Hollywood life now? He’ll pass


As the quarterback of the Texas high school football team chronicled in “Friday Night Lights,” an adaptation of H.G. Bissinger’s popular nonfiction book, 21-year-old Lucas Black gives a searing performance as someone torn between who he is and what he might become. Having played high school football in his native Alabama, Black felt a special connection to the material.

“The book, and the story of the movie, is basically what I lived in high school. Football’s just as big in Alabama as it is in Texas,” he says, his accent thickening every syllable.

Which is not to say he wholeheartedly agrees with the outsider’s take on small-town life. “I think the book gives a negative point of view toward Southern small towns,” he says. “A lot of people interpret it as that’s all they do, high school football as a religion. But I don’t see it that way.”


Especially potent are Black’s scenes opposite Billy Bob Thornton, who portrays the team’s driven coach. The two worked together on “Sling Blade” and “All the Pretty Horses,” but regarding any special rapport between them Black simply says, “I guess we’re working friends, is what I would call us.”

Black recently moved into a house in Columbia, Mo., where his girlfriend just began law school, and he doesn’t much concern himself with the hip restaurants or trendy workout regimes of young Hollywood. Waiting for next hunting season to start, he is still savvy enough to make special mention of his agent and manager, who enable him to live an unfettered existence off the set, as he has no desire to head west.

“I don’t want to live in L.A.,” Black says. “I just really don’t like the big city. I like the woods, I like the forest, and Southern California is all desert. I really don’t need to live there. Hollywood’s not a dream place for me, it’s not what I want to be around, so there’s no reason for me to live there.”