As his recently released basketball drama, "Glory Road," makes a full-court press on movie theaters nationwide and his epic disaster remake, "Poseidon," prepares to sail, Josh Lucas continues to forge a career that places him (in some fans' minds) squarely among Hollywood's beefcake male leads.
But the environmentally minded actor is increasingly interested in serving up a very different sort of dish -- namely, some good, healthy eats. With a chain of restaurants called "Mighty's Fast Food" in the works, Lucas hopes to offer heart-and-gut-friendly meals at prices typically restricted to fat-and-calorie-laden big-chain "value meals."
"Mighty's is a response [to the big-name food conglomerates]," Lucas said of Mighty's, which currently has a copyrighted logo and is soliciting support, ideas and recipes on the "Sweet Home Alabama" star's official site, joshlucas.com. Since the actor's easygoing grin and piercing gaze have often drawn comparison to a young Paul Newman, it seems only appropriate that Newman's famous and much-lauded fundraising efforts inspired Lucas in the first place.
"I've long been fascinated by Paul Newman's creative approach to philanthropy ... which has raised hundreds of millions of dollars for charities," Lucas writes on his site. "Like Newman's Own, we're not in this to make money."
"My sister is a very compassionate, ecologically and environmentally minded young woman," he said, elaborating on his online proclamations. "She came to me with this idea of creating a restaurant that would be, in a sense, competition to McDonald's [based on] self-sustained, organic farming."
Unsure of the true benefits of his past charitable contributions, Lucas agreed to throw his weight behind Mighty's, which aims to support family farmers and reduce environmental wear-and-tear by avoiding unnecessary packaging and long-distance food transportation. Once the restaurant chain begins to turn a profit, Lucas promised, the money will "go back into ventures that contribute to the betterment of our world."
"Our aim at this point is just to be able to do that cost-consciously," he said, "so we don't have to have an upper-class fast-food restaurant. [We want to make it so] that anyone can go there and get a great meal that's actually going to be good for the environment and not be very expensive."
"Our goals," Lucas asserts on his site, "remain the same: establish a fast-food restaurant and drive-thru serving delicious, locally grown and produced products made with natural and organic ingredients."
Despite the likely prospect of a long slog ahead, he vowed that "Mighty's will succeed."
Before his female admirers begin cruising drive-thru windows, however, expecting the star to lean out and hand them their meals, they might want to keep in mind one more promise the actor made while singing the praises of his budding restaurant empire: He, does, after all, intend to keep his day job.
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