Say What? FLASH GORDON Star Now A Bodyguard In Mexico
Sam J. Jones is best known for starring in the 1980 cult sci-fi film Flash Gordon. Although he'll be making a cameo in Seth MacFarlane’s Ted, he is spending most of his time as a real life bodyguard.
Flash Gordon didn't do very well at the box office when it was released, but the campy film from the 80's has developed a cult following. The film is best known for it's outstanding soundtrack created by the rock band Queen. Outside of that the film is filled with bad acting, cheesy special effects and inexpensive sets. For all of its faults the movie somehow finds a way of being quite entertaining at times. So bad it's good.
The star of the film Sam J. Jones didn't get a boost to his acting career and for decades was relegated to minor roles in film and television. As acting prospects dried up the former Marine took his talents to a major security firm where he now guards high-level executives in high-risk areas of the world. The former superhero tells Entertainment Weekly about his career as a bodyguard.
What’s it like doing security work in Mexico right now? It seems a little scary at the moment.
It can be for somebody who’s not paying attention, who’s not using common sense. It could be very scary. It’s all perception. Don’t present yourself as a soft target. When we’re in these environments where it’s the real deal, we are traveling hard. We’re in armored vehicles. They look like normal sedans or SUVs, but they are armored. And we’re traveling hard and we’re traveling fast. With that said, most of the time we’re traveling low profile. We’re not putting up red flags. There are times when we have some dignitaries when we have to travel in a huge motorcade with weapons out the windows and stuff like that. But usually we stay under the radar. In other words, we don’t give the bad guys any opportunity. They’re watching us. We’re not stupid. They’re assessing, saying, “Well let me see, if I decide to hit this motorcade or this convoy, what are my percentages of success?” When they look at us and they know our training, they can only come up with one conclusion: it’s going to be a 20 to 30 to 40 percent chance, if that. So they’re not going to mess with us. And that’s not a macho statement. It’s just in the training. It’s just how we present ourselves.
What might you see that would make you turn around?
Okay, we’re at a major intersection in Tijuana and you look around at your situational awareness and you see the taco stand, everybody is doing their behavior that they’re supposed to be doing. You’ve got a couple next to you in a car who are kissing, a couple on your left who are arguing, you have people crossing the street, normal behavior. Why is there a pickup truck parked with two people in it and they’re not talking, their heads are not moving, and why are there a couple of SUVs across the street not moving? Well, I don’t know. But I’m not going to continue. I’m going to turn around. In other words, bad guys are usually bad actors. Seriously. They don’t know how to commit to the character that they’re doing.
Have clients ever recognized you from your acting?
They figure out after a while, but I separate the security industry from the film industry. When they find out that I was Flash Gordon and in the film business for years, that’s okay once I’ve already proven myself as a security professional. But when I start a project and people say, “Wait a minute, time out: you’re saying that we have a former superhero and/or actor in the movie business who’s protecting the lives of my family and me? Something’s wrong here.” [Laughs] I had a big, big successful executive at a major [movie] studio. I had been protecting him for about a year. Then he put it together. He said, “Oh my God, I know exactly who you are. I trust you with my life! Thank God I knew you as a security professional before I found out you were Flash Gordon.”
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