HOLLYWOOD – NBA star Kevin Durant has shined on the basketball court since his days at University of Texas. He’ll now get a chance to shine on the silver screen as the star of a new kids-themed film, “Thunderstruck,” scheduled for release nationwide on Aug. 24.
Joining Durant on the movie cast is Taylor Gray, a star on Nickelodeon’s “Bucket and Skinner’s Epic Adventures” TV show, and Brandon T. Jackson, a co-star in the movie “Big Momma’s House.”
Durant plays himself in the movie, a star guard/forward for the Oklahoma City Thunder, while Gray plays a 14-year-old Thunder fanatic who magically steals the basketball skills of Durant.
Gray’s character uses Durant’s skills to dominate on his high school basketball team, while Durant tries to figure out how and why he lost his great shooting touch.
The director of the film, John Whitsell, told the Associated Press that Durant, a native of Prince George’s County, Md., was perfect for the movie because people can relate to his off-the-court personality.
“When a guy goes over and hugs his mom after [every] game, that’s a guy that people are going to like and that’s what you need in a movie,” Whitesell said. “You need a guy, a star, who people are going to want to relate to or are going to care about. You want people to care that Kevin can’t shoot. If LeBron can’t shoot, I don’t care. I’m happy. But if Kevin can’t shoot, I’m sad.”
According to reports, most of the movie was filmed in Louisiana when Durant had plenty of free time during the NBA lockout last year. The rest of the film was shot in Oklahoma City once the lockout was lifted. Whitsell told the AP that Durant would spend up to 12 hours on set daily to film the movie.
Durant told the AP he enjoyed stepping out of his comfort zone of the basketball world and into a new role as an actor.
“Of course, people are going to look at it a little different because I’m a basketball player and I’m doing something different. A basketball player is what I do. It’s not really just solely who I am. I like to do other things,” Durant said. “It’s all about conquering your fears. That’s one thing I did with this, stepping in front of a camera and people yelling ‘Action!’ It’s not the norm for me. I did something outside the box, and I’m glad it turned out pretty well.”
Gray told the Oklahoman Newspaper that Durant was a natural at acting.
“I don’t think anyone expected that, but he did a fantastic job,” Gray said, explaining how the hardest part of the acting experience for Durant was learning how to miss shots on command.
“I remember the first day he actually had to miss. They had it set to make all these shots, and then he was supposed to start missing for a while,” Gray said. “We had multiple days in a row where he was supposed to miss shots, but it was like impossible for him to miss. I’m like, ‘Dude, I’ll show you how to miss.’”
Special to the NNPA from the Afro-American Newspaper
The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), known as the Black Press of America, is the federation of more than 200 Black community newspapers in the United States.