Patriots

A local actor thought he was just doing stand-in work for a Cam Newton commercial. Then he got to play the lead.

"This was honestly a blessing to happen, just because of how hard the film industry has been hit with this pandemic."

Adrian Mompoint
Adrian Mompoint in the Downy commercial where he filled in for Cam Newton. Screenshot from TV commercial

For Adrian M. Mompoint, the prospect of any acting work in 2020 was an immeasurable boost.

After seeing so much of the film industry — like every industry — hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, Mompoint just wanted to be back on set again.

The 32-year-old Worcester native thought the Massachusetts-based job he accepted was just for stand-in work for a commercial. What he didn’t know at the time was that it would lead to something far more significant.

As it turns out, the 6-foot-5 Mompoint (who also works as a big and tall model for Wilhemina) is the same height as Patriots quarterback Cam Newton. And the job he accepted in October was for a Downy advertisement with Newton as the subject. Initially, it seemed like a straightforward, if not entirely glamorous gig.

“Boston Casting sent me an email, asking if I’d be interested in doing stand-in work for a commercial,” Mompoint explained in a recent interview. “Stand-in work is basically just you’re in the same position where the principal actor is going to be. They pick you because you’re the right height for it. It’s just easier for the camera crew once the principal actor gets there. I said sure, and they told me it was for Cam Newton, I was like, ‘Oh wow that’s awesome.’”

A Patriots fan “since the Bledsoe days,” Mompoint was excited to potentially meet the quarterback on set.

By a twist of fate — or, perhaps more prosaically, because of a scheduling conflict — Mompoint didn’t end up getting to meet Newton. Instead, he got his role in the commercial.

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“It came down to maybe the day before shooting, where I had to get a COVID test, and they said there’s a scheduling conflict and Cam’s not going to make it,” Mompoint recalled. “Production was freaking out because they only had a certain amount of time to be there, and the director finally said, ‘You know what? We want you to do the commercial.’”

Mompoint, who started acting in 2015 after taking a class at CP Casting, jumped at the opportunity.

“I was so excited,” said Mompoint. “I wasn’t even nervous, it was just, it wasn’t even believable at first because this was my first speaking role in a commercial. I’ve had speaking roles in film, but this was my first speaking role in a national commercial.”

Like any aspiring actor, Mompoint’s career growth has been gradual, though it’s been punctuated by a few recent high points. His most notable role in film was playing a police officer in the Boston-based “Spenser Confidential,” released earlier in 2020.

Quickly adapting to play the role of Newton went smoothly for Mompoint. The most difficult part was matching Newton’s unique style.

“We went through so many outfits of what was going to be the right look for the commercial,” Mompoint remembered. “It took about eight hours just to find the right outfit, and the hat, because we went through so many hats. That was interesting.”

In the end, Mompoint, similar to a backup quarterback, rose to the occasion in an unforeseen role. Producers quickly had the script rewritten to humorously explain to viewers why it was Mompoint (and not Newton) who was featuring in the commercial. A scene with Newton himself was added at the end as a punchline.

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For Mompoint, it was more than he could have hoped.

“This was honestly a blessing to happen, just because of how hard the film industry has been hit with this pandemic,” he noted. “Just being able to get this opportunity, I mean I took this just to do something, even from stand-in work, background work, whatever it may be.”

The result was a much bigger role for Mompoint, who is pleased that he can add the commercial to his demo reel. He’s thankful that for once in such a challenging year, when circumstances fell in his favor, he was able to take advantage.

“Being able to do this and have my friends see this, because they’re Patriots fans, it’s been awesome, probably one of the best things to happen to me in 2020.”

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