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A Star is Born! Kerry Rhodes


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BY TOM ROCK

tom.rock@newsday.com

June 9, 2007, 11:26 PM EDT

Busted! Kerry Rhodes was relaxing in a hot tub, sweet-talking a lovely young lady above the bubbles and steam, when his girlfriend walked in and caught the cooing couple. What ensued was a long argument and, ultimately, a break-up. And it's all captured on tape.

No, it's not the latest tabloid gotcha moment of a New York pro athlete's indiscretion, following closely behind the reported infidelities of Paul Lo Duca and Alex Rodriguez. Rhodes wound up in that hot tub by following his dream . . . to be an actor.

He may be the Jets' starting safety and on the verge of becoming a star in the NFL -- his snub from the Pro Bowl roster was considered one of the bigger injustices last season -- but Rhodes would just as soon be known for tackling movie roles than ball carriers. He made his feature-film debut last summer in the movie "Misunderstandings," playing that scoundrel boyfriend in the hot tub in a small but memorable scene.

When the Jets take a few weeks off from their offseason program after next weekend's minicamp, Rhodes is scheduled to shoot his second movie. This time it's "Queen of Media," a bio of VH1 personality and female shock jock Wendy Williams that is based on a best-selling book and has been picked up for distribution by Warner Bros. In that flick he'll play a college football player, a role that was written with him in mind.

"It gives you a chance to not be yourself," Rhodes said of his love of acting. "You can go play a villain, which I'm not in real life. Or you can play a crooked cop or a good cop. As a kid, besides football, I wanted to be a policeman. You get to do that for a small period of time in a movie. It gives you a chance to step out of character and not be who you are."

Acting is not a new passion for Rhodes. He minored in dramatic arts at Louisville and remembers his first role on stage as a middle schooler growing up in Bessamer, Ala. It was a play the class wrote and he was a prince about to become king in medieval times. Now, just like that young highness, he's close to finding his way to the top.

"Being in the situation I'm in now where people know about me [through football]," he said, "the acting opportunities are coming more and more."

His teammates have nicknamed him "Hollywood," which would make sense even if Rhodes weren't eyeing being a movie star. His charisma and broad smile make him popular with teammates and his work ethic and athleticism make him popular with Jets coaches. After just two years in the league, there's a good chance the Jets will reward him with a multi-million-dollar, long-term deal. Rhodes' five sacks in 2006 were the most of any defensive back in the league and Eric Mangini has noted his leadership.

Rhodes still recognizes football is his main job, even if there's a "for now" caveat attached to it. "My horizon is not just being a football player," he said. But he also said he'd rather have a Super Bowl ring than an Academy Award.

According to some in the movie industry, Rhodes has the potential to become a successful actor. Malik Pollard, the director of "Misunderstandings," said he was skeptical about having a jock who wanted to be an actor in his movie. "But when I actually met him, he was perfect for the role," Pollard said. "He has one of the funniest scenes in the movie. There's a lot of physical acting involved."

Pollard compared Rhodes' acting to Bill Bellamy's performance in "How to Be a Player," but imagined Rhodes could expand his repertoire with time and experience.

"If he was serious about and had some more formal training, he could be a star," Pollard said. "He's a natural."

Rhodes said he had trouble getting into character for his role as the straying boyfriend. "I'm not a cheater at heart," he said. But there is one role he's hoping to play one day.

"Right now my dream role is to be able to play a superhero, a Marvel comic superhero or sidekick," he said.

What's the allure? The costume? The powers? "Just being able to save lives and help somebody," he said.

Chances are Rhodes will be playing a hero more often on Sundays in front of NFL crowds than he will be at the local megaplex. Maybe in the meantime, the Jets can make a concession and allow him to wear a cape or a mask with his uniform.

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"Right now my dream role is to be able to play a superhero, a Marvel comic superhero or sidekick," he said.
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Anyone thinking Batman and robin? rhodes and coleman? no...how about Rhodes and Vilma? still no...

RHODES AND REVIS, perfect.

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Nice to see Rhodes expanding his horizons a bit - as long as he brings it on Sunday, that is.

I always get a bit freaked when guys start doing so much of something other than their sport. i.e. manning and commercials, other atheletes doing a ton of cameo's in movies. I'm sure rhodes can handle both, he's an intense guy.

welcome to jetnation JD.

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I always get a bit freaked when guys start doing so much of something other than their sport. i.e. manning and commercials, other atheletes doing a ton of cameo's in movies. I'm sure rhodes can handle both, he's an intense guy.

welcome to jetnation JD.

Tiki Barber was an attention whore throughout his career, with football almost being an afterthought in his final few seasons when compared with his off-the-field stuff. Yet he was still a top 10 RB in the NFL his entire career.

I have no problem with Rhodes "moonlighting" on the silver screen. If it ever became a problem, we can be confident that Mangini would handle it properly. It hasn't, so no worries.

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