A traveling junket of talent came to Denver in December to promote Glory Road. The film tells the story of the first all-African-American basketball champions in the NCAA.
Two of the movie’s supporting actors, Mehcad Brooks and Al Shearer, teamed up to handle questions from Movie Habit and Bias.
The reporters from Bias were joking it up, which seemed to suit Brooks and Shearer just fine. They were ready for some fun after dry interviews from the likes of me. When Bias asked what their go-to drink was, Brooks and Shearer, acknowledging that Glory Road is a Disney film, chose Shirley Temple and Sprite.
Big Break? Maybe.
Both Brooks and Shearer are best known for their TV roles, Brooks is probably best known as Matthew Applewhite in Desperate Housewives. Al Shearer may be best known from Punk’d. It seemed to me that Glory Road was a big step for both young actors.
“It’s another step in the process, but it’s a tremendous step,” said Shearer. “I think it’s phenomenal. You never want to say you’ve arrived, you don’t want to jinx it...”
Brooks spoke up too: “...You don’t want to call it that. You’re like ‘I’m here! I’m here!’ then later it’s like, ‘no you’re not...’”
Shearer continued, topping Brooks, “Then you see me in Wendy’s on Friday: ‘would you like to super size that sir? Would you like a smoothie?’” Brooks, not to be outdone, took a cue from Shearer and gave the room a comic monologue about dipping your french fries in your smoothie.
As the only one in the room playing it straight, I hated to be a wet blanket, but eventually the actors came back to my question. Shearer seemed grateful when he said “Tremendous opportunity, man. This Bruckheimer business, it does not get any bigger than that. His movies have grossed 13.2 billion dollars. So to be a part of that family, I’m there.”
Brooks added, “Big break? Maybe. It’s a great film, I’ve seen it, and I just hope it does well. I hope the message gets out there. Whatever comes from that, we’re very blessed either way.”
Bias jumped in with a less serious question (one that was on my list as well) “Pickup games. Between shots. Who ruled?”
Brooks and Shearer generally agreed that everyone was pretty good, although Schin Kerr had played ball overseas, which made him the actual expert on the court. Shearer said “I hadn’t played in 12 years so I was rusty. Right hand was in a coma, left hand was constipated. I couldn’t do anything, I was Rusty Ricket. But then once we got Dorothy out there with the oil, she was like using the oil on my joints, the tin man wore off and I was poetry in motion.”
But even Shearer’s good-natured braggadocio was no match for the on-set trainer. Shearer and Brooks looked exhausted just recalling the ordeal. They took turns telling the story, starting with Shearer “... and then we had two weeks of training camp. Tim Floyd...”
”... who, by the way is an evil, evil man,”
”... channeled [coach] Don Haskins and he had us running through camp: ‘touch the lines! Run to the water! Oh, you’re walkin? No water! What are you doin’ sweatin?’”
“The best one was ‘what are you doin’ sweatin? You gotta run for that! You’re sweatin’ too much! You’re outta shape, you gotta run for that!’ Crazy.”
Bias to the Rescue
I cemented my position as Brooks and Shearer’s least-fun, least-favorite interview by asking them about working with Derek Luke, thoughtlessly implying that he was in a different league. Nevertheless, they handled the question with grace. Here’s Shearer: “He held his own and did more so. You’re just honored to work with him because he’s such a tremendous actor.”
Brooks agreed. “I was honored. It was like ‘I really respect your work and now we’re colleagues.’”
Luckily, Bias came to my rescue, talking trash: “But [Luke] did say he was the king of the court.”
“That’s cool, he can say that all he wants...”
“Yeah, the court for traffic tickets...”