‘Chicago Fire’ Star Tony Ferraris Explains How He Auditioned for the Show

by Taylor Cunningham

Tony Ferraris is a real-life firefighter. And his on-the-job know-how is what got him in the door of Chicago Fire. 

When Tony Ferraris isn’t starring as himself on Dick Wolf’s hit One Chicago series, he’s actually extinguishing real fires in the Windy City. Ferraris works for Chicago Fire Department Squad 2, which is headquartered and partnered with Engine 91 and Battalion Chief 7. And uncoincidentally, his day job is the reason he works on the show.

“A friend of mine received an email from the firefighter’s union saying the show was looking for extras,” he revealed during an interview with Wolf Entertainment. “He asked me if I would go with him to the audition. I went in with him, and I guess they liked me.”

After the audition, Ferraris became a supporting team member of Station 51. And clearly, the producers liked his work because the firefighter quickly became more than just a background actor. Since his start, he’s appeared in 156 episodes over 10 seasons.

And his real-life experience helped him solidify his spot on the series.

“On the first day of filming, the crew realized nobody in the cast was able to drive squad,” Ferraris said, referencing the station vehicle. “Steve Chikerotis, the show’s technical advisor, who I’ve known for years, asked me if I would drive. I said sure, and that’s pretty much how it all went down.”

The firefighter turned actor started out with a non-speaking part. But it only took a few episodes for Chicago Fire’s showrunner to notice that Ferraris had serious potential.

“I started as an extra,” he said. “And then Derek Haas, our Chicago Fire showrunner, approached me around episode five or six and asked me to read for him, and then they started writing me in.”

Tony Ferraris doesn’t get in on much of the Chicago Fire drama. But you can catch him driving the rig almost every Wednesday on NBC at 10/9c.

How ‘Chicago Fire’ Finds Its Extras

Actors aren’t the only important people on the Chicago Fire screen. The series relies on a lot of extras to fill the background of its epic city scenes.

So according to Looper, the producers are constantly calling for extras. Usually, Chicago Fire is looking for “males and females, 20s to 40s, all ethnicities, to play reporters and camera people.” And at times, it looks for more specific people like “professional physical therapists” to fill guest roles.

So if you live in the Windy City and want to appear in an episode of the One Chicago series, you may have a chance. Just keep an eye on casting calls, and you could score around $12 an hour to do nothing more than stand around and watch your favorite stars do what they do best.