Theo Rossi on the Business of Acting

Theo Rossi: "The truth is that some of the greatest don’t work, and some of the worst are making tons of money"

Actor Theo Rossi in Luke Cage

“The truth is that some of the greatest don’t work, and some of the worst are making tons of money” – Theo Rossi

In the Netflix series Luke Cage, Sons of Anarchy star Theo Rossi plays Shades, a gang member with shifting loyalty that makes it difficult for viewers to determine what his next move will be. In an interview with Collider, Rossi speaks about playing Shades and why he didn’t despair after Sons of Anarchy ended… and why he’s open to doing This Is Us next.

Rossi explains that he didn’t find it difficult playing a character who says little because he has a lot of respect for actors who are able to perform effectively with similar characters. He says, “I think the best acting in the word is when people don’t speak. Some of my favorite scenes in movies and in television are just people’s face and how they are emoting. It’s the true sign of an incredible actor. My top five actors, in some of the greatest roles, they didn’t speak that much. I just find that is such an amazing exercise because you have to be incredibly contained with your emotions, yet at the same time, you don’t want to be boring. You have to let it all be shown.”

Prior to Luke Cage, Rossi was best known for playing Juice on Sons of Anarchy. After that popular series ended, Rossi didn’t despair over the loss — he stayed hungry and looked for his next big project because that is his mentality for success. He explains:

Sons was like going to college for me, in a way. I felt like I had been in high school, even though I had been acting for eight or nine years, before that. I had done a couple episodes of something, here and there, a small movie, and a bunch of commercials. I started as an extra.

Sons was like going to college because, when you look at Sons, I started as a background co-star guy, and then Season 4 changed everything. That’s when they really spotlighted him, and then obviously the rest is history.

But my mentality will always be in hustle mode. My mentality will always be that I’m gonna go back to doing something else. I think that’s what keeps me so hungry and aggressive and sharp. I never rest on my laurels. I’m constantly trying to be better. I’m constantly trying to surround myself with great people, even with our production company. I definitely have and will always have that belief that I’ll never work again. I don’t think there’s an actor out there that wouldn’t tell you that, and if they don’t, they’re lying.

The truth is that some of the greatest don’t work, and some of the worst are making tons of money. It has nothing to do with you, but has everything to do with what’s going on, at the moment. I’ve done some shows that I thought were going to be the greatest show in the world, and they didn’t get picked up, or nobody saw it. I’ve been very fortunate to go from something like Sons to Luke Cage, which are two of the biggest shows. At least, in my life, they are, just being out and about in the public, which is pretty incredible.

I’ve very, very, very fortunate, not just to be in them, but to have characters that have become talking points for the shows. People just love something about them and the way they are. Maybe I’ll do something where I’m not as violent and crazy next. I’m open for This is Us. If This is Us is looking, I’m ready to go.”

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