Since Tom Stevens’ introduction into acting for film and television six years ago, his career has featured many milestones and highlights, and has reached a boiling point level of immense success. That’s not much of a surprise to anyone who has ever seen him act. He commands the screen in every scene he’s in, which has resoundingly resulted in his placement among the best actors in the business.
Pitting himself analogous to some of the greatest talents in cinematic history, Stevens has the ability to carry his performance in his eyes. Whether they offer sympathy, invoke charm, or bring out a raw intensity, they always draw in the audience. It’s this impressive characteristic— along with his natural instincts— that have allowed him to play so many diverse roles throughout film and television. Some well-known titles he’s acted in include the TV series “Fringe,” “Wayward Pines” and “Cedar Cove.”
But perhaps Stevens’ most fun, most heart-pumping role to date is almost certainly “12 Rounds 2,” where he starred opposite the WWE’s Randy Orton. A powerhouse of adrenaline, the film was directed by Roel Reiné, produced by WWE and Michael J. Luisi, and co-starred Brian Markinson. Released on DVD and Blu-ray, “12 Rounds” was a hit for action fans who crave action-packed sensibilities the genre brings, and for Orton fans who yearned for a new dynamic platform to see their hero perform.
The film follows Nick Malloy (Orton), a paramedic taking care of a patient with a cellphone stitched inside his chest. Before the paramedic can offer much help, he receives a call that his wife has been kidnapped. The only way he can get her back is to play a 12-round game run by an unknown, evil mastermind. Stevens’ character joins the chase early on in the rounds. He plays Tommy, a wealthy, drug abusing son to a big-time politician.
Playing Tommy wasn’t going to be easy to pull off. He had to be played by someone that could work well within the script, but also improvising when the time called for it. Most importantly, he had to be someone that was willing to perform the dangerous stunts director Roel Reiné envisioned.
Stevens didn’t shy away from any of these challenges. He recalled telling Reiné, “I’ll jump off the roof on fire if you want me to. I like the idea of falling off of something and doing my own stunt work.” That’s a Tom Cruise level of commitment; the making of true star, indeed.
Two of Tommy’s most dangerous stunts took place during a pivotal scene during round 10. The character’s father is being buried alive beneath tons of sugar by non-stop conveyor belts above him. Stevens was required to act below a hanging 3,000-pound bulldozer’s bucket, and later within circles of fire. On the experience, he said, “You’re not unprotected. I had my shirt off and you feel the flames.”
All these action-based stunts make perfect sense for a film so heavily connected to wrestling. Orton was new to film acting at the time of production, and this meant Stevens was able to give out some pointers to his co-star. Sometimes it was just in calming his nerves, or helping his acting achieve a more polished, authentic look. By the end of the shoot, Stevens found himself becoming friends with one of his once heroes.
Speaking on being a lead in a feature film, Stevens said, “It’s something about being a leading man in the film. People look up to you to perform. You show any points of spite, anger or sadness, people start going, ‘Is Tommy okay?’ Everybody’s connected on set. You’re in this together. It’s powerful to be that guy stronger than you are sometimes. It’s a persona, a mental challenge. That’s what being a leading man is all about. It’s about everybody else on set.”
With his role in “12 Rounds 2” under his belt, and many other roles such as those in “Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome,” “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days,” “Wayward Pines” and “Cedar Cove,” Stevens has established himself as one of Hollywood’s most sought-after, go-to acting talents.
“I expect Tom to be doing high end work in film and TV for years and years to come,” said Stevens’ manager, Robert Stein, who discovered and helped launch the careers of other superstar talents such as Heath Ledger, Mark Ruffalo and Jason Clarke.
Coming next for Stevens is his role in “The Game of Love,” where he co-stars with Heather Locklear. The to-be-released comedy drama movie is headed to TV this spring.
In the meantime, be sure to check out Tom Stevens in “12 Rounds 2” and for more information, visit http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3335453/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1