GH Alum George Lako Talks His Time In Daytime, His Exciting New Gig and More! Learn More Here >>>
George Lako played Sonny's bodyguard Freddie on General Hospital from 2015 - 2016! We recently got a chance to sit down with him for an exclusive interview and he shared with us about how he got into acting, the differences between daytime and primetime and what he's been up to lately!
We asked George about what led him to acting and he told us all about how the path he took was not like most and his story is fascinating! "Mine's a little different. I'm from Albania and Greece so we immigrated to America when I was 5. Coming from Europe, entertainment in America was not a focus for a European family trying to leave a country for a better life. I always had a camera around, I was always acting but with the idea that I would never be an actor because my family would never allow it, nor is it a dream that Albanian kids or Greek kids grow up with because in Greece and Albania, there isn't acting and filmmaking. There is but it's not a paid gig. It's more you're an actual artist and your family's gonna get mad and you have to deal with that. So that's the European mindset when it comes to acting. I think it's changing now somewhat."
He also said, "When I came to America at 5, I kind of grew up being bullied. I had my camera and that was my safe space and that was the thing I never told anybody about because you would get judged. I didn't speak English as well as my other friends so I was being bullied and escaping it through acting and filmmaking and I continued that mindset until I went to college."
George explained to us how his dreams veered away from what his family wanted once he reached college, "My family wanted me to be a dentist because dentistry ran in the family. I said 'I will show you guys that I can be a dentist but I really secretly want to be an actor.' I went to the University of Illinois and I got straight A's but I was also secretly taking acting classes without telling anyone. I was a bio major doing dentistry but I secretly minored in theater."
Studying biology turned out to be a blessing for the aspiring actor, as he explained to us. "One thing about bio is I learned how to have a schedule and a routine and actors need that. I learned how to memorize in biology because it was all memorization so instead of getting mad that I was a bio major, I was like how can I use biology for my art?"
After college he became determined to make it as an actor, telling us, "I started submitting myself to agencies secretly and I got an agent because I was a diverse kid in a world where diversity started really mattering. I started getting all kinds of auditions but I wasn't very good at acting. I had really bad Imposter Syndrome because I didn't go to school, my school was my camera. My Imposter Syndrome was so strong because my family didn't know acting, they didn't know filmmaking. All they knew was it doesn't make money and dentistry make money. I told my family 'I'm going to LA for a year and I'm going to try it.'."
After taking a brave stance with his family, next, he had to find a way to make it work, "I managed to muster up some credits in Chicago, very small credits like on Chicago Fire and Chicago PD and when I went to LA I got a new agent and all of a sudden, auditions kept piling in."
George explained to us how his stint on General Hospital turned everything around for him when it came to his family, "My second booking was for General Hospital. The cool thing is that it was my Mom's favorite show. I had left Chicago to move to LA and I knew my Mom's favorite show was this soap opera, General Hospital so my thought was, I have to get on that show somehow."
"I was getting really close to some jobs then I got an audition from Mark Teschner at General Hospital for a contract role of the role of Ben. I didn't really watch the show so I didn't know who Ben was so I went in for role and I read and Mark Teschner said 'I think you did a great job with Ben but the role is too old for you. Can you do me a favor? We're casting a new bodyguard for Maurice and his name is Freddie. Can you come through the door and say 'yes sir, you got it sir'? Just real quick'. I was like great. I wanted that role of Ben because it was a contract role but if Mark Teschner tells me to do something, I'm going to do it so I went out the door and said the easiest line in the world. Mark Teschner said, 'I think you'll be hearing from us. You're good for Ben but not as good for Ben as you are for Freddie.' I told my agent and then I got the call that they signed me for 6 episodes.
"I didn't tell my Mom I had booked that. The episode aired and I had 13 missed calls and I told her that I had only booked that one episode and then when the next episode came it was the same and I just kept lying to her in the cutest way imaginable and she said, 'You need to stay in LA because I see that you're working hard and you look great on television."
George's mother wasn't the only one who supported his dream, "Along with my mother, Kleopatra, my second mother, Merle Gross, was such an important part of my career. She always pushed me into the arts and even tried to getting me an agent at a very young age. My older brother, Steven Lako, pulled me aside when I was leaving for LA and said 'don't worry about everything over here, go follow your dreams', a comment I will never forget. I am so happy to be surrounded by such amazing people supporting me!"
Lako went on to book many roles after GH, including spots on Days of Our Lives, The Last Ship, S.W.A.T., Shooter and New Girl. "I get recognized for that one episode of New Girl than for anything else I've done."
We chatted about the differences between actors in doing daytime and primetime. He shared with us, "It's just about speed. I kinda love the soap opera world. We shot 3 episodes in one day. These other shows that I have been on, we get to set, you wait 8 hours, you're exhausted and you forget your lines. You get a little bit more in your head because you're forced to learn how to be patient whereas with soap operas, there is no patience. It's go, go, go, go, go. Don't slow us down. You have one take."
While George said he would absolutely love to return to acting and soaps and has been auditioning, his true passion is producing. "My brother from another mother, David Mahmoudieh and I started a company called Alpha Wolves TV. I fell in love with producing."
Alpha Wolves already has its first project onboard! "We have a short film called Snake D*ck. It's a female empowerment piece. We started it as a script and we said 'nobody's gonna read this if it's called Snake D*ck, so we have to shoot a proof of concept'. We shot the proof of concept and now it's at a million views which is great"
We loved chatting with George Lako and wish him the best with his new film! You can check out the proof of concept short they shot in YouTube video below! We can't wait to see the full feature and hopefully his success as a producer won't keep him off our screens for long!