Dont Confuse Crossover with Other Basketball Movies: I think the thing about it is you have all these different basketball movies and they find their own genre, be it Glory Road being a great historic movie, Above the Rim being a great gritty urban street basketball movie, Hoosiers being that great American tale basketball movie and this is just kind of like a fun coming of age new basketball movie that allows people to realize that basketball really has a means to an end. We realize how important and valuable the Harlem Globetrotters was, not only to the development of basketball, but to the future of the NBA as a whole.
Anthony Mackie on His Basketball Training: The thing about it was there was this guy named Mark, hes a phenomenal, phenomenal basketball legend on the Atlanta courts and around the country. He really taught me elbow to wrist, which before was more just like flinging a ball to the goal. But the motion of shoulder, elbow, wrist, shoot put I would say at least three more feet of arc on my ball. He taught me how to aim at the rim. That was very important.
Mackie says the real ballplayers were very supportive. Without a doubt. They had that moment of cracking jokes and this and that, but I told them on the first day, I was like, I might not be the best ball player but youre definitely not the best actor, so you make fun but youre going to have to say those lines.
They would just laugh at me. We were in basketball camp and they would crack jokes and this and that. The thing about it is they had seen my other movies and I had seen them on the mix tapes and everything so there was a huge mutual respect. They just would crack jokes about me not being able to dribble or me not being as good as them. So I made sure when they had to talk, Id be like, What? What? Whatd you say? What? So I would make them nervous and they would mess up.
Acting and Playing Hoops: How tough was it to hit his marks on the basketball court? I consider myself to be a technician so it wasnt hard at all. The great thing about the way they were shooting the movie is it was kind of a free for all. They had enough cameras going which Preston did, which was very smart. He had enough cameras going to where he could follow you anywhere. We just played so much basketball. We played so much basketball.
Anthony Mackie Can Relate to His Characters Struggle: Without a doubt. The thing about Tech is he doesnt realize where hes going, where basketball is going to take him. That boils over in his insecurities, as far as with Cruise and the rest of the people around him. If theres one thing I know is an insecure actor. The thing about Tech thats so great is the arc of his story. He realizes by the end of the movie that basketball is a means to an end. Just like I used acting to get me to college to where I could get my degree to go on and do better things, he uses basketball for that same purpose. He uses basketball to get him into college once he realizes whats going on, and he uses that to take it to the next level of manhood.
Speaking of Taking It to the Next Level : Will Crossover be the movie that does just that for Mackies career? Ive had some great opportunities in my career, responded Mackie. Ive felt like Ive been lucky and fortune to work with the people that Ive worked with. After certain projects that I thought were going to take me to the next level didnt, I have no faith in the system of being recognized for my work. Therefore I just try to continue to do good work and work with people that I admire.
Mackie says if Crossover is a hit and it doesnt earn him recognition, thats fine with him. Two years ago, like with She Hate Me or I feel like Sucker Free City, which I feel is the best work I had ever done, that wasnt recognized at all or wasnt seen at all, at that point in time I was bitter and upset. But now I realize the game of the business. As long as you continue to do good work and youre not recognized for it, that dont mean youre not a good actor.
Mackie continued. When you see the other cats that are being promoted in situations and given great jobs with great directors, its like it just dont make sense. You have directors running around casting all these random rappers and people in these great roles, youre like, Dude, have I not been pounding the pavement for the last 15 years? But then I realized that as soon as you start equating your struggle to somebody elses, thats when you lose it. Everybodys journey is different through this business, so right now Im just riding on my journey. If somebody else [doesnt] realize it, thats cool. I understand that.