Do you surf?
Russell: I'm horrible. Do. Not. Surf. I've tried it a couple times, and I kind of got up… for a second? But I'm bad at it. Horrible. Let's not fool ourselves -- they would have to use a surf double. I mean, maybe I could get good enough if I knew I hadto do something? And I had a few months? And then they could cut to the double. But I'll never be good enough to pass.
Did you relate to what Dud went through, in terms of why he had to give up surfing due to his injury? When you broke your hip, you had to give up hockey...
Russell: Yeah. There was a scene in the first few scripts, which didn't make the final draft, where Dud calls his dad from Nicaragua, and he's crying on the phone, "I'm so fucked, I'm so fucked." When I got hurt the last time and I pretty much knew it was over, I called my dad from the locker room. So I was like, "Wow." It didn't even matter that it wasn't in the show. What mattered was that was the sentiment of the show.
You look for those things, too, when you try and do anything. How does it apply to my life? Like I didn't know what I wanted to do, but I felt that I could be good at this acting thing. I was good at playing make-believe in my own head. And I wanted to give it a shot. So I didn't wander. I didn't languish. I knew it was time to move on, and I jumped in with both feet. Dud sort of has nothing else, and nobody to guide him. That's when he finds Ernie, who can be his guide, his knight. And he enjoys that, because he's looking for that guidance. I had that, so I think I was ahead of Dud. I had a plan. Or at least an idea.
I know that sounds crazy, because wanting to become an actor comes with things -- money, success, fame, privilege. But all I was really looking to do was to be satisfied with whatever work I was going to end up doing. I just thought, "If I can scrounge up enough work to make a good enough living to at least stay in this three-bedroom apartment with my two best friends in Marina del Rey, that's pretty good!" I didn't put too much pressure on myself. Maybe some people do, to be successful, or whatever that is. But I can't complain. It's been fantastic. And for Dud, hopefully he'll find that, you know? Beginning of season four. [Laughs]
Yeah, for now, he's just trying to get by. And making perhaps not the best financial decisions, when it comes to the terms of the loans he's taking out from Burt at the pawnshop. Any experience in that area?
Russell: Kind of. My parents didn't give me money. Asking for money from your parents was not what you wanted to do. There was shame involved. "Well, what do you need it for?" When I lived in Holland, I was doing hockey there, I got an apartment there via social housing with this guy named Harm, who was basically homeless. He was squatting. [Laughs] My roommate was a squatter. The first night, he was stabbing himself with a safety pin. And then I see all the drugs. He picked up a rag and wiped the blood off his arm, and under the rag was all this heroin paraphernalia. So this was Harm! And he's fucking nuts. [Laughs]
I actually grew very fond of Harm, but I was like, "How do I get out of this situation?" So I took a loan from somebody who was a little bit shadier than Burt on Lodge 49. And when that was due, and I just kind of skipped out on it. [Laughs] I eventually ended up paying it back a few years later. I don't want to get into the details, but I left pretty quickly! [Laughs]
That was my only experience with a loan shark. But we do live in a world where the cascading debt effect is real. I want to go to a nice dinner? I put it on my credit card. If I have enough money earned, I can pay off that credit card bill. If I don't, okay, I'll just pay a little interest and be in debt. It's how we exist. If we didn't have debt, we wouldn't be able to do anything. But the balance of having debt and being able to do the things you want to do in life, not living beyond your means, is something everybody has a hard time managing, including the United States Treasury Department. Everybody's debt is consolidated at some point, so in some ways, it's the same debt. If it all comes crashing down, the only people who are going to enjoy life as they used to are people like Dud! [Laughs] He doesn't have much to lose. There are things people can learn from characters like Dud, in that way. You don't need the extra car. You don't need the bigger TV. They're nice to have. But you don't needthem. We need a lot less than we think.