Many fans know the 41-year-old actor from his breakout role as Juan Carlos "Juice" Ortiz on the hit FX drama.
"I had to do three extra roles to get a SAG card," Rossi said about his early career. "If there was ever a book written about going through the process, I've gone through the whole process, from having, like, one line on Malcolm in the Middle to doing a couple episodes of some small show …and then, obviously, my life changing with Sons of Anarchy."
It was while Rossi was wrapping up his role of Juice in SOA that he first read the script for Lowriders. Rossi initially turned down the opportunity to go to a table read, because he wanted to give his all to SOA. His co-star and mentor Jimmy Smits, who plays Nero Padilla on the show, talked him into doing the read. "[Jimmy's] like, 'Listen, when certain people are off-type characters, we have certain opportunities in this business, but they're few and far between. Like, you've gotta go. You've gotta take advantage of everything,'" Rossi recounted.
The actor was also able to take advantage of the fact that motorcycle and low rider clubs come from similar worlds. So he was able to use what he learned from SOA to execute his Lowriders role.
"I've been very fortunate in my life to be involved in subculture [projects]. Sons of Anarchy was a subculture that no one knew about, and now everyone, everyone rocks the Reaper," Rossi explained. "Not a lot of people knew about rap battles, and then 8 Mile comes out and now everybody knows about rap battles. We got to peek into a subculture. And then, if you really think about it on the grandest level, 15-20 years ago, people who read comic books were considered a subculture. Almost like geeks, comic book geeks, and now it's the forefront of pop culture."
Coincidentally the actor will battle his friend Charlie Hunnam in the box office, as Hunnam's King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is released on the same day as Rossi's Lowriders. But Rossi revealed that there's no bad blood between the former co-stars and friends.
"We still talk and love each other and we champion each other's success," Rossi continued, revealing that the cast of SOA still text each other, support one another at premieres and are even on an email thread. "It's not fake. We went through and we did this low-budget TV show that was accepted by the masses for seven to eight years. And we all had a very blue-collar attitude toward work. We've all started in much smaller positions, so now we get to take that into the next level of our careers, so that's exciting."
Lowriders releases in theaters May 12. The film also stars Eva Longoria, Melissa Benoist, Demián Bichir and Gabriel Chavarria.