Let’s just say it: a striking exuberance glows from Dean Cain. It’s infectious. It’s likable. It propels him off the television screen and allows him to stride right into peoples’ living rooms (metaphorically, of course).
So, after seeing so much of him on my television, I wasn’t surprised by who I found Cain to be when we spoke via Skype. But, if someone had only read his credits and interviews, and had the misfortune never to see him act, they might expect someone else. A slightly cynical actor maybe, not nearly the beaten dog that is Jamie Dutton (Wes Bentley) from Yellowstone, but perhaps Kayce Dutton (Luke Grimes), a good man with a burden; after all, how does a freedom-loving actor, a person open about his views on our freedom and who is, in fact, an NRA Board Member, keep his charm, his smile, over a long career in Hollywood?
Parts of Cain’s resume sound like the pedigree you’d expect from a more-typical Hollywood elitist. He went to Santa Monica High School in California with Charlie Sheen and Rob Lowe. His adoptive father, Christopher Cain, directed Young Guns (1988) and Pure Country (1992). Dean Cain graduated from Princeton. He dated Brooke Shields while he was in the Ivies and was a star football player; he was so good, in fact, he earned an NFL contract with the Buffalo Bills, but sadly, he injured a knee in training camp and so went into acting.
Well, not sadly.
Cain’s physique, acting ability and charm won him the role of Superman, that wonderfully optimistic American hero, in the TV series Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman from 1993-1997. When I mentioned this, he shrugged, as if to say, “Yeah, but that was back in the 1990s. Look at all I’ve done since and am doing now, please.”
But there is too much to list—even here in print. So we moved on. I wanted to hear about Hollywood, about what it is like to be a pro-freedom actor in Tinseltown. He shrugged again and said, “I guess my views have cost me some work.”
Now, as you’ll see, he cares about our freedom, but he sure didn’t appear to be upset about any work he may have lost for being vocal about his support for our rights. Perhaps he was acting—that’s what he does for a living—but, as we spoke, what I saw was the swashbuckling hero with a smile, not a man with things to hide.
“I don’t look for confrontations, but I will stand up for what’s right. People get that and we get along,” he said and I couldn’t help thinking that we need him out there talking, acting as a representative for our freedom.
A1F: How were you exposed to shooting, to this freedom? You grew up in California, didn’t you?
Cain: Right, I grew up in Malibu, California, the gun capital of the world. Now, my dad directed Young Guns, that great western from back in the day, and I remember an awful lot of guns on that set. But that was a culture he knew and that he showed me. My grandfather was a commander in the Navy. My uncle was a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force. They were hunters. My father was a farmer from South Dakota. So guns were around. I was familiar with them. My father and uncle taught me to shoot. I remember duck hunts and being exposed to gun safety. I was trained so often I have a hard time, even in a film, of pointing a gun at anyone. The NRA rules of gun safety are just so ingrained in me.
My son is 22 years old now and he has shot plenty. We’ve even done some professional training together. He might even outshoot me.
A1F: You’ve said that the “NRA is the original civil-rights union.” And have said, “I’d like to see us have 100 million members. We should be seen as a friendly organization toward everybody.” What do you hope to do to show more Americans that the NRA is not, and never has been, what the mainstream media likes to pretend it is?
Cain: I view the NRA as the original civil-rights organization, not because it was founded as a civil-rights organization—it wasn’t— but because it has become the single-most-important organization standing at the forefront of protecting the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The right of citizens to keep and bear arms is as much of a civil right as freedom of speech, religion and freedom of the press, and should be protected as such.
Often, the NRA is portrayed in the media and by activists and politicians as this dark, evil organization, when, in fact, it is the exact opposite. The NRA protects the rights of the individual citizen to keep and bear arms—something that evil empires would never do. Evil empires do not empower their citizens. Look throughout history at the most-repressive regimes, and you’ll always find that one of the first things they do is disarm the populace.
The Second Amendment shouldn’t be politicized; neither should the First Amendment or the Fourth or the Thirteenth or Fourteenth or Fifteenth. Still, politicians and activists continually attack the Second Amendment and politicize the idea of gun ownership.
I have stated before that “guns are tools” in much the same way a hammer or a screwdriver is a tool. All can be used to injure or kill, but, when used properly, they serve a distinct purpose: to hammer a nail, to tighten a screw or to protect your home and family. Every law-abiding citizen should enjoy that right.
A1F: Is there a character you could play who could show, in no uncertain terms, what you mean when you says “guns are tools”? A character who could de-politicize the Second Amendment?
