Jerry Ferrara Seizes An 'Empire'
Jerry Ferrara Seizes An 'Empire'
After seven years of playing the best friend a guy could have, Jerry Ferrara bid adieu to his Entourage (although, not forever) as he staked out new ground on the big screen. Life after Turtle included a meaty role in Think Like A Man and a supporting gig in Battleship, but Ferrara is poised for his biggest platform to date with the premiere of Empire State, a crime drama co-starring Liam Hemsworth, Emma Roberts and The Rock, that has its world premiere tonight at The Gasparilla International Film Festival.
In the '80s-set Empire State, Ferrara, Hemsworth and Michael Angarano play a trio of Queens-born buddies who catch wind of a massive money-making opportunity after discovering an "in" with a local armored car company. ETonline caught up with Ferrara to find out what attracted him to this can't-miss movie, how it felt to be the "old dude" on set and see what Entourage movie morsels he was willing to spill!
ETonline: Given the world and locations this film brings to life, I'd imagine you, as a Brooklyn-boy, felt a certain kinship to the story.
Jerry Ferrara: Oh, absolutely. I've changed a bit since I moved to L.A. but I am considered for a lot of Tri-state stories, so I've read a lot of crime dramas that are just bad. Real bad. But when I read this script, I just had to be in this movie. I love movies that are loosely based on the truth and could relate to the culture. I grew up Italian, but the Greek culture on the east coast is very similar -- especially in the family sense. I didn't necessarily participate in any heists, but I could relate to the idea of needing to take what you want. It's funny, these days, if you want money, you can create an App or some kind of tech thing and make a billion dollars. But, in the '80s, guys who didn't come from a lot of money had to seize opportunity whenever it presented itself.
ETonline: Do you mind the typecasting that comes from playing such a popular character for so long?
Ferrara: It's a double-edged sword -- it's a compliment because people want to give you opportunities, but they also think that's who you are, and that's all you can do. You just have to be open to the opportunities as they come to you. I also tried to get in shape, so I could look a little bit different [from Turtle]. It's not like I wrote out an agenda, I guess you could say it was a plan. I'm also not afraid to audition. You don't think I can play something? Let me show you that I can. I had zero entitlement after Entourage, and I think that was appropriate. It was almost like starting over.
ETonline: Sounds like you could relate to the characters in more than one way.
Ferrara: I connected with the idea of taking that one shot. These guys had the opportunity to rob a bank and, not that I was a criminal in any sense, but I could understand that moment where you have to make a decision that could change everything. In New York at that era, it was very easy to get caught up in that kind of activity. It becomes a morality struggle where you can decide to go left, and grind it out like your parents or go right and make a million bucks. And back then, a million bucks was a lot of money. I mean, it still is a lot of money, but people talk about it like it's not a big deal. I have to laugh when people say that.