Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Whatever Happened To The Actor From The Blind Side?

In 2009, actor Quinton Aaron had audiences buzzing with his stellar performance in The Blind Side. The film was inspired by the real-life story of football player Michael Oher, played by Aaron, who was adopted by his high school football coach's family. Sandra Bullock starred as Leigh Anne Tuohy, Oher's adoptive mother, and won an Oscar for her performance, but at just 25 years old, Aaron made a name for himself as a serious young actor with charisma, talent, and the potential for a long career. So whatever happened to the actor from The Blind Side?

Sometimes, popular overnight sensations like The Blind Side can be the kiss of death for young careers. While little-known actors can gain a lot of exposure quickly, they can also be pigeonholed into playing one type of character. Since 2009, Quinton Aaron certainly hasn't been receiving nearly the same level of media attention that he did in his Blind Side days — but he's actually been up to a heck of a lot.

Aaron has been working almost non-stop since The Blind Side, appearing in films, TV, and even short films. And in addition to acting, he's also carved out a niche for himself in a sideline career that might surprise you — but makes perfect sense.

Giving back

According to his official website, Aaron formed the Quinton Aaron foundation on August 15, 2012, hoping to offer a resource for children to learn about stopping bullying and curbing childhood obesity. "The mission of the foundation is to provide hope, encouragement, confidence and resources," reads the webpage, "to children on the brink of suicide or battling the damaging effect on self-esteem and confidence caused by the actions or words of others."

Talking to The Undefeated, Aaron explained how his own history with bullying inspired him to help others. "When I first started speaking to kids, it was about following your dreams," he recalled. "And when kids would ask me about bullying... I was like, '...How did you know that I was bullied?' Then I figured, why not speak about my experiences and how I got over them? Because it could motivate or hopefully inspire kids to do the same."

Aaron is also an ambassador for Beating the Odds, a non-profit organization that helps kids overcome tough circumstances to achieve success in life. There, he participates in the Quarterbacks of Life Program, which aims to show people as role models for overcoming the odds and achieving their dreams despite the setbacks they've faced. Fellow Quarterbacks of Life include actor James Earl Jones, surfer and shark attack survivor Bethany Hamilton, and NFL Hall of Fame Quarterback Warren Moon.

Small roles on big shows

Shortly after The Blind Side, Aaron nabbed a couple of appearances on big TV shows. In 2010, he had a guest-starring role in an episode of Law & Order: SVU that aired on March 24, 2010. It was actually a return to the franchise for Aaron, as he had previously appeared in two episodes of Law & Order in 2007, before his big break on The Blind Side. Back then, according to his IMDb page, he played an uncredited bouncer/bodyguard.

After his role on Law & Order: SVU, Aaron surfaced as a guest in an episode of Mercy, as well as Harry's Law and Drop Dead DivaAaron also played Tommy, a character recurring in a two-episode arc of CW prime time soap One Tree Hill in 2011. He appeared in the episodes "Holding Out for a Hero" and "The Smoker You Drink, the Player You Get," as a student athlete and a mentee to Nathan.

A horror-ble new career

Returning to film, Aaron played Kenneth in the 2014 horror movie The Appearing. It was a small role — but that might have been a good thing, as the film was hardly a runaway success. Horror review site Culture Crypt, for example, called it "a slow burn horror thriller without the thrills, the horror, or even the burn."

After that flop, Aaron unfortunately fell straight into another: the ominously titled Left Behind. A reboot of the 2000 movie based on the post-apocalyptic Christian book series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, the story follows a rapture in which Christians with strong faith start to mysteriously disappear, leaving behind only those that haven't found Christ. The film starred Nicolas Cage in the lead role, as well as Aaron's former One Tree Hill co-star Chad Michael Murray and Nicky Whelan and Jordin Sparks. Despite that star power, it only grossed $6,300,147 at the box office on its opening weekend, and endured serious scorn from critics

Left Behind might not have done well with the critics, but Aaron told The Blaze that he stood by the story. "I do believe in sending positive messages," he said. "I am a Christian, so I do believe in a lot of positive messages. I do believe in this."

Breaking away from Big Mike

In October 2014, The Wrap reported that Aaron was going to star in and executive produce a film called Halfway, about a man released from prison into a Wisconsin farming town. Aaron played the main character, Byron, who struggles to leave his life of crime in the past.

Halfway didn't hit theaters until April 21, 2017. Although it only earned a 40% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, it had its defenders; Huffington Post raved about it, calling it "a truly excellent film."

Aaron explained that Halfway represented an important turning point in his career. "The Blind Side was a wonderful opportunity for me," he said, "which opened many doors and allowed for me to collaborate with Academy Award winners.... But while it was a great start for me, it definitely isn't my ending. There's a lot more to come and I hope that with Halfway audiences are able to see that there is much more to me than just Big Mike."

Back on the sidelines

Although Halfway would take some time to produce, Aaron didn't slow down while the indie film was underway, and stayed busy taking an assortment of other acting jobs in between. In 2015, Aaron had a small role in My Favorite Five, a film about a sexually manipulative woman who uses her feminine wiles to get ahead in life. Aaron played T.I., a trusting guy who ends up getting played by the leading lady.

