Q&A with Jon Bernthal
The former star of AMC's "The Walking Dead" talks Woody Harrelson, cucumbers and his hunt for the best New York City (gluten free) slice.
Jon Bernthal killed it on AMC's hit zombie-drama, "The Walking Dead," and we can't wait to see what's next for the former pro baseballer (he played for the European Professional Baseball Federation while living in Moscow) and accomplished stage actor. We caught up with the multi-talented Bernthal while he was in town filming his latest movie, The Wolf of Wall Street, with a little known director called Martin Scorsese. Here, his reveals:
How he worked out this week:
I’ve been in LA, Toronto and New York this week, so I try to just sneak in quick weightlifting and cardio sessions whenever I can. But that’s what's cool about being in New York City — if you miss a day, you can walk around for a few hours, and that turns into a cardio workout. Normally, I try to box at least six days a week.
Healthy travel tips:
I like to have nuts and Kind bars and little meals that I can sort of eat throughout the day. I'll be honest; I'm a fat kid at heart (laughs). So if I could just play a part where I had to look like a normal guy I'd be so happy because I love to eat!
Defining food moment:
I took a blood test, and my doctor was like 'hey, man. You have Celiac disease, and you have to cut out all bread and pizza and stuff.' I was like, 'dude, I'm an American! No way!' So for 5 years I ignored it, but then once when I was home my mom convinced me to give it a try for a few weeks. It was life changing. So now I'm really strict about it.
Ultimate healthy meal:
I’m kind of a lame eater when I’m eating healthy. I do the same thing over and over again: some grilled chicken breast and cucumbers — I really like cucumbers. There’s this great barbeque spot in New York City called Hill Country. I get the barbeque turkey without the sauce and a really good cucumber salad.
Ultimate decadent meal:
If I can find really good gluten-free pizza that makes me super happy. But the other night I just finished eating a bunch of raw fish at this sushi restaurant, and I was hating life because I need to be skinny for this movie I'm filming, and I walked by this gluten-free bakery, Tu-Lu's. I asked the girl what was the best thing they had was, and she said their cinnamon coffee cake, and I was like 'lay it on me, girl!' I started crying on the way home it was so good! (laughs)
I just finished season one of “Girls,” which I thought was just unbelievably brilliant. I love “Game of Thrones,” but I’ve really gotten into “Sons of Anarchy." I think it’s the most overlooked show ever. I’m also obsessed with my good friend Woody Harrelson. I’m going to see his play tonight: Bullet for Adolf.
Best insider tip:
When I was living in Russia playing professional baseball, I took horrible care of my body. I'd be lying if I told you otherwise! (laughs) I think when you're young you take your health for granted. Back then it was someone else's job to get me in shape, but now it's on me. And as I get older I really think it's about — and I can actually hear my brothers making fun of me — but it's about total body consciousness. Sleeping and eating right is just as important as the time you spend in the gym.
Wardrobe item he can’t live without:
I literally wear the same two things every day, but, I got these Shane & Shawn boots when I was filming “The Walking Dead,” and they’re super comfortable — like you can play basketball in these boots! When I was killed off the show, they gave me like five pairs so I won’t go anywhere without them.
Book on his bedside table:
Right now I’m reading George Pelecanos’ The Cut. I just love his writing because I grew up in D.C., and he writes in so much detail about that. It’s so unbelievably misrepresented in movies and a lot of books. Besides all the politics, there’s this whole other world you don’t see.
I drink too much damn coffee! I gave up drinking a few years back, and I just do coffee now. I drink like 5 or 6 cups a day. But it’s a vice I have no intention of getting rid of.
On his bucket list:
I want to go to the Yugoslavian Riviera. I lived in Moscow for a long time and Western Europe, but I just haven’t spent enough time in Eastern Europe. I have a baby boy now, so just watching him grow up and hanging out with him is the only other thing on my list — like I can't wait to take him to a baseball game.
Message he'd send to the world (Only catch: it has to be 140 characters or less):
Get off your fucking cell phone. Stop looking down at that damn machine and start looking each other in the eyes. Say hello to someone.
Photography by Getty Images