Frank Grillo is back on the big screen with the third installment of The Purge film series.
The Purge: Election Year hit theaters July 1, and Grillo stars as Leo Barnes, the head of security for Senator Charlie Roan. Grillo, 51, played Barnes two years ago in The Purge: Anarchy. In that film, Barnes stopped himself from getting revenge for his son’s death during Purge Night, an annual ritual in which all crime, including murder, is legal for 12 hours. In the new movie, his mission is to protect Roan after a betrayal forces them onto the streets of Washington, D.C., during the purge.
In addition to this role on the silver screen, Grillo plays an MMA trainer and gym owner in Kingdom, a drama on DirecTV’s Audience Network. The character isn’t a far stretch for Grillo, who started boxing when he was a teenager, according to Grantland. When he’s not acting or in the gym, you’ll find Grillo spending time with his family.
Here’s what you need to know about him.
1. He Works Out Like a Beast
Grillo told GQ that he’s a firm believer in the paleo diet, only eating foods that would have been available to cavemen.
“Nothing post-agricultural revolution, so no grains, no oats, no rices,” he said.
A glass of vino every day is also part of his regimen. He told Good Morning America that, in addition to boxing, his secrets to staying fit are drinking red wine, getting plenty of sleep, and running.
2. He Learned How to Fight in Order to Beat Up His 2nd Grade Bully
Grillo’s dad taught him how to throw a punch after a bully tormented Grillo in the second grade, according to Muscle & Fitness.
“I had a fight with a kid named J.J. Morales. He beat me up. Then he beat me up again,” he’s quoted as saying in the story. “So I said to myself, ‘I’m going to learn how to fight, and I’m going to beat up J.J. Morales.’ And I did.”
Grillo told Muscle & Fitness that he punched the bully square in the face.
“Early on, Chris realized that, ‘I’m really gonna hit you,'” Grillo said on Conan. “So, he said, ‘Ya know, Grillo, I’m getting black and blue. I said, ‘Yeah, keep your hands up, just keep your hands up.’ By the end of the fight, we were packed in ice, we had to get massages, I mean it was bad.”
3. He Has a Wife & 3 Kids
Grillo is married to Wendy Moniz, whom he met when they both starred on the soap opera Guiding Light, according to Backstage. They’re now working together again. Soaps.com reported that Moniz is playing Grillo’s love interest on Kingdom.
People reported that Grillo and Moniz have two sons together, Liam and Rio. Grillo was married once before to Kathy Grillo, and the couple divorced in 1998, according to imdb.com. They have one son, Remy.
Grillo told Entertainment Weekly that his goal in life is to keep all three of his children safe, secure and happy, and to make them successful. He also said that he reads to his kids every night, and that they’ll be poets before they’ll be fighters.
That doesn’t mean they won’t learn how to fight though. According to Muscle & Fitness, Grillo’s sons go to the gym with him, and Grillo shared an anecdote about his youngest son’s experience in a boxing class:
About halfway through, he was being a pain in the ass. So I pulled him aside and I said, ‘Listen, I don’t care if you don’t like doing this. You don’t have to. But it’s an hour once a week. You can make this fun, or you can sit over there and watch the other kids, but you are never going to quit.’ He went back in reinvigorated. Does he love it? No. But did he understand what I was saying? Yes. And that’s the important thing. Whether you’re in the ring or you’re auditioning over and over again, don’t f—ing quit. I know that sounds clichéd, but when you think about it, only good things can happen.
4. He’s Jennifer Lopez’s Celebrity Crush
Grillo later joked to People that his wife banned from him talking to Lopez after the video came out. He said prior to the video, he had only met Lopez once through mutual friend and film director Brett Ratner.
“I hadn’t seen her after, and I’m not allowed to now,” he explained.
His buddies, on the other hand, didn’t have a problem with Lopez’s comments.
“She lives next door to my boxing gym here in New York, and I walked into the gym the next day and all the dudes were like, ‘Bro, Jennifer Lopez,'” Grillo told People. “I’m like, ‘Well, ya know, what do you want me to tell ya?'”
“I’m just a huge Robin Wright fan,” he said. “She’s never been anything but amazing and beautiful, and she’s survived her life and is now thriving. I just think she’s a terrific actress and a beautiful woman.”
5. He’s Worth an Estimated $3 Million
Celebrity Net Worth estimates Grillo to be worth a total of $3 million.
According to Forbes, The Purge: Election Year cost $10 million to make, so “it doesn’t have to break out to break even.” The Purge: Anarchy, the second film in the series and the first of which Grillo was a part, had a budget of $9 million. It opened with $29 million and grossed a total of $182 million.
In May, Variety reported that Grillo will be making his producing debut with Wheelman, in which he will also play the lead role. Netflix has worldwide rights to the action thriller, which follows a getaway driver who has to figure out who double-crossed him after a bank robbery goes wrong.
Although many actors choose roles based on the artistic challenges they present, Grillo told Entertainment Weekly that his first priority is earning for his family.
“A lot of what I do is based on how I can take care of them,” Grillo told the magazine. “Do I want to be the fourth or fifth guy in a little movie that’s going to get a lot of attention in award season, or do I want to go and do a movie that’s going to make me a lot of money? Probably the latter.”
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