REPORTING FROM ... THE SET OF HURRICANE SEASON
Alan Markfield / The Weinstein Company
"Let's make a movie!" "Yea, let's re-make Working Girl!"
Chris Paul and Caron Butler had never been in a movie before shooting their cameo for the upcoming film Hurricane Season (formerly known as Patriots) and neither had so much as a script to work with. But that didn't bother the two first-time thespians.
"We freestyle," Butler says.
Butler and Paul had the enviable task of playing themselves in a scene where they are interviewed during halftime of the championship game. Although it wasn't that easy: as soon as Caron walks in sporting a white linen suit, actor Jackie Long begins to tease the All-Star.
"Who told you to dress up so nice?" Long bellows. "He looks like he's dressing up for the draft." Long then proceeds to take off his jersey and hand it to Caron, a la David Stern, while crew members take pictures.
"Jackie a fool all day, every day," says Paul, citing Long's role in the comedy The Comebacks.
The cast and crew doesn't let up during shooting either, as the two NBA stars fight to keep their composure while they are teased and poked by foam "Patriots" cheering sticks in-between takes. And though Paul says "We one and done" after the first take seems to go well, director Tim Story insists on three more tries.
Overall, Paul and Butler's roles in the movie are minimal. The film depicts the true story of a New Orleans' John Ehret boys high school basketball team that won the Louisiana 5-A basketball championship a year after Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc on the Big Easy.
A New Orleans basketball team makes an inspirational post-season run that galvanizes the city, where have we heard that before?
"It's somewhat different levels but at the same time it's all about perseverance," Paul says. "They could've easily laid down and given up but they fought through. Our team coming back here after two years in Oklahoma City, it was pretty much against all odds."
For his part, Paul had actually been on the Patriots set a couple of times before. It seems the debutante baller can't get enough of life on a film set.
"There's always a movie filming down here," he says. "As you see the sports teams are doing better and all the movies being here you get an opportunity to see that the city is coming back."
Butler's seemingly random appearance on set is less surprising when you know that his agent, Raymond Brothers, is a producer on the film.
What may come as a surprise to many fans, is the last movie Butler saw. Whereas Paul says he's always watching movies and just re-watched Semi-Pro, Butler has a slightly different answer.
"Sex and the City," he deadpans.
"Was it good?" Paul asks.
"Yea. You gonna quote me on that too, huh?"
"I went with my wife," Butler continues.
Does he know that only an estimated 15 percent of that movie's audience is male?
"Man, I ain't got to justify my thug," he says. "Al Bundy, man, Married with Children, I gotta do stuff like that."
To his credit, Butler did cite Above the Rim and Blue Chips among his favorite movies, saying that he prefers movies that depict the hard work and sacrifices one needs to make to make it to the pros.
No word on where watching chick flicks with your wife fits into his list of must-sees.
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