Luis Da Silva Jr. plays Stahl in the film Kickboxer: Vengeance currently streaming on Netflix.
Originally from Elizabeth, New Jersey, Luis Da Silva Jr. has taken the world by storm with his talent to entertain people with his performances in both basketball and acting. Luis grew up playing baseball and practicing Aikido, a form of martial arts, but it was not until he turned 13 that he discovered his passion for basketball.
At the age of 18, Luis’ life changed forever when he walked into an open audition for a Nike commercial. He became the only non-NBA player and youngest person to ever sign an endorsement deal with Nike when they saw his incredible talent and immediately signed him to represent their “Freestyle” ad campaign, which is one of the most widely recognized commercials to ever air on television.
A Guinness world record holder for several basketball handling categories, Luis has been featured on the cover of Time Magazine, the front page of the Wall Street Journal, and has starred in platinum selling video games with MIDWAY Games.
He was very inactive and used the game of basketball to change his ways for a more healthier lifestyle and, by doing so, gained confidence.
Over the years, Luis has had the opportunity to perform alongside Alicia Keys in NYC’s Niketown and Will Smith and Sean “Puffy” Combs in two different NBA Finals half-time shows.
How did you get the role in Kickboxer: Vengeance?
I got the role through a local casting director in Louisiana. The character I played, Stahl, was “a menacing rugged street gambler” that was working with Gina Carano. With many years in the southeast market, the casting knew and believed I could deliver with this role. Plus I have a background in martial arts and aikido, so that was a plus. I was given the opportunity to read for the director who flew down from LA to meet me and the rest was history.
Do you have an onset memory you can share with us?
My favorite on-set memory is from when I was filming the movie “Dragon Eyes”. Peter Weller freaked out on management in a local hotel in Baton Rouge because he thought paparazzi were following him in the hotel. In fact, Bon Jovi had checked in to the hotel and the paparazzi were there for him, not Peter. It was by far the funniest thing I’ve ever witnessed, and a humbling experience for him!
This year, you’ll be seen in Lionsgate’s “The Life And Death of John Gotti”. Why do you think people are so fascinated with the mob?
I think we have always been fascinated with mobs and violent criminals because they have been a part of our country’s history since the cowboy days, like Billy the Kid. I guess it’s intriguing at times to root for the “bad guys” for pure entertainment.
What was it like working with John Travolta?
It was a tremendous learning experience to be around and sharing the same set with one of the greatest actors to ever do it. You can learn so much from a great actor like him. He is so pleasant to each and every person and so very patient day in and day out; it was great to watch. He’s also a really great family friend and I love him dearly.
What are the Guinness world records you hold?
In 2009, in Phoenix, Arizona, I set the most consecutive ‘neck catches’ (24) in one attempt, at the NBA All-Star Game.
What is your children’s book, A Boy Named Boo, about? What inspired you to write it? Will you be writing more books in the future?
It’s loosely based on true events about a boy who had low self-esteem and was bullied.
As long as I can remember, I knew I wanted to spread a message to kids and youth about fighting bullying, self-motivation, and healthier eating habits, as those were all areas in which I was affected as a child.
I recently published my second book titled “Zoe and Toby And The Alphabet Adventures”, which was inspired by my daughter Zoe-Aiko. I wanted to deliver a children’s book that was interactive and engaging for her to learn the alphabet.
A Boy Named Boo available now on Amazon. Coming soon is my third installment, “Cool Kids Skate”, about a boy who used skateboarding to build his self-esteem.