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Josh Duhamel

On Playing a Superhero, Hanging with J.Lo, Hitting the Links in Scottsdale, and the Movie That Made Him Cry

A few years ago, when Josh Duhamel’s young son Axl first saw his dad dressed up as aging superhero Sheldon Sampson—aka The Utopian in the new Netflix series Jupiter’s Legacy, the 5-year-old couldn’t hold back.

“It’s too white,” he said.

Turns out Axl Jack Duhamel (now 7), has some Hollywood clout of his own. The show’s costume designer, Lizz Wolf, took notice, agreed with the young superhero fan, and made some adjustments, adding gray to the suit to give it more depth.

“He’s so proud of that,” Duhamel says, laughing. “He thinks he should get a creative consultant credit for it.”

Josh Duhamel's Rise to Fame

Duhamel’s foray into the superhero world is the latest in a string of fun-fueled projects that has kept the actor busy for over two decades. From All My Children to the enormously successful Transformers franchise, Duhamel is having the time of his life.

All-in Project: Buddy Games

Six months ago, the actor got a little personal with a film based on his real-life friendships. Buddy Games focuses on six lifelong pals who reunite yearly for a testosterone-filled weekend of competitive (and sometimes gross) fun.

Duhamel wrote, directed, and starred in the film, which pays homage to his time spent growing up in North Dakota—a place that forced Duhamel and his buddies to be “really inventive” when it came to games of strength and agility.

“We did all kinds of stuff… balloon ball, whatever the hell that is,” he laughs. “The last 20 years we’ve been getting together playing these games. It’s more of an excuse for the guys to reconnect. Honestly, I value these friendships more now than I ever did before because of the history we have.” 

While the actor spent most of last year at his 52-acre cabin in Minnesota, he kicked off 2021 with a trip to the Dominican Republic, where he donned a tuxedo to play a fiancé opposite one of the biggest superstars in the world, J.Lo.

Shotgun Wedding will hit big screens next year.

We caught up with the actor, father, and avid golfer to talk about everything from his latest Netflix project to hitting the links in Scottsdale, and why even the manliest of men shed a tear now and then.

Interview with Josh Duhamel

I’m halfway through your new Netflix series, Jupiter’s Legacy. I feel like Sheldon could use a little Josh Duhamel. You’ve never taken yourself too seriously. You’ve got such a great sense of humor. I feel like he could use that.

Yeah, he takes his job very seriously, doesn’t he? He’s an old school patriarchal character who lives very strictly by this code, but is learning that you change with the times and you get passed by. That’s one thing he’s learning, even though his intentions have always been good and he’s always there for the greater good and to affect real change. 

Sometimes people don’t agree and he has to listen to that now.

Do you have a “code’ you live by?

I do. I tell my son don’t go to jail [he smiles], don’t get yourself killed, and don’t kill anybody.

Your son. I love that he actually had a say in what happened with your Jupiter’s Legacy costume…

He loves it. Listen, all these pow wows… all the meetings and all the details that go into the thought of making these costumes. The fact that Lizz Wolf, the designer, actually took that note and said, ‘You know, he’s got a good point.’

So, he was okay with your hair? The big mane you have in this?

He thought I looked somewhere between Moses and Santa Claus.  

This series is about legacy and what we pass on to our kids. What of you do you see in him already?

Well, you know, he’s a very friendly little dude. He really is. He’s a kid who goes to school and sort of includes everybody. He always has a good energy about him. I actually learn more from him than he probably learns from me, to be honest. It’s really fascinating to see how these kids have this innocence. There’s a lot to learn from that. We become jaded. We put these walls up. But these kids? They’re like these open vessels, and if we pay attention, there’s a lot we can learn from. I actually try to emulate that. At the same time, for me, setting a good example for him is also of the utmost importance. 

Well, he gets to watch his dad do what he loves, which is a great example. Let’s talk golf. I know you’ve called golf ‘meditative,’ but you’ve been to the Waste Management Phoenix Open. What’s your fondest memory of playing here?

I wouldn’t call the waste management open meditative [he laughs]. But, I will say this... I want to see MORE of that in golf. That is where I think golf would really prosper. Let loose. Let them have fun. Let the golfers get involved in that kind of stuff. That is one of the most fun tournaments you can play in. I was supposed to play this year, but I was working. 

Yeah, about that ‘work’… how was the Dominican Republic? We’re stuck in our homes and you’re hanging out with J.Lo, probably golfing…

It was rough [he laughs], it was rough. Being in paradise with, you know, Lenny Kravitz and Cheech Marin and Jennifer Coolidge and J.Lo... it was a rough, rough job…

What are you doing for Father’s Day?

I have no idea. When IS Father’s Day? [He laughs.]

Good question. Actually, my dad got an early Father’s Day gift. He got to play at Bob Parson’s course, Scottsdale National.

I’ve got a buddy who’s a member there... who’s friends with Bob Parsons. He plays that course and keeps telling me I need to go do it. I hear it’s great!

Sounds like we just came up with a Father’s Day plan…

Get to Know Josh Duhamel

Manliest thing in your garage: My ‘69 Camaro.

Manliest thing in your ‘man cave,’ assuming your man cave is NOT your garage: A tractor, which is at my cabin in Minnesota.

Favorite ‘manly meal’: Meatballs, mashed potables, and gravy. That’s what my mom makes me every time she comes to visit. She even makes enough to put in the freezer, by the way, so I can have it when she’s not here.

Even real men cry. Showing emotion can sometimes be the manliest thing we do. When was the last time you cried like a baby watching a movie? Ever see The [Good] Dinosaur? Oh my God. TWICE I cried during that movie. [SPOILER ALERT!] When Spot finds his little human family? And leaves [Arlo]? And then when [Arlo] finally makes it home after his long adventure away? And gets to put his little stamp up against the wall? That movie... I’m telling you, and I’m not afraid to admit it, it’s an animated Pixar movie and I lost it twice in that one! 

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