Culture

Actor out to prove he is more than just another look-alike

Click here or scroll to the bottom of the story to watch Nick Maslow’s video interview with Sean Faris.

Actor Sean Faris is more likely to be recognized for his uncanny resemblance to Tom Cruise than his roles in Yours Mine and Ours and ABC’s teen sex drama Life As We Know It. But with the nationwide release of his new action flick Never Back Down on March 14, the 25-year-old is hoping to finally make a face for himself.

In his first lead role, Faris plays Jake Tyler, an underprivileged and temperamental son of a struggling widow. When news of Tyler’s tough past spreads at his new high school, he resorts to bloody street fights and party brawls to defend his reputation. But when a mixed martial arts teacher and mentor (Djimon Hounsou) helps Tyler hone his talent, he learns to use his fists not only to fight, but to transform himself from a victim into a victor.

Faris was recently at the Shore Club in Miami Beach to discuss the film, his extreme fight scenes and faking romance for the camera.

Nick Maslow: At what age did people start saying, “Hey, you look like Tom Cruise, buddy?”

Sean Faris: When I was 10 years old actually. I think someone in my neighborhood had just seen Top Gun. He goes, ‘Hey, you look like that Tom Cruise guy.’ So then I convinced the whole neighborhood that he was my dad and I was living with my uncle because my dad was off making movies.

NM: Never Back Down looks very strenuous to shoot.

SF: We spent three months, six days a week, six hours a day, doing Muay Thai, Jiu-Jitsu and Taekwondo and also doing weight lifting. I put on 15 pounds of lean muscle for the film. And lots of stretching, chiropractors and massage therapists to keep us going.

NM: Any injuries while you were on set?

SF: I broke my thumb and a small bone in my back called the L3 spinus transverse process. Try saying that 10 times really fast. But I’m all healed up now and I still did 75 percent of my stunts even after I broke my back.

NM: There’s a lot of sexual tension and flirtation in the movie? Was there any on set?

SF: Nah, it’s all work.

NM: That’s what they always say, though.

SF: What people don’t understand though is that on the set you’ve got a director, crew and all these people around. So the intimacy is not always there. You create the intimacy for the moment.

Visit TheMiamiHurricane.com/multimedia to watch raw footage of the interview.

Nick Maslow may be contacted at nick@miami.edu.

March 6, 2008

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