Les Miles may be on the outs at LSU, having been given his walking papers after a disappointing 2-2 start to the 2016 season, but he’s apparently found ways to keep busy.
It turns out Miles has been bitten by the acting bug, as he’s apparently gone from the Louisiana bayou to the hills of Hollywood.
Miles has had cameos in several movies so far, but his biggest role is in the upcoming film “Angry Men,” which tells the story of the 1986 Challenger space shuttle disaster.
According to The Advocate, Miles has completely thrown himself into acting.
The 64-year-old is putting together demo reels, auditioning and generally behaving more like a kid fresh out of film school working at a coffee shop in L.A. (the city) than a father of four and family man in L.A. (the state).
“I don’t know that anybody ever doesn’t dream at one point in time, ‘I’m going to be in a movie,'” Miles said of his interest in acting. “I don’t know how you don’t think that way. As a child, I wanted to be the president of the United States, wanted to be a head football coach and wanted to be an actor in a movie. We only get one go-around at this thing called life. There’s no do-overs.”
Miles will likely never be president, but still, two out of three isn’t bad.
And with his coaching career having ground to a halt, Miles might find himself with more time to pursue acting.
He drew interest from Houston, Purdue and Minnesota during the 2016 offseason, but ultimately didn’t get any of those jobs.
The 2017 offseason? Crickets. Nobody seems to want a coach who will turn 65 in the middle of his first season with the school.
Andrew van den Houten, whose 2017 film “Camera Obscura” featured Miles playing a police officer with one spoken line, expressed his surprise at the football coach’s dedication to acting.
“This is highly unusual,” van den Houten said. “Usually you find them to play coaches, their own roles. It’s unusual to find somebody at the top of their game, a college football coach, a piece of history for LSU, a representative of Louisiana like this to want to play other roles.”
Miles also appeared as a football coach in 2014’s “When the Game Stands Tall.” But he reportedly didn’t like the cameo role, since, as former Celtic Studios Executive Director Patrick Mulhearn put it, “he had to play himself.”
In “Angry Men”, Miles plays a NASA chief whose failure to listen to the engineers warning him to cancel the Challenger launch led to one of the worst disasters in the history of the American space program.
Van den Houten spoke about the “it” factor that makes Miles a natural actor.
“There’s something really cool about him, a sensitive compassionate side. The best actors have that quality,” said van den Houten:
Miles got into acting with a little help from one of the legends of the industry.
Mulhearn, who gave Miles a studio tour when the 2013 film “Oblivion” was in filming, told the story of a celebrity meeting with Tom Cruise that turned into much more than a simple meet-and-greet.
“I figured it would be a 20-30-minute talk. It didn’t work out like that,” said Mulhearn, now a senior director at Louisiana Economic Development. “I walked him down to the stage. He and Tom Cruise started talking. They stopped a few hours later. He then watched intently as Tom acted. They say Tom Cruise is as big of a fan of football as Les Miles is of movies.”
Miles isn’t retiring from coaching, not officially. But with LSU still owing him $9.6 million, he’s got plenty of money and plenty of time on his hands. Unlike all those starving artists making Los Angeles’ $15 minimum wage and struggling to make rent while chasing a dream, Miles has ample resources to devote to his new passion.
“Next time you go to a movie, see if what he or she says on screen evokes reality to you. If in fact that’s it, if it’s in fact reality, that guy or gal has done a great job. I’m working on that,” he said.
Truth is stranger than fiction, after all.
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