Also during that year, Aaron appeared in the family film Dancer and the Dame, a drama about a down-on-his-luck detective named Dancer who gets matched up with an extremely special canine partner. Once again taking on a supporting part in a film production, Aaron played the role of Louis, although fans wouldn't have known unless they looked closely — he isn't given a starring credit and he isn't featured in the trailer at all.

A lean twenty-sixteen

2016 started off in familiar fashion for Aaron, with a bit part in Mothers and Daughters that didn't even make the first page of the film's IMDb credits. His next blink-and-you'll-miss-it performance arrived about halfway through Traded, a Western film starring Michael Pare, Trace Adkins, and Kris Kristofferson. Aaron briefly appears as Silas, a gun-wielding card player that shoots another character. After that, he did a turn as the caring security guard in the pediatric cancer unit of a hospital in the tearjerker teen romance My First Miracle. While it wasn't a main character, it was a larger role than some of his previous films, and did merit a credit in the trailer.

After that, Aaron briefly went back to football films with Greater, this time as Coach Aaron, a supporting character in the biopic about real-life football player Brandon Burlsworth from the University of Arkansas. He finished off 2016 playing Tino, a pimp, in the low-budget indie Hero of the Underworld.

Giant Man

In 2017, things started to look up for Aaron, with a more substantial role in the offbeat comedy It's Not My Fault and I Don't Care Anyway. The late Alan Thicke stars as Patrick Spencer, a wealthy and pretentious self-help guru; Aaron plays Brian "Giant Man" Calhoun, a heroin addict recruited by a gang of criminals to kidnap Spencer's daughter and hold her for ransom. But when Thicke's character refuses to shell out to return his daughter to safety, the damsel in distress asks Giant Man to look out for her.

While the trailer makes the film seem like a light comedy, critics like Scott Haeyes of the St. Albert Gazette and Last Caress of Battle Royale with Cheese note that it's actually much darker, but an enjoyable film nonetheless. Last Caress even makes a point of noting the "fine performance... from the incredibly likable Quinton Aaron."

Serious subjects

Aaron resurfaced in another supporting role as Benjamin in the Western film Justice, also released in 2017, then shifted away from low-budget B-movies with Heart, Baby, a Newport Beach Film Festival selection for 2017. Based on the true story of a Tennessee convict who became an undefeated boxer while serving 40 years in prison, Heart, Baby debuted at the festival in October 2017 and hasn't yet seen a theatrical release.

After Heart, Baby, Aaron played Quain, a supporting character in the indie An American in Texas, which, like Justice, hit theaters in 2017. Next, he joined Vivica A. Fox in the cast of Jason's Letter, another indie that broaches the timely subject matter of the Black Lives Matter movement. Unfortunately, critics like Marlon Wallace of Delmarva Life thought the film fell short of its potential. "Tykeem's film might be inspiring," Wallace wrote, "but it's also a bit naive."

Work work work work work

Aaron stayed busy in 2018, putting out four different projects in the first three quarters of the year. First he played Michael, a genetic scientist, in The Second Coming of Christ, another religious film about the rapture and finding faith in God. After that, he continued his busy streak with roles in Worthless, Fishbowl California, and Bad Company. In Worthless, a cheerleader horror movie, he played the principal in a school overrun by mean girls and dark magic that sends the main character on a terrifying journey into her past. In Fishbowl California, Aaron played a lovable bodega clerk who befriends the leading lady. In Bad Company, his character joined a group of rookie cadets at boot camp who set out to earn a job in the service, but wind up tackling a much bigger conspiracy than they ever could have bargained for.

A whole lot of horror

Aaron isn't showing any signs of slowing down. He's got an array of projects lined up, including a horror film called Hybristophilia, about a news team whose attempts to interview an at-large serial killer go very wrong. Aaron plays Tommy, a member of the camera crew. According to Dread CentralHybristophilia was supposed to be released in 2017.

Never one to limit himself professionally, Aaron also secured a role in the TV series Gods of Medicine. There's no official trailer or premiere date yet, but Aaron's set to play a character called Vick Wilson in the show, which follows doctors that compete in some of the most complicated surgeries in the world.

Continuing his success in the horror genre, Aaron is also featured in Rock Paper Dead and Cranial Sacral, two upcoming projects that are also still waiting on official release dates.

Future plans

What does the future hold for Quinton Aaron? It looks like the sky is the limit for this compassionate performer. In his interview with Huffington Post's Pam Stucky, he explained that while he'll always love acting, he's not opposed to testing the waters in other areas of showbiz. "Acting is definitely my primary focus," he said, "but I'm certainly interested in producing as well. I like being creative and although I don't consider myself a writer, I do enjoy coming up with ideas and developing them with writers who I like and want to work with."

As for whether he has a dream role he'd love to pursue, Aaron showed his willingness to reach for the stars again when he admitted that he's always wanted to play 007 himself, James Bond. He'd be an unorthodox choice, but it may not be bad timing, as word on the street is they're already looking for a brand new Bond. Are you listening, Hollywood? We've got a volunteer.