Whatever Happened To Sean Patrick Thomas From Save The Last Dance?

With the slew of dance films that made their way to theaters in the early 2000s, "Save The Last Dance" was undoubtedly the first to usher in a new way to interpret movies of the genre. Alongside capturing the essence of hip-hop culture, the film's director, Thomas Carter, was able to tell a compelling story about chasing dreams, the challenges of growing up in underprivileged neighborhoods, and, most notably, the dynamics of being in an interracial relationship.

The 2001 film conquered the box office and quickly became a cult classic. Although "Save the Last Dance" established the careers of Julia Stiles, who went on to star in "Riviera" and "The Lake," and Kerry Washington, who is well-known for her portrayal of Olivia Pope in "Scandal," what about the charming love interest, Sean Patrick Thomas?

By 2001, Thomas was already an established actor who'd starred in "Can't Hardly Wait" and "Cruel Intentions" ; however, the first time he played the male lead was in "Save the Last Dance." His portrayal of Sara Johnson's boyfriend, Derek Reynolds, made him a heartthrob of the early aughts. Just like his onscreen girlfriend, Thomas went on to attain numerous accolades following the film's success. While some are strictly career-based — like working with A-listers — others are quite personal — like becoming a father. 

Sean Patrick Thomas went on to star in another cult classic in 2002

After "Save the Last Dance," Sean Patrick Thomas kept himself starring in films , like "Halloween: Resurrection." Thomas also made regular appearances in the crime drama "The District" following his portrayal of Derek. His success only grew as he snagged a role in another notable film that most of us hold near and dear to our hearts.

In 2002, Thomas played Jimmy James in "Barbershop." With a star-studded crew ranging from Ice Cube, Anthony Anderson, Michael Ealy, and Eve, Thomas stood out from the talented cast. So much so that he reprised his role in the sequel, "Barbershop 2: Back in Business," and made a brief cameo in "Barbershop: The Next Cut."

Despite the success he garnered from "Barbershop," Thomas revealed in a 2022 interview with Eur Web that he was encouraged to turn it down. "I remember before I did the film, I had a lot of people tell me, 'Don't do that movie,' because it was the first movie I did after 'Save the Last Dance,' which was very successful," he revealed. "I thought, 'You know what? I think it's more than that.' And so 20 years later, it's very gratifying to know that I was right, that it was a lot more than that and I'm very proud of it."

Sean Patrick Thomas married actor Aonika Laurent in 2006

Following the success of two notable movies and a crime-drama series, the Delaware native starred alongside Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz in the critically acclaimed drama, "The Fountain" in 2006. This year, however, would also be a big one for Sean Patrick Thomas on a personal level.

During a party thrown by a "Barbershop" director Tim Story, Thomas ran into fellow actor Aonika Laurent. As they revealed in an interview on OWN's "Black Love" in 2017, the two didn't have the best first impression of each other. While Thomas was talking on the phone, a mutual friend came to introduce the two. Since Thomas was preoccupied, Laurent thought Thomas seemed ill-mannered. "You know, I think she felt blown off," he stated. "But really, I was just focused on something else at that moment." Luckily, the two worked past their uncomfortable encounter and wound up getting married in 2006.

According to People magazine, their wedding was actually supposed to be held in 2005. Since New Orleans, Louisana, is Laurent's hometown, she wanted to marry there. Sadly, Hurricane Katrina caused the two to delay the big day.

Sean Patrick Thomas became a father of two

In addition to getting married, Sean Patrick Thomas became a dedicated family man. In 2008, Thomas and Aonika Laurent welcomed their first daughter, Lola, into the world. Laurent wanted her daughter to be born in New Orleans; however, as the told People, "Sean and I compromised — my brother [mailed] soil from my backyard and we placed it under the bed at Cedars Sinai. Lola was born on New Orleans soil!" Two years after Lola was born, Thomas and Laurent had their second child, a son named Luc. 

Parenthood for Thomas and Laurent, however, came after lots of trying. Laurent revealed to People in 2020 revealed that she experienced several miscarriages before having their firstborn. "The problem hasn't been getting pregnant, it's been keeping the pregnancy," she told the publication. After giving birth to Lola, the two were faced with the challenges of pregnancy yet again. Luckily, the two pulled through and were able to have Luc. "The biggest, most important thing we will ever do beyond careers is being parents," she stated. "I'm so delighted to share this experience with one of the most amazing men in the universe!" She continued, saying, "After so many miscarriages, to be blessed with both a daughter and a son ... we couldn't be happier."

Sean Patrick Thomas transitioned to theater in 2009

From starring alongside legends like Phylicia Rashad and John Stamos in the film adaptation of "A Raisin in the Sun" to appearing in "The Burrowers," Sean Patrick Thomas had a strong year in 2009. The actor only added to his TV credits with guest appearances in "Reaper" and "Lie to Me." 

Despite his apparent success in film and television, Thomas also ventured into theater. In 2009, it was announced that Thomas was set to star in William Shakespeare's "Othello." While the initial play was intended to be shown Off-Broadway in New York City's Theater for a New Audience, the production team eventually switched locations to Seattle's Intiman Theatre. At the theater, Arik Korman interviewed the actor to discuss his illustrious career. Thomas explained the significance of acting on stage and how it differs from acting in film and television. "What I like about movies and television is that if you have a take and you didn't quite like what you just did, you get a chance to do it again in a lot of cases, and that's very creative and exciting too," he revealed. "If you mess up on stage or you do something on stage you didn't quite like how it went, you just have to work with it and keep going."

Sean Patrick Thomas made his Broadway debut and reconnected with a film legend

In addition to starring in the film adaptation of "A Raisin in the Sun," Sean Patrick Thomas went on to play Joseph Asagai in the Broadway play. There, he'd retell Lorraine Hansberry's classic story while sharing the stage with acting legend Denzel Washington.

