Ryan Ochoa chatted about reprising his role as ‘Chuck Chambers’ on the iCarly Paramount+ revival as well as his recently announced film Second Chances.
Ryan Ochoa is a man of many talents. Actor, Writer, Rapper, Singer-Songwriter and Director, to name just a few. He is perhaps best known for playing Lanny on Pair of Kings as well as Chuck Chambers on iCarly.
In this interview, we chatted with Ryan about reprising his role as Chuck on the Paramount + iCarly revival, after more than a decade. We also discussed Ryan’s recently announced feature Second Chances, which he co-wrote.
You’ve been acting for a while. Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in that industry?
Ryan Ochoa: Well, that’s a good question. I guess I should start with my bio that’s semi out there. A lot of people know this, but my family are really big into WWE. We grew up watching wrestling and still watch it to this day.
At the end of the day, aside from wrestling, they’re actors and entertainers. Especially the ones that have had a global influence. We’re talking Dwayne Johnson, John Cena, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, and Roman [Reigns].
One of your best-known roles is Chuck Chambers on iCarly, which you recently reprised on the Paramount+ iCarly revival. How was revisiting that character, cast and world as an adult?
Ryan Ochoa: I look much different than the Chuck people saw. The cool thing about this is it’s the one thing I was waiting for. It was the one thing I really, really tried to make happen. A lot of people know that from my TikTok and Instagram before the revival was announced.
I was doing videos as Chuck because it was a part of who I am. Maybe people don’t think about or realise this, but I was a kid. I was a kid on a show I loved watching. Years later, it’s like I have the opportunity now to embrace it. As an adult. There’s something special there, it’ll live on forever.
I loved both iCarly and Pair of Kings, it was my honour to [play those roles]. This was my childhood. When people say “I played sports in high school” or “I was in a band”, I didn’t have any time to do that, I was playing characters on TV we all watched.
Instead of forgetting about it, I wanted people to know it’s still part of me. I still carry those roles into the future and always will. When I got that phone call, it was surreal. How cool is this?
Fans didn’t know about Chuck’s return until the Season 2 trailer dropped. Was keeping the secret difficult?
Ryan Ochoa: Yes, it was! It was so hard. My first day on camera, I planned ahead to go-to hair and make-up wearing a Project Rock shirt. People know I wear that, I’ll go into my hair and make-up and change into wardrobe after. Just so I can post that I was on-set filming something. I never gave anything away – what I was filming, what I was doing.
There were a few people that said, “iCarly revival? iCarly? Please tell me it’s iCarly.” Because it was already announced, people probably assumed, “Hopefully, that’s what it is.” It could’ve been anything, I just got announced filming this movie – it could’ve been that.
Point is, I knew I would have to keep it a secret. Another reason why I didn’t post as much. I stayed off of Instagram in that aspect. Man, it was hard, it was really hard.
Chuck of course has a long-standing rivalry with Spencer Shay, played by Jerry Trainor. Do any of Chuck’s antics stand out to you in particular as a favourite?
Ryan Ochoa: I think the most memorable – can’t say favourite – I loved them all. They’re all so different. For example, the cupcake in the last episode I filmed. I almost didn’t think that was a big one. Until I saw the fan reaction. They loved it, which is why we brought it back for the revival.
I thought the suspicious liquid – the squirt gun is literally iconic. That whole gag we did is so memorable to this day. You look at TikTok, I was doing a series saying, “Alright, I’m finally going to tell you what’s in the squirt gun.” Then, something happens and cuts out. It’s just one thing that everybody wants to know.
If it’s something that rare and people enjoy it, you’ve gotta milk it. It’s hilarious and just funny.
Other antagonists such as Nora Dershlit (Danielle Morrow) and Nevel Papperman (Reed Alexander) reformed or redeemed themselves in the revival, but Chuck did not. Were you happy that Chuck remained as his villainous self?
Ryan Ochoa: I don’t think he should follow the same path. That’s why I loved it so much. You really never know with Chuck. That’s the exciting part with this character. For example, one of my favourite episodes I was in was iFind Lewbert’s Lost Love. It’s when Chuck and Spencer build their little ‘friendship’ as Building Watch patrolmen. I loved filming that episode, it was a fun one.
You thought these guys were buddies but secretly, Chuck was stealing the remotes. It was hilarious, but for a split second, you’re like “Is this really him? Are we really about to see a friendship grow?” The episode was the last I was in before Pair of Kings.
