If he were anything like his character, Turtle, from HBO’s Entourage, you might’ve expected Jerry Ferrara to have spent the past three years getting high in front of a big-screen TV. Instead, since wrapping up the show that made him a star, the 34-year-old actor and entrepreneur has been hitting the gym and transforming his career with diverse roles in films like last year’s Lone Survivor and the upcoming Think Like a Man Too. With the much-anticipated Entourage movie a year away, we caught up with Hollywood’s dopest success story.
ARE YOU THE VINCENT CHASE OF YOUR OWN ENTOURAGE?
I have my friends that I grew up with back home in New York, and I have my friends in L.A., who when I came here when I was 19, we came up in the business together. Life can be so cutthroat at times that you want to have as many people around you as possible who knew you before you were worth anything. That’s how I would explain my entourage. It’s just a fancy word for good friends.
WHAT CAN YOU SAY ABOUT THE MOVIE? WE'RE DYING TO SEE IT.
Everyone talks about the first three years of the show as the glory days. We’re definitely going back to that. And what I can say is that the cameos are going to be fucking fantastic!
WE HEARD YOU WERE ORIGINALLY SUPPOSED TO BE IN THE FIRST SCENE.
The script has changed 78 times, but, yes, there was an original version where it opened on sneakers climbing the Santa Monica steps and the camera pans up and no one expects it to be me.
YOU'VE LOST 60 POUNDS! HOW'D YOU DO IT?
Before you start a movie, you have to go get a physical, and it’s literally a Hollywood physical. They just try to make sure you’re not dying. I don’t know anyone who has ever failed. When I went, it wasn’t the usual doctor, and he was just like, “You’re perfectly healthy—you’re just overweight—but you really should start losing it now because it’s going to be so much harder when you’re in your late 30s or 40s.” There was something so simple about it.
HOW DID YOU STAY ON TRACK WITH YOUR WEIGHT LOSS?
The key was, while I fell off many times, I always got back to it. That’s what I tell anyone who ever asks me for advice: Don’t beat yourself up when you fail, just make sure you go back again. I believe that we’re all addicted to results. Weight loss or just getting fit is hard to get addicted to because you don’t see any extreme results in the first month. You see some nice results in the second month, but it’s when you hit that third month—when someone says to you, “Hey, man, you lost some weight!”—when you start to say, “Oh, wow, this shit’s working!”
ARE YOU WORRIED PEOPLE WON'T SEE YOU AS TURTLE ANYMORE?
Honestly, I was actually hoping that would be the case. [Weight loss] is the easiest way to change someone’s perception of you. The way I like to think of it, that Yankees hat and that Knicks jersey and those extra 60 pounds were like my uniform for that job. Now that job is over, and I’m changing uniforms.