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Sean Astin talks politics, playing characters with heart and coming to Tampa Bay Comic Con



Sean Astin has come a long way from following treasure maps, battling Orcs and playing a Notre Dame Fighting Irish underdog.

He's been The Goonies leader Mikey Walsh, ever faithful and brave Samwise Gamgee in The Lord of The Rings and Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger in one of the most inspirational sports films of all time, Rudy.

You may even recognize him from Adam Sandler's 50 First Dates as the lispy, bodybuilder Doug Whitmore. 

Astin, 45, will be at Tampa Bay Comic Con this weekend ready to recite iconic lines for fans like "Come, Mr. Frodo! I can't carry it for you, but I can carry you," and maybe a little "Rudy! Rudy!"

When he's not indulging fans' love for ‘80s adventure flicks and epic fantasy, he has a full time job raising three daughters, delving into independent filmmaking and being a political advocate for Hillary Clinton.

Astin used a free moment in his hectic schedule to talk with the Times about his passions for running, politics and filmmaking.

Full disclosure: I'm a huge fan of The Goonies and Lord of The Rings. Mikey, Samwise and Rudy are such iconic characters. What's it like for you to be known for not just one, but three legendary characters?

There's nothing I could say other than I'm grateful. So many people fight for these types of opportunities. I've been given the gifts of these great parts, and I tried to play those characters as best as I can. I stayed true to myself and wound up feeling satisfied.

Those three characters are so diverse, too. And you played them in such different parts of your career.

Those characters are all better people than me. But they all have something in common.

What's that?

They all have heart. Sam cared and had the heart to keep Frodo safe. Mikey cared deeply for his friends. Rudy gave his heart to his team and teammates.

Is there a particular character you most often get recognized for?

It's been a lot of Doug Whitmore from 50 First Dates lately. You know, the guy with a lisp.

You're kidding me.

Nope, I find myself performing Doug's dialogue a lot, especially the line "Thounds kind of fruity." That always puts a smile on people's faces. People like when you can have a sense of humor about yourself. It's the goofiness of life. I'd love to do more comedies.

Do you have a favorite character or scene you shot?

Oh, there are so many. There's a part in The Color of Magic (TV miniseries based off the Terry Pratchett novels) where my character Twoflower goes into a saloon with assassins and introduces himself to the barkeep using his book to speak the language. It's just goofy and fun.

I saw you have a passion for running and recently became an Ironman.

Yeah, I did the Ironman last year then did nothing for six months and got fat again. (laughs) I'm doing the Portland marathon and New York Marathon next. I wonder if there's a marathon in Tampa this weekend. I'm hoping it won't be too hot.

Spoiler: It's really hot here.

It's hot all over the place. It's great training if you don't die. I'm looking forward to coming to Tampa this weekend though.

Speaking of Tampa, you just came to our Gasparilla Film Festival last year, any plans for more indie films?

Yes! Your critic did a great job on that story. I really enjoyed how it turned out. I've got a couple of films in the pipeline. One is Unleashed, a classic indie film. Another is The Lears. I don't know if they'll hit the festival circuit, but who knows?

What do you do when you're not being a movie star?

Well I'm married with three daughters. The oldest is at Harvard and the other two are getting bigger by the second. But filmmaking and politics are my passions. I'm a proud Democrat and national surrogate for Hillary Clinton. I go around to different states to talk to volunteers, staff and supporters. It's very polarizing, but I love it because with most people, whether they agree or disagree with you, they want to talk to you anyway.

If you go

Tampa Bay Comic Con

Tampa Convention Center

333 S. Franklin St, Tampa

For tickets and celebrity schedules, visit

Contact Chelsea Tatham at Follow @chelseatatham.


[Last modified: Wednesday, August 3, 2016 2:25pm]


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