screenshot of Luke, demonstrating Ludacris reacting to being slimed
I knew Luke Bilyk was going to be a homie the minute he hit his Ludacris impression for the sake of my snapchats. What I didn't know, because I am completely out of touch with pop culture in general, is that he's basically Canadian Zac Efron, and as such, has some extremely well-formed opinions on Drake. We had a conversation ranging from Venice Beach to the Iron Throne, and it was the longest interview of my entire life, let alone my career, so get some snacks.
Justina: As I may have mentioned, I didn't know anything about Degrassi before researching you for this interview, and now I know a LOT about Degrassi. 33 years worth of it.
Luke: Yeah, there's quite a bit to know. It's been around, we've covered a lot of stuff.
You're going to be my first Canadian celebrity! I'm excited.
Oh awesome, I'll start the avalanche. I'll put in a good word with all the Canadians.
Fantastic, I'll finally have an in. We aren't going to spend a lot fo time talking about Degrassi, because like I said, 33 years, but what are three things everyone should know about Degrassi, and three things they should know about your character?
That is a great question, oh my goodness. It (Degrassi) focuses very highly on problems teenagers face in highschool, but has always done a great job of showing both sides. The best of times and the worst of times, and I think that makes it very relatable. It basically covers everything, so even growing up on the show I was like "No I shouldn't do that, because bad things happened to my character." The last thing is that they stay very true to plot but also to what is happening in real life. We just aired an episode about a rape and the aftermath of it when a lot of that is happening in schools, and our writers figured what better time to bring light to this issue? There are so many characters, who are all different kinds of people, that they can really touch home with everything.
It's pretty impressive.
It is, they're so good at it. Three things people should know about my character...he's not the brightest. Definitely not the smartest. But he's very caring, and no matter who another person is, he always has their best interests at heart. In the first season, you know, he just kind of dumb jock, and by the end, he's found this sort of sense of helping people. He's school president, he starts a company after his brother dies.
You know, I tried to watch a little, and I think I jumped in too hard, because I had no idea what was going on.
It's like that. You could watch episode ten, skip eleven, and by the time you get to twelve you'll be like "What is happening?!"
I might have to bingewatch it for the next 33 years of my life.
Oh it won't take you that long. Start to finish, maybe two weeks?
That's how long it took me to watch 4 seasons of Game of Thrones.
Oh goodness, I think I watched all four seasons in a few days.
Okay, well, compared to Degrassi, Game of Thrones seems simple.
You know what, it's so funny that you'd say that, because it's true.
I'm so glad it's not just me. You spent five years on Degrassi, right?
So you basically spent your formative years as a teenager playing a teenager on a show for teenagers about being a teenager. Did you have any favorite "teenager moments" on the show that were reflective of your life?
Well you know, to be honest, I never went to high school. When I landed Degrassi I was in my first year, and it wasn't working, so I homeschooled. Because of that I didn't experience the traditional highschool things, (Justina note: if only he knew who he was talking to.) and so I was really lucky that I ended up where I did *laughs*. I've been to three different Degrassi proms, and never to one real one, but you know, ours lasted like two days because we'd film it over and over from every angle. But you know... it's hard to pinpoint. I made my best friends, and I always say that the Executive Producers, they didn't just give us a job or a stepping stone, they gave us the opportunity to meet our family. So it's not so much a moment as it was five years that feel like an afternoon in my head.
That makes total sense to me. I never went to high school either and the best prom we ever did was dressing up and going to In N Out burger so..
Oh my god, you beat my prom.
When in California...well, we'll get back to that. I read an interview with you were filming three different things at once, and you were saying one of the hardest parts is keeping all your characters and their lines separate - do you have a favorite line that a character has said? Something that was truly memorable?
It's just past nine o'clock and I think that's the most difficult question I've ever been asked.
I'm getting all of the hard stuff out of the way.
Yeah I know, next is going to be like "what's your favorite color?"
Oh my gosh, that's... that's amazing. I think it's one of the best questions I've ever heard...oh yeah! I have one. I think my favorite - which, funnily enough ended up getting cut out of the final edit - was in the funeral of [his character, Drew Torres] my brother on Degrassi. I do this huge monologue about his life, and how he was so influential in others, and how I was going to model mine after his. That point in the season, back in...2013, that was a huge turning point for my character.
Now let's do easy stuff. You're living in LA right now, yeah?
I am I just moved to _____.
That's my favorite part of LA!