Washington actually recognized the actor from a prior project. According to Delaware Online, the two first met in 1996 for the film "Courage Under Fire." Despite Washington being unable to put a name to his face, Thomas reminded the acting icon of their time on set together during rehearsals. "Once I told him, it all came back to him," he explained. "He remembered us being in the conference room with all the soldiers. He only needed a little clue."

In a 2014 interview with Broadway.com, Thomas spoke candidly about getting starstruck by Washington while in rehearsals. "Sometimes I see Denzel while I'm offstage warming up or getting ready to do a scene, and I'm like, 'Oh my God. That's Denzel Washington!'" he revealed. "I get this overwhelming sense of gratitude to be able to watch him and learn from him."

Sean Patrick Thomas participated in a special inaugural event

In honor of Martin Luther King Day in 2021, President Joe Biden held a celebration, "United We Serve," that saw several notable celebrities and political figures in attendance. One of which just so happened to be the "Save the Last Dance" alum himself, Sean Patrick Thomas.

Thomas took to his Instagram on January 18, 2021, to announce his participation in the event and prompt his followers to tune in. This didn't come as a shock to his dedicated fans as Thomas was heavily involved in Biden's campaign. In addition to notable icons like Reverend Al Sharpton and Dr. Bernice King, and Martin Luther King III, the Delaware native was slated to co-host the event with other figures to celebrate Biden's presidency and recognize Dr. King's contribution to society as a whole.

In 2022, Sean Patrick Thomas starred in an emotional film based on a true story

From attaining roles in films that touch on the specific experiences Black people have in America, it's clear that Sean Patrick Thomas never shied away from the opportunities of relaying a deeper message to his audience — whether it be systemic disadvantages or unjustified negative perceptions.

Amid a relatively busy year for the actor, having starred in films such as "Trophy Wife" and "For All Mankind," Thomas also appeared in the 2022 film "Till," based on the true story of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African American boy who was lynched in 1955 due to being wrongfully accused of whistling at a white woman. The film depicts Emmett's mother, Mamie Till, and the difficulties surrounding her attempts to find justice. The heartfelt film was recognized by numerous organizations, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and Screen Actors Guild Awards for its truthful yet haunting depiction.

In an interview with the New York Post in 2022, Thomas, who played Till's father figure, Gene Mobley, expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to star in the film and expressed how important it is to remind the general public about these tragedies. "There's places in this country where they're trying to make us forget that Emmett Till ever happened, you know? And the point of talking about it now is that what happened to Emmett Till is still happening today," he said. "Black men are getting killed because they are Black and for no other reason."

Sean Patrick Thomas reunited with his onscreen sister in Reasonable Doubt

To say that "Save the Last Dance" was a critical point in Sean Patrick Thomas' career would be an understatement. After all, his inclusion in the 2001 film contributed to his heartthrob status in the early 2000s. Ever since its release, Thomas couldn't escape the impact the film had on the general public. Thankfully, he doesn't seem to mind.

Fans rejoiced when they saw an Instagram photo of Thomas and his fictional sister, Kerry Washington, in late 2021. As it turned out, they were working together once again. In 2022, Washington executive produced "Reasonable Doubt," a series starring the Sean Patrick Thomas.

Thomas told the New York Post about rekindling that sibling-like bond. "I remember when I first met Kerry. ... We instantly connected as brother and sister, really," he revealed. "We automatically just took on that energy with each other, and it was real in person, and it was real on screen. ... So now, 20 years later, it's exactly the same."

Sean Patrick Thomas plays a former superhero in Gen V

From his 2003 voice-acting gig in "Static Shock," Sean Patrick Thomas made slow strides toward picking up a role in a superhero universe. The actor went on to lend his voice to "Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman" that same year. In 2021, Thomas also voiced a character in the animated Prime Video superhero series, "Invincible." Finally, in 2023, he would play a superhero in the flesh.

Thomas was cast in "Gen V," a spinoff to the immensely popular Prime Video original "The Boys." The series tackles the dynamics between a money-hungry organization and glorified superheroes who are not as heroic as they seem. As for Thomas, he plays Polarity, an ex-superhero and overbearing father, who works closely with the organization to raise the next generation of heroes. In doing so, we see topics such as parental pressure become apparent throughout his role.

In an interview with Collider, Thomas spoke about the realistic themes explored in the show. "I think what the show really kind of sets up for you is how youthful idealism, generally speaking, gets corrupted by adults," he explained. "And I think that we see that in a very kind of literal way on 'Gen V.'"

Sean Patrick Thomas is set to reprise his iconic role in 'Cruel Intentions' reboot

While having Sean Patrick Thomas and Kerry Washington working on the same series may be the closest we'll ever get to having a "Save the Last Dance" sequel. Nevertheless, we know Thomas is not opposed to reprisals. After all, we did see him return as Jimmy James in the "Barbershop" sequels. In 2016, fans collectively became excited for a remake of "Cruel Intentions" — the 1999 cult classic in which Thomas played Ronald Clifford. Although showrunners pitched a reboot to NBC, the network ultimately passed and the revival was scrapped. But then, in 2023, it was announced that a "Cruel Intentions" reboot was officially in production.

According to Variety, Prime Video greenlit an eight-episode TV series version of the popular film. While most adaptations generally try to stay true to the original, it seems the new series will present a new set of faces, like Sarah Catherine Hook and Zac Burgess to play new characters. We can, however, expect Thomas to take part in the series — albeit as a different character. 

Variety reported that Thomas is set to play Professor Chadwick instead of reprising his role as Ronald. Despite the apparent excitement over the new series, it is still unclear when the show is set to release, as of this writing.