Sean Patrick Flanery’s new film Born A Champion is a ‘love letter to Jiu-Jitsu’

Sean Patrick Flanery’s new film Born A Champion a “love letter to Jiu-Jitsu.”

Sean Patrick Flanery is best known for his Hollywood life but what some may not realize is The Boondock Saints actor has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and his own gym. Now, he’s taking his two loves – movie-making and martial arts and creating something incredibly special and personal for the sport he loves.

Flanery wrote and is starring in Born A Champion a combat sports movie about a man (Mickey Kelley) who gets pulled from his life as a high-level BJJ black belt and into an unsanctioned MMA tournament.

“It really is my love letter to Jiu-Jitsu,” Flannery told FanSided. “And what I mean by that is, you know, when I look back on my life, and I think of the things that were most profound in changing me in a positive way, nothing even comes close to the mat, a jiu-jitsu mat, it’s put me in more uncomfortable situations that forced me to deal with things that are unpleasant than anything else in life. And it did so in a controlled environment that really allowed me to navigate the real world in a way that I probably wouldn’t have the ability to do so otherwise. So in that respect, it is my love letter. It’s me drawing out in the most articulate way that I could what the positive aspects of this martial art, the adversity that it presents on a regular basis, and who comes out the other end. And it’s my love of family, it’s my love of fatherhood and it’s my love of the martial arts. And I hope that comes through in the film.”

UFC fan-favorite Edson Barbosa makes an appearance

MMA fans will recognize some familiar faces within the movie, including a surprising appearance by Edson Barbosa who plays an absolutely perfect villain.

“I always thought Edson was one of the scariest looking humans I’ve ever seen,” Flanery laughed. “And so I sent him an Instagram message and he didn’t respond because he doesn’t really do his Instagram and I noticed that he tagged his wife in some pictures. So I sent one to his wife saying, ‘I’m trying to get in touch with your husband I’d like him to be a part of a film that I wrote.’ And so she put me in touch. And the next thing I know, he read it, and he showed up on set and could not be more diametrically opposed to his visual signature. The guy is the nicest, most docile creature known to man. Oddly enough, he’s also one of the most lethal creatures known to man, but just a wonderful human being. But I always just envisioned that look that I think he brings to the screen. He’s just a scary individual. And it was a wonderful experience. He’s a great dude.”

The movie from conception in 2007 took more than 10 years to come to fruition but one thing Flanery didn’t need to prepare for what playing a high-level athlete.

“There wasn’t any additional training,” he said. “A lot of people ask me that, like, what did you do to get in shape? Jiu-Jitsu is a daily part of my life. I have 600 square feet of mat space on my property. I teach two classes a day, I roll every single day, you’re hard-pressed to find me at any time without mat burn on my face.”

Born A Champion will be released officially on Jan. 22 and can be seen in select theaters, On Demand and Digital.

Published at Wed, 20 Jan 2021 22:17:15 +0000

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