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Cory Hardrict has quietly risen to the top after he left the Chicago area years ago and made California his home.

Cory Hardrict has quietly risen to the top after he left the Chicago area years ago and made California his home. Known for appearances in “The Game,” “Lincoln Heights,” and movies such as “Gran Turino,”  the south suburban Chicago Heights native will ‘Battle’ in his newest film. “Battle: LA” depicts modern day Los Angeles’ experience with an alien invasion in which a platoon of Marines and Airmen combat. The movie opens Friday. Hardrict says the climb upward hasn’t always been easy, but credits his mother and God for his success. His love for acting was ignited from his mother who he calls his “biggest fan,” who is now deceased. She took him to casting calls all the time when he was younger and he recalls his first part in a film. “I had a small role and had like one line. It was an Oprah Winfrey film and I was 14 years old; After that I felt like I wanted to do this-I wanted to act,” Hardrict told the Defender. “When she passed away, I sat around in Chicago for like 3 or 4 years, debating on what to do with my life,” he said, “then one day it hit me that my mom would want me to go to California so I got the strength from her, prayed on it—God gave me strength—and I just took up and left with that $75.” Traveling the nearly 2,000 miles from the south suburbs to Inglewood, Calif. was a chance he was ready to take. The big move was risky and dangerous, but Hardrict didn’t let those thoughts hold him back. “The opportunities in Chicago were very limited and I just knew that I really wanted to do it on a bigger scale–just didn’t know how,” said the newlywed and father-to-be. He and his wife, actress Tia Mowry Hardrict, are expecting their first child this summer. Hardrict left his brother and father behind to stay with a complete stranger. The man who took him in was someone he had only spoken with on the phone and knew through several acquaintances. “I didn’t really know the guy but I had the living room floor and a blanket; he said he would give me two months to get a job,” he recalled. After taking acting classes twice a week while he worked another job, he landed an acting gig. None of his success would be possible without his mother’s support and his belief in the higher power, he said. “I always think about her and I say I’m doing this for more than me, she’s living through me, I’m doing this for both of us,” Hardrict said, adding, “God is first and foremost in my life and I let it be known; He has slowly been putting me in a position to live my dream and to live out what I asked for.” Fans can follow Hardrict on Twitter @coryhardrict. Copyright 2011 Chicago Defender

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