I like it! Its a cool part. Sometimes I feel a bit like I'm in a retirement home though
*We talk about _____ + food for the next fifteen minutes*
What do you think is the biggest difference between Canada and LA?
Well I think being an actor in Toronto, you get used to... I mean, I've been acting my whole life, so twenty years, in the same pool. It's the same four casting directors, I know their names, I've had lunch with them. Then I came out here and I didn't know anyone, so you don't have that extra in. But that's basically it. I've been trying to do all the same things here that I do in Toronto, you know, hang out, go to the gym. I pride myself on not becoming a partier, because that happens a lot - Canadians come out here and realize its so much fun. The key is to focus, and do what you've got to do. Because once you start - you can't work, because that's all you want to do.
It's definitely a dark side. What's your favorite thing about LA?
I do have to say that I think my apartment is pretty awesome. I have a beautiful view of the hill behind the hill the Hollywood sign is on. I always do the same six things when I'm here, but I just went to Venice Beach for the first time and fell in love with the vibe, the people and the little section in the middle.
Venice Beach is the epitome of California. Just so you know, the *official* name of the park the hill is in is Griffiths Park. It has the Observatory in it, which is my favorite place in LA.
Oh yes, I just did that, and it was incredible.
The smog is so pretty from above.
It is, haha.
Here's a good one: if you could slip into any show as a main character, where would you go?
Can I have two answers?
I guessss so.
Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad - that was like, the performance and role of a lifetime. I've also been watching a lot of comedy, and How I met Your Mother? Barney? Neil Patrick Harris is a god. He is the funniest person in the entire world. I wish I could pull that off. He just breathes that character.
I love funny stuff. Like I said, I'll binge watch Game of Thrones then be like "Okay, I need to watch some Parks and Rec."
Yeah, I would only watch serious dramatic scenes, and then, you've got to start watching comedy. Every time a comedy ends for me, it's like a little piece of my soul is ending. I just watched all ten seasons of Friends in like two and a half weeks, and I literally didn't know what to do with my life.
Time to start watching Parks and Recreation.
I'm gonna jump on that next.
I actually, until the Kids Choice Awards, had never watched Friends, and I made the mistake of saying that, and got yelled at.
I was the same way! I mean, I'd seen it here and there, but then I just sat down and watched all 10 seasons. It was magical.
Anything you can binge watch is. Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad.
We keep ending up on the same two shows.
*conversation spirals into how I am not a friendly television watching person, but instead enjoy GOT, Breaking Bad, and Sons of Anarchy*
You probably get sick of talking about him, but do you have a favorite Drake song?
There is no answer to this. I'm a huge Drake fan..
Okay, so not just because you're on Degrassi, but because you're Canadian - I feel like you all treat him with way more value than like, Justin Bieber.
Oh 100%. Don't mind the Biebs, love his Instagram account, but if you were to ask any Canadian "Drake or Justin Bieber", almost every one would say Drake. It was weird for me, because right when he started making music, when he dropped his first album, I was starting on the show. Everyone was talking about "Aubrey this, Aubrey that", like, he used to stay in my dressing room. It was crazy.
You are spiritually connected to Drake.
100%. Oh but my favorite song is probably "Bria's Interlude" with him and Omarion.
Yeahh. Okay, I have a just like, opinion question: was his latest drop an album or a mixtape?
Oh definitely a mixtape.
THAT'S WHAT I KEEP SAYING.
Definitely. That's not a Drake album. I mean, I liked it. But it's not. What I do with every album I buy is listen to it from beginning to end, and at first I was like "I do not like this". I was thiiis close to deleting it. Then I gave it another listen, and I liked it. But it's not an album. It's like a collective.
I have now had my opinion verified by a Real Life Canadian. Brilliant. But since you're also now a Californian - do you have an In N Out order memorized?
Oh yes. In N Out is my place, I go there like three times a week. [Justina Note: Liiiightweight.] My regular order is like a Double-Double and a single, because one is never enough and three is too many. I've been trying this thing - and it never works- where I order one protein style, with the lettuce, then put that inside the cheeseburger.
Oh my god.
Right? It works in theory, but I have yet to eat one without it falling apart.
Last question: What's one thing you've always wanted to be asked, and no one has ever asked you?
OH I KNOW. Okay, something I would like people to know is that I can basically rap any Eminem song. That's something people don't know, and I would like the world to know.
And now they will.
Follow Luke's Instagram for snaps of LA, some fantastically inspired fan art,
and his ludicrously perfect teeth. Seriously guys. The teeth.
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