MIDLAND, Texas (KMID/KPEJ) – A Midland High School alumnus is coming to a theater near you!
Floyd Anthony Johns Jr. is a professional stunt actor. It is no 9-to-5 job. As a kid, Floyd never dreamt of being an actor. As an MHS Bulldog, Floyd took a theater class for elective credit. He took another theater class in college. That was about it. So, when an unusual and unique opportunity arose 11 years ago, Floyd is thankful he seized it. Today, the 33-year-old is a go-to-guy for high-octane stunts alongside A-list actors.
From movies like ‘The Butler,’ ‘Selma,’ ‘Black Panther,’ ‘Avengers: Infinity War,’ and ‘Avengers: Endgame,’ to TV shows like ‘Seal Team,’ ‘The Purge,’ and ‘NCIS: New Orleans,’ Floyd’s list of actor credits continues to grow.
Early in his life, Floyd left Houston for Midland with his mother, Karen.
“Coming from a city and going to the country, that was totally different,” Floyd mused over the phone.
He attended San Jacinto Junior High and Midland Freshman, later graduating from Midland High School. Floyd would go on to study political science at Louisiana State University (LSU) where his brother, Bennie Brazell, was a track and football standout.
“I had no ambitions at all to work in film,” Floyd said.
So, how exactly did Floyd end up in the film industry?
“They needed some more guys on the movie in New Orleans called, ‘The Butler.’ They didn’t have black stuntmen or guys of color at that time in 2011,” Floyd said.
Floyd’s brother, Bennie, had a friend who encouraged Floyd to work as a stunt actor. It took some time convincing Floyd to say ‘Yes.’ But he ended up taking the job. The rest is history.
“I ended up working two and a half weeks and I made like life-changing money. I was paying for school,” Floyd recalled.
He was still a student enrolled at LSU working with the football team as an assistant to coaches. Being a stuntman was just a side job. Floyd’s mother, Karen, insisted her son finish school. He obliged, earning his Political Science degree in 2015. The next year, he took a leap of faith. Floyd packed his bags and left for Hollywood.
It worked out.
Floyd picked up a number of roles, including parts in the 2016 miniseries, ‘Roots’; the 2017 psychological horror film, ‘Get Out’; Marvel Studios’ 2018 blockbuster ‘Black Panther’. The list goes on.
“Being a part of that now and looking back on it, it’s just… I’m going to tell my grandkids about it and they’re not going to believe me,” Floyd said in reflection.
Soon, Floyd’s work in ‘Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever’ will be shown in theaters around the world.
“It was like a great energy being around those good people. You felt Chadwick Boseman’s spirit there even though he had passed on,” Floyd said. “Every day I came to work, I was a kid at the candy store. Every time we had a break and I was working around the studios, I’ll sneak away and try to go and look at different stages in the studio to see what they are setting up next, or what they have up next. It always amazes me just being around that. There’s a lot of star power around there, too.”
A significant part of Floyd’s success is rooted in his faith in God and how his mother, Karen, raised him in Midland.
“I worked two or three jobs. I had to do what I had to do for my kids,” Karen said on the phone. “He makes me very proud, having a son who is successful doing what he wants to do.”
Karen admitted she gets nervous occasionally, thinking about her son’s line of work. But Karen said she is fully supportive of Floyd’s career.
“I get so nervous but that’s the lifestyle that he lives!” she laughed.
As diversity representation grows in Hollywood, Floyd said Ryan Coogler’s ‘Black Panther’ films are quintessential.
“It is super important because it gives people of color a legit platform to show their skills, not just from the action, but from acting, writing, directing, the stunt choreography… people doing the lighting. It shows everybody’s talents throughout the filming. The department heads are people of color. It just shows how everybody can work together. It don’t matter how you look,” Floyd said. “I think the budget was close to $500 million or $400 million. You don’t really see people of color in charge of something like that. You don’t see it. Not in America. Now that that’s changing, I think this movie will show that, no matter how you look, anything is possible.”
From his personal experience, Floyd believes diversity representation in the film industry has improved over time. He calls it a “blessing.”
Yourbasin.com asked Floyd for advice on entering the show business.
First, you don’t have to be the most athletic or the most skillful person to be a stunt actor, Floyd said. Rather, you have to be able to take a hit and get back up – that is Floyd’s bread and butter.
Second, Floyd said networking with producers has helped his career develop and grow.
“A lot of people that’s in the industry or that are trying to get in the industry, they don’t know how to work the wrong. You got to be able to work the wrong better. You got to get in the room and know how to talk to everybody. You can drop me off in another country and we don’t speak the same language, but I’ll blend in like a chameleon. We are going to be on the same page. Vibe with everybody,” Floyd said.
Third, Floyd said “grinding,” hustling, moving forward, keeping your head up, and thinking of something to “pull you up” will advance your best interests in show biz, or in any field, for that matter. But more specifically, Floyd said, “In my opinion, to the kids that look like me, respect your elders, and find a way to get into college… I wouldn’t be in this industry if I didn’t go to college.”
Floyd said attending college helped him see all walks of life and experience maturity, as well as professionalism, in different ways. He encourages anyone to pursue higher education.