Meet the star of Netflix’s hit series Outer Banks.

Star of Outer Banks Rudy Pankow red jumper
Star of Outer Banks Rudy Pankow red jumper

In the last week, you might have spotted an abundance of tanned limbs and surfer-tousled hair dousing your Netflix Trending section in a golden glow.

It can only be Outer Banks, the binge-friendly new TV series that has made waves in the Twittersphere due to it’s ridiculously good-looking cast (see above), paradisiacal North Carolina coastal backdrop, and intrigue-building bad behaviour.

A group of lithe rebellious teens embark on a legendary treasure hunt (and the fallout from it) linked to one of their father’s mysterious disappearance. There’s already been murmurs of four or five potential followup seasons, such has been the hype surrounding the show.

At the centre of the group is surfer JJ – played with fervour by newcomer Alaska-hailed actor Rudy Pankow – the group’s reckless troublemaker, who suffers from a troubling home life.

We caught up with the actor about adjusting to his new found fame, potential season two, and dream roles…

Netflix Outer Banks still

Netflix/Outer Banks

Netflix Outer Banks still
Netflix/Outer Banks

Congratulations on Outer Banks! It’s trending on Netflix – did you ever think the show would be so successful?
I knew we had something special because it was something I haven’t seen Netlfix do and I thought it was such a fun and engaging story that it would do pretty well but I didn’t think it would be the number 1 TV show on Netflix.

Is it weird that all this buzz is generating and you’re in lockdown? How are you passing the time/staying creative?
It is weird. Definitely makes me ask myself if it’s actually happening cause the only proof I get that is is happening is social media. And I’m passing the time with doing things like this. Interviews and photo shoot done over the phone. Which is crazy! But I also have my own project I’ve been working on amongst playing piano and reading.

What drew you to your character JJ – do you relate to him?
I relate to JJ because he had this freedom to him. He doesn’t care about a whole lot. I was able to relax into JJ way easier then I thought I would, and I would be able to let the character come through, rather then myself.

You grew up in a small town in Alaska – how was it going from that kind of location to that of North Carolina? I read that small town vibe is what drew you in – could you tell us about that?
The two places are fairly similar. Both are fishing, tourism towns. The biggest difference is the temperature. It was fun to be on boats and catch people off guard when they noticed I already knew how to drive a boat and tie it up and be comfortable on the water all day.

What was the biggest challenge in filming the show?
Knowing things can change in a instant because of weather or other natural causes. Like the plan could be to shoot a boat scene but then the water is to choppy or started raining so we shoot a completely different scene. You would need to prepared way ahead of time just because that reason.

Star of Outer Banks Rudy Pankow blazer face on
Star of Outer Banks Rudy Pankow blazer side
Star of Outer Banks Rudy Pankow blazer face on
Netflix/Outer Banks
Star of Outer Banks Rudy Pankow blazer side

Have you had any funny/weird fan interactions since the show aired?
Well no one has noticed me yet when I go to the grocery store because of the whole mask thing and it’s fun to think that maybe someone is a fan of the show and I’m just kinda giggling behind my mask like, they don’t know it’s me.

On your Instagram it looks like you and the cast got along so well – can you tell us a bit about that?
We are just a big family at this point. We even said before the show ended, once this is all over, will we just go back to our normal lives? And we were all like… I don’t know. And clearly we didn’t. I still hang out with all of them all the time.

How did you get into acting?
I graduated high school and really had no drive to go to college, even though I was accepted into a culinary school which I didn’t really want to do. I had the opportunity to stay with some family friends in LA for a little while to see if it was the place for me and after my first acting class in LA, I knew it was the route I was suppose to take.

I read you were in a Muse music video? That’s crazy – how did that happen?
A good friend of mine worked for the director of the Muse music video previously and he needed a dude that looked like a Steve from Stranger Things and well… I had the hair down. So I met with the director and he wanted me to show off some dance moves so busted out what I could do and boom. I got it.

You’re in Space Waves next – which sees you in another small town. Tell us about your character?
Joey is similar to JJ cause he really has his own way of going around things. He leaves his friend because he doesn’t believe what his friend is doing is what’s practical and decides to make the “grown up” decision and go to college and start a new life not following his friend group.

What kind of script are you looking for next?
I would love to do a period piece either set in the 50’s or medieval time period. Something like Knights Tale or Oliver Twist. One of this really different time era kind of stories. However there was some talk about a superhero slot I could fit. My fingers are crossed, that would be such an honour.

What’s next for you? What are you excited about?
There are some things in the works right now along with hopefully a season 2. There is some talk here and there about upcoming projects that I can’t specify yet but as of right now let’s get through this pandemic so season 2 can start up!

Kelly Balch

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