Ser & # 39; Darius Blain was a competitive basketball player in college before a serious knee injury ruined his prospects for advancement in the sport, so he doubled down and followed his passion for acting.
The gentle giant of 6 feet 5 inches talks about his acting influences, his impressions of being part of the huge Jumanji cast, and how his character taught him dance is a great tool for everyone on his new show The Big Leap, who wants to improve his balance and flexibility.
Growing up, the young actor eagerly helped his mother, who taught drama, write scripts for the school play and admired Denzel Washington, Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio on screen.
"Will Smith was my idol," says Blain. "I don't get met by stars very often, but if I did meet him I would probably pee my pants like a teenager (laughs)."
The 34-year-old says he studied how these actors focused on their characters and viewed them as heroes. As he was growing up, acting was a way for Blain to express himself freely. He thought appearances were a real confidence boost and in 2018 he got a regular role on Charmed. Since then, Blain's on-screen career has grown steadily.
Ser & # 39; Darius Blain hugs the grind
Courtesy Iago Soria
While Ser & # 39; Darius Blain played the younger version of Anthony "Fridge" Johnson in the previous two Jumanji films, a role he shared with comedy powerhouse Kevin Hart, he made sure his ears were open on set held and soon found themselves in awe of both Hart and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's intense work ethic. "These guys make decisions about six other projects that they are doing at the same time, while keeping their focus on the current project, which was Jumanji at the time," says Blain. “Kevin makes decisions about his clothing line and Real Husbands of Hollywood and the LOL Network, and he brings all of these different things to market at the same time and can still be creative. The skirt is like that too. They were able to bring in creativity and concentrate fully on Jumanji. When I worked with them, I thought, 'Wow, I'm not doing enough' so it got my rush into full swing. "
The talented actor confirmed that he expects to repeat his role as The Fridge for his third Jumanji appearance in the hopes that production, suspended by the recent coronavirus pandemic, will resume soon.
The actor adapts to every role
Ser & # 39; Darius Blain has form when it comes to signing up for character. Blain starred as a trained assassin alongside Bruce Willis in the upcoming move to The Fortress, weighed up to 250 pounds and is passionate about taking whatever form it takes to make each scene as compelling as possible.
Another soon-to-be-released film, American Underdog, also made Blain grab the weights. "At American Underdog, I play a semi-professional football player," he says. “In the arena league, the boys often play on both sides of the ball - they play offensively and defensively. My character is supposed to be a linebacker who also plays tight end so I've definitely put on weight and climbed to around 257 pounds. Blain says he trained for a wider frame of realism on this project as he would be up against 270-pound defensive linemen. "That included lots of skull crushers and kettlebells and more heavy lifting, and I cut my cardio." Blain says the real challenge for him is maintaining weight because he is losing it very quickly.
Make the "big leap"
For his role in Fox's The Big Leap, which premieres September 20, Blain plays a soccer player who has to balance both his male and female sides. The show is a musical comedy-drama and the plot calls for him to enter a reality dance competition. "That big tough guy, he's a party boy and a little wild, but in my spare time (my character) does ballet," laughs Blain. “I had to learn how to do a sisson (where the dancer jumps and splits her legs like scissors before landing) and all those other things. We have this term, it's called 'sous-sus', it's a ballet train, and every time we did it I tried to make the character look harder. ”The actor shouted macho quizzes for you while we were recording Comedy effect while performing the intricate move of turning both heels off, giving the appearance of a single foot. "I think we should all stay in touch with the masculine and feminine because that actually strengthens us," he says.
Similar to those attending Dancing with the Stars, Blain was given bootcamp training with a private tutor to learn the moves before filming even began. "It changed my fitness routine," says Blain. “w I want to stay supple, so I'll start with half an hour of stretching. I've focused on Pilates and muscle stretching, while previously I only focused on raw strength and heavy lifting. With this character, I focused on my flexibility and played through the entire range of motion during training. I do a lot of cable work, lots of lunges to open the hip flexors and strengthen the hamstrings and the like. When you dance you don't notice that every single muscle and ligament is being strained. "
From the dance floor to the end zone
Courtesy Iago Soria
In The Big Leap, Ser & # 39; Darius Blain portrays a close end to the Detroit Lions, and he will again represent a soccer player for his role in the upcoming film American Underdog: The Kurt Warner Story (out December). To give these physical roles the right amount of swagger, Blain observes his surroundings; from his brother, who played soccer, to his Jumanji colleague The Rock, who takes up his charisma and reproduces it in his own way.
"A good friend of mine, Braylon Edwards, who played for the Jets and the Browns, has this tremendous confidence, and I based my character (American Underdog) a little on him, even to the point where my beard grew," laughs Blain . And while this may come as a surprise to some but not to others, dance has long been a training method for soccer players as it's a great way to improve coordination. “I have friends, NFL professional ballers, who actually take ballet classes just to keep themselves limber,” says Blain. “Dancers are real athletes. I'm an athlete too, and I like being the best at everything I do, and the dancing definitely kicked my ass. "