Rudy Pankow talks JJ, Outer Banks season 2 and more in new interview


Outer Banks season 2 is now streaming on Netflix! Rudy Pankow, who stars as JJ, in the hit Netflix original series talked with Netflix Life about season 2, all those twists in the new season, JJ, the Pogues, and of course, Outer Banks season 3!

Season 2 is a wild ride for JJ and the Pogues. After reconnecting with John B and Sarah, JJ, Kie and Pope do their best to help clear John B’s name, hunt for a new treasure, and try to stay alive as new foes close in.

Check out the interview with Pankow below! Spoilers ahead for Outer Banks season 2!

This interview has been edited for clarity. 

Rudy Pankow interview Outer Banks season 2

Netflix Life: I just finished the season a couple of days ago. I really can’t believe how wild this season is. Back in the beginning, what was it like reading the scripts, preparing for season 2, and seeing the stakes get higher and higher with each episode?

Rudy Pankow: When we got the first four before we shot, we were like, “Whoa, okay.” You start envisioning it, you start imagining exactly how it goes down. You kind of felt this feeling after the first four episodes — and you know since you’ve watched the episodes — things get way more twisted when all of the Pogues get back together. You thought the first four were an insane rush and fast-paced, and then like it’s like holy cow, I’m taking in so much. Then, you start to think maybe when they get back together things will go back to normal, things might slow up. And, for a split moment there, you’re fully convinced that we’re seeing the Pogues again.

Then, boom, it completely shifts. And when we were shooting it, we were kind of like, “Oh my gosh.” We kind of got the feeling of what the entire season is gonna feel like. Until we shot the mid-season episodes, we were kind of still feeling out exactly the feel of season 2. Then, it just all fell into place after we shot the mid-season episodes.

Did you see this Ward plot twist coming? What was your reaction when you found out about it?

Oh, no. My reaction was like, I kind of smiled, was like “All right, let’s do it.” I just was all-in immediately and kind of thinking this is gonna be great. I can’t wait to see the reaction to the twist. How can I say this? There are such intense scenes in the season, and I think my role is to either add an added layer of groundedness or comedy and trying to figure out how to make these things work. My reaction was just pure, like, “Let’s go!”

By the end of the season, the whole group basically has nothing to lose and, kind of like what you said about what JJ has brought to the group, and it’s what he’s been preaching the whole time in season 2. How important are the Pogues to JJ? 

It’s everything. For JJ, if he doesn’t have his friends, he’s completely lost and he has no idea where it’s gonna go. He kind of feels that pressure of like, “Hey, guys, let’s not kill each other.” Let’s not die or do something that we cannot reverse, and, for example, get ourselves killed. So, I think that kind of starts sinking in with JJ, where he’s seen his friends getting really close to death, you know? And it’s like maybe we should pull back a little bit. But, then like, he’s kind of like, you know what? This is a life I’ve always kind of thought I was gonna be living, so let’s saddle up and do it.

The cast chemistry that you all have feels so real with the banter, the arguments, the running jokes, and how the dialogue is paced. Do you enjoy those scenes where everyone’s kind of just hanging out around the fire? Or, are you more into the action sequences? 

I mean, I’m all for anything with the cast. We always make it work. If it’s an action-packed scene, it’s going to be an action-packed scene. If it’s a fun, improv, where maybe we’re sitting around and hanging out, we’re going to come up with something to say. If it’s a really intense scripted dialogue scene, where you’re not just hanging out and it’s a scene that moves everything forward, then we’ll work with that. I enjoy every moment doing a scene with this cast, for sure.

There are some heavy moments in season 2, and especially with JJ and his father. In the scene where JJ is helping his father leave and they’re saying goodbye, JJ takes the drugs from his father. Why do you think that he makes that choice?

I think there are so many reasons why he took those drugs away from his dad. I mean, I don’t know if you’ve ever had to deal with people that are like trying to make themselves sane. But whenever you are talking with somebody who is really feeling like this is what’s helping them and it’s making them more unpredictable, I think that’s why he takes them away. He knows that, at the end of the day, the one thing that’s going to get his dad through it is his dad really focusing on his own problems, like really focusing on them.

A trait that got passed down from Luke to JJ was they run away from the problems they had. And for his dad, it’s that drug. For JJ, that’s his kind of comedic behavior, like “I don’t need to talk about it. Let’s not talk about it. Let’s pull some jokes, crack some brews, and just shoot shit. We don’t need to talk about the bad times.” And there, I think JJ realizes that his dad is gonna need to face his reality, and that’s why he takes them away.

You guys got me this season. In the finale, I thought that JJ was going to die on the boat or in the water. Did you know the whole time that your character was going to make it through that situation alive?

I think we talked about that moment with the writers. There was never a moment JJ was gonna die. I think there was a moment where it was like, how long is he gonna be out then? Is he out the entire rest of the season unconscious and wakes up at the very very very end. They were like, “No, no, no, no, it’s gonna be pretty quick when you wake up,” and I was like, okay.

Seeing the machete hit. I mean, I was asking questions, like, does it look like it was the blade that hit me in the head or the butt-end of the knife? When we shot, I was like, man, is that going to look like the blade? Because if it was the blade, he’s gone. He’s a goner. So, they said it was the blunt end, and I’m like, well, I sure hope it looked like that.

Are you allowed to talk about Outer Banks season 3 at all? If so, what do you want to see from JJ if the show is renewed for season 3? 

If we do! Fingers crossed! I will say I think JJ is gonna have to face his reality just like I said about his dad facing his. JJ’s would be restitution. What does JJ want at the end of the day? His friends are going to the extremes for this treasure because it’s no longer just gold to Pope. It’s no longer just fortune to him. It was never that for John B, either. They’re going to these extreme lengths to get this wealth or claim this wealth that’s theirs. When to JJ, it really isn’t worth them dying over. So, I think that’s going to be a reality in season 3 — fingers crossed! —  that he’s gonna have to come to terms with.

Outer Banks season 2 is now streaming on Netflix!

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