It’s interesting because I’ve had many talks with my brothers. “Ryan, if they came to you and asked what you think Chuck should do? Where do you think Chuck is these days?” I have so many ideas that it was really hard to accept that this was what it was going to be.
Meanwhile, you also played another TV villain – Lanny on Disney XD’s Pair of Kings. Before the iCarly revival, did fans recognise you more as Lanny or Chuck?
Ryan Ochoa: I’m not even going to try to elongate the answer. I’ll just say this, the facts are I did maybe 10 times as many episodes [of Pair of Kings] than iCarly. I was in every episode of Pair of Kings, every single episode produced.
I’m just thinking of this experience the other day. I was at a diner in Los Angeles with friends a few nights ago. It was 12am, midnight and we’d left the show they just had. I walk in and there’s a group of 17-18-year-olds. All of them come to the door and they’re like, “Oh my God, Ryan Ochoa, you’re Chuck!” It’s really mindblowing to me that they can recognise me.
Chuck is… we’re talking millions and millions of people who watched iCarly. I loved Pair of Kings, everybody knows that. I wished it was Lanny, maybe, but Chuck… he’s up there.
You have co-written a feature, Second Chances while also playing a former teen star in the film. Why was Second Chances a story you wanted to tell?
Ryan Ochoa: The story I wanted to tell, with my co-writer, Steve [Weinberger]. It’s perfect to segway into this after what we just talked about with Chuck and Lanny. The main point is, that we don’t want people to think, “Oh, this is what Ryan feels his life is like now.” It’s not that, but definitely loosely based on the comedic situation. [Also], experiences that I’ve had over the years. Obviously, exaggerated. Way exaggerated.
In the description Deadline announced, they said: “down and out teen star.” People see that and immediately think, “Is he talking about himself?” I’m definitely not a down and out teen star. It’s a movie and when people see it, they’ll be like, “I get it.” That’s what I want people to see.
The Second Chances cast also includes Hayden Byerly, Zachary Gordon and Jason Earles. Could you talk about how you assembled this group?
Ryan Ochoa: Wow, this is exactly what I wanted to talk about. Something Jason and I recently talked about on set. As with everybody else, we’ve made a lot of friends in the industry over the years. It’s the luxury of this industry, I would say. I posted a picture of me and Geno Segers (Mason), who I worked with on Pair of Kings. We actually have another, secret project in the works. I can’t talk about it, only he can eventually. We did Save The Island and while doing that, we did something else that he asked me to join.
Then, I got him in this film. Going back to what I said about the luxury, you don’t just become friends with these actors and actresses. You become family. This movie in particular sums up every project that I’ve done in my career. You’re with these people for so long; there’s no choice but either connect with them, dislike them, carry them into your future or never talk to them again. That’s not me.
I’m still friends with so many cast and crew members. I knew the only way you were going to recruit not just my family, but my parents to help make this happen. One of my best friends, Dave [H. Venghaus Jr], one of the biggest First ADs in Hollywood, directed this. I said from the beginning, it had to be him. We made it happen.
All of my friends have resumes that speak for themselves. How was I going to bring all that together?I needed to write an amazing script. Something that people flipped out about. Instead of saying “I took my time” or whatever, I knew I had to make something special. People were going to be like, “Wow, I need to be in this.” We won’t know until the movie is released. Based on that Deadline article, that was the first confirmation that had me go, “wow.”
In a wider sense, what would you like to accomplish with the rest of 2022?
Ryan Ochoa: Well, Conor, it’s something I’m still thinking about right now. I’m not saying it all revolves on this film. I don’t want this to come across as a bragging statement, it’s not, but I’ve been doing so much for this movie. I’ve broken so many personal barriers for myself.
Two things – 1) I want to do this again, that’s for sure. 2) I don’t know, it’s tough. They said I put a lot of pressure on myself, with this. That’s what other people have been saying. I look at it as a challenge, but I accomplished it. I overcame the challenges. People will be like, “What is he talking about?” They’ll know.
People know from seeing the articles. I wrote the script, I’m starring in it and producing the movie with my parents. It’s a lot to handle. On IMDB, you can see I’m the Casting Director, I cast the entire film.
You can’t wait for people to tell you to do something, or for things to happen. You’ve gotta do it yourself, you just have to.