“SEAL Team’s” Judd Lormand Dishes On How He Prepared For His Role As Lieutenant Commander Eric Blackburn

After appearing in more than 70 feature films (opposite Woody Harrelson in “LBJ” and Tom Cruise in “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back”) and television shows like “American Horror Story,” Judd Lormand is most easily recognizable for his role on the CBS hit TV series “SEAL Team”.

In his role on the show (which also stars David Boreanaz, Max Thieriot and Neil Brown, Jr.) as Lt. Commander Eric Blackburn, Lormand leads the elite Navy SEAL team planning, training and executing dangerous, high-stakes missions coordinating operations and serving as the team’s leader both on and off the battlefield.

Photo Credit: Judd Lormand

We recently caught up with the Texas native to discuss how he prepared for his role on the show, his favorite restaurant in Los Angeles and where he can’t wait to travel with his wife.

How did you prepare physically and mentally for your role in “SEAL Team?”

In the beginning of season one, I prepared more on the mental side as I tried to get an understanding of what a Lieutenant Commander does. Then, I wasn’t actually able to speak with a Lieutenant Commander, but I spoke with many other SEALs. It was kind of like asking what do you think of your boss. I took everything they had to say to get the common threads and tie it all together. He was either the rock of the team or the glue that helps hold the team together. In the first eight or nine episodes that were shot of the show, I was trying to figure out where it was going. Then, 10 episodes in, one SEAL said that a Lieutenant Commander does go in the field with the guys. One of the challenging things that I will say about the character is that our personalities were not that close. I’m one with a quick comeback and Eric always plays chess in his head. Then I had to be in the shape of a Navy SEAL. I wasn’t in bad shape at the time, but I wasn’t in the shape of a Navy SEAL. I changed up my workout, added more weight lifting to my routine, saw a nutritionist and changed my eating habits. It has been a gradual change that has made me more healthy.

What has the role of Lt. Commander Eric Blackburn taught you personally?

Oh man. I have always had great respect for what the Navy SEALs do and any service member for that matter. They are all what I call superheroes. We should all be glad we have people like that. The one thing I have learned the most is that there are all types of obstacles you go through on any mission, and we can all guess what his obstacles are – fighting RPGs, watching out for IEDs – but a Lieutenant Commander has to make sure the mission goes off without a hitch. I had no idea what a mental chess match he played. There are some similarities between me and Eric. I think when it comes to parenting, there are many times that I am more like Blackburn. If one of the kids does something, I try to think it through why they did it. I had that side before I played him, but I didn’t know I had that much until now.

Got Your 6, an organization that empowers veterans, certified the show saying it is an accurate depiction of veterans. Tell us how important that is for you.

It’s huge for me and anyone involved with our show. One of the things at the top of the list is getting it right, not how we look, but are we doing this the right way. “SEAL Team” focuses on authenticity first, not just with the cast and writers, it’s literally everyone on the crew and we have dozens upon dozens of veterans on our crew from costumes to props and they all know the military world. They are there to advise us and we can hear what they are all about. It never ceases to amaze me some of their stories. Everyone on the show feels like we are playing real life superheroes. If someone comes up to me and says they served in the military and says the show is done right, that’s the paycheck for us. When they tell you that, there’s nothing better. It’s such an honor.

Photo Credit: Judd Lormand

What’s it like working with David Boreanz?

David’s great. He’s a family guy and really takes pride in what he does. He wants to tell the stories the right way and do it right by the military.

Can you give us a teaser of what’s up next for Eric on the show?

I think you will see more challenges than we haven’t seen before. In season one, the show did a great job showing obstacles. One thing we’re focusing on is that he is going to have to deal with an issue with the team itself. How will Eric handle that? You get to see that come into play and eventually, you will get to see who he is personally behind the scenes. We have only known him for his laser-focus intensity.

What are some of your favorite places in Los Angeles?

There is a steakhouse called CUT (Wolfgang Puck) that is one of the best places to go for a special occasion. Their steaks are unbelievable.

Any plans when the season stops shooting?

We shoot 22 episodes over nine months through the beginning of April, so we take a hiatus April to June and go back to work in July. Last year during the break, I chose not to shoot anything. My wife and kids live in Georgia and we shoot in Los Angeles. We have twin boys who are six and a half and a daughter who is eight. They’re at a fun age. In a few years when the kids are a little older, I would love to take my wife on a beautiful vacation to Tahiti or the Maldives. That would be fantastic.

Photo Credit: Judd Lormand

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