Lucas Black

Lucas Black Headshot

Actor

Birth Name: Lucas York Black

Birth Date: November 29, 1982

Age: 41 years old

Birth Place: Decatur, Alabama

Actor Lucas Black brings a sense of genuineness to his performances. Having no previous acting training whatsoever, the 11-year-old Alabama native aced a casting call for a supporting role in the Kevin Costner drama "The War" (1994) then jumped straight into television as a cast member on the short-lived but well-regarded supernatural drama "American Gothic" (CBS, 1995-96). It was, however, Black's unaffected turn as a boy who befriends a local outcast in writer-director-star Billy Bob Thornton's acclaimed film "Sling Blade" (1996) that officially put Black on the map. School and the occasional modeling job for Calvin Klein occupied much of the budding thespian's time between film jobs.

Black appeared in a small, but pivotal role in "The X-Files" (1998) feature film and starred opposite Melanie Griffith in the Antonio Banderas-directed "Crazy in Alabama" (1999) prior to his work with Matt Damon and director Thornton on the neo-Western "All the Pretty Horses" (2000). After reappearing alongside Thornton in the inspirational football drama "Friday Night Lights" (2004), Black scored a touchdown as the star of "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift," (2006), the second sequel in the hugely popular action franchise. More praise came for his typically understated performance opposite seasoned veterans Robert Duvall and Bill Murray in the drama "Get Low" (2010). Still early in his career, Black's instincts and natural ability were sure to serve him well in the years ahead.

Black was born Nov. 29, 1982 in Decatur, AL, where he was also raised. While he would spend half of his young life onscreen, he would become known for keeping things real off set. Interviewers would continually note his down-to-earth qualities, with Black as interested in playing sports or fishing as he was performing in front of the camera. His career began at age 11, when - with no experience or training - he landed the part of Ebb in the Kevin Costner drama, "The War" (1994). While the movie did only modest business, Black garnered some notice - enough that when CBS began casting their new TV show, "American Gothic," (1995-96), agents looked him up when the show started production in North Carolina.

Not surprisingly, Black landed the part, playing the character of Caleb Temple on one of the most highly touted series of the 1995-96 television season. With a toughness and sensitivity that placed him somewhere between Brad Renfro and Elijah Wood on the kid star spectrum, 12-year-old Black commanded the small screen as a suddenly orphaned North Carolina youngster who finds himself thrust into a world of supernatural intrigue. On only his second feature film, Black scored big with a role that truly put him on the map, that of young Frank Wheatley in the acclaimed "Sling Blade" (1996), opposite director-star, Billy Bob Thornton. As the only friend to the enigmatic Karl Childers, played to perfection by Thornton, Black earned high marks himself for his moving, restrained performance that belied his age.

The deep Southern accents of both performers helped authenticate the film for many viewers, only adding to the quality of the overall picture, which scored an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. Throughout his teen years, aside from occasionally modeling for Calvin Klein, Black maintained a decidedly more down-home lifestyle than many of his peers, focusing on and excelling in sports such as football, basketball and golf. During this time, he turned up in small roles in the feature film "Ghosts of the Mississippi," (1996) followed by the small but critical role in the film version of "The X-Files" (1998), in which his character falls into a mysterious hole and is taken over by an alien force called "black oil," thus setting the film into motion.

Not long after, Black's career picked up speed again when he landed the lead role in the independent film, "Crazy in Alabama" (1999). While not a box office success, the film garnered its share of publicity, due to it being Antonio Banderas' directorial debut. Black's knack for picking quality projects had allowed him the freedom to make decisions about his career path, most especially when he was offered a part in the highly touted 1998 film, "The Horse Whisperer." The filmmakers asked that he change his distinctly Southern accent. Rather than roll over to the whims of Hollywood, Black declined the role, later insisting that he preferred roles where he would not have to change himself nor his essence - a philosophy which had, at that point, not exactly cost him parts. He had left such a favorable impression with past co-workers that Billy Bob Thornton called upon Black to co-star opposite Matt Damon in Thornton's film, "All the Pretty Horses" in 2000.

After a part in the Civil War ensemble "Cold Mountain" (2003), where he played young Oakley, Black at last capitalized on his athletic experience in the well-received football drama, "Friday Night Lights" (2004). Portraying quarterback Mike Winchell, who takes his team to the state finals under relentless pressure from the local sports-obsessed community, the part was yet another pairing with Thornton, who played his coach. Black next took a co-starring role in the independent film, "Killer Diller" (2004), playing an autistic piano player who befriends a guitar-playing car thief in a halfway house, forming their own band of misfits. Following his brief indie fling, Black marched right into Sam Mendes' "Jarhead" (2005), playing fellow marine Kruger opposite star Jake Gyllenhaal in the lyrical war drama adapted from the 1991 memoirs of actual Gulf War veterans.

An avid outdoorsman, Black picked up his rifle and donned his hunter's cap to tape a special segment of the Turner South show, "Off the Menu," focusing on hunting, fishing, and preparing game. It was one of the few glimpses into his personal life, which Black had tried to keep private. This became a much more difficult task, following his first major starring role in "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift," (2006). Not only did he carry the picture, but he effortlessly took over a popular franchise made famous by previous stars Vin Diesel and Paul Walker. Black played a reckless young drag racer sent to stay with his estranged father on business in Tokyo, where he soon falls in with a rough-and-tumble crowd who teach him a new form of racing, where drivers spin into barely-controlled skids called "drifting." Despite the success and attention he had gained from "Tokyo Drift," Black spent the next few years away from the camera and on the golf course, competing in several tournaments. He returned to theaters in director Scott Stewart's apocalyptic action-fantasy "Legion" (2010), starring Paul Bettany as a heavily armed Archangel Michael.

His appearance in the indie-drama "Get Low" (2010) relied far less on special effects and gunplay and more on the interaction of actual human beings. In the affecting story, described as a "true tall tale," Black assists funeral director Bill Murray as he plans a "funeral party" for Robert Duvall, an eccentric hermit burdened with a long-kept secret. Black then put his love of golf to good use in the religious sports drama "Seven Days in Utopia" (2011), in which he starred as a hot-headed young athlete who discovers his faith on the links with the help of a kindly mentor (Robert Duvall).

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