Award winning actor Lucas Black was shot to prominence at age 14 playing Billy Bob Thornton's only friend, Frank Wheatley, in the sleeper hit “Sling Blade” (1996), which was also directed and scripted by Thornton. For his bright performance, he took home a Saturn Award, a Young Artist Award and a YoungStar Award. Prior to the success, he was known to TV audiences as an orphaned North Carolina youngster on the short-lived series “American Gothic” (1995-1996). Black continued to acquire big screen success with awe-inspiring performances in Antonio Banderas' directorial debut, “Crazy in Alabama” (1999), the Western “All the Pretty Horses” (2000, directed by Billy Bob Thornton), the sport-themed “Friday Night Lights” (2004) and “The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift” (2006), the sequel of the successful films “The Fast and the Furious” (2001) and “2 Fast and 2 Furious” (2003). Other film credits include “The X-Files” (1998), “Cold Mountain” (2003), Sam Mendes' “Jarhead” (2005) and “Legion,” which is expected to be released in 2009.
Down-to-earth Black has kept his private life private. In addition to sports, he enjoys outdoor activities such as fishing and archery. As of 2003, the Alabama native has left his hometown for Columbia, Missouri.
Childhood and Family:
Lucas York Black was born on November 29, 1982, in Decatur, Alabama, to Jan Black, an office worker, and Larry Black, a museum worker. He has two older siblings, Lee and Lori. Growing up in Speake, Alabama, he attended Speake High School and played for his high school football team, the Speake Bobcats, until he graduated in May 2001. Besides football, the passionate outdoors man is also a basketball, baseball and golf enthusiast.
Lucas, whose nickname is Lucky, was a model for Calvin Klein when he was a teenager.
The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift
At 11 years old, Lucas Black received a small role in the drama film “The War” (1994), by Jon Avnet and starring Kevin Costner and Elijah Wood. The project only received moderate success, but put the young actor on the radar of casting agents who suggested him for the starring role of Caleb Temple, the son of Gary Cole's Sheriff Lucas Buck, on the CBS supernatural series “American Gothic.” A cult favorite, the show debuted in September 1995 and throughout its one season run, received several nominations, including an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Sound Mixing for a Drama Series and a Saturn nomination for Best Genre Television Series. Black was nominated for a YoungStar for Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Drama TV Series in 1997.
Black's big breakthrough arrived when actor/director/writer Billy Bob Thornton hired him to play Frank Wheatley in the motion picture drama “Sling Blade” (1996), which won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. As the only friend to the puzzling Karl Childers (played by Thornton), young Black offered a touching, guarded performance and was handed a Saturn for Best Performance by a Younger Actor, a Young Artist for Best Performance in a Feature Film - Leading Young Actor, a YoungStar for Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Drama Film and a Chlotrudis nomination for Best Supporting Actor. He also shared a Screen Actors Guild nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Cast. Later that year, Black appeared with Alec Baldwin, James Woods, Whoopi Goldberg and William H. Macy in Rob Reiner's drama “Ghosts of the Mississippi” (1996).
Also an occasional model for Calvin Klein when he was a teenager, Black revisited television after the demise of “American Gothic” in the guest role of Dr. Noah Fielding in “The Son Also Rises,” a 1997 episode of the David E. Kelley noted series “Chicago Hope” (1994-2000), which starred Adam Arkin and Hector Elizondo. He followed it up with the starring role of Connor Strong in the family oriented made-for-TV film “Flash” (also 1997), from which he received a Young Artist nomination for Best Performance in a TV Movie/Pilot/Mini-Series - Leading Young Actor. He resumed his movie career the following year by taking a small part in the big screen version of “The X-Files,” opposite stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson.
After voicing Randy in “Our Friend, Martin” (1999), an animated film which was directly released to video, Black's film career enjoyed another boost when he landed the lead role in the independent drama “Crazy in Alabama” (1999), opposite Melanie Griffith and David Morse. Although it was not a box office hit, the project gained some notice for being the directorial debut of actor Antonio Banderas. Portraying Peter Joseph 'Peejoe' Bullis, Black netted a YoungStar nomination for Best Young Actor/Performance in a Motion Picture Drama and a Young Artist nomination for Best Performance in a Feature Film - Leading Young Actor.
2000 saw Black reunited with Billy Bob Thornton for the Western movie “All the Pretty Horses,” in which he was cast alongside Matt Damon and Henry Thomas. He impressively played the supporting role of Jimmy Blevins and netted a Las Vegas Film Critics Society nomination and a Young Artist nomination for his work in the film. Also that year, he appeared in the television movie “The Miracle Worker,” a remake of William Gibson's classic play. In 2003, Black joined the cast of the Civil War ensemble “Cold Mountain” that included Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Renée Zellweger, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Donald Sutherland and Natalie Portman, among others. In the successful movie, he portrayed young Oakley.
Next up for Black, he was cast in the starring role of Vernon, an autistic piano player, opposite William Lee Scott as Wesley, in the drama “Killer Diller,” which debuted at the South by Southwest Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival in March and May 2004, respectively. It was also in 2004 that the gifted performer could be seen working again with Billy Bob Thornton in the football drama “Friday Night Lights,” which were jointly directed by Peter Berg and Josh Pate. In the based-on-book film, Black played quarterback Mike Winchell, while Thornton was cast as his coach, Gary Gaines. He then starred as Nat Banyon in the thriller “Deepwater” (2005), which was scripted and helmed by David S. Marfield, and teamed up with Jake Gyllenhaal in the Sam Mendes-directed “Jarhead” (2005), in which he portrayed a marine named Kruger.
In 2006, Black starred as Sean Boswell in the sequel “The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift,” for director Justin Lin, who followed in the footsteps of fellow filmmakers Rob Cohen and John Singleton, who previously sat in the director's chairs for “The Fast and the Furious” (2001) and “2 Fast and 2 Furious” (2003), respectively. While the film was a moderate success, the actor was praised for quickly seizing up the franchise made famous by previous stars Vin Diesel and Paul Walker. As for his acting, he was nominated for a Teen Choice for Movies - Choice Breakout (Male).
Currently, Black is filming the action horror movie “Legion,” which is scheduled for a 2009 release. In the movie, he will play Jeep Hansen, opposite Dennis Quaid as Bob Hanson, Paul Bettany as Michael, Kate Walsh as Sandra Anderson and Tyrese Gibson as Kyle Williams.
Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films: Saturn, Best Performance by a Younger Actor, “Sling Blade,” 1997
Young Artist: Best Performance in a Feature Film - Leading Young Actor, “Sling Blade,” 1997
YoungStar: Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Drama Film, “Sling Blade,” 1997