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Name: Adam Bernard
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James Lesure - What Happens In Vegas...
Thursday, November 15, 2007

Television fans recognize James Lesure from his role as Mike Cannon on the hit show Las Vegas, which filmed its 100th episode late in 2007. What people might not know about him is that he’s the reigning MVP of the NBA Entertainment League and a huge supporter of the Sickle Cell Disease Foundation. This month I caught up with Lesure to find out more about his causes, his career, and what kind of Vegas moments he’s had in real life.

Adam Bernard: You have been portraying Mike Cannon on the television show Las Vegas since 2003. What makes this character so interesting?
James Lesure: Mike is a problem solver and he’s curious about things in life, so he sort of has a zest for life, I think. That’s what makes him tick, he wants to see what’s next.

Adam Bernard: What parts of him do you relate to in your own life?
James Lesure: I find Mike to be really open to all different types of people and I think in some ways I’m similar to that. It doesn’t matter really what a person’s background is, I’m interested in a person’s heart and mind and I think Mike may be similar.

Adam Bernard: Has playing a member of a surveillance team caused you to step up your home security?
James Lesure: No, it hasn’t. I’ve always been sort of a scaredy cat so I put up the security stuff a long time ago, long before the show, and I haven’t made any big upgrades because of it.

Adam Bernard: You filmed the first few seasons in Vegas, but now work out of Culver City, CA. Are Culver Studios nights anything like real Vegas nights?
James Lesure: No, no, no, we shut down over here. We shut down, go home and get some rest. I do love that about Las Vegas and New York, though, because New York stays open so late and Vegas, I love that you can do whatever and have pretty much whatever any minute of the day. That’s kind of nice.

Adam Bernard: Since your show is set in Vegas I have to ask, have you ever been accidentally married?
James Lesure: Nah. I participated in a wedding, but it was all planned. Two good friends of mine got married in Las Vegas.

Adam Bernard: Did you bump into Tom Jones?
James Lesure: I wish. I remember one thing that jumps out of my head, though. When we first started shooting Las Vegas and we were hanging out between days and Jimmy Caan goes why don’t you go out with me and my friends? You can meet us here at this spot. I go OK, sure, it would be great. I’m all excited, I get out and I meet them at the spot and they’re sitting at this big long table and all the people around really seem like guys straight out of The Sopranos. No smiles, thick neck type dudes, they really had a serious vibe. That was sort of something different for me.

Adam Bernard: How did that night end for you? Did you throw a guy into the river with some cement shoes?
James Lesure: Nah, I got on the dance floor. I’m good in Vegas if you got a good DJ and some pretty girls around. I can spend hours doing that.

Adam Bernard: Yeah, I hear you’re a bit of an athlete. You compete in the NBA Entertainment League. What position do you play and what’s this league all about?
James Lesure: It’s about guys who think they’re much better than they really are. They may be talented actors or producers or writers, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to being good basketball players, but we all think we are. It’s a highly competitive league. They got nice uniforms and referees. It’s just kind of fun. Right now they got me running the point.

Adam Bernard: Who else is in this league with you?
James Lesure: My co-star Josh Duhamel, Donald Faison from Scrubs, Will Ferrell is on the squad. On other teams you’ll have Ice Cube and say Snoop Dogg runnin together. There are all different types of personalities in it. Everybody in this league isn’t a super athlete by any stretch, so you’re gonna find some guys who really shouldn’t even be playing ball, but they have the love, so they’re in the league.

Adam Bernard: Who’ve you made look foolish on the court? Name some names!
James Lesure: (Laughs) You see that’s not really my game. I’m the facilitator. I’m gonna get the ball, dribble and distribute to kids. I’m not the one who’s really shaking you up with the And-1 mixtape type moves, I’m the dude that just keeps the engine runnin.

Adam Bernard: And you won the MVP award in 2006.
James Lesure: Yeah man, I guess folks appreciated my willingness and ability to get other people involved. One of my favorite players in the game right now is Steve Nash, I just love his game. He doesn’t necessarily have to be the high scorer every night, but he gets everybody else involved and seems to make his teammates better. I really appreciate that about his game.

Adam Bernard: Give me one celebrity you’d love to take one on one.
James Lesure: Let me say Sanaa Lathan because she’s cute.

Adam Bernard: Wow, when I wrote that question I was honestly thinking of her.
James Lesure: Yeah. She’s in one of my favorite movies, too. I don’t know if you saw Love and Basketball.

Adam Bernard: Yeah, when they were playing strip basketball.
James Lesure: Now you’re with me, Adam. Now ya know. You see what I’m sayin!

Adam Bernard: While we’re on the topic of movies, have you had your “Oh Shit” moment yet where you turned down a film and then it ended up gigantic?
James Lesure: I sort of had a little “Oh Shit” moment. I don’t know if you remember a movie called The Wood. I was actually very close to getting that but I was doing another series at the time called For Your Love and I was like ah well, go ahead I’m not going to be able to do it. Taye Diggs ended up doing it and did a great job at it. That was an “Oh Shit” moment right there.

Adam Bernard: In addition to all the acting and athletics you also do some pretty intense charity work. Talk to me about your causes.
James Lesure: I’m involved with the Sickle Cell Foundation. One of my great friends is afflicted with that disease so I see first hand how it affects people and I would love to do whatever I can to eliminate the disease, or help people cope with it better, because it’s such a tough card to get dealt in life. That’s one of the charities that I’m involved with, another one is Parkinson’s Disease. A woman I used to work with, Holly Robinson Peete, her father passed away after living with Parkinson’s for years, so those are two charities I’m involved with.

Adam Bernard: You’re an actor, athlete, activist, you sound like every single woman’s dream. What’s the love life lookin like?
James Lesure: Right now I’m open to dating. For a while I wasn’t really trying to settle down with one young lady, so I was sort of playing the field for a minute, but now I’m seeing the value of having a partner in life, it’s something I’ve opened myself up to recently, it’s something I want, so I’m hoping to get it.

Adam Bernard: So you’ve moved from Big Love to eHarmony is what you’re saying.
James Lesure: (Laughs) Right. I like the way you phrased it!

Adam Bernard: Since you’re going to stop playing the field and go for the whole one woman thing reveal some of your game. Do you just go up to women and say “hey, I’m on Las Vegas?”
James Lesure: (Laughs) No, man. I just say “you’re pretty, I would love to have a cup of coco with you, get some hot chocolate.”

Adam Bernard: That cannot possibly ever work.
James Lesure: It has! My good friend over here, Josh Duhamel, he’s dating Fergie (from Black Eyed Peas) and all he went up to her and said was “you’re hot.”

Adam Bernard: Wow. That never works for me.
James Lesure: It worked for him. They’ve been in love for the last couple years.

Adam Bernard: In addition to your male co-stars you work with a lot of gorgeous women. Has there been any inter-office dating?
James Lesure: No no no, they say don’t do that where you work. They are sweet and all that, but it definitely hasn’t gone there.

Adam Bernard: Can you slip my number to a few of ‘em?
James Lesure: (Laughs) With pleasure! They all got significants, actually.

Adam Bernard: Dang! Well, before we part ways today what else should people know about you?
James Lesure: They should know that I love good work. I love to be entertained by good movies and good television so that’s what I want to be a part of in my life, that’s what I want to do. I’m here because I want to entertain the world, so hopefully I will.


posted by Adam Bernard @ 8:59 AM  
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