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Southern Bred

Atlanta-born actor Blair Redford takes a break from filming FOX’s newest Marvel series, The Gifted, to talk with Men’s Book Atlanta about playing the role of X-Men’s Thunderbird and his favorite haunts around town.


Blair Redford


Growing up in Atlanta, did you have any favorite spots? I used to love going to The Varsity after a Braves game. And up near where I lived [in Woodstock], there’s a really great barbecue spot called Williamson Bros. Bar-B-Q.

What about now that you’re back filming in town? Now I could give you a list ’cause I’ve shot here for a few years. I love One Eared Stag for the burger; it’s incredible. I mean, that thing is amazing. And I try to get my coffee every morning from Octane Coffee.

What have you come to love most about your job? With acting, you get to experience different ways of life that you normally wouldn’t. You get to live multiple lives.

Tell us about your role as Thunderbird in Marvel’s new The Gifted series. He’s got some amazing ’80s action star one-liners! And I mean that in the best possible way. A big part of the show is persecution and this understanding of a smaller group of people who are just trying to fit in and find their own way and coexist. It’s definitely an underdog story.

Playing a superhero who has superhuman strength and speed must require a good bit of training. It’s a little different than the X-Men films—they’re not giving me CGI arms or anything; they’re trying to keep it grounded. But even with that said, I knew that this guy had to look pretty physically imposing and formidable and like one of the bigger people on the team, so I adopted Hugh Jackman’s diet that he used for the last couple Wolverine movies.

How would you say The Gifted compares to other Marvel shows and films? It’s got that tone the X-Men have always been able to capture—a group of people with extraordinary abilities fighting for their place in the world—but it’s also told from a point of reality. It’s almost like if these superpowers weren’t there, it would just be a really well-done dark drama. 

On your rare days off, what do you enjoy doing around the city? I love going over to the BeltLine. This city is really bike-friendly, so I try to ride my bike as much as I can.