"Westworld" Actor Louis Herthum On New Orleans Sports, Boxing and Upcoming Project
Now a cast member on the HBO hit Westworld, Louis Herthum started his acting career in the late 1970s. He has been active in various television, film and theatrical projects over the years, and recent credits include Breaking Bad, CSI, True Blood, True Detective, and The Mentalist. Beyond acting, Herthum has also been worked extensively as a producer as part of the Baton Rouge-based production company Ransack Films.
When doing Q&A with Herthum, I learned that he was a major sports fan. In turn, below are a series of questions which the Westworld actor answered about the NFL's New Orleans Saints, college football's Louisiana State University Tigers, and the sport of boxing. More on Herthum can be followed on Twitter via @Louis_Herthum.
I have read that you are a big fan of football, specifically the Saints within the NFL and LSU within college. What is it that keeps you loyal to Louisiana?
Louis Herthum: That's not difficult at all. I think most people who move away from their hometowns stay loyal to their local teams. And unless you have ever experienced a game in "Death Valley” -- LSU Tiger Stadium -- you have not experienced college football to it’s fullest. The stadium now holds well over 100,000 people. Dedicated people. Fanatical people in some incidences. And I mean that in a good way.
As for the Saints, my dad took me to a Saints game way back in the late 60’s when they were still playing at the old Tulane Stadium. And while the Saints struggled for decades, they were still our team! For a while they were dubbed “The Aint’s” and as some may remember, people used to attend the games wearing paper bags over their heads with the eyes cut out. But they still came and still supported the team. In general, Louisianaians are very loyal people. Especially where sports are concerned.
When did you first get into football?
Louis Herthum: I went to my first LSU football game with my oldest friend in the world, Tate Morris, and his family when we were still in elementary school. We went to too many games to count. Then of course, when I attended LSU briefly, I went to all the games and sat in the student section.
Did you play football at all growing up?
Louis Herthum: I played “sandlot” ball but couldn’t play organized sports because I lost my left kidney in an accident when I was six years old. Kinda sucked because I was a very good athlete. My doctor wouldn’t allow it nor my parents, of course. I could not play any "contact sports.” I still did but not on any teams.
How do the 2018 Saints look for you? Any recent pickups or signings that have you exciting?
Louis Herthum: Man, the Saints are looking awesome to me. I think I am only just about now getting over that loss to the Vikings in the playoffs last year. That was brutal. But Drew [Brees] is back and as long as he and Sean [Payton] are together, I am going to continue to feel awesome about the team. Not to mention the addition of their first-round pick Marcus Davenport, which was a most interesting choice.
But I get it, it's an amazingly-strategic move. The guy is 6’6”, 264 pounds and is fast as hell! Like 4.5 I think it is? That is gonna be a very hard guy to stop when he is gunning for a QB. I can’t wait to see him in action. One thing that I think is way off is Vegas’ line on how many games the Saints will win this year. They put it a 9.5. I don’t think there is any way they lose seven games. But we shall see, gonna be an exciting year. But really, no matter what, once a Saints fan, always a Saints fan.
Assuming you spend a lot of time in Los Angeles, are there any Louisiana-centric bars for you to watch a game at in L.A.?
Louis Herthum: There are, like the 504 in Hollywood, but I rarely go to bars to watch sports. For the same reason, I rarely go to a big Super Bowl party with a lot of people because you can’t watch the game. I went to one this year because Jonah Nolan and Lisa Joy threw a party for the cast and crew so that we could all watch the Westworld “commercial.” It was a great time but I literally did not see the game. Maybe like three minutes of it. But it was worth it in this case.
I have also read that you follow boxing. Who are some of the fighters that you watch all the fights of these days?
Louis Herthum: I never miss a Triple G fight. Love Gennady Golovkin and I am looking forward to the rematch with Canelo [Álvarez]. I was so upset that they robbed 3-G -- that’s what I call him -- in the first Canelo fight. He won that fight hands down. It was a close fight, a good fight but anyone who knows fights knows Gennady won it. And of course the rematch has been postponed and he took what amounted to a tune-up on May 5th. I just hope the fight happens. And though he isn’t the fighter he was five, six years ago, I will still pick Golovkin.
Other fighters I like to watch now, Andre Ward -- though he has retired -- Deontay Wilder, Anthony Joshua, loved following Wladimir Klitschko’s career but I think he has retired as well. Those are the big guys. Terrance Crawford is amazing, Errol Spence Jr. and Vasyl Lomachenko is freaking amazing! I do watch all of Canelo’s fight as well and all of Daniel Jacobs’. And so many others.
Hell, I have been a boxing fan for over 40 years. I was a HUGE fan of Muhammad Ali's all through his career and in fact, I was seated, 10th row, ringside in September of 1978 when Ali regained the Heavyweight title for the third time -- and the first man to do that -- defeating Leon Spinks who had dethroned him six months earlier. I was also at the Duran vs. Leonard “No Mas” fight, both in the SuperDome in New Orleans.
I had lost a ton of money on the first Leonard/Duran fight because I was certain [Sugar] Ray would win. So I wasn’t unhappy to see what happened in the rematch even though I didn’t bet on the second fight. In fact, I rarely bet on any sports, but I was so certain that Leonard would win that first fight, that I had to take what I thought would be “easy money." And he could have won that fight but he fought Duran’s fight. It was a genius fight by Duran, just as genius as Leonard's was in the rematch. I could talk for a long time about boxing so I will stop there.
Are you also into MMA? Or is boxing as far as you go in terms of combat sports?
Louis Herthum: I watch it sometimes. One of my best friends, actor David Andrews, is really into MMA a lot more than I am, so we watch fights together occasionally when he alerts me to a particularly good one. And like I say, I watch them on Spike occasionally but I am much more of a boxing fan. And the fact that I have been using boxing as my main workout for about 40 years also lends to my devotion to it over MMA.
Sports aside, what is coming up for you in your career?
Louis Herthum: I have several films yet to be released. LAyrinth with Johnny Depp, I Still See You with Bella Thorne and Dermot Mulroney, and CADAVER with Shay Mitchel and Stana Katic. I also recently completed work on an episode of Lucifer, but I don’t think it will air until next season.
You have produced features beyond your extensive work as an actor. Do you have any aspirations to write or direct?
Louis Herthum: Yes I absolutely do. I have written several stories that need to be converted to scripts. I think there is an element of fear that is keeping from actually sitting down and doing it but really, I shouldn’t fear it. Writing was by far my best subject in senior high school English as well as in college. I think it partly-realizing that it’s going to take a lot of time and concentration for each project to come to fruition that is hindering me. Especially at a time when I am staying very busy.
But maybe my admitting that in public will motivate me. One story, in particular, I feel very, very confident about. As for directing, I absolutely want to direct film. I have directed theater and small projects on camera but no film's as of yet. That too is in the offing.
Are there any other big sports fans within the cast of Westworld?
Louis Herthum: I would guess that there are but I can’t say for certain. I think I have heard James [Marsden] talking sports but not sure. I know Jeffery [Wright] is an avid surfer as is Luke [Hemsworth], but none of us has talked sports on-set.
Finally, Louis, any last words for the kids?
Louis Herthum: Kids… Learning how to become a responsible person as you come of age will take you far in life and it is NEVER too early to start. Be courteous to EVERYONE because you never know when that person will re-enter your life. And no matter what your goals in life are, go for them full throttle! Because the only thing that guarantees failure is quitting.