Kevin Durant‘s contribution to his new movie, Thunderstruck, has been interesting to watch evolve. Maybe the biggest reason for that feeling is that I just don’t picture KD as a guy with movie ambitions. Need him on set? He’s probably still at the gym hoisting his 500th jumper of his second shooting session of the day (conveniently, he plays a basketball player in the new movie). So the thinking began: Who else could make a surprising movie star — and do they have a role tailored for them?
It will be hard to live up to Carmelo and Dwight Howard’s recent feature film roles, from China. Yet, these 10 might just make the leap from hardwood to Hollywood.
10. NIKOLA PEKOVIC
I’ve already mentioned him once today as a player whose 2012-13 season could be make or break, but Montenegro’s 6-11, 290-pound center has to be mentioned again. One suggestion, in case his year indeed becomes a worst-case scenario, is to hop onto a Conan The Destroyer reboot, re-cast as the role Wilt Chamberlain played, “Bombaata.” Really, he could fit into anything without much dialogue that relies heavily on scripting him into aggressive situations.
9. GREG ODEN
Two words: Hero’s journey. He has a gift he’s reluctant to use but, given dire circumstances, must overcome his own doubt and the odds the world has placed against him. And, cut. (Optional player for this role: Brandon Roy)
8. KENNETH FARIED
Think Taken, or possibly better, Harrison Ford in Clear and Present Danger. After interviewing him and reading up on his background almost two years ago, it became clear who he is on the court doesn’t match his demeanor off it. Flip a switch, however, and one of the league’s best athletes could become the quintessential “man who didn’t know he had it in him.” If you’d rather not bank on him carrying a film, however, he could still chase down any enemy in his path in a Jeremy Renner-in-Mission Impossible vein. He’s a sneaky pick to be an action hero.
7. RAJON RONDO
Rondo is a natural leading man who could lead an ensemble cast perfectly in a movie, as well. Preferably cast in dramas, Rondo could fit into a new telling of an Ocean’s 11 role, where his unpredictability, yet incredible talent, makes you wonder if he’s capable of the job while raising your expectations sky-high at the same time. The clincher is how he plays with a chip on his shoulder, and movies need a hero with an edge, too. (Free tip to future Rondo directors: If the scene requires him to be angry, ask him to channel his energy as if he’s talking with Jerry Colangelo) Second choice: The role of the quiet genius archetype, possibly that of Rain Man. If Rondo can’t be cast, try Kobe Bryant for these roles.
6. JOAKIM NOAH
There are a wealth of candidates to fill the “loose cannon” role of John McLane or Dirty Harry in the NBA today, but the usual suspects are too odd to capture the essential truth for the role to work. Gilbert Arenas and Delonte West have eccentric down pat, but Noah brings the air of a man who will at least try to see it through your way. He will try to play by the rules and try to work up the chain of command — until all options are exhausted and he has to make it work through unconventional means. I can just see a frustrated Noah on screen drop the pretense and growl, “there has to be a better way.” Bonus points if the screenwriters can work in this dance.
5. SHANE BATTIER
If any one in the NBA is going to star in an independent Duplass brothers film, it is Battier. There’s usually not much in the way of plot development in their features, but Battier’s intelligence leads me to believe he could pull off “introspective” pretty well. Louis Amundson might fit the part better from the looks of it, but Battier would hold the audience.
4. GRANT HILL
You know that role Denzel just played? And the one before? And the one before that? Yeah, Hill could do all of those. Let’s examine: His smooth talking and intelligence lend themselves perfectly to a courtroom drama as the hotshot counselor. Next, he just sat with first lady Michelle Obama at the London Olympic opening ceremony, so his presidential qualities bear no further discussion. He could be quietly dynamite as the male lead in a rom-com. But you say, what about Denzel’s hard-edged roles such as Training Day or American Gangster? Could one of the league’s most genial players pull those off? Please: Go back and watch his play from 1994-2000. He was a bad, bad man.
3. BLAKE GRIFFIN
No surprise here: The former Funny or Die intern and Champs podcast regular is a man made for comedy. Comedy, that is, in the awkward, understated vein that Jason Segel does so well. Seriously, how hasn’t this happened yet with a player based in Los Angeles?
2. KEVIN GARNETT
Is there a more dramatic player in the league right now (unless you count the floppers)? It’s a safe bet Garnett could play an exaggerated villain — say, action movie — or henchman fairly well. Mix his scowl and intimidating size and there you have it. It should go without saying he’s delivered dramatic lines before on camera. If “Anything is possible” can be written into a scene right after he divulges his plans for a world takeover, I really can’t think of anything better for KG.
1. TONY ALLEN
I’m not James Lipton of Inside the Actors Studio, but Allen seems to be the kind of rare personality who could fill a spectrum of roles. Playing a variation of Jim Carrey‘s role in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind could be a genius stroke, though Simon Pegg‘s roles could be a solid fit, too. Pegg plays odd characters who don’t quite fit into their surroundings, yet whose awkwardness is punctuated by shows of relevatory brilliance. It’s true that description fits Allen’s Twitter account to a T, but I think he could translate perfectly to the screen — and I’m guessing he’s got killer comedic timing to seal the deal. One thing hovers over these aforementioned parts: The need for self-discovery. If that’s a concern, Allen has answered this call only recently. Would also have been a perfect fit for The Hangover‘s Allen if Zach Galifianakis had backed out, or as Chris Tucker‘s lead in Rush Hour.
H/t Patrick Malee
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