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Interview: Rudy Pankow

The new Netflix series Outer Banks follows a group of teenagers in the Outer Banks of North Carolina who are called "Pogues". The group seeks to overcome obstacles such as drugs, love, fighting, friendship, and the issue of money.

If that isn’t enough, the group also deals with the mysterious disappearance of the father of one of the group members as well as discovering a hidden treasure. That’s a lot to take in for one series, but Outer Banks has become one of the most popular series on the streaming service.

One of the reasons for the success of the series is the work of actor Rudy Pankow, who plays JJ. We had the opportunity to sit down with him to talk about the series and its popularity.

Pop Culture Principle - So, before we get started, how are you surviving the quarantine so far?

Rudy Pankow - Reading, Writing, Music and good ol Netlfix. That’s how to survive.

Pop Culture Principle - Can you tell us a little bit about your character JJ?

Rudy Pankow - JJ is black coffee. Bitter and constantly caffeinated. He has a view of society and doesn’t play by its rule most of the time.

Pop Culture Principle - Can you think of one thing you personally have in common with JJ and one difference?

Rudy Pankow - Self-Sufficient. We don’t rely on anyone, we either are going to, or not.

Pop Culture Principle - One thing that struck me during the first season is that JJ seems to really be good at masking his emotions. Would you agree with that?

Rudy Pankow - Absolutely!! He doesn’t accept his insecurities, so he masks them from everyone.

Pop Culture Principle - Do you think the fact that most of you in the cast are actually good friends outside of the show helps with the dynamics on screen?

Rudy Pankow - Again, absolutely.

Pop Culture Principle - We see this really violent relationship between JJ and his father. How has that affected who he is as a person and how he relates to people around him?

Rudy Pankow - It’s affected him by not being able to trust people. It’s hard for him to trust anyone. He’s known the Pogues his entire life and has kept them close and accepted Kie in the group because he saw the not accepted version of himself in her.

Pop Culture Principle - Did you and the actor who played your father discuss those scenes of violence and how you would play the scenes and were they difficult to shoot?

Rudy Pankow - Yes. Garry Weeks played Luke and he was amazing. Before each take we would check with each other on what we wanted to do were comfortable with. And then after we would ask, “you good?” And pull each other out if we had the take. If not, we would stay in it.

Pop Culture Principle - We see JJ take the fall for Pope when he gets arrested. Can you talk a little bit about why you think he took the fall for him?

Rudy Pankow - Because Pope has a future. JJ realized he isn’t going anywhere soon. He’s loyal to those who he trusts and so it was really the only choice.

Pop Culture Principle - Some fans are calling you group the Scooby Gang. What do you think about that comparison?

Rudy Pankow - It’s all fun. Whatever we are compared to, I know that Outer Banks is it’s own thing, but like I said, its combination of many great adventure stories. No denying that.

Pop Culture Principle - What do you think separates Outer Banks from other teen coming of age television series?

Rudy Pankow - It’s a show that punches you in the face with all of a sudden intense emotion, out of nowhere. Whether it’s joy, love, hate, fear. It’s also a cinematic breakthrough, it is gorgeously shot!

Pop Culture Principle - For those who haven’t seen Outer Banks yet, what can they look forward to with the first season?

Rudy Pankow - An up and down ride with some loopdiloops and twist that’ll keep you engaged. Also, it’s one of those shows that’ll make you want this pandemic to hurry it up, so you can go outside and be a Pogue.

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A huge thank you to Rudy Pankow for talking with us! His series Outer Banks is currently streaming on Netflix!

**All photos courtesy of Netflix**

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