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September 28, 2012 2PM EST

Q&A with Jon Seda

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  • Q

    Thanks to @JonSeda for joining us today, Jon this has been a big week for you with two HBO premieres, how does it feel?

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    A
    Jon Seda says:

    It feels great. It's great to be a part of the HBO family. I don't think there's anything like HBO. It's an honor to be a part of it and it's rare to have two things premiering at once, so I'm very fortunate.

  • Q

    How did you get involved in The Latino List project?

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    Jon Seda says:

    I happened to be in LA doing an event with HBO and I met the producers of The Latino List. We sat down and had dinner together and shared stories. I wasn't looking to be a part of it, but I guess they found me interesting. They got me to understand that there were a lot of people who could benefit from hearing my story. I don't really like talking about myself, but if it can help anyone, particularly those who are Latino who may have had the same experiences. It's great that it gives people exposure to other cultures and broadens the horizons - just a really positive thing. That's what's so great about HBO. They are willing to show documentaries like The Latino List - people can get stuck in their own worlds, and the corners where they grow up, this is something that helps them see there is so much more, particularly about your neighbors that you might not really know. How much we're all really similar and our individual struggles are shared by many. It's beyond regular education.

  • Q

    Do you think Basilone and Haldane might have crossed paths while in Melbourne...maybe shared a conversation and a beer or two?

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    A
    Jon Seda says:

    It's funny, there was a scene that we shot with them together - it ended up not making the final cut. There's a shot in Guadalcanal and Basilone has just looted from the army and he drops a bag in front of Haldane. He just smirks and says "carry on." Maybe they did, the actor Scott Gibson did an amazing job and we're good friends. It would have been nice to have that in the show.

  • Q

    Do you identify with your character from Treme?

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    Jon Seda says:

    That's an interesting question because Nelson Hidalgo is so much the opposite of me, but the one thing that I can identify with him is his desire to succeeed, to do what is needed to succeed. The difference with Nelson is, he's grown up in a world, with a family and that's how it gets done. Maybe he's not doing something illegal, but immorally its incorrect. That's all he knows. He's a good guy at heart and he ends up loving New Orleans. I don't really identify with him, but like most people issues get clouded.

  • Q

    I heard at one time you boxed. Do you still slip on the gloves these days?

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    A
    Jon Seda says:

    I do, just to work out. I have my punching bag. I still have that boxing mentality when I work out, but I haven't been in a ring and actually taken punches since 1992. But I miss it, I really do miss it. I'm still a big fight fan and I try to go to as many as I can. Miguel Cotto is one of my favorite fighters. I watch it, but I do miss it.

  • Q

    Are you the only actor in your family?

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    A
    Jon Seda says:

    Yup, the only one who got paid for it. I'm the first, but I don't think I'll be the last. My kids and grand kids will be saying I'm the first one!

  • Q

    Are you involved with veterans groups?

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    A
    Jon Seda says:

    I'm actually looking to find the right one to really dedicate my time to. I've been kind of sporadically active with different organizations. Just this past weekend I was at my fourth John Basilone parade in Raritan New Jersey. It's a humbling experience every time, meeting past vets and currently military men and women. Its a great weekend of honoring them. There's not many of our WWII vets left, so I'm looking to get involved a little more and continue to be involved.

  • Q

    What is next for you? Any new series? I think you would be good in Boardwalk Empire.

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    A
    Jon Seda says:

    I did a three episode arc of a new show called Chicago Fire. I play a detective, everyone else is a fireman. I also have a film coming out in February with Sylvester Stallone called Bullet in the Head. I'll be working on the fourth season of Treme in November. I also wrote a script I'm pretty proud of and I'd like to see where that goes. maybe some directing in my near future.

  • Q

    Is there anything in particular that drew you to Treme?

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    A
    Jon Seda says:

    Just the chance to work with David Simon and Eric Overmyer again - its always a draw. They're such humble, talented guys. You know when you're working with them its going to be special. They really care about the projects they do and find really meaningful projects. Treme is one of those incredible stories that is both unfortunate and yet, so much good comes out of it as well. People are still getting their lives back together, but it really shows the strength of us as humans that we can deal with an event like Katrina and rise from it. Its such an important piece and I'm so fortunate to be a part of it. They don't hold anything back, they speak the truth and its wonderful to see. There aren't many roles out there from an actors stand point that you can sink your teeth into and just enjoy creating like the role of Nelson for me. I asked the producers if he was a good guy or a bad guy - he's a real complex character who teeters on what is morally correct - you don't find a role like that that often.

  • Q

    How was it working with Selvester Stallone?

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    A
    Jon Seda says:

    It was great, are you kidding? It's Rocky! Being a fight fan, growing up watching Rocky, not knowing I would one day be an actor and also play his partner - it was great. We got along really well. I work with so many people and i respect them, but there are only a few I have to hide being a fan of, but for me Sylvester Stallone is one of those guys. Rocky was very inspirational for me - it helped me get through some of my hard times.

  • Q

    What's the first thing you do when you get up?

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    Jon Seda says:

    Actually I stretch my back. I grab my legs and throw them over my head. I'm still on the bed and I just kind of rock back and forth. It gets the blood going!

  • Q

    Did you meet real-life Marines to prepare for your role in The Pacific?

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    A
    Jon Seda says:

    I did. Actually I didn't get a chance to do it prior, but during the process, I met Check Tatum who served with Basilone in Iwo Jima and knew him quite well. Just to meet someone who lived through that hell and was very close to Basilone - to get his approval was amazing. Of course I can't fill his shoes, but to represent the voice of someone who sacrificed so much on our behalf. We got to meet others who served in the Pacific and we did our best to show the good, the bad and the ugly - really just the humanity. Hopefully we accomplished that.

  • Q

    Where are you from originally?

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    Jon Seda says:

    Born in Manhattan. My mom was born in New York, my dad was born in Puerto Rico, so I guess this makes me second generation Puerto Rican. I like to call myself New Yorican!

  • Q

    What has been your most challenging role?

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    A
    Jon Seda says:

    I'd have to say, there was a character by the name of Dino Ortolani from another HBO show, Oz. I was filming Oz while shooting another film, Selena. I was trying so hard to be like Chris Perez, who is so the opposite of the Italian hit man who everyone is afraid of or wants killed in Oz. I remember telling the director, I don't know if I'm going to be able to do it, but she helped me get through it. I flew from Texas to Baltimore, jumped in and out of characters who were polar opposites. But Dino is probably the character I'm most proud of.

  • Q

    Thanks to @JonSeda for participating today. Anything else you'd like to say to your fans, Jon?

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    A
    Jon Seda says:

    Thank you so much to the fans. It's wonderful to be a part of the HBO family and I look forward to being part of that family for a long time. And thank you to the fans for coming along on this journey, and your support is so appreciated. we may not get to speak personally, one-on-one often, but I want you to know we're all in this together.

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