Photography by John Russo
Hi Lukas! You started your career as a child actor in the ‘80s Hollywood scene. Do you think the industry has evolved since then?
I remember the ‘80s as being amazing. I was obsessed with acting, so it all felt very natural and I felt really fortunate to be getting to do what I loved. As I got older and went through my teenage years, I had to grapple with how my career would develop as an adult. That was a challenging time, but it was also an important learning experience. As time goes on, you keep getting older, the type of roles you play keep changing, the landscape of the business changes, and you have to keep navigating those changes. The only constant in this type of career is everything keeps changing.
Witness, Mars Attacks!, Inception, Babylon— just a couple of the many successful movies you’ve been a part of so far. How do you feel knowing that you’ve contributed to numerous iconic feature films?
It’s a cool experience to look back and remember what I’ve done. I tend to forget the movies I’ve made in the past, but when I take a moment to look back and reflect, it’s always a nice way of reaffirming my experience and looking at my own career with a broader perspective. Movies like Witness were impactful to my life... they always come back up in conversation or are replayed on TV; movies like that are the highlights that define your career, so I feel very fortunate to have a number of those under my belt.
With such a vast and diverse filmography, if you could go back and perform one role again, which one would you pick and why?
I was in a play once, Waiting for Godot,with Robin Williams, Steve Martin and F. Murray Abraham, directed by Mike Nichols. It was such a wonderful experience getting to spend time with those amazing artists. It would be fun to get to re-live that time and soak up every minute of being surrounded by such talented people for that short but intense period of time.
When you’re auditioning for a role, what’s the first thing you look for?
When I look at a new role, I’m usually trying to find a new challenge — some aspect of a character that I’ve never played before. At the end of the day, what keeps me interested in acting is the creativity, so any chance I get to try something new and surprise myself is what I’m most drawn to.
You’ve worked with many talented directors — from Tim Burton to Steven Spielberg and Christopher Nolan. Who would you still love to act under?
I’ve never gotten to work with Martin Scorsese. Of course, he’s someone I’d love to get the chance to work with. Of the directors I have gotten to work with though, I’ve been most excited by working with Damien Chazelle. I think he’s so incredibly talented... his artistry and mastery of filmmaking is absolutely inspiring, and I can’t wait to watch his career as it continues to unfold.
Babylon was such a phenomenal project that fully captured the essence of 1920s Hollywood. How did you get involved in the role? What was your experience like filming on set?
I had worked with Damien on First Man so he called me and told me he had a role for me in Babylon. The experience was incredible. It felt like going back in time and experiencing the 1920s. Every aspect of that film was so thoroughly and thoughtfully executed and everyone involved was so dedicated to making something special. It was an amazing experience.
Apart from acting, I know that you’re a talented drummer and pianist. How do you manage to balance both?
Playing music and writing songs has been a passion of mine for as long as acting has. Since there is always off-time between acting projects, music grounds me and gives me something to focus on during those stretches of time. A lot of times the two go hand in hand. There’s a scene in ‘Gemstones where Robert Oberst and I sing a song. It was handy to be able to play the guitar and sing the song on the recording and during the scene.
Let’s talk more about The Righteous Gemstones! You’re joining in Season 3 and we’re already excited to see what’s going to happen to the Gemstone family. What made you want to sign on for the show? Were you a fan?
‘Gemstones was incredible. I was a huge fan of the show. My character, Chuck, is so different from anything I’ve ever played before, so it was really fun to get to explore a role like that. I play Jessie’s cousin who is part of a right-wing militia. Chuck sees the Gemstones as sellouts and charlatans and through the season we’re butting heads. It’s the first comedy I’ve ever been in and it was so fun getting to explore something so different, especially with such amazing people.
As it's a dark comedy series, was there a specific process of preparation that you followed?
In terms of preparation, it wasn’t too genre specific. I binge-watched the show which gave me a great sense of the tone. Having spent a good portion of my youth growing up in the South I definitely drew from some of the crazier characters I ran into there as a teenager.
Without revealing too much, what can viewers expect from Season 3 as a whole?
Overall, I think this season has some of the most fun and wild storylines in the show thus far that I think people will love. There’s lots of physical comedy this season which made things pretty outrageous. Most importantly, there’s a monster truck...
The Righteous Gemstones is not the only project you have coming this year. Can you share with us any info on your upcoming work?
I have the first of two action movies coming out this year. It's called Cash Outand I get to play into a different type of comedy which I had a lot of fun with. I also have some music in the works! Some of which I plan on releasing later this year, which I can’t wait to share more about in the coming months.
Finally, we’re curious to know what’s on your career wish list at the moment. What are your current plans and hopes?
I honestly don’t have much of a wish list. Above all else, I hope to keep getting to be part of projects that pique my interest creatively and play different types of characters that I haven’t before.
Season 3 of The Righteous Gemstones is out now on Now TV (UK) and MAX (US).