Quenton Aaron played Michael Oher in “The Blind Side.” I spoke with him about this remarkable movie and its great success.
Congratulations on the Oscars. What was it like for you to be there?
Oh, it was crazy. It was amazing. I still can’t explain being able to go. I know how big a deal it was and I was I was just honored to be there.
You got to see Sandra Bullock accept her award.
Yeah that was cool because I knew she was going to win. I haven’t had a chance to tell her I told you so.
Did she believe you when you told her before hand?
She wouldn’t let me say it a lot because she didn’t want to jinx it.
What was it like working with her on this project?
It was cool. It was real cool working with her on this project. I’ve been a fan of hers for a long time. Being able to come to work and hang out with her and joke around with her and work with her every day. It was like working on my dream job.
Was it a fun set to be on?
Yeah. It was real fun. Everybody was real nice. And then we all had a humor and tried jokes on everybody and cracking up in front of the camera. Especially Tim McGraw.
So Tim was a goofy guy?
Yeah. He’s quite the comedian. That Guy. He was cracking me up.
Have you had any feedback from Michael Oher?
No. Actually I haven’t met nor spoken with Michael yet.
Yeah. He seems to be interested in playing football and not really interested in being in Hollywood circles.
Yeah. We’re the opposite in that area. His life is about football. My life is about entertainment.
Let me ask you about the role. I loved your character. I thought you played such a gentle young man. And not at all the cliché of what people think a young African-Amecian from the projects is like. Where did that come from?
I think a lot of it came from me. Because even though I grew up in rough neighborhoods, I never became a product of my environment. I pretty much kept to myself. I’ve always known there was something I wanted to do that hanging around my neighborhood and stuff wouldn’t get me. I focused on getting out of there.
Was that in Brooklyn that you grew up?
No. In the Bronx. So a lot of what you see in the movie, the guy who keeps to himself, he doesn’t have a lot of friends, that’s how I was growing up.
How did you get into acting?
I started out doing plays when I was in church, school, and then a couple years back I joined this teen organization back in 2004, called Teens in Motion. They had drama, they had dance, music, model. I became part of the drama program. We did a couple of plays. From there, I wanted to work on film. I got onto Be Kind Rewind. Which was my first film. With Mos Def, Jack Black and Danny Glover and then from there I just started auditioning and doing a lot of background stuff.
Did you say that you started when you were younger in church and in school?
Yeah. Around the age of 9, my first play was a Christian play at my church.
What was it about?
It was basically about you know the song Away in a Manger? That was the title of the play. It was about Jesus in the manger.
It was a Christmas play?
Yeah. It was cool. I had the lead part in the play. I was hooked on acting.
And now do you live in LA?
You’ve moved the big transition into LA
Only just recently though, I thought I’d be out here for a while. I’m about to run to New York, going to New York tonight to do a television show.
Has this movie opened some doors for you?
Yes. Law and Order SVU which airs next Wednesday.
What in your opinion…obviously this movie made a ton of money and did well at the Oscars. What made it so popular?
I think that it was such an inspiring movie. We don’t get a lot of those. Especially today’s day and age, people need to be inspired. They could relate as far as Michael having such a rough upbringing, and going from that to college and just where he’s at today in the NFL. For kids have dreams of going to the NFL and in their current predicament they think that will never happen. This movie gives them hope and inspires them that it can happen if they work hard at doing what they want to do.
I know there was some push back about a white woman saving or whatever an African American kid, but it seemed a movie that everyone could get behind and find some good in. What’s your take on that?
I think what people say about it being a typical movie about a white woman saving an African American, I don’t really believe that because it was a true story. A lot of times, people don’t think of what happens, what’s the consequences of things that happen? If you look at our life, a year ago today before the Blind Side, I was almost homeless. I was almost out on the street with my brother. My mom had passed away months before I got the role. It turned everything around for me in such a way that had it not shown up I don’t know where I’d be today. The movie is not only an inspiring movie, inspired everyone across America, but was a blessing to my life personally. I’m thankful that movie came along and I thank the Touheys for putting the story out there, allowing me to portray the character because that’s such a blessing to me. The fact that it’s a true story, both parties, Michael Oher as well as the family, allowed it to be told. I don’t see why people should have a problem just because it’s about a African American kid who’s taken in by a white family. If he doesn’t have a problem with it, why should anybody else? It’s not their problem or business to be upset about it unless it happens to them.
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