It takes some actors years of doing commercials, guest appearances on television and bit parts in movies before getting spotted on the street. Jerry Ferrara, on the other hand, quickly found his breakout role on HBO’s Entourage when he was just 24. On the hit cable comedy, Ferrara played Turtle, the foul-mouthed and fast-talking, if undeniably loyal friend of actor Vincent Chase (played by Adrian Grenier).
After eight seasons of Entourage wrapped in 2011, Ferrara began popping up in numerous films. His newest role is in the upcoming Last Vegas, in which he plays Todd, a cocky womanizer who makes the mistake of messing with a veteran wolfpack, which includes the iron knuckles of Robert De Niro’s Paddy, who quickly puts Todd in his place by having him do countless hours of labour for his friend Billy’s (Michael Douglas) bachelor party.
We recently had the chance to speak with Ferrara in an exclusive 1 on 1 chat. He talked about working with an amazing ensemble – which also includes Kevin Kline, Morgan Freeman and Mary Steenburgen – shooting in Las Vegas and the status of the long-awaited Entourage movie.
Check it out below and enjoy!
WGTC: So how did you get the part of Todd in Last Vegas?
JF: Pretty conventionally. I got the script really not knowing at that point who was involved, but I’ve been a big fan of Dan Fogelman’s writing for a long time. And I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Dan, so I read the script and I thought it was a very, very funny script. I saw there were a lot of big moments for the character, Todd. Then you hear who’s playing what role and then the script is even better the second time around knowing that. [Last Vegas director] Jon Turteltaub actually wanted to see me audition because he was worried that I couldn’t be a big enough asshole – which at the time was not going to be a problem, trust me. So I went in and I auditioned. What a great experience. Of course, if you’re going to work with these four guys, you should go audition and earn it. I went it, I auditioned for Jon and I got the part pretty much that day.
WGTC: You spend eight years working on a TV series that had no shortage of big movie stars popping in for small roles and cameos. So when you got to share scenes with Michael Douglas and Robert de Niro, were you still starstruck?
JF: I’d be lying to you if I said I wasn’t. I promised myself I wasn’t going to fanboy out on them. I really did. Of course there’s a little bit of nerves. You don’t want to mess up in front of your heroes. To their credit, and I don’t know if they do this intentionally or if it’s just a direct result of them being good guys, they kind of diffuse that. The minute you walk on, they pull you in and they asked me a question about Entourage even, and just made you feel like it was a completely level playing field. By the 20th minute, we’re buddies and we’re working together. It’s a tribute to them. I don’t know if they do that on purpose, knowing that smaller actors come in and are a little freaked out. But they just made the whole thing very normal and very calm. It was great.
WGTC: In a key scene from the film, Archie, Morgan Freeman’s character, gives you a stellar piece of advice. Did any of the actors share valuable tips with you?
JF: The playing field was level. It wasn’t so much tips that I really got, but it was a respect for the whole process. They really made me feel like it’s a privilege to do this. And if they feel that way with the things that they’ve accomplished, they could have coasted through this movie. They could coast through life if they so chose and they don’t. I was just more inspired, and I’m going to pass that along to the younger generation one day, I hope, if I ever get to that level. It’s a privilege to get to do this. Don’t ever forget that.
WGTC: You’re really responding to the professionalism, the building of that sort of instant camaraderie between actors.
JF: Yeah. You also got to give Jon Turteltaub a huge mention in everything. You want to talk about an actor walking onto the set? Imagine being the director with those four guys and Mary [Steenburgen]. Being the captain of that ship, you know, that’s got to be an even more unique experience for Jon. So I have a ton of respect for Jon.
WGTC: What was it like shooting the film in Las Vegas?
JF: Just great. I’ve actually, for whatever reason for the last couple of years now, I’ve done three movies in Vegas and we’ve shot Entourage in Vegas. So I’ve had my kind of original Ocean’s Eleven moment. It does do something to you as an actor. It makes your job easier. There’s an electricity there. It’s not a location, it’s a character – in anything. As long as you can withstand the traffic and the babes at night, which makes your job a lot harder in the morning, it’s a great place to shoot. It’s a place that can’t be cheated. You really can’t cheat anything about Vegas in Toronto or Vancouver.