Actor Sean Patrick Thomas burst onto the scene as Julia Stiles’ co-star and love interest in the 2001 classic Save the Last Dance — and he’s been a sex symbol ever since.
And according to him, the film, which features an interracial love story, may be responsible for many beautiful mixed-race babies.
“I also get a lot of bros or white women who say, ‘You know, I saw ‘Save the Last Dance.’ [and] I felt like I was ready to have an interracial relationship,” Shawn told me. “And now, look, I have four mixed children.”
But this film was not his last dance in show business. Shawn continued to work consistently in television and was in the Barbershop franchise. Most recently, he played Gene Mobley, the husband of Emmett Till’s mother, in the powerful biopic about her, “Till,” out Friday.
“Not a lot of people know about him and the role he played,” Shawn said of Emmett’s surrogate father. “So I felt a great responsibility to him and to his family to do him justice.”
He also stars in Hulu’s Reasonable Doubt, executive produced by Kerry Washington, who plays his sister in Save the Last Dance.
“Twenty years later it’s exactly the same. I go on set and it’s just a warm family feeling,” he said of working with Carey.
You can tell family is important to Sean. The Delaware native spoke warmly of his parents, who came from Guyana. If you check out his Instagram page, it’s full of beautiful photos from his childhood and endless photos of his two kids and his wife, actress Aonica Laurent, who hails from New Orleans. However, there is some family tension bubbling under the surface. The question is in football. He’s a die-hard Philadelphia Eagles fan, and his wife, who hails from the Big Easy, has her own passionate relationship.
“I agree with her liking her own team…I respect that, but don’t put a New Orleans Saints jersey on my son. Or my daughter. That’s where she crossed the line, man.
He recalled buying his son an Eagles jersey and then going to take a picture of something. “I came home a few months later and he was wearing a Saints jersey. It was the height of disrespect.”
The Eagles are the only undefeated team in the league so far this season, so he has the upper hand for now.
I imagine he had Randall Cunningham, Donovan McNabb or Brian Dawkins jerseys in his house, but growing up he idolized James Bond. He now calls Sidney Poitier’s character “In the Heat of the Night” his “spirit animal” because he grew up as a lonely black kid in a white neighborhood.
“He reminded me of myself when he went down to that all-white town and had to deal with all that stuff and all the expectations and all the lack of respect… He was a detective. He came here to do a job and everyone tried to treat him like he was less than because he was black,” he said.
As an athlete myself, I can relate to the way he approaches his craft. He emphasized that his ability to perform was based on solid foundations: Training. Acting lessons. voice. Speech Movement. Breath. Dance.
“Everything I’ve done in my career has been based on my training — really, I just have the confidence that I can handle any kind of material,” he said.
Sometimes this includes a love scene. His description of this process sounds quite clinical, revealing some very unsexy Hollywood truths.
He called his on-screen sex scenes “painting by numbers”. But now it’s even more so because there’s an intimacy coordinator right there to make sure everyone feels respected and no one feels forced. They’re there with, like, peppermints between scenes … they have a spray … so nobody feels like, you know, a victim in any way,” he said. “Even from bad breath.”
Detroit native Jaylen Rose was a member of the University of Michigan’s iconic Fab Five that rocked the college world in the early 1990s. He played 13 seasons in the NBA before becoming a media personality. Rose is currently an analyst for “NBA Countdown” and “Get Up” and co-host of “Jalen & Jacoby.” He is the executive producer of “The Fab Five” for ESPN’s “30 for 30” series, the author of the bestseller “Got To Give the People What They Want,” a fashion tastemaker and co-founder of the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, a public charter school in his hometown.