Quinton Aaron is taking the lead on and off the field thanks to new movie The Blind Side, co-starring Sandra Bullock.
Quinton isn’t exactly what you’d call a newcomer: He played Q in Be Kind Rewind and a few bit parts here and there. Now the self-professed gentle giant is finally the star of the show in The Blind Side, based on the life of Baltimore Ravens player Michael Oher. The movie debuted Friday, and it’s raked in an estimated $34.5 million at the box office thus far.
Quinton went through a lengthy audition process, and before he found out whether he booked The Blind Side, the movie was nearly sacked by the writer’s strike. So you can imagine how excited he was to find out that the movie was back in production and the director wanted him to play the lead.
While we’d love to say that something deep drew Quinton to the story, it didn’t. The actor told us that what drew him to the part was the fact that there was finally a lead role for someone his size. Like Michael Oher, Quinton is a big guy, and he knows that these type of parts aren’t a dime a dozen.
“The first two things that drew me to the story was one, the size of the guy was similar to mine, and two, it’s a lead role,” the actor explained. “I’m like ‘When does that happen?’ Being an actor my size, there’s barely any lead roles for people my size. Based off of those two things I told myself, ‘I gotta do this.’”
But it turns out that Quinton was a good match to play Michael. As he read the script Quinton found a lot of similar personality traits that made playing the Offensive Lineman. Beyond Quinton, it looks like the casting director brought a great roster together that could really do the roles justice and work well together, too.
Of course every actor has to go through character prep before filming, but since Quinton was playing a great athlete, he had to make sure his game was one point. To improve his athleticism, he trained with one of the coaches from Georgia Tech’s football team. And he incorporated some unique weight training exercise into his routine on set.
“I would use [Jae head, who plays S.J. Tuohy] as a work out tool, and that actually got incorporated into the film,” said Quinton. “I had a workout for all of them: I would curl Sandra, I would bench press Lily [Collins], then I would throw Tim [McGraw] on my back and do squats with him.”
The real test of Quinton’s skills though was playing a person that actually exists as opposed to a fictional character, but one thing pushed him towards perfection.
“He’s gonna see this, and if he didn’t like it he can actually, probably, beat me down. I wanted to port,” said with a laugh before offering a more serious explanation. “More so than being nervous of portraying the character right, I just was glad and honored to be a part of telling this story because I felt it was a great story.”
— Sonya Eskridge