Cain: I’d love that. I have played police officers plenty. I played Superman on television, a character whose powers never required a firearm because he was invulnerable. He had heat vision, cold breath, super-speed and other superpowers that he used to protect himself and other citizens. Superman didn’t need a firearm to protect his home or family or to fight against a tyrannical government, but regular humans need firearms for those exact reasons.
A1F: Has the fact that the Second Amendment protects a basic and fundamental freedom from government infringement helped when this topic comes up among your colleagues in Hollywood? You have said that most people you know in the movie business are somewhere in the middle.
Cain: It’s an odd paradox that so many Hollywood films and Hollywood stars have made their careers using firearms on screen, and then turn around and push for restrictive gun-control measures. I do believe it is a form of fashionable political correctness—combined with a healthy dose of ignorance. Filmmakers are artists, and emotional beings—and too often their emotional idealistic dreams cloud out reality.
“I view the NRA as the original civil-rights organization [as] it has become the single-most-important organization standing at the forefront of protecting the Second Amendment.”
When I get into the discussion of gun ownership and gun rights with other folks in Hollywood, I find that people are usually on one side or the other. Most of the everyday hard-working crew are all for gun rights, and many of the cast and production executives want to push for more gun control. It’s a weird dynamic, especially since many of these films directly involve stories and situations that involve firearms. Being a history major, I always try to reach across the aisle, so to speak, and explain to folks that the Second Amendment protects a basic and fundamental freedom from government infringement. Some folks embrace that idea, but others just react emotionally and idealistically, and the discussion goes nowhere. It can be trying, to say the least!
I never had the opportunity to meet Charlton Heston, but the man was a legend. He was already a film icon before he became President of the NRA, but in today’s political climate, I think he’d be vilified as some sort of monster, even though he was simply standing up and advocating for a basic American civil right. Folks today would definitely try to “cancel” Mr. Heston.
A1F: As an actor who has been on a lot of sets, were you shocked by the tragedy that occurred on the set for Alec Baldwin’s Rust? Like many, you must have wondered how live ammo got onto that set.
Cain: The situation with Alec Baldwin and the accidental shooting of Halyna Hutchins is an absolute tragedy, and something that never should have happened. There are numerous safeguards in place on film sets. If the existing rules and safeguards had been followed, this tragic accident would not have happened.
A1F: You have said that Hollywood is more complicated than the woke, anti-Second Amendment stances so many stars and other elites publicly espouse. That has certainly been shown in Taylor Sheridan’s hit show Yellowstone. Can you elaborate?
Cain: It’s heartening to me that shows like Yellowstone and films like Top Gun: Maverick have enjoyed such widespread success. It illustrates that most Americans appreciate core American values like faith, family, freedom, individuality, hard work and persistence. So often the loudest voices out of Hollywood scream and virtue-signal about “woke” agendas and pronouns, so it’s great to see these films and television shows enjoy such popularity. It’s clear that there is a large appetite for this kind of entertainment, and that audiences will find and support these projects.
A1F: You’ve said that we “wouldn’t have the First Amendment without the Second Amendment.” Clearly, speech is not an effective way to stop an armed criminal who is there to rob, rape or murder. Given this basic and obvious fact, why does Hollywood get away so often with pretending this corporeal reality isn’t real?
Cain: Often, when I get into discussions about the Second Amendment, I am told that when the nation was founded it was only to protect muskets, not arms in common use by the citizenry. The thing is, even a simple reading of the words of the Founding Fathers proves the exact opposite.
Here’s but one example:
“Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined.” –Patrick Henry, Speech to the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 5, 1778
I currently serve as a sworn deputy sheriff in Frederick County, Va., and a reserve police officer in Pocatello, Idaho. I have seen firsthand the horrible effects of woke prosecutors, ridiculous bail-reform laws and disastrous “defund-the-police” efforts. These policies have been terrible for everyday citizens and disastrous to the morale of police officers throughout the country. We have seen a record number of retirements, attacks on police officers and huge spikes in crime and violence throughout the country. Fortunately, people are getting fed-up, and those policies (however well-meaning) are quickly being reversed. It’s a good thing, because I don’t want to be forced to put on my cape again!
A1F: What projects are you working on now?
Cain: I have all kinds of projects going on. You know, it is wonderful not to be in a TV series. When you’re in a series, you’re working 18 hours a day. You feel like a prisoner you work so much. It never seems to stop. I wouldn’t want that schedule now. But I just wrote and produced a movie called Little Angels that is really enjoyable. I love those Frank Capra kind of movies—It’s a Wonderful Life and so on—that celebrate American values, so I try to do a lot of projects like that. I’ll be doing three of those, at least, this year.