Shaq on his Hollywood plans
Shaquille O’Neal is already known by many names. Superman. The Diesel. The Big Aristotle. But he would like to add another to the list: Movie Star.
In “Uncle Drew,” which opens Friday, he plays one of the former basketball stars (all of them real pros under heavy old-man makeup) reunited by Kyrie Irving’s titular character (first created for a TV ad) to compete in a street-ball tournament at Harlem’s Rucker Park. Shaq’s character, known as Big Fella, is found running a martial arts dojo.
But post-NBA life has been far more successful for the four-time NBA champion. He’s an analyst on TNT’s “Inside the NBA,” a popular pitchman and an active entrepreneur and investor. He has dabbled in everything from professional wrestling to law enforcement. He’s even a voice setting on the Waze navigation app. This summer he will tour under the name DJ Diesel.
“Uncle Drew” is just one of the projects that the 46-year-old O’Neal has going. Among his favorites is a TBS show he’s developing with Ken Jeong. Comparing their chemistry to Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan, O’Neal says it will be “’Seinfeld”-epic-ish.”
In an interview, O’Neal spoke about his big plans in Hollywood, why the NBA has gotten soft and where he hopes LeBron James lands this off-season.
AP: What do you miss about playing in the NBA?
O’Neal: I miss all of it. I miss interacting with the fans. I miss having the unexpected adrenaline rush, the doubts, the fear, overcoming the fear. I miss everything.
AP: Do you play anymore?
O’Neal: No, not at all.
AP: How come?
O’Neal: I ain’t got it. Right now, I’m relinquishing all my powers to my son who’s going to UCLA .
AP: That’s a shame. I’d love to see you and Charles Barkley play one-on-one.
O’Neal: Yeah, Charles would lose.
AP: Your post-NBA career has been uncommonly busy. Why?
O’Neal: Seventy percent of all professional athletes have nothing, not even a job, after they’re done. The fact that I couldn’t even call a franchise to get an interview to be a coach frightened me. So nothing was simple. Educate yourself, be nice to people and save your money. If you do that, you should be OK.
AP: You have numerous TV shows and films in development. What are your Hollywood aspirations?
O’Neal: I want to be as big as Rock.
AP: Dwayne Johnson is the biggest movie star on the planet. That’s setting a high bar.
O’Neal: We come from the same place: athletes that transition. That’s my goal. I want similar type movies. I want to get thrillers. I want to get dramas. I want to do comedies. I want to be the next Rock. I want to do a thriller where I’m like a hero and beat up all the bad guys.
AP: It’s been 24 years since your big-screen debut, “Blue Chips.” Do you feel like a veteran actor?
O’Neal: Well, I have shot 15 movies. I always tell my friends I shot 15 movies but they say, “Yeah, but if you play Shaq in nine of the movies, that’s not really acting.” I say, “You make a good point.” I’m just happy to have the opportunity.
AP: Favorite movie?
O’Neal: Oh, “Stepbrothers.” All day, every day. I know that movie by heart.
AP: What else do you like?
O’Neal: I just got done watching “Justice League.” I thought it was pretty good. But they held Superman out too long.
AP: In vogue in today’s NBA are big men who can shoot from the perimeter. Could you have developed a three-point game?
O’Neal: No, I would have played the same way. Because you can’t score 40 points a night shooting jumpers. Nobody has, nobody will. But you can score 40 points a night shooting 60, 70 percent inside the paint. The fact that guys are shooting jumpers, that’s just telling me they don’t like physical contact. Shooting jumpers is easy. Anybody can shoot a jumper. But can you bang a guy four of five times and then still have enough to score two points for your team?
AP: You think the league has gotten soft.
O’Neal: Of course.
LOS ANGELES: Toby Kebbell will join Vin Diesel in “Bloodshot” for Sony Pictures in the role of Axe with principal photography starting in July.
Eiza Gonzalez, Michael Sheen, Sam Heughan, Talulah Riley, and Alex Hernandez also star. Dave Wilson of Blur Studios will direct and Neal H. Moritz is producing.
“Bloodshot,” first published in 1992, centers on a mortally wounded soldier with powers of regeneration and meta-morphing made possible through nano-machines in his bloodstream. “Bloodshot” was created by Kevin Van Hook, Don Perlin, and Bob Layton for Valiant. Over its comic-book run, “Bloodshot” totaled 110 issues with more than 7.5 million copies sold.
Kebbell’s credits include “The Fantastic Four,” the rebooted “Planet of the Apes” franchise, “Kong: Skull Island,” “Warcraft,” and “RocknRolla.” The news was first reported by the Wrap.
LOS ANGELES: Freestyle Digital Media has secured rights for “Rockbarnes: The Emperor in You” from writer/director Ben McMillan, who makes his feature film debut with the title.
The comedy is styled as a mockumentary and will be released wide on demand July 3. Broken Lizard player Erik Stolhanske stars as the title character alongside Madisen Beaty, Chad Michael Collins, Joe Hursley, Erin Cardillo, Jack Plotnick, Ethan Phillips, Sonya Eddy, and James Grace.
Stolhanske portrays RockBarnes as he hires a movie crew to go on tour with him and record his greatness for the world to see. But when things go awry, and his world starts crumbling all around him, RockBarnes does what any egotistical anti-hero would do: he fires the director, holds the camera crew hostage, and goes about making an epic opus of grandiose delusions. (Agencies)
Producers are Britt George and Nicole Markel. Ed Ramans is the executive producer. The deal was negotiated by Freestyle’s Rachel Koehler, and Sally James of Greenberg Glusker on behalf of the filmmaking team. (Agencies)
By Jake Coyle