When "Skyline" premieres this Friday, you will witness a new action hero in the making. Donald Faison--who spent nine seasons on the Network comedy series "Scrubs" as Dr. Christopher Turk, and starred in countless movies such as "Next Day Air," and the classic cult comedy "Clueless"--will show us another side of his acting and physical prowess.
Now, keep in mind Faison has a serious side to his acting. His roles in such movies as "Waiting to Exhale" and "Remember the Titans" depicted young men with father issues, cockiness and bad attitudes, but "Skyline" takes him into another genre altogether.
Faison says, "I've always wanted to be an action, adventure guy. But somewhere along the line, someone said you're funny." Faison said he stayed in that lane and it worked very well for him, but when "Skyline" came along, he jumped on it.
In this sci-fi thriller, strange lights descend on the city of Los Angeles, drawing people outside like moths to a flame. Once outdoors, a terrifying extraterrestrial force begins to swallow the entire human population off the face of the Earth. In a matter of hours, we will all be gone.
Faison's character Terry and his girlfriend Candice (Brittany Daniel, "Club Dredd") are all set to share a fun-filled birthday weekend with his visiting best friend Jarrod (Eric Balfour, Syfy's "Haven") and his girlfriend Elaine (Scottie Thompson, "Star Trek"). But, the world as they know it soon comes to an end.
Now, it will take every survival instinct they have to elude capture from the thousands of monstrous creatures that are sweeping the city and searching for all humans in their path. From tankers to drones and hydra-like extraterrestrials, the aliens are inescapable and seemingly indestructible.
Faison says in Hollywood it's a waiting game, a luck game and how prepared you are when it (the opportunity) comes around. He says when "Skyline" came around he was prepared. "All the work in the gym, all of the running, all of the exercising, it paid off."
But despite his preparation, he actually blew his first audition for the movie. "I thought I had a great audition, but they weren't looking for a funny guy; they were looking for someone who could be serious."
He says he thought the movie was like Will Smiths' "Men in Black." However, he got a second chance to prove he could be a serious actor, he says, "I remember going back in and I didn't crack a smile, I didn't tell a joke, there was no laughter at all. I tried to be as angry as possible. I auditioned once more, and I got the part."
Faison is a major science fiction fan, and first-time screenwriter Joshua Cordes says he and Faison would recite "Star Wars" dialogue to each other on set. But when the cameras rolled, Faison would slip into action-hero mode.
The film is directed and produced by The Brothers Strause whose boutique FX house, Hydraulx, has contributed visionary sequences to a string of blockbuster films such as "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," "2012," "300," "X-Men: The Last Stand," "The Incredible Hulk" and "The Day After Tomorrow."
Faison says "Skyline" is something different, "Not your everyday disaster movie."
This is a start of a whole new career move for the veteran actor whose childhood dream was to be an action hero in a sci-fi film.
Hollywood does not have a lot of Black action heroes, but they have shown, when given the opportunity, they can walk the walk, and talk the talk, not to mention kick butt like the best of them.
The 36-year-old actor and New York native says he is ready to take on meatier, tougher roles, and "Skyline" is only the beginning for Donald Faison.
"Skyline" is in theaters Friday.
Gail can be reached at email@example.com.