Showtime's 'Shameless' Cast: Luca Oriel Talks Playing Debbie's BF, A Street Fight With Mickey & MMA Training [EXCLUSIVE]
Oh, to be young again and on a hit TV show. Well, those are two predicaments that Shameless actor Luca Oriel need not take any issues with.
On a cable program that offers up its audience an overly-generous slab of acting chops that includes the likes of William H. Macy (Frank) and Emmy Rossum (Fiona), Oriel--a newbie in the now-wrapped season 5--may as well be a kid in a candy store. But, judging by his impeccable shape and strict daily routine, he sure as hell isn't eating any sweets; at least most of the time--by his own admission.
Enstars recently got the opportunity to pick the brain of the wise, young MMA-trained fighter turned Showtime thespian.
Enstars: I know you were a big fan of Shameless prior to being cast. Did you have a favorite season and/or episode and why?
Luca Oriel: Favorite season..um, it would probably be the entire first season to be honest. It's the whole essence of the season and the whole vibe of it with Fiona and... Steve or Jimmy, whatever his name is. Just like their relationship. I really liked it.
I know obviously you're an MMA fighter and it parlays itself on the screen. Who would you say would win in a street fight between your character Derek and Noel FIsher's character, Mickey?
[Laughs] I dunno, that's a tough one. Hmmm. That's a tough one. I'd have to say Derek because I am a trained fighter, but who knows?
So, would you say Derek is "the one" for Debbie. Obviously, her character has been through the run-of-the-mill as far as pursuing other characters before she met yours.
I think they can last. I just feel he is right for Debbie because they're around the same age, and I think he just wants the best for her. He's really good for her and wants the best for her. And I'd say they could have a good future together.
Would you say you're comfortable doing more MMA-influenced roles in the future, or would you prefer staying away from them to not be typecast?
I don't mind, but in the future I would like to ideally do a mixture of everything--you know, a little action, a little drama, comedy. Not just one thing.
Between Shameless and a movie you did called Wake, you've worked with a lot of big TV personalities. What was the wisest advice you received was?
Stay true to yourself and don't let other people affect your work, or how you live your life. That's pretty much it.
This goes back to you being a fan of the show: If you could pick any other character on the show to play besides Derek, who would it be?
Probably Frank. He's one of my favorite characters on the show. Yeah, I just love him as a character. He's so funny and can be serious. I love the whole dynamic of the character.
I know you've stayed in contact with Emma Kenney [Debbie]. Anyone else you've become close with off-camera since the wrap of season 5?
Um, yeah. Ethan [Cutkosky] who plays Carl, and Danika [Yarosh], who plays Holly, as well. I keep in touch with them quite a bit through social media. It's kind of hard because they live on the east coast and I live on the west coast.
How was your chemistry with the cast off-camera? Did you hang around Emmy Rossum and William H. Macy, or did you gravitate toward your peers around your own age group--as you mentioned--more?
Well, when we shot in LA, it was kind of hard to hang around. But when we were doing Chicago, yeah I definitely hung out with Emmy, and Noel [Fisher], and, uh, Jeremy [Allen White], and I hung out with all the cast. Especially in Chicago.
Transitioning back to your character: Where would you like to see Derek go in season 6 storyline-wise?
It depends if um, Debbie has the baby or not. But I would like to see him, it would be interesting to see that whole dynamic of him being a teenage father. Because I know it happens in real life. It happens frequently. So I think that would be an interesting, you know, topic to portray and see how it all pans out.
Do you think Derek--who's a pretty responsible character compared to the Gallaghers and their antics--would be able to hold it together as a father?
Yeah, I think he would, and you know, with the support of his family. 'Cause his family, they're very structured and have their stuff together. So I think with the support from his family... I think he's pretty wise over his years. I think could handle it. It may be a shock to him at first. He might have to adjust, but I think eventually he can handle it, because I know his older brother, was a teenage dad too so, you know, probably learn from him.
Is there anything that you're allowed to disclose that viewers can expect to see from Derek next season?
I... To be honest, I have no idea what's going on for Derek next season. [Laughs] So there's really no secrets to say.
So now let's switch gears: Are you reading any books now, or listening to any interesting music?
A book I just finished is Catcher In The Rye, which I really, really loved. And musically, I'm listening to a lot of Kanye West. And Travis Scott and Big Sean and really everybody in Kanye West's camp because I'm very into fashion and they're very into fashion as well and their music kind of just checks into that.
Do you have any guilty pleasures that fans of Shameless wouldn't know about--you know, like bad reality TV, or a certain vice?
[Laughs] Absolutely, I watch a lot of reality TV. And then also with like food too I'm very into training and working out, but it's hard. I love to eat. I love Krispy Kreme donuts; that's a big thing out here. Ice cream too. I have a lot of cheat meals. I have to start cutting back on those.
Obviously, you've been doing a lot of training to maintain your physique. What type of workouts does your regimen consist of on a day-to-day basis?
Mainly I've been doing a lot of the weight training lately and then two to three times a week I'll do kickboxing and cardio. And then sometimes I'll do calisthenics, exercises and plyometrics and just bodyweight workouts. But it varies.
You're still practicing martial arts, right? How often are you doing that with your limited time with the acting?
I try to do it at least twice a week just to stay up. But yeah, mostly now I'm doing MMA and kickboxing training. Not as much karate anymore. But I still try to, you know, keep up on, all my forms and my weapons and stuff like that.
Awesome, this is my last question: Where do you see yourself in 10 years and what kind of roles do you see yourself branching out to as time goes on and you evolve?
Ten years. I... see myself being a successful actor. I just see myself doing great roles. It doesn't really matter what genre. I just want to do great work. And I wanna be a respected actor.