Sam Medina is known for playing bad guys. However, in the action/thriller Mile 22, Medina stars opposite Mark Wahlberg portraying a special ops agent. “Director Peter Berg told me, you’re not a bad guy. It was no muscles, no tattoos. It was more of the thespian work that I want to do,” Medina explained.
Yet Medina keeps in shape, spending six days a week in the gym. “I have to work twice as hard,” he says of training like big stars, “Hard work comes before the red carpet!”
Medina’s mother got him out of his native Saigon when he was 12. He spoke no English when he arrived in New Orleans. After Hurricane Katrina he lost his job, but eventually found work in film and television before relocating to Los Angeles where he hones his craft. “I pride myself as a thespian,” he says, “One day I want to hold The Trophy.”
Medina makes his directorial debut in the upcoming action/ thriller Code Name The Dragon. He watches everything on set and has learned from directors like Robert Rodriguez, Peter Berg, Oliver Stone, Antoine Fuqua, Martin Campbell and Edward Zwick.
Upcoming: Medina plays a 10-foot robot in Alita: Battle Angel, written by James Cameron, then opposite Tom Hardy in Marvel’s Venom.
The actor also wants to do a comedy, but for now when he reads a script where his “bad guy character dies” he says, “My specialty is, how do I die? Because I die a lot.” He wants to know, “Do I die special?” Medina wants the audience to look into his eyes and see his characters’ desperation, and on some level maybe feel sorry for him.
Don’t wish him break a leg. “I make my own way,” he laughed. “When I go into an audition, if I don’t get the part, I break their legs.”