"30 Years On: How 'White Men Can't Jump' Rewrote the Rules of Sports Movies"
It has been thirty years since the beloved sports movie "White Men Can't Jump," starring Woody Harrelson, Wesley Snipes and Rosie Perez, was released. Through the open call for basketball tryouts and actor auditions, the cast was chosen, featuring former pro players Cylk Cozart and Marques Johnson, along with Snipes and Harrelson. Director Ron Shelton relates, "I just always wanted to do an L.A. story ... I also love playground basketball," emphasizing the importance of the actors being able to play. The chemistry between the two leads and their athleticism made the difference.
Shelton adds, "Woody, first of all, was a really good kind of gym rat basketball player ... Wesley Snipes was this tremendous athlete. Not a great basketball player, but a tremendous athlete." Marques Johnson, who played college basketball and was an All-American at UCLA, brings his barber dad's straight razor to the audition to play the part of Raymond; Woody Harrelson must dunk the basketball on a lower hoop for a bet; and Wesley Snipes has trouble executing a three-man weave. The cast speaks highly of Shelton's involvement and direction and of Johnson's acting talents.
Harrelson humorously states, "We should do a remake to compete against that one they're doing ... A remake to compete against the remake." And while a remake is in the works, basketball fans and lovers of the movie will have to wait to see who, if anyone, will come close to the original "White Men Can't Jump" cast.