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90 Things to Love About Alabama: Lucas Black, the Alabama Gentleman

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Local boy makes it big, but never forgets where he came from.

Lucas Black
Lucas Black

Ever since “The Jazz Singer” became the first movie with synchronized dialogue in 1927, Hollywood has been cranking out some awful Southern accents on the silver screens. Actors who have probably never been anywhere near the South outside of the ATL airport have a grand tradition of butchering the Southern dialects (for reference, please see Keanu Reeves in “Devil’s Advocate”, Nicolas Cage in “Con Air”, the entire cast of “Slither”). That is why it is always refreshing when a son or daughter of the South breaks through the Hollyweird wall and represents.

Lucas Black does not shy away from speaking in his authentic Southern Alabama accent that he mastered growing up in tiny little Speake, Alabama outside of Decatur. He has just enough twang and drawl to combine with his wry smile to make the ladies weak in their knees.

Black got his first big break in Kevin Costner’s film “The War”. However, he really caught the world’s attention in his second movie role with his heartbreaking turn as Frank in “Sling Blade” opposite Billy Bob Thornton.

If you are from a small Alabama town and were not this kid growing up, you surely knew a kid like the big-hearted one Black portrayed in this film.

Around this time, the young Alabamian also starred in the tragically short-lived TV show American Gothic with Gary Cole. He would go on to star in more child roles in “Ghosts of Mississippi” and “Crazy in Alabama”.

While so many other child stars struggle once they hit puberty, Black thrived as a young adult starring in movies such as “All the Pretty Horses”, “Cold Mountain” and very memorably as quarterback Mike Winchell in “Friday Night Lights” once again opposite of Billy Bob Thornton.

A few years later, Black joined the The Fast and the Furious franchise with the stand alone “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift”. To be honest, it is an entertaining film for what it is and perhaps the least far-fetched (bonus points for not having Vin Diesel in it repeatedly talking about “fambly”).

Black really cashed in when he turned a four-episode guest star appearance on “NCIS” into a spin-off of “NCIS: New Orleans”, now in it’s fifth season with a renewal for a sixth.

So, why include an actor in a series about “Things to Love About Alabama”? It’s because Lucas Black is an exemplary example of what we know many Alabama men to be as opposed to the crude stereotype that is often portrayed in movies and on TV. He has not let fame and fortune get the better of him. He is a good guy, says “yes, sir”/”yes, ma’am”, and has not forgotten his roots. He is the kind of guy you could have a beer with and debate the best Crimson Tide defense of all time. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that he is a big Alabama fan. Roll Tide!