Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Interview with Quinton Aaron of "The Blind Side"

Interview with Quinton Aaron about his role as Michael Oher in “The Blind Side”

Leticia Velasquez of Catholic Media Review

CMR:Did you enjoy playing opposite Sandra Bullock? You two had great chemistry.

Aaron: “I was surprised when I found out Sandra Bullock was in this film”.

Aaron was also surprised (as the producers were) at the outstanding success of the film, which proved to be Bullock’s most successful, and the one which earned her both her first Academy Award nomination for Best Actress and her first Oscar, winning over grand dames Helen Mirren and Meryl Streep.

CMR: “My girls and I were so excited that Sandra Bullok won best actress, we were jumping up and down”

Aaron: “I was excited too, but since I was there at the Awards, I couldn’t jump up and down!”.

Aaron has never met the real Michael Oher, but he would like to. “I heard he enjoyed the film”, he said.

Unlike Oher, who is estranged from his mother because of her ongoing crack addiction, QuintonAaron has a great relationship with his mother, “We are best friends, I tell her everything”, This explains Aarons’ confidence that young people can reach out to someone in their lives for support to reach their goals, whether or not they have a life like Michael Oher. “The Blind Side” tells the story of Oher;s adoption by Leigh Anne Tuohy, but does not go into detail about how his mother bore 11 children while addicted to crack, moved several times, neglected her children and never told Michael even once that she loved him. Michael’s shrugged of the pain of his childhood, “We’ve got to go through some things in life. Take it and run with it.” And run he did, from a football scholarship at Ole Miss to the 2009 draft of the NFL where he was picked up by the Baltimore Ravens.
When Leigh Anne Tuohy found Michael at her children’s exclusive Christian school, he was homeless, having been ousted form the home of the family who paid his tuition. For the first year he stayed with the Tuohys, he disappeared frequently, only becoming a steady member of the family a year later. Yet, despite the tragic circumstances of his childhood, Oher was never one to hold a grudge, Sean Tuohy says of him,

”Michael’s gift is his ability to forget”. “He’s not mad at anybody. He should be. He has a lot of fire, but no anger. God has blessed him with more than physical ability.”

I asked Quinton how he thought Leigh Anne Tuohy overcame the violent racism of her family of origin. “She doesn’t let anybody tell her what to do, she’s her own woman” he replied. Quinton is a professed Christian who sees importance in being a role model though his work as an actor. “I don’t want to be in films I can’t take my whole church to”. He doesn’t want his extraordinary size (6’9”, 350 lbs) to limit his acting roles. “I don’t want to play the bodyguard and the bouncer, I’m an actor first” Aaron has taped an eptisode of Law and Order coming out in April.

When I asked if he thought that “The Blind Side” had a message to American families, he replied, “Yes, they should love more”. Love like the Tuohy family did, overcoming a past of racism, and a comfortable place in Southern society which understood charity as an activity like a hobby, to be taken up in one’s spare time. But to actually take a homeless teen into your home, that was going off the deep end, according to some of Leigh Anne Touhy’s well-heeled lunch lady friends in the film. Yet the openness of Mrs Tuohy provided unexpected benefits for her family, according to Aaron; ”They learned to spend more time as a family, and to have family meals. Before they didn’t eat together except on Thanksgiving, they learned a lot from Michael.” Said Aaron.

It seems that the message was well received, “The Blind Side” was Sandra Bullock’s best selling film.

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