band of brothers who would do anything for each other. What’s it been like building the chemistry with the rest of the cast?
The chemistry amongst our cast – and our crew- is something that I am so thankful for. Life imitates art in this case and our group is extremely close, both on and off set. We all hit it off at the very beginning while working on the pilot and we continue to be close friends to this day. Just like our characters on the show, I consider every cast member as part of my extended family. I love them and would do anything for them.
SEAL Team was also 6 Certified, which means that the committee at Got Your 6, an organization that works to empower veterans, found the show was a representative and balanced depiction of veterans. What does it mean to you personally to know the show is well received by the veteran community?
Personally, it’s my favorite aspect of working on the show. As an actor it’s always great to have regular work on a television show; it’s also great to be on a quality show that I truly feel is telling great stories. To be part of something where we are all truly doing our best to represent our military in such an authentic way and for them to approve of what we’re doing – that’s the icing on the cake for me. On set, getting things done correctly, the way they are really done, is a huge priority every single day we shoot, and it feels amazing when someone who has served lets us know we’re getting it right.
What can you tease about what’s coming up for Eric?
I think, so far, we’ve done a great job of showing the audience what Eric Blackburn does – his responsibilities to the team and their missions; many of his challenges, his obstacles, have been well defined. But I think very soon the audience will start to learn who Eric Blackburn is. Thus far, we have yet to learn anything about the man behind the job and I’m looking forward to getting into that soon. Stay tuned!
Last question — we’re called Talk Nerdy With Us because we all have an inner-nerd. What is something you are currently nerding out about?
[laughs] There’s a couple of “nerd out” things that come to mind. First, I know it’s a year away, but I’m already nerding out for the next installment of the latest Star Wars trilogy. I’ve been a massive Star Wars nerd since I was 5 years old and can’t wait for Episode 9 to come out in December of 2019. I’m also a bit of a pro wrestling nerd so more immediately, I’m nerding out for Wrestlemania coming up in April!