The upcoming Kevin Durant movie sounds pretty great. The film’s called Switch, and the plot goes something like this: Durant’s basketball skills are magically transferred to a fan, and while the fan goes on to be king of his high school team, the Thunder is left helpless without KD’s skills (Russell Westbrook et al. must love that plot twist). Can the Thunder pull through? Can Durant learn that the power was in him all along?
Okay, so it’s Space Jam, only without the cartoons and aliens and Wayne Knights, mixed with a little bit of Like Mike. Sounds good to me so far.
Durant initially balked at the prospect of appearing in the film. In an interview with the Washington Post, he said, “I didn’t want to do it. First, I was like, ‘It’s not me. I’m stepping out of the box a little too much.’”
Durant might also have been a little hesitant to appear in a film directed by the man responsible for the two least liked films in the Big Momma’s House trilogy. A John Whitesell film? This might be a rough ride.
Still, we’re excited. The film’s got about as good a cast as you can get. Tropic Thunder‘s Brandon T. Jackson appears as Durant’s agent, cult icon William Ragsdale is in it, and, really, you don’t get more authentic than Kevin Durant playing Kevin Durant.
the man can grow a glorious mustache.
Producer Mike Karz has good things to say about Durant: “He’s been such a surprise, a pleasant surprise. In fact, we’ve been adding lines for him. We’ve been giving him more work to do because he’s so good. He’s a natural.” And it looks like Durant is expanding his range, getting a chance to improv a little opposite Jackson, something that Durant wasn’t allowed to do in the few TV spots he’s worked in.
It’s an interesting look into Durant’s professionalism. From the Post interview: “[Brandon Jackson’s] been making it so easy for me. Every time I step on set, it’s been fun. Every time, he gets right into his lines and ad-libbing scenes so it doesn’t seem so scripted. It’s different. It’s cool. I’m working on my lines, getting them pretty well and pretty quickly. But everybody is making me feel comfortable… [The TV spots were] a little different for me. That was me saying the lines back the way they wanted me to say them. Here it’s more natural.”
The movie couldn’t have come at a better time. Right now, the only NBA news heading our way has been lockout-centric, which means we’re going to start losing casual fans left and right. This film will help keep the franchise in people’s minds, and remind them that yes, we do have some insanely good players these days.
That said, the licensing rights with the NBA are set up so that any and all game footage can’t be used until an agreement is reached. So damn. In the Post interview, Durant said, “I hope we get a deal done and get this thing rolling. I think somehow, someway, they are going to figure things out.” The man’s optimistic, I’ll give him that.
Still, if anything, there should be more NBA films coming out to fill this void. Basketball is a sport particularly suited for film, since players’ faces are much more visible than, say, hockey or football, and the action is so furious. At any rate, we deserve NBA spin-off material that focuses on something other than LeBron James’s repertoire of kooky character work. Heck, even well-meaning projects like the Common and Queen Latifah rom com Just Wright bombed in the box office
When you flip to the sports page these days, all you see are angry men in suits. That’s just bad for business. So kudos to Durant, director John Whitesell, and Warner Bros. for helping keep the faith.