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UCLA

UCLA's Peaceful Warrior

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By Randi Schmelzer

Published May 30, 2006 8:18 AM


art


As gun-wielding symbiologists and genetic mutants storm through the multiplexes, a quieter film is poised to make Scott Mechlowicz '03 a hero as well.

Based on a semi-autographical novel by gymnast-turned-inspirational-circuit mainstay Dan Millman, Peaceful Warrior stars Mechlowicz as Dan, a cocky young athlete on the path to Olympic glory. But when Dan happens upon an eccentric stranger (Nick Nolte, whom Dan dubs "Socrates") hanging out at a Texaco, he learns to tap inner strengths, Karate Kid-style, and live a more fulfilling existence than ever before.

Its New Age premise aside, the movie is "something everyone can relate to," Mechlowicz says. "Everyone at some point has had that sensation of complete euphoria, be it winning something they've worked hard to achieve or getting a raise or kissing a girl for the first time. And it's about having that moment of clarity, and trying to maintain that, and keep that throughout your whole life. That's something everybody wants."

Mechlowicz applies that philosophy to his career, as well, which really took off following his graduation from UCLA's Conservatory Acting Program. Being in the program, Mechlowicz says, helped prime the New York-born, Texas-raised actor for leading roles in movies including EuroTrip (2004) and Mean Creek (2004). Fellow Theater Department students tangibly affected his own work, he says, and UCLA professors including April Shawhan, Gary Gardner, Tom Orth and Delia Salvi were "a gigantic influence."

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