It’s the re-make of the 1992 sports comedy film White Men Can’t Jump which starred Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson. Snipes and Harrelson took home MTV Movie Awards for Best On-Screen Duo and Best Kiss – to date the original film has grossed $90.8 million at the box office.
This time around I’m projecting that Sinqua Walls and Jack Harlow will take their seats at The Academy Awards and The Golden Globe Awards shows. If I could look into time I’d say they’ll be taking home an Oscar, the film was just that good. Their performances, alongside the Iconic Teyana Taylor, were captivating, emotional, action-filled, and engaging every step of the way.
After receiving an exclusive invite to be one of the first to watch White Men Cant Jump, I sat in my seat at the Cinemark 18 & XD on Center Drive in Greater Los Angeles. This year marks the 30th Anniversary of the original film and the only thing that helped center my anxiety-ridden anticipation of the film was the gentleness of Herb The Entertainment Specialist to my right and the fierceness of one of Vibe’s top writers Demicia Inman to my left.
And while I can only speak for myself, I’m calling this film one of the best remakes, no doubt the top sequel of 2023. From beginning to end there was never a dull moment – each scene was carefully infused with emotion, passion, and some of the best acting you’d ever see in a sports comedy. From the joy and pain in each love story to the desires fulfilled after seasons of disappointments, set backs, and delays of dreams – the film inspires hope and shows that true passion never dies. I’m calling it relatable, tickling you up and down funny, and full of action.
It’s the story of two ballers, opposites who are seemingly miles apart, who find they have more in common than they imagined possible. The two ballers, one white and one Black, join forces to double their chances of winning money in the Los Angeles-based street basketball culture.
At the very first advance screening of 20th Century Studios’ and Hulu’s White Men Can’t Jump, star actor Sinqua Walls who plays Kamal Allen sat down alongside the films director Charles “Calmatic” Kidd II to answer questions about the upcoming film.
“… I’m grateful. It’s a process I think a lot of us know in here that are creatives and artists that want to do things and really have opportunities to live out our dreams. This was an emergence of my dreams coming together from basketball to acting to art to all the things working with this brother right here [Calmatic]. And I remember our first meeting, I called my agent and I was like I don’t know, “ I don’t think dude is gonna cast me.” And he said to me “ No bro, you just have to play it cool. I was like okay and I had to play it cool so I’m really just grateful. This is just an amazing experience to be here sharing this with you all,” Walls said.
It always amazes he how sometimes the most talented actors and actresses can question themselves then turn around and bring their characters to life with such rare artistic skill, that’s exactly what Sinqua did in this film and Calmatic shared with the audience why Sinqua was chosen and how he immersed himself into LA street culture to make the film authentic as possible.
“Venice Beach is like a staple when it comes to LA basketball but for me it was about growing up in LA. It’s the streetball culture like the Jr. High School courts. One of the reasons why I casted Sinqua is because he told me he went to Audubon so I’m like if you from LA you know what Audubon means like the type of basketball that’s being played out by Audubon. James Harden went to Audubon so when he does all those weird step-backs where he traveling and saying that’s not traveling that’s some Audubon s—. So I felt like having that shorthand with Sinqua and telling the story of LA basketball, Calmatic said.
“In high school, I went to University HS. We played against Fairfax and Westchester. On any given day we would see the #1 team in the nation in our little gym. And you look at that team and you have these players that are like the Top 10 players in the nation but what happens when they dont get that scholarship to the college, what happens when they don’t make it to the league. I know some dudes that played for Westchester that work for Amazon right now. So, that’s kind of what sparked the story just like you know the LA version of potential NBA basketball players and how that fall from grace can be sort of embarrassing and just hard to break through,” he added.
With LA streetball’s resurgence being one of the highlights of the culture right now, to bring the film to life Calmatic immersed himself into the community and ‘brotherhood’ of LA’s finest street ballers. The director kept his eye on the Venice Ball League and Ball Is Life on Instagram. To Calmatic, a lot of the hoopers on the courts these days are just as famous as all of the And 1 players and even some NBA players.
“As soon as I knew I was doing this movie I just started following a bunch of those pages and get to know who these hoopers are. And even the guy that played Young Sinqua, Hamilton, you know what I’m saying he’s one of the biggest influencers on Instagram,” he told the audience.
“Hamilton is like home grown, he went to Leuzinger, and he dunkin that hard! It’s really using the local resources to help tell these stories and you know we just want to make sure the basketball is authentic. To be honest, a lot of basketball players aren’t great actors but we have to have like Bentley Green in the film as well who’s like the best basketball player/actor in the game – he brought it on the acting side and the hooping side. So, we just had to get that authentic,” Calmatic explained.
White Men Can’t Jump will be available on Hulu May 19th, 2023.
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